By Don Vaughan
Recently I was reading about George A. Custer (1839-76), particularly â€śCusterâ€™s Last Stand.â€ť In the book â€śA Short History of the American Nationâ€ť, John A. Garraty, who taught at Columbia University, has pointed out that after gold was discovered in the Black Hills of Dakota, miners invaded areas reserved for Indians. Already alarmed by railroad builders, the Sioux went on the warpath. Joining with tribes to the west, they concentrated along the valley of the Bighorn River in Montana.
General Alfred Terry sent a detachment of the Seventh Cavalry under Colonel Custer to locate the Indiansâ€™ camp and occlude their escape route into the inaccessible Bighorn Mountains. Custer attacked with his force of between 200 and 300 men; at the Little Bighorn he was surrounded by 10 times more Indians than his detachment. It was a decisive Native American victory.
1. Which word describes Custerâ€™s actions?
An essay by Brian Dippie points out that Custer attacked immediately; he was accused of disobeying Terry. Reckless is the relevant adjective. You probably already know copacetic and prudent, but what about assonantal and paronymous?
2. assonantal (as-so-NAN-tull)
A. having similar sound, especially of vowel sounds
B. repeating consonants without repeating vowels
C. being well-equipped
An assonance is the resemblance of sound, especially of the vowel sounds in words.
An assonance has a vowel or two repeating in adjoining words, but without repeating the consonants. With â€śholy and stonyâ€ť, the vowels o and y are repeated, but the consonants h, l, s, t, and n are not repeated.Â Â
3. paronymous (puh-RON-uh-mus)
A. formed from a word in another language
B. containing the same root or stem
4. The word hysteria came from the Greek language and pertains to
A. the womb.
B. the tomb.
Both A and B are correct for paronymous. For example, our word hysteria is paronymous of the Greek word hysterikos. The words wise and wisdom are paronymous because they contain the same root or stem. The Greek word â€śhysteraâ€ť has been translated â€śwombâ€ť (the Greeks had the notion that hysteria was caused by disturbances of the uterus). Â
Last weekâ€™s mystery word is rutabaga.
This weekâ€™s mystery word might sound odd if it replaced the adjective in the name of one of the Indian warriors present at Custerâ€™s Last Stand; the adjective, however, would mean the same.
Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D. in Mass Communication, is a professor at East Miss. Community College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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