Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Fārī is a Latin root word meaning "to speak." Its interest to me is in the range of English words it is a part of. I think you gain an appreciation for language when you can see the relation of words to each other and how roots and prefixes and suffixes were added and subtracted to express new concepts. Here are words I know that have fārī as a root:

Infant: "one unable to speak" from in- ("cannot") + -fāns, prp. of fārī "to speak."
Fate: "a prophetic declaration of what must be" from fātum "utterance, decree of fate, destiny", orig. neut. of fātus, ptp. of fārī "to speak".
Affable: "pleasantly easy to approach and to talk to" from affārī, "to speak to" from ad- + fārī "to speak."
Fame: "one spoken of" from fāma "talk, public opinion, repute," akin to fārī "to speak."
Preface: "a preliminary statement" from praefari "to speak or say beforehand" from prae "before" + fārī, fātus "to speak."
Fable: "a short tale to teach a moral lesson" from fābula from fārī "to speak."
Effable: "utterable" from effābilis, equiv. to eff(ārī) "to speak out" (ef- "out" + fārī to speak) + -ābilis "able."
Ineffable: "inutterable" from in- "not" + effābilis, equiv. to eff(ārī) "to speak out" (ef- "out" + fārī to speak) + -ābilis "able."
Nefarious: "extremely wicked or villainous" from nefas "crime, wrong" from ne- "not" + fas "divine law;" akin to fari "to speak."
Multifarious: "having many different parts, elements, forms, etc." from multifariam "in many places or parts," perhaps originally "that which can be expressed in many ways," from multi- "many" + -fariam "parts," perhaps from fas "utterance, expression, manifestation," related to fari "to speak."

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