Classical Studies 2800A/B Chapter Notes -Idiosyncrasy, Musaeum
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• In the original Indo-European language, there was what was called "roots" -
combinations of sounds which later became the stems of words in some of the IE
• One root has the sounds g and n which turned into gen- meaning "coming into
• Genealogy - an account of one's ancestry
• Genesis - the name given to the first book of the Old Testament. The Greek
translation of these scriptures is called Sepuagint. The Greek word genesis is
from gene-, the stem of genos, geneos, "birth, origin" and the suffix sis.
• Ancient Athens is where democracy first became a reality.
• Everyone was expected to take part, and those who didn't were considered
strange and called idiotes "a private person".
• It came to mean someone who is ill-informed about private affairs and thus,
ignorant or an idiot.
• Idiosyncrasy or idiosyncratic means "any peculiar or unusual characteristic of
someone" is from idios "one's own, private". Comes from the prefix syn- and the
stem cras- meaning "mixture"
• Idiopathic - abnormal or diseased condition that arose from within the body and
did not come from some external source
• Another of these roots had the sounds of m and n which became men- or man-
which have the meaning of having to do with thought processes
• One descendent of this IE root is mind
• A Mouseion in Ancient Greece was any temple devoted to the Muses and
eventually it became the name of educational institutions. In Latin, it was spelled
• Words using the stem oxy- have the meaning "sharp, pointed" as in oxyrhine
"having a pointed nose", or oxyacusis "having an unusual acuteness of hearing"
or oxyesthesia "having abnormal acuteness of sensation"
• Oxymoron - a phrase containing contradictory meanings
• Oxygen - acid producing, because when it was isolated it was thought to be the
essential substance in the formation of acids.
• In many English words, the stem ox- means "oxygen" such as in hypoxia, anoxia
and hypoxemia (deficient oxygenation of blood)