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Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:29 pm
I never thought of the singular, diagnostic, as an adjective. It turns out it can mean "a way of identifying". I came across this meaning today, when I read about something being a diagnostic for Neanderthals. That is to say, a reliable indicator that the thing you're looking at is from that time and species. It would be nice to get an idea of how the di- and agnostic come to mean what they do as a pair.
Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:38 pm
Haven't you heard or read about diagnostic tests?
I suspect you separated the word wrong. Not di-agnostic, but dia-gnostic. Dia usually means through or apart as in diatonic, which are actually half steps, not two steps.
1680s, medical Latin application of Greek diagnosis "a discerning, distinguishing," from stem of diagignoskein "discern, distinguish," literally "to know thoroughly," from dia- "apart" (see dia-) + gignoskein "to learn" (see gnostic).
Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:06 pm
Aye, I've heard of diagnostic tests, but never really thought about the word itself and whence it cometh.
As for the break-down of the parts, I expect you're right. I looked at the origins, but I guess it didn't really sink in. A good Good Word nonetheless, no?
Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:23 am
Certainly. Although in the forum, Dr G determines whether it is a GW or not, as did the umpire who made the famous quote, "it's neither a ball nor a strike until I call it!"