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Caveat Emptor:
Let the Buyer Beware!

The phrase caveat emptor will help students build English vocabulary. It's also an important legal concept and a piece of wisdom to live by.

With the holidays approaching and the economy in the tank, what better phrase to place at the center of a whole-life lesson on spending habits.

Dare we break the cycle of consumerism and build a new vocabulary to boot?

Use this phrase in your week's vocabulary lesson plans. No need to make things too complicated. Just present the phrase to your students (a few may have heard it before and some may even know what it means) and let them explore its meaning and application.

Then introduce the following related English vocabulary words.

Latin Words of the Week  (12/3/2008):

Let the Buyer Beware

Cavere, the Latin verb meaning be careful, and emptor, the Latin word meaning buyer, provide English derivatives for students of all levels of ability and experience.

These Latin roots may help students remember the following more advanced vocabulary words:

caveat (n): a warning or strong piece of advice.

caveator (n): a person who files a caveat in a court of law, i.e. delivers a warning to suspend a legal proceeding until a further hearing.

caveat lector: let the reader beware!

redemption (n): from the Latin meaning a buying back; recovery; fulfilment; atonement.

redeem (v): to buy or pay off; to buy back, recover; to exchange.

adeem (v): to revoke, take away, deprive of, confiscate.

The principal parts of the verb cavere reveal another very common English derivative: caveo, cavere, cavi, cautus.

In Latin, the participle cautus means having been warned.

cautious (adj): careful, alert; warned or advised.

precaution (n): care taken in advance; (v) to forewarn.

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