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NIHIL NOVUM SUB SOLE

1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

privative alpha, ἀ-, -ἀν; a- , -an

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privative a, ἀ- , privative alpha, is a Greek prefix (originated in Indoeuropean) that expresses negation or absence of the concept meaning by the term to which it is attached.From Greek it came to Latin and from it to Spanish and other romance languages.

The Spanish language is spoken today by more than 560 million people, the largest number, more than 120 million, in Mexico. It is the second most spoken language by native speakers after Mandarin Chinese.

In three quarters, ie approximately 75%, it is formed from the Latin language, the language of the Romans, who introduced it in  their empire, at least in the western part.

But in the formation of Spanish they have intervened and involved many components: the indigenous languages,  which  were the substrate on which was introduced the new, the Basque, the Germanic (which left few remains because the Visigoths and spoke Latin when they reach Hispania) , Arabic (with very strong presence), Hebrew, French, English, Italian, American languages, etc.etc.

The Greek is also a very important language in shaping of the Spanish. First because many Latin form words actually are originally Greek words. We should remember how Greek culture permeates the entire Roman life. See:http://en.antiquitatem.com/graecia-capta-greek-culture-quignard 

Secondly because the Greek, also Latin, have been, and continue to be, very productive in creating new words, especially in science and educated field.

All these are basic things that everyone knows, as no doubt also knows what I'll summarize below. I want to show how a simple understanding of the meaning of prepositions and some preverbs (part of a word that appears at the beginning and clarifies the meaning) Greek more used allows us to know easily, or help us to do so, the meaning of technicalities and words apparently of learned abstruse meaning.

So I'll do a little relationship, not intended to be exhaustive, of course, but by relating the most common and some techniques that serve as an example.

In this case, gradually we will complete  the series, give the beginning with a-, Greek. ἀ- a-, or -an, gr. ἀν- (if the term that it joins begins with vocal), the so-called privative alpha (first letter of the Greek alphabet). It is not properly a preposition, but both in Greek and Latin and several modern languages it serves to deny or indicate the lack or deprivation of the term that comes joined. I relate only Greek words, not Latin, nor others involved in the composition of the a-, but not the alpha privative. It will be time for other listings.

Abiogenesis: ἀ- (a-) (no, without, non, un-) βιο- (bio-) (life) - γένεσις (genesis) (origin, principle or process of formation): spontaneous generation from nonliving matter.

abyss and abyssal: ἄ- (a -) (no, without, non, un-) -βυθός (Byzas) background: bottomless: belonging to the abyss; wildlife that lives in the deep sea.

Aboulia, Abulia: ἀ- βουλία ,a-boulia, from βουλὴ (boule) (the will) and this from  βούλομαι (boulomai) (to will, to want): no will; indolent, selflessness, without interest. See  apathy.

Acephaly, Acephalus ἀ -κεφαλῇ (a-kefale)(head), ἀ-κέφαλος (aképhalos): headless.

Akinesia: ἀκινησία (akinesia); from κίνησις (kinesis), movement, and this from  κiνέο, kineo, to move: immobility, without movement, paralysis.

acracy: ἀκρατία (akrata) (intemperance) from ἀ-κράτος (a-kratos) (power, authority): Doctrine which advocates  the abolition of all authority;  pertaining or relative to the acracia. Partisan of the acracia. Lawlessness.  See anarchy

Achromia and Achromaticity: χρῶμα, -ατος (chroma, -atos) (color): colorless.

Aphasia: ἀφασία (aphasia) from  ἀ- φημί (femi, femi) (speaking): inability to speak, loss of speech.

Aphonia, aphonic, aphonous: ἀφωνία (Aphonia) from φωνή (phone) (sound)Loss of voice. Voicelessness; without voice.

Agenesisfrom  ἀγενησία, from  α- γένος (a-genos) (origin, birth, race, training): quality of uncreated; inability to beget. Any imperfect development of the body, or any anomaly of organization.

Agerasia: ἀγηρασία (agērasía) from  a-γῆρας (a-geras) (old age): Old age exempt from infirmities of this age. An outward appearance more youthful than one's true age.

Agnosis, agnosy, agnosia, agnostic and agnosticism: αγνῶσις (agnosis) from α-γνῶσις. Αγνωμαζει,  (agnōstikós) from αγνωστικός (relative to knowledge) from  γιγνώσκω (ginnosko) (know). Inability to recognize objects through the senses. Philosophical attitude that declares inaccessible to human understanding all knowledge of the divine and what transcends experience or senses.

