February 27, 2012
intersect (verb)
\in-ter-SEKT\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : to divide by passing through or across : cross2 : to meet and cross at one or more points
How do you use it?
A small creek intersected the trail, but it was shallow enough that we were able to walk across it without getting too wet.
Are you a word wiz?

Language scholars trace "intersect" back to the root word "secare." What do you think "secare" means?

We'll cut to the chase: D is the right answer! The Latin verb "secare" means "to cut." Combining it with the Latin prefix "inter-" gives us "intersecare," which roughly means "to cut between." The past participle of "intersecare" is "intersectus," the parent of "intersect." Several other English words referring to something cut or divided derive from "secare." A couple of examples are "segment," meaning "any of the parts into which a thing is divided or naturally separate" and "insect," meaning "any of numerous small invertebrate animals (as spiders or centipedes) that are more or less obviously made up of segments."
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