Friday, August 11, 2017

-lude and –clude

Karl asked if the words ludicrous and interlude are based on the same root. The short answer: in spite of the spelling-challenged rapper, yes. Both came from the Latin verb ludere, to play. The concept of play lies beneath the surface of a number of common words, at least in their original meaning. For instance, we have

·      allude  (to make a playful reference to something)
·      collude  (to play against someone)
·      delude  (to play on someone’s hope)
·      elude  (to playfully evade)
·      interlude  (a presentation between the acts of a play)
·      prelude  (the warmup to a play or to a musical piece)

A warning, however. If you see –lude immediately preceded by a –c– (-clude) you are dealing with another source entirely. That source is the Latin verb claudere, to close. Common examples are

·      conclude  (to close an action)
·      exclude  (to shut out)
·      occlude  (to obstruct)
·      preclude  (to block a course of action)
·      seclude  (to shut up in isolation)

I came across an intriguing word while researching this topic. The word is hastilude – spear play in a tournament – but I don’t see the point.

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