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Saint Ignatius High School

Etymology Word of the Week

Director of Admissions Pat O'Rourke '90, a self-proclaimed "word nerd," brings you his Etymology Word of the Week. Every other week he presents an online Etymology lesson just for fun!

Etymology Word of the Week – As some of you know, in addition to working in the Admissions Office, I also teach Latin at Saint Ignatius and am something of a "word nerd."  Thus, each week, I’ll sneak a vocabulary word (sometimes derived from Latin, sometimes not) into the e-blast.  Here, then. is this week’s edition of the Etymology Word of the Week.  


Definition: “Shedding leaves annually, as certain trees and shrubs do; falling off at a particular stage of growth, as with baby teeth.” 

Origin/Derivation: From the Latin verb decidere, which means “to fall off, fall down” and is a compound of the Latin preposition de meaning “from, down from, about” and the Latin verb cadere, casus which means “to fall, decay, die, happen, befall.”     

Related Words/Phrases: accident, cadence (rising and falling of tones in reciting), cascade, casual, coincide, decadent (“to fall away from a better state/condition”), incident, occasion, Occidental (“setting”, as opposed to Oriental “rising”), recidivist (as in crime - “to fall again”). 

“Changing leaves on deciduous trees make for a lovely autumnal scene.”  

(All information is from, and/or