Let’s Get Parallel

How can the para- prefix be in front of so many
different words with such different meanings?


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80 Responses to Let’s Get Parallel

  1. ilikeit says:

    Sorry, I was distracted by a pair a … What was the question again?

  2. andy82 says:

    Have you heard of any one vanishing in a strange or [para-[normal] way?

  3. darlingj says:

    How many words are defined here by providing the key in the lock to understanding them?

    Word origins are such a [Crucial] part to gaining knowledge…my view anyway…

    Marina Rules!

    • leonard says:

      [crucial] rules of the yard stick by MARINA :!: a pre-fixed… before going broke :grin: is there a latitude for the tropic of cancer? or is it a longatude of an attitude?…It is fixed :twisted: :???: no biggy

  4. John says:

    Is a [paradox] able to be a form of irony?

  5. leonard says:

    Do you people in California have “Round-abouts”, in stead of stop signs? revolution…and some people think the world is flat since 1492 :lol:

  6. school_dean_hot4.u says:

    Words Requests=ParadoxxodarP

  7. tedt says:

    Aaaahh, can´t go on wiht my lessons if I won´t shutdown my music…………….I have a Reggeamylitis……..it isn´t cureable…. :lol:

  8. chrisby280 says:

    As you probably know, it’s curently Lent, which ends on Easter Sunday. Traditionally, (and for a reason unknown to me) we celebrate a giant rabbit that hides eggs and goodies for little children. I was wondering if you could find the origin of the Easter Bunny in honor of the upcoming holiday. Also, could you find the link that ties this massive egg hiding rabbit to the resurection of Jesus Christ? I’m really curious to find out where we got this odd tradition.

    Your newly devoted fan,

  9. 84jimmy4x4 says:

    from the Greek “para’ – parallax, paranoid, para-professional, parasite, parabola, paraphermalia
    from Latin “pararae” Paramount, paramour (French deriv.)

  10. politricks5 says:

    It doesn’t eat butter and it’s not a fly. It’s more like a moth.

    Is it true Butterflies were once called Flutterbys??

  11. BillyB says:

    Great :shock: Quite few “para” graphs of discussion. I’ve seen nothing even close to “HFW” on the web, not that I’m as experienced as other subscribers. A beautiful, mysterious… woman Dispensing 3-4 ninute videos about word origins. What kind of response or interest would you expect. Probably fleeting at best. Then why, tell me why would I and thousnds of others subscribe, to be notified when the next video is up.
    Point is Marina is gifted and well schooled & knows the power of words & the fires they can ignite (so Hawt & extremely cool) but she keeps it fun so we as invited quests can enjoy.
    I’ll shut up now :oops:

  12. prospero811 says:

    This comment is for all the people who think it’s funny to ask about the origins of dirty words.

    Look, Marina has posted about 100 or so videos. Do you think you are the first one to say, “ha ha – I’ve always been interested in the word ‘butt’” or “Please Oh Hot Teacher tell me all about the word ‘F##k?’” I mean, come on…it’s like a 12 year old that just wants to say “boobies” and get away with it. Can we stop it already?


    • BillyB says:

      Ditto :!: On the website we are like Marina’s invited quests and respect is due. Its obvious she cares about the content & she respects a lot of people that don’t deserve it. Hopefully she has the control to delete trolls etc. I would be ashamed to be deleted by HFW . Cheers

    • alx says:

      lol. “dirty words”.

      is “butt” dirtier than “bitch”? what makes a word “dirty”? one word is just as good as another. there’s no “better” words. how come you’ll find “dirty” words in a dictionary? because they’re part of a language, that’s why. I’m sure there’s an interesting history behind some of those words. boo!

