English Words Derived from Latin

English is a rich tapestry woven from many languages, with Latin being one of the most significant contributors. The Roman influence on the English language began with the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 AD and continues to permeate everyday language even now. Here, we explore some commonly used English words derived from Latin, enriching your vocabulary and understanding of the language.

Aquatic – relating to water.
The dolphins are aquatic mammals, not fish.

Anniversary – the yearly recurrence of the date of a past event.
They celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary with a trip to Paris.

Circumference – the enclosing boundary of a curved geometric figure, especially a circle.
We measured the circumference of the circular garden plot.

Benefactor – a person who gives money or other help to a person or cause.
The library was built with funds donated by an anonymous benefactor.

Capitol – a building in which a legislative body of a republic, state or country meets.
The state’s legislators gathered at the capitol for the annual session.

Corporeal – relating to a person’s body, especially as opposed to their spirit.
He believed in the corporeal resurrection of the dead.

Deciduous – (of a tree or shrub) shedding its leaves annually.
Maple and oak are examples of deciduous trees.

Extraterrestrial – of or from outside the earth or its atmosphere.
Scientists continue to search for signs of extraterrestrial life.

Flora – the plants of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
The flora of the rainforest includes numerous species of both plants and trees.

Graduate – a person who has completed a course of study or training, especially a person who has been awarded an undergraduate or higher academic degree.
She is a graduate of the University of California.

Incognito – (of a person) having one’s true identity concealed.
In order to avoid the press, the celebrity traveled incognito.

Jubilant – feeling or expressing great happiness and triumph.
The fans were jubilant after their team won the championship.

Luminous – full of or shedding light; bright or shining, especially in the dark.
The stars were especially luminous that night.

Maternal – relating to a mother, especially during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth.
Her maternal instincts told her the child was in danger.

Nocturnal – done, occurring, or active at night.
Owls are nocturnal and hunt during the night.

Paternal – of or appropriate to a father.
He offered me some paternal advice on buying my first house.

Quintessential – representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.
She is the quintessential romantic heroine.

Respiratory – relating to or affecting respiration or the organs of respiration.
The doctor checked him for any respiratory issues.

Solar – relating to or determined by the sun.
Solar energy is becoming a more popular power source worldwide.

Temporal – relating to worldly as opposed to spiritual affairs; secular.
The church leaders were advised to focus less on temporal matters.

Unanimous – (of two or more people) fully in agreement.
The decision to relocate the company was unanimous.

Ventilate – cause air to enter and circulate freely in (a room, building, etc.).
It’s stuffy in here—let’s open the windows and ventilate the room.

Understanding the Latin roots of English words not only enriches your vocabulary but also gives insight into the history and evolution of the language. As you encounter new words, consider their origins—it can be a helpful tool in expanding your linguistic knowledge and appreciation.

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