April 09, 2009
paradigm (noun)
\PAIR-uh-dyme\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : an example showing how something is to be done : model2 : an example of a conjugation or declension showing a word in all its inflectional forms
How do you use it?
Rolando was disappointed to lose the race, but he was a paradigm of good sportsmanship and graciously congratulated the winner.
Are you a word wiz?

Based on what we've told you about "paradigm," which Greek root word do you think is its ancestor?

If you chose A, good show! "Paradigm" traces to the Greek word "deiknynai," meaning "to show." Greek speakers added the prefix "para-" to form "paradeiknynai" and later "paradeigma" (both mean "to show side by side"). Latin speakers borrowed "paradeigma" as "paradigma," and English speakers adopted that word from Latin. The earliest known use of "paradigm" in English appeared in the 1400s in the writings of William Caxton, who achieved everlasting fame as the first printer in England.
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