Sunday, June 21, 2015

Breaker, Breaker

Each week, my program ends with a multiple choice vocabulary quiz, and prizes are awarded for a correct answer. Last week’s quiz used the word biblioclast.

   biblioclast:  (a) book seller  (b) book lover  (c) book destroyer  (d) book binder

The correct answer is (c). The –clast word part comes from the Greek word κλάστης (klastes), a person or thing that breaks other things, whether literally or metaphorically. Several words use that combining form.

bioclast: a fragment of a shell or a fossil forming part of a sedimentary rock.

·    cranioclast: an operation in which the head of a fetus is fractured in order to facilitate a difficult delivery.

·      crystalloclast: a person who breaks crystals in order to study them.

·      eidoclast: one who destroys idols.

·      hyaloclast: a glass-breaker.

·      iconoclast: breaker of images; one who attacks cherished beliefs.

·      lithoclast: an instrument for breaking up bladder stones.

·      mythoclast: a person who destroys myths.

·      pyroclast: rock fragmented by volcanic action.

The corresponding Latin combining form is –frage. It shows up in words such as calculifrage (device to break up calculi), nucifrage (the spotted nutcracker), ossifrage (bird that drops bones from a great height to shatter them), and saxifrage (plant that roots in rock clefts).


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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