Learn English Vocabulary Words

How many English vocabulary words can come from one Latin root? For many root words, there are more than a dozen important and

memorable English derivatives. Learn one Latin word per week, and you’ll soon learn hundreds of new words in English!

Start with the following Latin Word of the Week. Whether you are a teacher looking for lesson plans, a student striving to improve test scores, or a second language learner in need of advanced vocabulary, this Latin root will help you TAKE STEPS to improve!

Latin Word of the Week:

gradior = I step
gradi = to step
gressus = stepped

This Latin verb will help you step up to the next level in building your English vocabulary. While the basic roots are -grad- and -gress-, in compound forms we will find -gred- as well.

1. grade: When you think of grades as steps, it’s easy to understand why we number them 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

2. gradual: She finished her project step by step, i.e. gradually.

3. graduate: To step on to the next challenge in life is to graduate.

4. ingredient: They don’t step in of their own accord, but that’s the root meaning from ingredior: to enter.

5. ingress: The point of ingress is the entrance, where one steps in. The thief found ingress from the root top.

6. egress: The point of egress is the exit, where one steps out.

7. progress: To step forward is to make progress. We’ve made progress learning new English vocabulary words, but we still have a long way to go.

8. regress: To step backward, on the other hand, is to regress. She regressed to childhood whenever she heard her father’s voice.

9. congress: Congressmen step together, i.e. meet. After they meet, they discuss, debate, and help write new laws.

10. transgress: to transgress is to step across or beyond. We hope that others can forgive our transgressions.

11. aggressive: to be aggressive is to step toward. Think of the aggressive dog stepping toward you, an aggressive bill collector calling again and again.

12. digression: to digress is to step in a different direction, to get off the established path. In her lecture on battles of the civil war, she digressed into a discussion of agriculture.

13. gradient: gradient is a noun meaning a slope or a ratio of ascent. The ramp had a steep gradient, and was difficult to climb by wheelchair. As an adjective it means able to move by walking or able to walk: the penguin has gradient feet.

14. degree: A unit of measure, especially one measured in stages or steps.

15. gradus: a Latin noun meaning a step, this word is used in English to describe a work of gradually increasing difficulty

Explore More Derivatives:

Now that you know the meaning of the Latin root, what do you think the following advanced words probably mean?

1. gressorial (adj.)
2. gressorious (adj.)
3. egression (n.)
4. graduality (n.)
5. gradiometer (n.)

If you’re serious about learning new English vocabulary words, continue to explore on your own. First, listen carefully to your teachers, your parents, your friends, your favorite books and movies. You’ll be surprised how often these words occur in conversation.

Second, learn to recognize the meaning of the prefixes and suffixes associated with this root word. Doing so will increase your understanding of English vocabulary words, as you discover more roots using the same Latin prefix or suffix.

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