Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gym


Roger asked about the gym, as in gym class. It’s an abbreviation for gymnasium, and it’s been around since 1871. Gymnasium comes from a Greek word meaning “to train or exercise naked.” That’s enough to make me want to enroll in the Y.

The combining form gymno- is a particularly useful component in the vocabulary used in Botany, Biology, and Zoology. It carries the meaning bare or devoid of. Some examples are

  • gymnanthous: having naked flowers, devoid of both calyx and corolla.
  • gymnetrous: having a naked or smooth belly; applied to those fishes which have no anal fins.
  • gymnopterous: having naked wings, without hairs or scales.
  • gymnomonoˈspermous: having the seeds single and naked.
  • gymnorhinal: having naked or unfeathered nostrils.


Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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