Printable Version
Pronunciation: skul Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. An institution of formal education or the process of education conducted there. 2. A group of artists or thinkers who share the same style or set of basic assumptions about their endeavors. 3. A group of people settled in for a bout of drinking and gambling (Australian slang).

Notes: Early on this word was confused with the Dutch word schole "crowd, multitude", which went on to become English shoal "multitude (of fish)" The upshot of this confusion was that the phrase, 'school of fish', became more popular in the US than the original 'shoal of fish'. The word may also be used as a verb meaning "to educate (as) in a school". The suffix -er may be attached to it only in compounds: pre-schooler, middle-schooler, and high-schooler, but not schooler.

In Play: This time of the year youth throughout Europe and the Americas are finishing the academic year, so we thought you might like to know a little more about this word. Our best wishes to those graduating from the schools of the world this year and those who have taught them from the elementary to the post-graduate levels.

Word History: Today's Good Word originated as Latin scola "school", borrowed from Greek skhole, originally meaning "leisure", then later, "discussion" and finally, "school". Education was originally affordable only to the leisure classes. The Latin word is found in almost all European languages, Dutch school, German Schule, Danish skole, Swedish skola, Irish scoil, Scots Gaelic sgoil, Welsh ysgol, Breton skol, and Russian shkola. The Romance languages didn't like [sk] at the beginning of words, so they appended a vowel before it, e.g. Spanish escuela, Portuguese escola. Old French didn't even like the [sk] sound inside words, so they eliminated the S, leaving école. Only Italian allows the initial [sk] sound to remain in their word scuola to this day.

Dr. Goodword,

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