Friday, September 05, 2008


My Latin word for the weekend is grex, gregis (m), meaning 'flock, herd, crowd'. It's a pretty unremarkable word in and of itself, but it's got a number of interesting (at least to me) English derivations.

  • gregarious, meaning 'fond of the company of others; sociable' is obvious enough- it describes someone who likes being part of a grex.
  • a congregation is a 'gathered or assembled body' (particularly in a religious context); i.e. a grex that's come together (con).
  • segregate means 'to separate or set apart from others', i.e. from the grex.
  • egregious, once meant 'distinguished or eminent', but has now come to mean the opposite 'extraordinary in some bad way'. The idea that goes along with both these meanings is that an egregious person (for example) stands out of (e) the grex in some way.

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