    • Marina says:

      It’s ok to ask for them… I will get to them eventually… I just have to figure out the best way to address each one of them :shock:

    • marinas morris says:

      alx is, of course right; all words are equal; but some are more equal than others.
      He asks, “what makes a word dirty?” and the answer must be usage and convention.
      Yes, you will find such words in a dictionary but you will also find an indication as to whether a word is regarded as acceptable to use in polite society. Take the F word for example; the OED says that until recently it was regarded as a taboo word and rarely used in print. It then gives a couple of definitions which include the words “vulgar”, “profanely” and “coarsest” and people who use this and other “dirty words” in polite society are being vulgar, coarse and profane in an effort to shock and draw attention to themselves. To such people, attention is like publicity; there is no such thing as bad attention to these immature and adolescent folk and the best way to treat them is to ignore them when they are being objectionable – deprive them of the attention they are seeking unless they act in a responsible, adult manner.
      So, I agree with prospero811 and BillyB; let’s keep it clean. The OED also says that the ultimate origin of the F word is unknown so that will, with luck, be an end of it.

      And to Marina, if you do decide to do a video on some of these juvenile requests, I am sure you will do it with intelligence, humour and wit and that is what we love you for.


    • errinf says:

      Ah, trolling, a subject I know well, thanks to my good friends at the DailyKos…

      The reality is is that this site could handle a troll, but it would be easy pickings for an ubertroll, an experienced troll that knows what they are doing. A troll is not like a hacker… they use the system everybody can use to disrupt and annoy a website, and do not ‘hack’ into anything at all. Your standard troll is not unlike an agitator or an old time protagonist (a duellist paid to pick fights), only they are modern and online. All a troll really means is an unwelcome guest that has become an ‘enemy’ of a website. A lot of times, the ‘troll’ designation gets thrown out there willy nilly to label anybody who is in disagreeance with the collective mindset of a particular website. And then there are troll hunters, people that go too far when it comes to fighting trolls, or are always looking for a phantom troll under every internet rock.

      The even better reality though is that HotForWords.com really has no worries when it comes to being trolled. Trolling usually occurs at political sites, namely the partisan ones, wherein people are looking for a fight anyway. Marina is a nice, helpful woman who is trying to educate people and put on her unique show. She commands respect with her intelligence, beauty, and kindness, and is not the type that is going to find many enemies on the web. The other type of sites that get trolled are usually media outlets or fan-based sites where the participants get a little too passionate in their disagreement with each other. The chance of this site getting trolled or having a flame war is next to nil. And even then, I don’t think the HotForWords student body would put up with that kind of nonsense going on here. I know I wouldn’t, and I’m sure a lot of people here would feel that way too. It’s a moot point, tho… an educational site getting trolled just doesn’t happen.

    • prospero811 says:

      O.k. – to clarify – I was not referring to any thin-skinned “offense” I take to naughty words. It’s just a pet peeve of mine when people post or say moronic things, and like I said, it seems like every lesson Marina posts ends up having someone on it saying “boobies!” It gets tiresome.

  13. BillyB says:

    I was thinking about para words that aren’t comnon and thought of one that was imported from the russian language “Hail Gorbachev” . The meaning was basicly “economic restructuring” & I think was brought into the english language mid 80s. Although actually spelled differently I looked it up phoneticaly and found it easily. A powerfull word that turned a country, actaully several, upside down. After hearing it used on the news for a few years & with my country arguing with itself about pulling out of Afganistan, it bounced round my little pea brain & came out here. “perestroika”. Is the prefix “pere” the equivalent in Russian as “para” in english? just a curious Canadian

  14. funky_grog says:

    i’m really curious how the expression “the butt of a joke” came to be. i find odd how the word butt means “victim” in this context and am really curious to fnd out the story BEHIND all this :D

  15. cobracar107 says:

    i watched your video on the word “pink”, and how it evolved from the finger to the color. Does that evolution hold true to the word “orange”, going from the the fruit to the color?

  16. prospero811 says:

    Hey, Marina – why don’t you discuss the word “mondegreen?”

  17. je4ee1 says:

    Hot for Teacher – Where did the phrase booby trapped come from ? Its odd to me that you would associate something generally good with something generally not so good.

