Vocab Builder: How to “Ate” Your Words

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at different prefixes to help us improve our vocabularies. Now we move to the other end of words: suffixes. This week’s suffix, -ate, comes from the Old French -at (we added the e later) or (e), or comes directly from the Latin -atus, creating nouns or adjectives. In addition, -ate also comes from the French -er or directly from the Latin -are, creating verbs.

  • aerate, verb: to supply with air or to expose to oxygen.

I’m fortunate that I can get aged wood shavings that provide soil drainage and help aerate the soil, making it much fluffier. —Mother Earth News

  • collegiate, adjective: of or related to college.

The first known cheer came from some Princeton spectators during a Princeton-Rutgers football game – the first collegiate football game ever–in 1869. —The Washington Post

  • desolate, adjective: deserted or empty; sad, joyless.

With profits from oil and natural gas, the young emir transformed this desolate spit of Persian Gulf real estate into one of the richest countries on Earth. —The Atlantic Monthly

Related Articles:
Comparing Intra- and Inter-
Greek Syn-
Centering on Greek Prefixes

  • maturate, verb: to mature.

As students adjust to the college or university environment and maturate beyond the learning style restrictions of their first year, the development of a repertoire of learning styles becomes important to the student expecting to obtain a degree. Journal of Instructional Psychology

  • prelate, noun: a high-ranking official, such as a bishop, in the Christian Church.

The bishop has compared himself to another prelate, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, who in 1993 was accused of sexual abuse by a man who later recanted. —The New York Times

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About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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