|Allergies-does local honey help? http://bit.ly/1nvJNjS|
We see Greek allos in other English words. There is
|Allosaurus - http://bit.ly/Uo67iA|
Greek allos goes back to a Proto-Indo-European root al- "beyond, other." We can just make it out in English else, which dates from Old English. It's not quite as easy to see in other. That derives from a variant form of al-, an-, plus a suffix that meant "two," giving us anthara- with the sense "other of two." It's a bit easier to see other in that. Al- is also the root of Latin ultra "beyond." Relatives of ultra include ulterior (etymologically meaning "further beyond") and ultimate ("the furthest").
|August Comte - http://bit.ly/1rx1qSh|
The "other of two" derivation shows up again in alter, which English borrowed from Latin alter. John Ayto* says the etymological sense of alter is "more other" with an implied alternation between two. Altercation "argument (with another)" comes from the same source, via Latin altercari. Alternate has the etymological sense "every other" and derives from Latin alter + -nus, an adjectival suffix. Altruisim is the odd man out. While it comes ultimately from Latin alter, it came to English from French altruisme and was coined from French autrui "somebody else, other." The "l" from Latin alter was inserted in place of the u in a kind of hypercorrection with the knowledge of alter as the ancestor. The word was first used by Auguste Comte, the founder of the field of sociology, in 1852.
There is also an "other of more than two" sense that derives from
Going back to the simpler "other" meaning of al-, we find adultery. This may be unexpected, but it is thought to derive from the Latin phrase ad alterum "(approaching) another (unlawfully)," where ad- means "to, toward". Latin adulterare also had the broader sense "defile, pollute" which carried into English as adulterate.
Additional "other of two" words are parallel and parallax. Parallel means, in an etymological sense, "beside each other," with parallel being formed from para- "beside" and allelon "each other," which comes from that Greek term we've already encountered, allos. The OED defines parallax as "difference or change in the apparent position or direction of an object as seen from two different points." Parallax was formed from Greek para- + allasein "to change, exchange" from the sense "alternate" that arose from allos.
There are four other Proto-Indo-European roots known as al- with different meanings, so do not assume all words beginning with al- are related to the al- discussed at length here. The second al- (known as al-2) has the etymological meaning of "to wander," and al-3 means "to grow, nourish." Al-4 is "to grind, mill" and al-5 is "all." None is as prolific a supplier of English words as our dear old al- (known as al-1).
This week's link of interest is James Somers' piece on the beautiful language of old dictionaries: You're Probably Using the Wrong Dictionary.
*See Take Our Word For It's bibliography.