    • errinf says:

      LOL. I think half of the students here have been ‘booby trapped’. Sadly, that is what it takes for some people to get educated, especially us Americans who have gotten too used to our comfort levels being sated first and foremost, as if instant gratification is really a smart, mature way to approach the world. The way I see it, Marina is just using her endowments as special flash cards, as educational aids, if you will. I for one am too much of a gentleman to make a joke out of the word ‘para’ magically appearing before her cleavage in this video, but it’s not as if she doesn’t have a sense of humor about these things. If you don’t enjoy the surrealness and strangeness of this site, you are really missing out. The last thing the internet is lacking in is boobies… what this site offers is a little more complex than that. A LOT more complex, actually.

  18. funky_grog says:

    please find the origin of the word “fuck” no joking

  19. carpainter says:

    It’s too late to think ,Thanks for another lesson :cool:

  20. jumbosk747 says:

    My dear teacher . . . could you please explain the meaning of the word “sophist,” and is it related to the word sophisticated? :cool:

  21. StylinAzn says:

    What is the origin of the word “Cigarette”? Thank You Teacher. :lol: :roll: :mrgreen:

  22. labbatt78 says:

    I really don’t have a lot to say about para prefix but all i know is that para is Greek and Latin. All i know is that there r a lot of words mean beyond and beside. I am pretty much stumped on paras that i don’t know. :shock:

  23. madmerv says:

    :arrow: Paragon

    From Greek paragone (literally “touchstone”) < Greek parakonan < Greek para- + akōne

    Plural: paragons or paragon (plural paragons)

    1. a companion; a match; an equal
    2. emulation; rivalry; competition
    3. a model or pattern; a pattern of excellence or perfection; as, a paragon of beauty or eloquence

    In the novel, Constanza is a paragon of virtue who would never compromise her reputation.

    4. a size of type between great primer and double pica.

    :arrow: paragraph (plural paragraphs)

    1. A passage in text that is about a different subject from the preceding text, marked by commencing on a new line, the first line sometimes being indented.

    :idea: Para is also a noun in and of itself.

    para (plural paras)

    1. Formerly, one-hundredth of a dinar in Yugoslavia and, later, in the constituent states of that country.

    2. (medicine) A woman who has had a certain number of pregnancies, indicated by the number prepended to this word.

  24. buzzword says:

    Here are my contributions.

    Paragraphia: A cerebral disorder marked by the writing of words or letters other than those intended.

    Paralogism: A piece of false or fallacious reasoning, one of whose falseness the reasoner himself is not conscious. A false reasoner.

    Two words that I think meet the request as well as describe some of the posts on HotForWords (including myself). Pity on the philologist who suffers from both.

  25. Nathan says:


    I would like to know the history of the word “bogus”.

    And why/how it came to be so commonly used in American slang.

    Keep up the good work.


  26. robroy87801 says:


    I am going deaf, so for me it would great if you had “some sub titles”

    To the right of your page page, it says “read more” no reading just more audio.

    Just some subs would be great, your myspace friend Robert, disabled vetern (USAF).

    Hope all is well


  27. elmic101 says:

    Para mi, Para ti
    Que buenas pera’s tienes
    Mi Linda profe’ :twisted:

  28. BillyB says:

    At the risk of sounding juvenile, i’ll try the homework in a sentence, but I may get a detention. You paral”eyes” us with your Para”keets”. Which brings me to a word request if you ever get time or find it interesting. “Innuendo” is it a good or bad word or bad word gone good. Question, is that your keyboard rhythm at the beginning of the videos? 5+* Cheers

  29. errinf says:

    Another lesson already? I just signed up a few days ago and there has already been three lessons since. Not that I’m complaining… I just didn’t realize that our trusty teacher was so prolific! And here I’ve been trying to catch up with the old lessons by doing one a day. At this rate, it will take me a while to fully catch up, ’cause I doubt Marina’s going to slow down. And who’d try to stop her anyway? lol

