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Libra 27: An airplane hovering overhead

T h e w o r d a i r pl a ne i s a c o m p o u n d . I t s m o di f i e r , a i r , i s a d e r i va t i v e o f t h e I n d o E u r o p e a n ( I E ) r o o t w e r-1 which means to raise, life, hold suspended.1 Paronyms i n c l u d e ae ri a l, a o rta , a ri a,

a rs i s ( t h e s h o r t o r
unaccented part of a m e t r i c a l f o ot , e sp e c i a l l y i n q u a n t i t a t i v e v e r s e ) , a rt e ry, au ra , m a la ri a,

m e t e o r, m i ni ve r ( a w h i t e o r li g h t g r a y f u r u s e d a s a t r i m o n m e d i e va l
r o b e s a n d o n ce r e m o n i a l r ob e s o f s t a t e ) , vai r ( a f u r , p r ob a b l y sq u i r r e l, m u c h u s e d i n me d i e v a l t i me s t o l i n e a n d t r i m r o b e s ) , va ri e t y, va ri o u s,

va ry, wa rb l e ( a n a b s c e s se d b oi l - l i k e s w e l l i n g o n t h e b a ck o f c a t t l e , d e e r ,
a n d c e r t a i n ot h e r a n i m a l s, c a us e d b y t h e l a r v a o f a w a r b le f l y ), a n d wa rt. T h e h e a d o f t he c om p o u n d i s p la n e . I t d e s c e n d s f r o m t he I E r o o t p e le 2 w h i c h me a n s f l a t ; t o sp r e a d . 2 I t s p a r o n y m s i n c l u d e ex p l a i n, fi e l d,

f l o o r, pa l m , p ia n o, p l a ne t, p la n is h ( t o m a k e s m o o t h o r p la n e ) , p l as m a ( c o l o r l e ss w a t e r y fl u i d o f b l o o d a n d ly m p h c o n t a i n i n g n o c e l l s a n d i n
w h i c h e r y t h r o c y t e s a n d l e u k o c y t e s a n d p l a t e le t s a r e s u sp e n d e d) , p l as t i c,

p o l ka , a n d ve l dt ( a n y o f t h e op e n g r a z i n g a r e a s o f s o u t he r n A f r i c a ).
T h e w o r d h ov er d e s c e n d s f r o m t he M i d d l e E n g l i s h h o ve re n , " h o v e r , t a r r y , l i n g e r " c h i e fl y u s e d a t f i r st t o de s c r i b e s h i p s st a n di n g o f f o f a coast.3 T h e w o r d o v e r de sc e n d s f r o m t h e I E ro o t u p er , w hi c h m e a n s o v e r a n d f r o m w h i c h a l so d e s c e n d t he w o rd s s o ve re i gn, s up er, s u pe r - , s up ra -,

1 http://web.archive.org/web/20080211183126/www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE570.html 2 http://web.archive.org/web/20080211183126/www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE391.html 3 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/hover Starling Hunter 2011 1

s u p e rb, s up e ri o r, su p re m e, s u r - , s i rl oi n , s u pe rn a l, s u m, s u m m i t , s o p ra n o,
a n d s o m e rs a u lt . 4 T h e w o r d h e a d d e sc e n d s f r o m t h e I E ro o t k a put - ( he a d ) , a s d o t h e w o r d s c a p ri c e, a c hi e ve, bi c ep s , c a ddie , ca de t, c ap i ta l , c ap i t o l, ca p it u l a te ,

c a p ta i n, ca t t le , c hap t e r, c h e f, c h ie f , c orp o ra l , he a d, ke rc hi e f , a n d m i s c h i e f. 5
TH EMES : O n e c le a r t h e m e a m on g t h e a b o v e w o r d s i s S P AT IAL O RI ENTAT IO N , n a m e l y t h e v e r t i c a l a n d h o r i z o n t a l d i m e n s i on s o f s p a ce . W i t h t he k e y w o rd o v e r h e a d w e c le a r l y g e t a se n se o f t h e v e r t i c a l d i m e n s i on . T he w o r d o v e r d e s ce n d s f r o m a r o o t t h a t m e a n s o v e r , i . e . i n o r a t a p o s i t i on a b o v e o r h i g h e r t h a n . 6 S e v e r a l d e r i v a t i v e s o f t hi s r o o t a l s o c o n n o t e t h i s i d e a . O n e o f t he m a n y d e f i n i t i on s o f t he w o r d h e ad r e f e r s t o t he u p p e rm o s t p a r t o f t he h um a n b o d y . 7 W h i l e a i rp la n es a r e o b v i o u s l y a s s o ci a t e d w i t h t h e v e r t i c a l d i m e n si on a s w e l l , t he w o r d p l a ne i s a ss o c i a t e d w i t h f l a t n e s s a n d t h e h o r i z o n t a l d i m e n s i on o f s p a c e . S i m i la r l y , t he w o r d h ov er w a s i n i t i a l l y u s e d t o d e s c r i b e s h i p s s t a n d i n g o f f o f a co a s t a m o r e l a t e r a l t h a n ve r t i ca l o r i e n t a t i on si n c e t h e s h i p w o u l d b e , b y d e f i n i t i on , a t se a l e v e l.

4 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 94 5 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 37 6 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/over 7 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/head Starling Hunter 2011 2

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