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Next off in a series of posts trying out some of the ‘roots’ and also ‘routes’ of English vocabulary.

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Another productive Latin resource of English vocabulary is the verb ducere (‘lead’) and also its past participle stem duct-. A duke, for instance (associated words: ducal, duchess, duchy, dukedom), was initially a type of ‘leader’.


Some ‘duct‘ words share the fundamental principle of channelling, or ‘leading’, fluids in a particular direction – e.g. duct, aqueduct, conduit; viaduct is modelled on aqueduct. A conduit deserve to also be a tube via which electric wires pass – not surprisingly, given that we talk around an electrical ‘current’, as if electrical energy was a fluid; similarly, a conductor is, among various other points, a substance through which power deserve to be ‘led’, or deserve to flow.

Anvarious other sense of conductor is the perchild that ‘leads’ or directs the performance of an orchestra or choir. (An orchestra also has a ‘leader’, the principal initially violinist.)

To produce was initially to ‘lead forward’ and therefore to carry right into see, and also it still retains this meaning together with its currently more widespread metaphorical feeling of making or creating somepoint.

Deduce and deduct originally shared the feeling of ‘leading down’ or ‘leading away’, yet their interpretations have actually diverged.

To introduce is to ‘lead in’, and the noun ‘lead-in’ is a synonym of some senses of introduction.

The verb educate consists of the original meaning of ‘leading forth’, and this etymology is sometimes adduced in support of the debate that the purpose of education have to be to permit children’s innate abilities to arise and develop. Unfortunately, yet, it doesn’t actually provide extremely convincing support, because the present definitions of words have often wandered a long method from their original interpretations. It would certainly be equally feasible to deduce, on etymological grounds, that a institution need to be a area of leisure!

It might be supposed that reduce would mean ‘lead back’, and indeed it did when, yet it has left this meaning behind, and also its etymology offers no support for its current definition. Fortunately that doesn’t issue, bereason you know the word reduce anymeans. If you don’t recognize the word subduction, though, awareness that sub+duct implies ‘lead below’ can be conducive to remembering that a subduction zone is a region wright here one tectonic plate is progressively disshowing up below one more.

Other words in this collection, via their etymological senses, include:

 abduct lead away
 induce lead in
seducelead aside, astray

Notice the pattern consisting of a verb developed with duce and a matching noun and also adjective formed through duct:

 deduce deductiondeductive
 induce inductioninductive
produceproductionproductive
reducereductionreductive
seduceseductionseductive

In all these instances, the stress and anxiety drops on the duce or duct.

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But tright here are additionally exceptions and also extra forms such as the verbs ab’duct, con’duct, de’duct and in’duct, the nouns ‘conduct, conduc’tivity, in’ducement, ‘produce and ‘product and the adjective intro’ductory.