deracinate was our Word of the Day on 02/12/2014. Hear the podcast!
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Get to the Root of deracinate
There is a hint about the roots of deracinate in its first definition. Deracinate was borrowed into English in the late 16th century from Middle French and can be traced back to the Latin word radix, meaning "root." Although deracinate began life referring to literal plant roots, it quickly took on a second metaphorical meaning suggesting removal of anyone or anything from native "roots" or culture. Other offspring of radix include eradicate ("to pull up by the roots" or "to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots") and radish (a crisp edible root). Though the second sense of deracinate mentions racial characteristics and influence, the words racial and race derive from razza, an Italian word of uncertain origin.
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