Body Parts: Ped, Podos

June 4, 2015
Don't put your foot in it by thinking that podiatric medicine can cure pediatric diseases (the Greek prefix "pedo" means "child").

For more dissections of words with Latin and Greek anatomy, check out these lists: corpus, caput, ora, os, dens, gaster, neuron, manus, ped, podos, derma, carnem, os, cor, kardia, psyche
ped (foot) + cura (care)
By definition, manicurists should only care for the hand and fingernails. But in practice and as seen in the example sentence, they also take care of the feet and toenails. This one-stop service for different body parts gave rise to the hyphenated term "mani-pedi."
Male pedicure customers are despised by many manicurists for their thick toenails and hair-covered knuckles.
pedes (one who goes on foot) + ian (suffix forming adjectives)
The adjective's sense of dullness originated in contrast with the more exciting equestrian form of transportation. Now that walking is encouraged more than horseback riding, a pedestrian should no longer be considered pedestrian. A sign that attitudes have changed is the example sentence's use of "pedestrian" to describe the speed of a winning racehorse.
He completed the mile and a quarter in a pedestrian 2:03.02.
pedes (one who goes on foot)
Originally also known as a pedestrian or pawn, a peon was a foot soldier. Its current spelling and connection to menial labor in all fields came about during its passage through colonized countries whose populations were forced to work for their conquerors.
Walk into even the tiniest office and a peon will fetch a glass of water.
ped (foot) + al (suffix forming adjectives)
The word's original meaning as an adjective is hardly used anymore (unlike its upper body counterpart "manual"). The example sentence uses it as a noun, but it can also function as a verb. To "soft-pedal" is "to tone or play down"--this meaning comes from the left pedal of a piano, which can be pressed to create a quieter sound.
The Google cars can operate without a steering wheel, accelerator pedal or brake pedal.
quadri (prefix meaning "four") + ped (foot)
Almost any numerical prefix can be attached to describe the many legged animals and objects. Here are some examples: bipeds (humans, penguins), tripods (three-legged supportive racks), tetrapods (frogs, lions), hexapods (most insects), centipedes (the prefix suggests they have 100 feet, but one can have fewer than 20 while another has more than 300).
As quadrupeds stride, they are able to spread the force of the impact across four sets of muscles.
arthron (joint) + podos (foot)
Animals can also be named by the shapes or locations of their feet. Here are some examples: gastropod (snail with foot near stomach), brachiopod (mollusk with long spiral arm that acts like a foot to anchor it to the seabed), cephalopod (mollusk that's mostly head and feet, such as an octopus), ornithopod (dinosaur that had bird-like feet).
A new study finds that insects, millipedes, and other arthropods consume thousands of kilograms of food litter every year, at least in New York City.
anti (prefix meaning "opposite") + podos (foot)
The word literally translated into "with feet opposite ours." It used to refer only to people who lived on opposite sides of the world, but now can refer to any two people, places, things, or ideas that are opposite in nature.
They were as alike as two peas in some ways and the antipodes in others.
im (prefix meaning "into") + ped (foot) + ment (suffix forming nouns)
The Latin verb "ire" means "to go." This was likely part of "impedire" which literally means "to shackle the feet" so one cannot go. Its antipode is "expedire" which means "to free the feet from fetters" so that one can go faster (some English words derived from this are: expedite, expeditious, expedient).
Carl Jung says the greatest impediment to the development of a child is the unlived life of the parent.
ped (foot) + grus (crane)
The connection between the meanings of the Latin roots and the entire English word can be found in 15th century manuscripts. To indicate descent, a forked line was used. This sign, in addition to looking like the branches of a genealogical chart, looked like a bird's footprint.
That's not to say that individual ability has nothing to do with success and that those without the proper pedigree can't move up and succeed.
ped (foot) + stellein (to set in order, arrange)
The literal pedestal is "an architectural support or base" on which a column or statue can be installed. Thus the pedestal itself is the foot, which is a low position that is usually ignored, but the object (or person) on the pedestal would be in a high position that everyone can see and admire.
When choreographers talk of putting dancers on pedestals, they’re often speaking metaphorically about attempts to idealize bodies.
podos (foot)
While being on a raised platform can be honorable, there is no metaphorical phrase about putting someone on a podium. Its flatter and lower position in comparison to a pedestal can also be seen in the older meanings of the word: in Latin, a podium was the bottom of a pedestal, and in Greek, it was the foot of a vase.
And so there I was, on the podium, the names of my classmates having been recited, accomplishments categorized and recognized, protocols followed.
podos (foot) + iatry (suffix meaning "medical treatment") + ist (suffix meaning "one who does or makes")
Here are doctors you could consult about your feet: chiropodists (same as podiatrists, but they used to treat both hands and feet; "chiro" means "hand"), orthopedic surgeons (although they can straighten crooked feet, they cover the entire musculoskeletal system; the letters "ped" indicate that the specialty used to focus on children).
As a trust officer commented to me this week, “When you have a heart attack, don’t consult a podiatrist!”
ped (foot) + samo (superlative) + ist (suffix meaning "one who does or makes")
The roots and example sentence emphasize that the foot is not a good position to be in. This might explain the failure of the verb "pessimize" (unlike its upbeat antipode "optimize").
It’s been said of life on the sea — “the pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

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