Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The English suffix ‘–fy’ comes from the Latin word facit, meaning ‘make’ or ‘do’. For example ‘magnify’ means ‘to make big’ (magnus is Latin for big) , ‘unify’ means to ‘make one’ (unus is Latin for one) and ‘clarify’ means ‘to make clear’ (clarus is Latin for clear).

can you work out what the following English words mean, and from what Latin words they are derived.

[5 points for each correct answer]
  1. crucify
  2. deify
  3. mollify
  4. nullify
  5. pacify
  6. petrify
  7. rectify
  8. sanctify
  9. stultify
  10. vitrify

[For a longer list of words ending in -fy see here]


teenage dirtbag said...

i dont think ill attempt that..tooo much hw already and i think i might fail everything this yr. speaking of which, why am i here?

caleb-o-tron said...

i'm not sureify got them all but i got a few!

Mike Salter said...

JM, could you verify that you'll be at the Dinner in March? Your presence would justify mine, while revivifying the event as a whole, and signifying that the event is still a key date on the newly ratified CLTA calendar.

On the -ify note, you might enjoy the following (probably apocryphal) anecdote about the famous Dr. William Spooner of spoonerism fame. He went into a lens-grinder's shop and asked:

"Have you a signifying glass?"
"No, sir, I'm afraid not."
"Never mind, it's of no magnificence."

jm said...

i'll be there with about 20 girls from my year 11 and 12 classes. my year 12 class were particularly impressed by the costumes last year, and have decided to dress up themselves this year. last i heard they were thinking of dressing up as 'heroes and heroic qualities'.

missfit said...

Spoonerisms. How I love to hate them.

1. to make cross - from Latin crux.
2. to make God - from Deus
3. to make soft - from mollificare
4. to make nothing - nullus
5. to make peace - pax
6. to make ... rock? - petra
7. to make right - rēctus
8. to make holy - sānctus
9. to make stupid - stultus
10. to make glassy - vitrum

Insomnia: makes you do the strangest things at unholy hours of the morning.

jm said...

congratulations missfit- that's 50 points for you. no 6 is an interesting one (i think). it means literally to turn to stone(think petrified wood), but it has a secondary meaning: to be frightened. When you're really scared you freeze up, as if you've turned to stone.

Sarah S said...

Mr Morrison, I have just been reading, and I am greatly distressed! I know we were going to dress up, and I think that dressing as Heroes and Heroism is the best thing ever, but now I don't think we have a theme! Do you know what is going on? Can you add a page to the exam telling us that instead of doing the unseen, we can get the marks by wearing a costume to Dinner? I don't want to wear regular clothes, but I also don't want to be the only one who doesn't :(

PS: I (L) caleb-o-tron