Com Com Now

I read or use the word “collaborate” and its friends extensively each day, and I’ve been thinking about it as com-prising* “labor-” (work) and “com-” (from Latin cum, “with,” which changes to col– in front of [l] and does other things in other con-texts).

A phrase I also like to use for what I do is “think alongside.” So I wondered: collaborate: work alongside :: ______: think alongside?

I have spent the last hour in the 1934 Webster’s International in the co- environs, and I recom-mend it if you want to bowl yourself over by how many words include this prefix somewhere in their etymology (*yes, like com-prise!).

Latin, as English, con-tains (yep) co-pious (yep!) words for “think,” but I never found a co- word that nails “think alongside” quite like “collaborate” nails “work alongside.” Com-ment is close, con-sent  is close, I love con-fide, but in the end I have to invent (confabulate!) one. “Cogitate” exists and already includes co-, but that co- has lost the “with”ness, so we’ll add another com-(totally ko-sher [no]: con-sider [yep] “co-con-spirator”).

So: concogitate! English mostly uses co- on it’s own when making up (composing!) new words, but Latin would want con- before [c] and I say give Latin what it wants (concede!).

3 thoughts on “Com Com Now

  1. Love this one! I came up w/ “co-cogitate” before the end (and felt proud!), but definitely con-cede that concogitate is better. Also, if we are willing to con-sider breathing a kind of thinking…. conspire! Or, playing as thinking… collude. Fun!


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