Latin and Greek Words Entering the English Language

(the first Latin words to find their way into the English language owe their adoption to the early contact between the Roman and the Germanic tribes on the European continent and Greek came with Latin and French while others were borrowed directly; especially, in the fields of science and technology)

There are more English words that have Latin and Greek origins than most people realize

Several hundred Latin words found in the various Teutonic dialects at an early date testify to the extensive relationships between the two "races". Germans existed in all ranks and classes of society, from slaves in the fields to commanders of important divisions of the Roman army.

After the conquest of Gaul by Caesar, Roman merchants quickly found their way into all parts of the Germanic territory, even into Scandinavia, so the Teutons living in remote sections, of the Angles or the Jutes, were by no means cut off from Roman influences.

In addition, intercommunication between the different Teutonic tribes was frequent and made possible the transference of Latin words from one tribe to others.

The most far-reaching impact upon English life and its language occurred in 1066 when the Normans went to England from Normandy, France, under the leadership of William the Conqueror. After defeating the English forces at the Battle of Hastings and being crowned king, he and his followers made French the dominant language of England.

French was a language descended from Latin and the words they introduced included a knowledge of architecture, government, law, and the military; as well as, a way of life far different from that known to the natives who were considered a relatively "uneducated and unsophisticated people of the soil".

The English Language has an Enormous Number of Words

A significant number of the terms of science and medicine, and much of the vocabulary of higher education, is based on Latin and Greek roots on a global basis. Such roots are mostly dependable and unchanging and serve as the keys to understanding the vocabulary of English and many modern European languages.

Greek words were integrated into English from a different direction. Some Greek words came via Latin and French, while others were borrowed directly; particularly those in the areas of science and technology (medical terms depend significantly on Latin and Greek for terms).

—This compilation is based primarily on information located in
Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins by Bob Moore and Maxine Moore;
Barnes & Noble, Inc.; New York; 2000; Preface, pages iv-v.