Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Roger from Sault Ste Marie heard a politician issue a disclaimer: “I’m no troglodyte.” Aware that this is a cut above normal political discourse, Roger asked for some discussion.

A troglodyte, in its original use, was a cave dweller, someone who lived underground. It comes from the Greek, where the troglo- portion meant hole (τρώγλη), and the –dyte  segment meant to go into (δύειν).

The implication is that a troglodyte, living underground and never seeing the light, is secluded, out of touch, and woefully unaware of life as it is lived on the surface.

Other words using the troglo- combining form include

  • troglobion: an animal living entirely in the dark parts of caves.
  • troglophile: a cave-dwelling animal that does not live entirely in the dark.
  • trogloxene: an animal that spends occasional short periods in dark caves.
Troglodytidae is a bird family that includes wrens and mocking-birds.

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