Wordy Weekly XXII

‘T’ for two, and two for ‘T’.

Let me take you on a tantalising TAU of…

All right, enough of the puns.

We are at week ‘T’ (but I like my ‘T’ strong…okay, sorry!).

Greek up first.


i) TAUTOLOGY: ‘a rhetorical device whereby something is said twice for emphasis of meaning’. An example would be: ‘the noisy cacophonous clang’. You don’t really need both noisy and cacophonous, but the use of both does convey how awful the clang was.

Anyway, to explain the derivation.

το αὐτο = the same

λογος = speech

So, here we have a word that does what it says on the tin, so to speak. It literally does mean ‘speaking/saying the same thing’.

Just to add that also ‘cacophony’ is Greek, meaning ‘bad voice’ or ‘sound’. Good collective name for a gathering of politicians?

ii) TRAUMA/TRAUMATIC: ‘a wound to the body or an experience that causes psychological shock or pain’. The word comes from, or rather is, the Greek word ‘τραῦμα’. From the noun comes the adjective τραῦματικος (traumatikos).


i) TRACTOR: ‘big farm vehicle which can pull or drag heavy items, tools, or other vehicles behind it’. TRACTOR comes from the Latin verb ‘TRAHO’ – ‘to drag’. More specifically it comes from the past passive participle ‘TRACTUS’. So, a TRACTOR is quite literally a ‘dragging machine’.

ii) TEXTURE: ‘the feeling of a surface when touched’, or ‘physical characteristic of a material’. It comes from the Latin verb ‘TEXERE’ – ‘to weave’, specifically the past participle ‘TEXTUS’. Our English word can be applied in a variety of different contexts. We can, for example, refer to the texture of music, denoting the richness or complexity of a harmony or variety of instruments.

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