Words Derived from Latin in English

The English language is a rich tapestry woven with words from many different languages, and one of the most significant contributors is Latin. Latin has been a vital source of vocabulary for English, especially in the areas of science, law, and literature. Here, we explore some common English words derived from Latin, their meanings, and how they are used in sentences.

Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a structure designed to transport water from one place to another through a series of conduits or channels. From Latin “aqua” meaning “water” and “ducere” meaning “to lead.”
The remains of the ancient aqueduct still stand majestically on the outskirts of the city.

Benefactor
A benefactor is a person who gives money or other help to a person or cause. It comes from the Latin “bene” meaning “well” and “factor” meaning “maker” or “doer.”
The library was built with the generous donation from an anonymous benefactor.

Circumvent
To circumvent something means to find a way around an obstacle or to overcome a problem in a clever and sometimes dishonest way. Derived from “circum” meaning “around” and “venire” meaning “to come.”
She found a smart way to circumvent the school’s strict dress code.

Democracy
Democracy refers to a system of government by the whole population, typically through elected representatives. The word comes from the Latin “demos” meaning “people” and “cracy” from the Greek “kratos” meaning “power” or “rule.”
Democracy allows citizens to have a say in the laws that govern them.

Egregious
Something that is egregious is outstandingly bad or shocking. It is drawn from the Latin “egregius” which means “eminent” or “distinguished,” but with a sense moving towards a negative connotation in English.
The judge described the offense as the most egregious case of corruption he had ever seen.

Facsimile
A facsimile is an exact copy or reproduction of something, especially of a document or artwork. The Latin “fac simile” translates as “make similar.”
She requested a facsimile of the original painting for her study.

Genre
A genre is a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter. This term has its origins in the Latin “genus” which means “type” or “kind.”
She has a keen interest in works of the fantasy genre.

Habeas Corpus
Habeas corpus is a legal writ, or court order, that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court. The phrase translates directly from Latin as “you shall have the body.”
The prisoner’s lawyer filed a petition for habeas corpus to challenge his unlawful detention.

Increment
An increment is an increase or addition, especially one of a series on a fixed scale. It comes from the Latin “incrementum,” meaning “growth.”
Employees at the firm receive an annual salary increment based on performance.

Latitude
In geography, latitude refers to the measurement of distance north or south of the Equator. It originates from the Latin “latitudo,” meaning “breadth” or “width.”
The ship’s captain calculated their position using the stars to determine their latitude.

These words are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the vast number of English words of Latin origin. By understanding these Latin roots, learners of English can not only enhance their vocabulary but also gain insights into the historical and cultural evolution of the language. Latin, in many ways, remains alive through its significant contributions to English, offering a portal to both the past and the intricate web of modern communication.

Learn a Language With AI 5x Faster

TalkPal is AI-powered language tutor. Learn 57+ languages 5x faster with revolutionary technology.