Friday, October 26, 2007

Two Words

In the entry for the Latin noun caput in Wheelock (ch. 11), several English derivatives are listed. Here are two good ones to add to your arsenal:

occiput: the back or posterior part of the head (ob + caput)
sinciput: the front part of the head or skull (semi + caput)

Also of interest is 'kerchief', consisting of 'chief' < ME chef, chief, < OF chef, chief (= Pr. cap, Sp. cabo, It. capo head):--Rom. type *capu-m:--L. caput head) (from OED entry for chief (n.)), and ker- (whole word from ME kerchef, syncopated form of keverchef, < OF cuevrechief (from OED entry for kerchief (n.)). 'Cover' ('coverchief' is an earlier form of 'kerchief'), in turn, goes back via Old French to the Latin verb cooperire.

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