    I liked this lesson a lot because it involved one of my favorite words: paradox. I love paradoxes, enigmas, conundrums, riddles, puzzles, etc. Paradox is not only a strange sounding word, but it represents some strange concepts. Paradoxes themselves are quite fascinating. i also think it is interesting that ‘para’ has two definitions… makes sense that such a ‘two-faced’ word would have double the definitions. : ) : )

    I never was that great with homework, but since this homework is funwork and not busywork, I’ll give it a shot…

    My first type of ‘para’ word would be ‘parakeet’. I assume that ‘keet’ is related to ‘kite’, which obviously has to do with flying. Not quite sure what’s so ‘para’ about a ‘parakeet’ but it must mean something, and I would guess that that meaning would be of the first type of definition for ‘para’.

    My second type of ‘para’ word would be ‘paradise’. It seems like paradise would stand for a place of preparation or going forth. But who knows… maybe parakeet fits the second definition better, and paradise fits the first definition better. Well, I’m sure Marina knows, but I don’t… at least not for sure. I think I got it right, though.

    Thanks again for another cool lesson, HotForWords. I was waiting for the next lesson to put in a word request, so here it is:

    I am still trying to find what the word is for the inverse of an eponym. If an eponym is a common word derived from a popular name, then what is the word for a common name derived from a popular word? For instance, was Marina named after a marina? If so, isn’t there a word for that type of name? I guess I could always try finding it elsewhere online, but I thought I’d ask HotForWords to investigate. After all, this is the place I learned about eponyms from. And let’s not forget that our teacher is one of the better word detectives on the ‘net. : ) My attentiveness tells me that much… lol

  30. Hello my dear teacher,

    in making my last video, I couln’t stop thinking of you (so what’s new) but not for what you think you naughty teacher…;-) I was thinking that I had to ask you why the STORK is used in some countries to symbolise the delivery of babies.


  31. zeeky14 says:

    HIHI!!! I want to know if you could do the word tailor please. I really want to know more. Thanks teach!!!!

  32. niceontguy says:

    Can you check out the word Trans and its origins

  33. legendary says:

    wait i figured a word out,

    paragon- a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence; an unusually large, round pearl; to compare; parallel; to be a match for; rival

  34. legendary says:

    hey marina im requesting the word “gesture”, “fragment”, and “grenade.


    P.S- i cant figure out any words with “para” everybody else got ‘em.

  35. mramirez says:


    I would like to know where the word “Idiot” comes from. Sounds like “Idea” & “Not” put together.

    • buzzword says:

      I’m so tempted, but I am not going to touch this one.

    • el professor says:

      The Athenians were so public-spirited and civic-minded that anyone who was occupied only with “ta idia” (his own things, matters or affairs” was an “idiotes” (one’s own, independent). But it took on the nuances of peculiar, eccentric, foolish. Later in Greek it meant one who was unlettered, uninstructed, a layman.

  36. prospero811 says:

    Hi Marina,

    Great video, as always.

    I think I have one word that fits BOTH of your origin explanations for the prefix “para-.” I think “paradigm” has BOTH Greek and Latin origins, with the Latin “paradigma” and the Greek “paradeigma” which itself stems from the Greek “paradeiknynai” (to compare — or, “para” (alongside)” and “deiknynai (to show)” Do I get extra credit? Well, at a minimum, this one covers the “beside” portion.

    The word “paragogue” uses the Greek prefix “para” meaning “beyond.”

    Using the “para” meaning “contrary or faulty” we can look to “paralexia” or “paresthesia.”

    And for the “para” meaning “to bring forth” from the Latin “parare” meaning “to prepare” I think we can go with “paraclete” which is an advocate or an intercessor.

    I feel like I am a geek sitting at the front of your class, bringing you an apple every day, and never failing to offer to wipe the blackboard and clean your erasers. Can you give me extra credit?

    Thanks for the exercises for my little gray cells, Marina.


