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Falling into a defined category or class; detailed in an explanation. Latin “specificus”=outward appearance of something < “species”=form, kind < “specere”=to look, behold.


The practice of keeping people in prison during a war or for political reasons, without charging them with a crime. Latin “internus”=situated inside, within the house + “-mentus”=suffix that creates abstract nouns.

Moving or going backwards; reverting to a previous state. Middle French “retrograde”=in astronomy, to appear to move east-west in the sky < Latin “retrogradus” < “retro”=backwards + “gradus”=step.

The quality of being useful, or the degree to which something is useful. Old French “utilitei” < Latin “utilis” < “uti”=to use.

To prove someone (or something) to be wrong. Latin “confutare”=to refute, repress, restrain, answer conclusively < “con”=altogether + “fundere”=overthrow, pour out.

To cut the organs out of an animal’s body. Latin “eviscerare”=to disembowel < “e-“=out + “viscera”=the soft internal organs of a body.

Generosity with money or of spirit; selfless giving. Middle English “largeys” < Old French “largece” < Latin “largus”=generous, bountiful, copious.

To echo over and over, usually referring to sounds. Latin “reverberere”=to beat back, to reflect, to bounce back off a surface < “re-“=again + “verberare”=to lash, flog, or whip < “verbera”=a whip.

To try to hide the truth by not answering questions directly. Latin “praevaricari”=to plough crookedly < “pre-“=before + “varicare”=to stretch one’s legs apart, to straddle < “varus”=knock-kneed.

Turned backwards; in phonetics, a sound where the tongue is curled up to the hard palate. Latin “retroflectere”=to reflect < “retro-“=back + “flectere”=to bend.

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