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Can You Define These Random Words?
by Mark Lichtenstein

American English: It's one of the most complex languages on the planet, and with good historical reason! It started out as the native language of the Anglos and Saxons, absorbed a huge helping of French with the 1066 Norman Invasion, and then traveled the world as part of the global English empire, taking souvenirs from languages like Hindi. Then, in America, the colonial English speakers picked up words from the Native Americans (like "succotash," once the word "m'sickqatash") and some from the languages of imported African slaves. Finally, American English began to breed colorful regional terms all its own. 

So, in the 21st century, if you want to be an expert on the English language, you've really got your work cut out for you! You have to understand the meaning of prefixes like hyper-, theo- and meta-, as well as the impact of suffixes like -gamy and -pathy. Theogamy: would that be marriage to a god? Not really a useful term in everyday life, but you might find such a portmanteau term in a fantasy novel. 

Is your vocabulary better than the average? We're ready to put it to the test with a quiz that -- be warned -- starts out moderately difficult and proceeds to wickedly hard! (But we've already given you a hint in the body of this quiz). 

Ready, wordsmiths? Get to it!


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