Alexia: ἀ- and λέξις (lexis) (speech, diction) from λέγω (lego) (to say, express, read): The inability, due to a cerebral disorder, to comprehend or understand writing.

Amazon: Αμαζών (amazon). Its etymology is not absolutely clear, but it has been made  popularly derived from α (a-) and μαζός (breast), because it was said that these warriors were amputated from right breast or burned to better draw the bow. But scientifically it has been proposed that the name derives from the name of an Iranian tribe called * ha-mazan, the warriors.

Marcus Junianus Justinus or Justinus Frontinus  includes the their fantastic version in his "Historiae Phillippicae ex Trogo Pompeio", Liber II, 4:

"They exercised the virgins on weapon-wielding, horse-riding and hunting, and burned the children's right breasts, so that arrow-throwing wouldn't be impeded; and for such reason, they were called Amazons."

"Virgines (...) armis, equis, venationibus exercebant, inustis infantum dexterioribus mammis, ne sagittarum iactus impediantur; unde dictae Amazones."

Ambrosia: ἀμβροσία ambrosia, from α- αν-  αμ-   ἄμ-βροτος ám-brotos,  immortal , not human, divine. Drink constituted among other things by honey, proper to the gods because it gave the immortality. Ragweed.

Amenorrhea: ἀ- a-, μήν, μηνός men, menos, (month) and -ρροια –rroia from ῥέω  rheo, to run, to flow. Absence of menstrual flow.

Analphabet:: ἀναλφάβητος analphábētos from  ἀν-ἄλφα βέτα alpha, beta (first letters of the Greek alphabet): Illiterate. Who can’t read or write.

Analgesia, analgesic: ἀναλγησία Analgesia, ἂν-ἄλγος  an- without algos, pain. Absence or reduction of painful sensations; insensitivity.

Anarchy, anarchism, anarchist: ἀναρχία anarchy, ἂν-,  ἄρχω an-archo, to order, ἀρχὴ, arché, origin, control, power: absence of government or authority. Doctrine which advocates the abolition of the state and the elimination of all power or authority which  constrains individual freedom.

Anemia, anaemia: ἀναιμία anaimia from  ἂν-, an, αἷμα, aima, blood blood deficiency, low blood count.

Anerosia: ἂν-, an-, ἔρως, eros, love,: absence of love.

Anesthesia and anesthetic: ἀναισθησία anaisthēsía, ἀν-, an-, αἰσθήσεις, theseis, sensation, perception, from αἰσθάνομαι, aisthanomai, receive: insensitivity, without sensitivity.

Anhydrous: ἄνυδρος ánydros, from ἀν-, an, ὕδωρ, hydor, water: that has no water.

Anhydride: ἄνυδρος ánydros from ἀν- a, ὕδωρ, hydro, water, εἶδος, eidos, aspect: corps  resulted from the combination of oxygen and a nonmetallic element that reacts with water and gives an acid.

Anhidrosis: ἀνίδρωσις anídrōsis from  ἀν-, an-, ἱδρόω, hidroo, to sweat  ἱδρώς, hydros, sweating: no sweating. The reduced ability or inability to sweat.

Anhipnia: ἀν-, an, ὕπνος, hipnos, sleep,: absence of sleep.

Anodyneἀνωδυνία anōdynía, ἀνώδυνος, anodyne, from  ἀν-ὀδύνη, odyne,  pain;, from  ὀδυνἀω, odynao, causing pain. : Absence of pain, free from pain.        

Anomaly: ἀνωμαλία anomaly, from ἀν-ὁμαλὸς, an-homalos, even, same, Deviation or discrepancy of a rule or use, irregular, uneven, strange.

Anomie: ἀνομία. from ἀ-νόμος, nomos, usage, custom: Absence of law.

Anonymous: Anonymos ἀνώνυμος from ἀν-ὄνομα, onoma, name: without name

Anopsia and anopia: ἀνοψίη anopsíē  from  ἀν- (an-) and ὄψις (opsis) "sight" blindness, sightless, A defect in vision. State or condition of sightlessness, often due to medical reasons.

Anorexia: ἀνορεξία anorexia, from ἀν-ὄρεξίς, orexis, appetite, from ὀρέγω, orego, to desire, to tender: inappetence, absence of appetite, without appetite.

Anuriaἀν- οὖρον, ouron, urine, from ουρώ, ouro, to urinate: complete cessation of urinary secretion. A condition in which the kidneys do not produce urine.

Aorist: ἀόριστος aoristos from  a- ὁριστός, determined, defined, from ὁρίζω, oriso, to limit,: undefined, not done, not completed.

