• education •
e-jê-kay-shên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass
Meaning: 1. Instruction, teaching, providing knowledge and developing the skills for using it. 2. The knowledge obtained from instruction, as to have a good education. 3. A program of instruction for imparting knowledge and thinking skills. 4. Pedagogy, the discipline of teaching how to teach.
Notes: Because education plays such a central role in industrialized nations, this word has procreated a large family: educative, educatory, and educational are adjectives meaning "providing education". Educable means "capable of being educated". Someone who teaches is an educator and someone who teaches teaching is an educationist.
In Play: The psychologist B. F. Skinner once said, "Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten." Oscar Wilde, on the other hand, thought that nothing worth knowing can be taught. What does Dr. Goodword, an educator for 35 years, think? "Education may be expensive but not nearly as costly as ignorance."
Word History: Today's Good Word comes down from Latin educatus, the past participle of educare "to lead out, bring up" from ex "out of" + ducere "to lead". The original metaphor was probably that of leading someone out of childhood and into the world. The noun from the Latin verb ducere, ductio(n) "leading, carrying", came down to Italian as doccia "(water) pipe, conduit", where it was borrowed by French as douche "shower". Ducere was passed down to Latin from Proto-Indo-European deuk- "to lead", source of all those Latinate borrowings on -duc- in English, like conduct, deduct, reduce. In Latin it also turned up as dux, ducis "leader". In the Germanic we see bare traces of it in English tug and tow, German ziehen "to draw, pull" and Zug "(railway) train".(Today's Good Word has special significance to Katie O'Briant, who was a student and visitor to our own, very educational Alpha Agora, when she suggested this word.)
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