Printable Version
Pronunciation: kên-kæt-ên-ayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To connect together to form a chain or series.

Notes: Today's Good Word is connected to the image of a chain, a line of items, each connected to what precedes and succeeds it. This word comes with a panoply of the usual derivations from Latinate verbs. A person who concatenates is a concatenator. The noun is concatenation. This may refer to a concatenative (the adjective) process or the result, as 'a concatenation of rail cars'.

In Play: Concatenate thisAny string of things related to each other qualifies as a concatenation: "The elephants concatenated themselves into a train by each of them holding the tail of the one before it with its trunk." However loosely, any connected string of related objects makes up a concatenation: "Farley's presentation was less an argument for reducing everyone's salary except the president's than a series of loosely concatenated bits of data leading away from his intended conclusion."

Word History: Today's Good Word is based on the past participle, concatenatus, of the Latin verb concatenare "to link together", comprising con- "(together) with" + catena "chain". Catena is also the source of French chaîne, Spanish cadena and Italian catena. Catena was inherited from the PIE root kat- "to weave together; chain, net", source also of Latin cassis "hunting net, snare" and caterva "crowd, throng". We find evidence of this word in Slavic languages like Russian kota "fish trap", Bulgarian kotora "stall, pen, sty", Serbian kotar "district", and Slovenian kotár "district".

Dr. Goodword,

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