July 04, 2011
- patriot (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : a person who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests
- How do you use it?
- On July 4th, we celebrate our independence as a nation and focus on the brave patriots who fought for our right to self-government.
- Are you a word wiz?
What do you think was happening in the world around the same time that "patriot" came into English?It's all just a coincidence that the word "patriot" first appeared in English the same time that the English first appeared in what we now call America: the Pilgrims landed in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1620, and "patriot" appeared in English just a short time before that. But the word "patriot," like the Pilgrims, had quite a journey before it settled down. "Patriot" originally comes from the Latin word "pater," meaning "father." "Pater" was used as the root for a Latin word that meant "compatriot" (that is, someone who has the same citizenship, lineage, or birthplace as another person). It was borrowed into medieval French, and then eventually made its way into English. Despite its fatherly beginnings, "patriot" is now used of any person, male or female, who loves his or her country.