Apathy, apathic and apathetic: from ἀ-πάθος, pathos, passion, incident”, “emotion”, “passion, feeling: impassive mind, without passions, indolence, impassibility”, “insensibility”, “freedom from emotion, absence of vigor or energy.

Apnea: from  ἄπνοια ápnoia, ἀ-απνοια, pnoia, breathing, from πνέω, pneo, to breath : cessation of breathing. Drowning.

Apteran, apterous: ἄπτερος wingless, from  ἄ-πτερὸν, pteron, wing, feather: Wingless insect; In a building, especially a classical temple without columns in its side walls.

Arrhythmia: ἀρρυθμία arrythmia, from  ἀ-ῥυθμός, Rythmos, rhythm.: regularly Irregularity and inequality in the heart's contractions. An irregular heartbeat.

asepsis and aseptic: ἀ-σῆψίς from sepsis, putrefaction, from σήπω, to rot: Absence of septage,  free from sepsis, infection-free status; set of scientific procedures designed to preserve the body of infectious germs, mainly applied to sterilization of surgical material.

Asphyxia: ἀσφυξία asphyxia, from ἄσφυκτος ásphyktos, from σφύξεις, pulsation, palpitation: Suspension or difficulty in breathing. Stopping of the pulse.

Asymmetry and asymmetric: ἀσυμμετρία asymmetría from  ἀ-συν without, with, μέτρον, metron, measure: without measure; absence of symmetry.

Asyndeton: ἀσύνδετον asyndeton; from ἀ-συν without, with, δέω, deo, to tye, συνδέω, to unite,link: detached itself; this grammatical figure is to remove conjunctions. Without conjunctions. Omission of conjunctions in a text to give vividness and energy to what is expressed, as in the famous phrase of Caesar "I came, I saw, I conquered," Veni, vidi, vici.

Note: the famous phrase is referred by Plutarch in Caesar, 50.3 and in Moralia, 206e and by Suetonius in Life of Julius Caesar, 37. 

Asymptomatic: ἀ-σύμ-πτωμα sýmptōma from ἀ- (no, without) - σύν-, with, πίπτειν, to fall, to influence: no coincidence; without symptom, ie, without revealing manifestation of a disease or no signal or indication of something it is happening or will happen.

Asymptote: [γραμμή] ἀσύμπτωτος [Gramme] asýmptōtos, from  ἀ- (no, without) - σύν-, with, πίπτειν, or πίπτω, pipto, falling, influence, impact: [line] that does not coincide. In geometry, straight line, indefinitely prolonged, continuous approaching a curve, without ever finding it.

astatine: ἄστατον astaton, from  α'- στα- from τι'θημι, to put, to place: unstable; radioactive chemical element, atomic number 85, obtained artificially, with chemical properties similar to those of iodine and whose isotopes are unstable.

Asthenia: ἀσθένεια astheneia from  ἀ-σθένος, strength,: without strength, weakness, loss of strength.

Astigmatism: ἀ-στίγμα, -ατος stigma, -atos, mark, point,  and -ism: defect of the vision due to an irregular curvature of the surface of the cornea and lens. In optical, defect of an optical system that reproduces a point as a small fuzzy area.

Athanasy, athanasia: ἀθανασία athanasia from  ἀ-θάνατος, death, without death, immortality. An absence of death or the condition of everlasting life.  Proper name.

Ataraxia: ἀταραξία ataraxia, from  ἀ- ταράσσω, tarasso, agitate, trouble, disturb:  imperturbability, serenity, tranquility of mind; absence of mental disturbance

Ataxia: ἀταξία from  ἀ- ταξις, taxis, order,: In medicine, disorder, irregularity, disturbance of the nervous system functions; inability to govern orderly locomotion.

Atheism, atheist: from θεος, from ἄ-theos, θεὸς, theos, god: denial of the existence of any god.

Athermal: ἄ- θέρμη, therme, heat,: without heat; that does not involve either heat or a change in temperature.

Atypical: τύπος, from ἀ- τύπος, types, figure, model, image: That by its characters deviates from the representative models or known types.

atom atomic: ἄτομον atomon from  ἄ-τομος – atoms, from τομὴ, tome,  cutting which can not be cut, indivisible.

Atony, atonal: ἀτονία, atonia, from τόνος, tones, rope, tension, stress, from τείνειν, teinein ,‎ to stretch, extend: languor, absence of energy, vigor or strength. Languid. Absence of tone and vigor, or weakness of organic tissues, particularly the contractile.

Atrophy: ἀτροφία atrophia τροφὴ, nutrition: malnutrition, absence  of development of an organ.

   
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