Greek #8


Meaning: mankind, people


  1. anthropology (n) (log = study of): the study of people

I’ve always thought linguistic anthropology would be an interesting subject to study in school, but given that I’m married to loquaciousness personified, I have regular opportunities to conduct field research on how language impacts society and social life. For instance, when LCB starts in on a detailed description of a piece of high voltage equipment, I notice that I am more prone to yawning and blank stares. Were he to suddenly break into a series of tips for picking up Coach purses and Louboutin shoes at discounts of 90% or more, however, I feel sure I’d be enthralled, probably even moved to take copious notes.

  1. anthropophobiac (n) (-phobiac = one who has morbid fear of): a person afraid of people

Here’s a fun idea for a new feel-good family show: Survivor should do a special season of the show entitled Survivor: The Anthropophobiacs & The Misanthropes. The reward for the last person standing would be the island itself, where the winner could live in complete isolation from the people he or she fears or hates forever.

  1. anthropomorphic (adj) (morph = form): attributing human form or characteristics to something nonhuman

Personally, I’m not a big fan of anthropomorphic characters in literature. Usually, if animals start talking, I start walking. I mean, no offense to George, because I’m not questioning his overall brilliance or anything, but I just can’t get past the fact that the main dialogue in Animal Farm is coming from actual animals. Seriously?

It occurs to me as I write this, however, that I might be a tad inconsistent, given that I don’t seem to struggle with this as much with tales that I read to my children, such as The Chronicles of Narnia or The Giving Tree. Or, while reading Charlotte’s Web, for instance, I even shed a teeny, tiny tear at the anthropomorphic Charlotte’s death.

And now, as I write the last two sentences, it occurs to me that maybe, maybe my kids think I’m a tad loony for expressing emotions, however slight, over the death of a fictitious talking spider. Maybe they were just nodding sympathetically out of politeness, or even confusion, when I somberly read the scene of Charlotte’s death. Maybe they’re really thinking, “Seriously, Mom? Talking animals?”

* Also see philanthropy for more etymological excitement.

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