Word power made easy: Session 5

Articles for Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
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In the previous posts, our focus of discussion was HATE-WORDS.
Today we shift our focus and move on to words related to KIDS.

You must have heard the word paediatrician: a specialist in the care of babies.
Paediatrician comes from the Greek root ‘pedo-, paedo-‘ meaning ‘boy, child or an infant’. And do remember pediatrics is the branch of medical science dealing with the study of childhood and the diseases of children.

If you remember, in the last post there is a word, misopedia, which means ‘a morbid hatred of or aversion to children; sometimes including one’s own.’ It simple combines ‘miso’ (which means hatred) with ‘pedia’, thus we reach at the meaning: hatred of children.

In a similar vein comes the word pedophile/paedophile. The suffix phile means love, and when combined with peado, it means to love children. Originally it meant someone who has a fondness or love for young children. But now there is another meaning that has been added to it: an abnormal or sexual love of young children. We all the incident of famous person being accused of paedophilia: Micheal Jackson.

Another interesting derivation from the same root is of the Greek word pedeia. In ancient Greek society, it meant education or upbringing; more generally, a society’s culture; the sum of physical and intellectual achievement to which the human body and mind can aspire. In fact, the source root of all of the above, the Greek ped is a word meaning “education” or the results of “education”; such as, “knowledge” or “learning”. The Greek element pedia is found in other Greek words; such as, “cyclopedia” and “encyclopedia”, and can be referred to as the circle of knowledge.

There is another set of words that we can learn from the root ‘pedo-/paedo-’. This set consists of the following:

  1. Pedagogy
  2. Pedagogue
  3. Pedant
  4. Pedantry

Pedagogy is the combination of paedo and agogos, meaning ‘leading of’. By extension, pedagogy becomes the leading of children, effectively meaning the art or profession of teaching.
Pedagogy extends to give us pedagogue, a term which originally meant a teacher. The word pedagogy came from the Latin word paedagogus, who was basically a slave who supervised the boys and some of their education. In the wealthy Greek circles, at least one slave was selected who use to take care of their boys during their upbringing and used to accompany them to their schools and gymnasiums. Considering his role, he was assigned the name paidagogoa/paedagogus, this becoming a leader of the boys. This word gradually transformed from signifying a leader to signify a teacher. Thus, we had the word pedagogue in its original form but the transformation did not end here. Somewhere down the line, this word underwent a transition and began to signify a narrow-minded, academic and dogmatic teacher.

Almost the same logic extends for a pedant. Formerly a word used to signify a schoolmaster or teacher, it is used now to describe a person who pays more attention to formal rules and book learning than they merit. We can say a pedant adopts the approach of a bookworm or a scholastic one.

Pedantry is another negative word from the same family and means ‘an ostentatious or inappropriate display of learning, formalism, denoting someone who parades his or her academic knowledge’.

This completes our leaning from this post.
Read the previous two posts in this series here:

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