Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Xeno: Warrior Stranger

Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgim!

John Wayne may have encountered quite a few pilgrims, but he didn’t seem to be afraid of them. Come to think of it, though, his best advice was to sit with your back to a wall when visiting a rowdy saloon.

If he had been afraid of strangers, he would have been termed a xenophobe (pronounced zeenophobe). This is because the Greek segment xeno- comes from a word that means stranger or foreigner. Phob- indicates strong aversion or even fear. The Duke would not have been so tolerant if things had led to a xenocracy (ruling body of foreigners).

One of the stranger pursuits is xenobiology, which studies extraterrestrial life forms. I suppose it’s confined to Area 51.

The word part xeno- is particularly useful in zoology and in medicine, where we encounter terms such as xenobiotic (foreign to the body or to living organisms), xenograft (in which the donor and the recipient come from different species), or xenophthalmia (presence of a foreign body in the eye).

Don't be a stranger, now, hear?

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