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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Word of the Day deracinate

Word of the Day

  • deracinate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dee-RASS-uh-nayt\
: uproot
: to remove or separate from a native environment or culture; especially : to remove the racial or ethnic characteristics or influences from
The old-fashioned gardening book recommended deracinatingevery other plant in the row to allow the survivors room to grow.

"My dilemma was that, on one hand, I am one of those who, by accident of birth, finds herself the daughter of an earl and has insider knowledge of the framework the bill is trying to overhaul. On the other hand, I don't use my title and am deracinated from that life." — From an article by Liza Campbell in The Guardian, January 14, 2014
There is a hint about the roots of "deracinate" in its first definition. "Deracinate" was borrowed into English in the late 16th century from Middle French and can be traced back to the Latin word "radix," meaning "root." Although "deracinate" began life referring to literal plant roots, it quickly took on a second metaphorical meaning suggesting removal of anyone or anything from native "roots" or culture. Other offspring of "radix" include "eradicate" ("to pull up by the roots" or "to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots") and "radish" (a crisp edible root). Though the second sense of "deracinate" mentions racial characteristics and influence, the words "racial" and "race" derive from "razza," an Italian word of uncertain origin.


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