    • el professor says:

      Paraklete means someone called alongside or to the side for encouragement, admonition or whatever. Comes from Greek, not Latin.

      Paradigma in Latin is taken directly from Greek paradeigma. Latin borrowed a lot of words from Greek. Try again!

    • prospero811 says:

      errr…. thanks el professor, but I’d prefer to know what Marina thinks. Marina? Do you want to chime in on this?

      Nevertheless, it’s “paraclete” not “paraklete” and the word origin is, in fact, “Middle English Paraclit, from Old French Paraclet, from Latin ParaclÄ“tus…” – so, it does have a Latin root. And is someone that is brought forth to intercede.

      And, the whole point of my discussion of “paradigm” is that its origin was both Latin and Greek, and it is “[Middle English, example, from Late Latin paradÄ«gma, from Greek paradeigma, from paradeiknunai, to compare : para-, alongside; see para-1 + deiknunai, to show; see deik- in Indo-European roots.]“

  37. dano331 says:

    Hi my dear teacher, I am wondering what the origin is of the saying “Going to hell in a handbasket” is.

    Thank you, for your time.


  38. 06mistep says:

    I don’t know, but can you figure out where words came from in other languages? For example, where does the word “Aloha” come from?
    Mahalo nui loa.

  39. markg620 says:

    Volunteerism is a special word, and with your help maybe we can inspire more young people to explore this concept. Thank you.


  40. onoudnt says:

    The Word I Would Love For You To Define Would Be Sexy

  41. antwnis says:

    paranoia which means para+nous(mind) the one which is beyond but i cant remember any with tha latin meaning:(.

    btw you where very hot to this video.

  42. jcnick says:

    Dear Marina,

    A ‘parable’ to explain the story of the other ‘paraphrase’, I would say in other words:

    In my defense against the sun I used a ‘parasol’ while I was building my breastwork ‘parapet’ in Italy!!!!?

    I would love to get parallel with you dear lady!

    “Your eyes encapsulate my gaze, how beauty can be so near, but so far away, woe an aching heart wishes, but dare not to dream!”

    “How beautiful you are dear lady”, great presentation and I had a good time doing my homework!


  43. nighteye says:

    Well, there is paranormal and paralysis. And prepare sounds like it comes from the same root.

    Now, I wonder about the verb “coagulate” – where does such a difficult to pronounce verb come from? It really discombobulates me, marina.

  44. trgoblin says:

    My word request is:

    Villain or Villainous which I planted in the title of a video response to this video. Well, its not really a response, but HotForWords is a character in the sketch.

    My guess is you’ll laugh, but if you hate it, send me a PM and I’ll move it.

  45. kamarad.milos says:

    Marina, please explain to me what “rumpelstilskin” means?

    Thanks, Milos

  46. pedroblanco says:

    Hello, well, I am from South America (Colombia – NOT COLUMBIA) and I was wondering… where does the word SOUTH come from??? Oh, and I’m a Doctor (medic) and I have always wondered where that came from too!!!

  47. juballl says:

    Okay my lovely teacher, where did the phrase “kangaroo court” come from? That would be a great lesson for us to learn.

  48. slipperynoodle20 says:

    Dear Teacher,

    I’ll try these.
    1. As a teacher, you are a paragon.
    2. You are the paramount teacher.

    Thanks for another satisfying lesson. :smile:

  49. marinas morris says:

    Whoopee! First? Did I really beat alx and buzzword?

    Parapet – a Breast high wall which protects occupants of e.g. a fort or castle from the attacking fire of the enemy without.
    and the opposite
    Parados – a high earthwork set behind a defensive position to protact the rear. (from the French “dos” the back)

    Paravane – a device towed by a minesweeper for cutting the mooring lines of mines to allow them to be disposed of. This is an interesting one as one would think that a towed device would run behind the towing vessel, however, the vane part of the name is a hydrodynamic surface which causes the paravane to “fly” out to the side of the minesweeper and run parallel so that the ship doesn’t first have to run over the unexploded mine.


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