ENGLISH WORDS FROM LATIN

The American Institute for English Proficiency (located at two spots in Metro Manila, Philippines) can help you improve your English vocabulary.  One of the ways for vocabulary development is to know root words, etymology, or origins of words.  For example, the word boondock comes from the Filipino (Tagalog) word, bundok, which means mountain.

It’s good to know, therefore, that English borrows a lot from different languages.  One such language is Latin.

Image: tumblr.com

Image: tumblr.com

How did this happen?  Well, from 27 BC to 476 AD, much of Europe and the Mediterranean was ruled by the Roman Empire.  The main lingua franca–i.e. common tongue–of  the Empire was Latin.  One of the places in Europe conquered by the Romans was the island of Britain.  Therefore, Latin became a major influence in the local languages in the land that would one day become England.

Even when the Roman Empire collapsed, Latin was still a very important language all over Europe.  It was–and still is–used by the Roman Catholic Church; being used in religious ritual and theological study.  Latin became a language of the learned, and Europe’s universities used to focus studies on Latin until the end of the 19th century.

Because of this, many English words derive from Latin.  A lot of them do this by employing prefixes or suffixes based on Latin words. Here is a list of some examples:

  • annus means “year”; it gives us English words like anniversay, annual, and per annum.
  • bene means “good”; it gives us English words like benefit, benefactor, and benign.
  • celeber means “famous”; it gives us English words like celebrity, celebration, and celebrant.
  • centum means “hundred”; it gives us English words like century, centipede, and centennial.
  • corpus means “body”; it gives us English words like corpse, incorporate, and corporal.
  • deus means “God” or “god”; it gives us English words like deity, deify, and deist. 
  • dominus means “lord”; it gives us English words like dominate, dominion, and dominant.
  • homo means “man”; it gives us English words like human, homicide, and hominid.
  • terra means “earth” or “land”; it gives us English words like terrestrial, territory, and terrain.

These are only some examples of the huge number of Latin terms that are now used in English. Try using them when you practice your English! And if you want to learn more English vocabulary, enroll at the American Institute for English Proficiency in Makati and Quezon City, Philippines!

  • Icey Justalero

    Aside from attending classes, reading books may also help you improve your communication skills. If you’d like to focus on learning building your vocabulary, like learning more words with Latin origin, for example, you can also use reference material like Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder.

  • seona jung

    As I know some words in English are from Latin language so it is important to know its history.

  • Reggie Meriales Aiep

    Knowing the etymology of a word actually helps with your spelling, too 🙂

  • Vinz San Juan

    To be honest, I did hate a lot of uncommon words especially when we were having our A.P. (History) classes last year. It made me feel dizzy every time, especially it was our first period in the morning because we were studying about the Greek period up to the 21st century, but it took me a while to embrace those words because I’ll just learn these terms once in a lifetime so why not give it a chance to let it get inside of my head. 🙂

  • Julia Borisenko

    Much of English comes from Latin, even Russian language has a huge number of Latin words:)