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10 common words with different origins

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There are approximately 10 lakh English words in a dictionary. These words are either originated from the English language or from other languages. Some have been changed over years, others have remained the same. Whenever a new foreign language word is adopted in English, it takes many forms. The new form is put together with other English words, and these combinations create many more new words. However, all these words are related to the original word and if you know the original word, you’ll understand all  the combinations. When you learn a word, you should learn where it came from and especially, if it’s a common word. Let’s learn some common words with different origins.

Words origin

10 common words with different origins

1. Sync

Meaning - When a few things happen at the same time or in the same way, they are supposed to be synchronized. Sync is the short form of synchronize. It has originated from a Greek word - (sym or syn) that means to be together.


Related words - Synopsis, synonyms

Example –My phone has an auto-sync option.

2. Finish

Meaning - To finish something or to be done with it. It has originated from the Latin word ‘finis’ which means “end.”


Related words – finite, infinite

Example – I was the first one to finish the race.

3. Letter

Meaning - A letter is a symbol that represents a sound in a language, like a, b, c, or the rest of the alphabets. A letter is also a message you write and send to someone.This word was originated from Latin word ‘littera’.


Related words – Literature, literate, literally

Example – Will you pass on the letter to Mrs. Smith.

4. Question

Meaning – When you ask a question, you try to get information about something. Questions end in question marks “?”. The word is originated from Latin and Old French.


Related words – Quest, inquest, inquire

Example – Where will I get the ticket to Kalyan?

5. Check

Meaning –To check means to have a close look at something or to verify something.The word is originally from Persian and then Arabic, where it meant “king.” The word was used in the game of chess and was defined as “to control.” And then the word’s meaning changed to what it is today.


Related words – unchecked, raincheck

Example – Have you checked the drawer? I am sure you’ll find the keys there.

These are the five common words with different origins. We will explain the remaining five words in next blog 10 common words with different origins – Part 1. Until then, stay tuned and keep practising English and improve your English fluency skills with a Spoken English course.

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-By Shailja Varma


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