Friday, 16 May 2014

-Cide - A Killer Suffix

 

-CIDE

Suffix.
[Sense 1 from French -cide from Latin -cida, sense 2 from French -cide from Latin -cidium cutting, kitting, from both cardere, -cidere cut, kill.]

1 Forming (usually with intermediate -i-) noun with the sense 'a person or substance that kills', as fratricide, insecticide, etc.

2 Forming (usually with intermediate -i-) nouns of action with the sense 'the killing of (the first element)', as suicide, etc.

If death is an unpleasant subject, how much more so is killing and destruction? And yet, as humans, we have both a proclivity for and fascination with it, as reflected in the vast array of killer -cide words. While I must admit to a perverse pleasure in a list, it does offer a rather depressing window into the human condition, as language so often does. There are, for example, numerous words for the killing of women and children, but very few for the killing of men specifically (fratricide, patricide and, rather obliquely, regicide). In terms of groups of people, however, the most represented by far is the family, an indicator of the axiom that we are, horrifically, most at risk from our blood and kin.

And then there are the fanciful, curious and downright bizarre. Not appearing in the Shorter OED, these include hospiticide, which is the killing of a host or guest who may or may not have been a friend, in which case it would also be ambicide (and if he was your best friend it would also be nepoticide, which is the killing of one's favourite). If you kill a prophet, that's vaticide, and if, in doing so, you also destroy his reputation that's famacide (although the killing of prophets usually does wonders for their rep); if said prophet were the last receptacle of a dying language, you would also have committed linguicide in definitely destroying said language. Oh, and if you need another word for killing your wife, there's utricide, and if you really are a megalomaniac nutter that wants to just destroy everything, that would be omnicide. Boom!

If, however, you're the selective sort that only wants bona fide, confirmed and contemporary expressions of killing, below is a list of -cide words that are in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, so you can use them freely without fear of correction or strange looks:

Killer -Cide Words from the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary


The killing of trees

The killing of birds

Bactericide
The killing of bacteria

Biocide
The destruction of life

Deicide
The killing of God or gods

Ecocide
The destruction of the environment

Episcopicide
The killing of a bishop

Felicide
The killing of cats

Femicide
The killing of women

Feticide
The killing of a foetus

Foeticide
The killing of a foetus

Filicide
The killing of a son or daughter

Fratricide
The killing of a brother

Fungicide
The killing of fungus

Genocide
The killing of a race

Germicide
The killings of germs

Giganticide
The killing of giants

Herbicide
The killing of plants

Homicide
The killing of another human

Infanticide
The killing of an infant

Insecticide
The killing of insects

Larvicide
The killing of larva

Liberticide
The killing or destruction of liberty

Matricide
The killing of one's mother

Menticide
The destruction of one's mind

Molluscicide
The killing of molluscs

Ovicide
The destruction of eggs

Parasiticide
The killing of parasites

Parasuicide
Apparent attempted suicide without the intention of killing oneself

Parenticide
The killing of a close relative

Parricide
The killing of a close relative

Patricide
The killing of one's father

Perdricide
The killing of partridges

Pesticide
The killing of pests

Raticide
The killing of rats

Regicide
The killing of a king

Rodenticide
The killing of rats

Senicide
The killing of the elderly

Serpenticide
The killing of snakes

Siblicide
The killing of a sibling
(specifically, when a young bird kills a fellow nestling)

Silvicide
That which kills trees

Sororicide
The killing of one's sister

Spermicide
That which kills sperm

Suicide
The killing of oneself

Taeniacide
The killing of tapeworms

Tauricide
The killing of bulls

Trypanocide
The killing of trypanosome parasites

Tyrannicide
The killing of a tyrant

Urbicide
The destruction of a city
(specifically, the destruction of the character of a city)

Uxoricide
The killing of one's wife

Verbicide
The killing of a word
(specifically, the destruction of the meaning of a word)

Viricide
The destruction of a virus

Virucide
The destruction of a virus

Vulpicide
The killing of foxes


Phew! That was a lot of killing.

Do you know any other -cide words?
(because we really need some more)

Do please leave any comments in the box below.

8 comments:

  1. Silicide always worried me - who would escape unscathed? - but luckily it's just a compound containing silicon.
    Phew.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I confess to committing germicide every day. I think my undiagnosed OCD is getting worse. Ah well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are quite a few -cides where no one's going to shed any tears, Evi - I think 'germicide' is one of them.

      Delete
  3. That's an impressive list of -cides sir!
    Before viricide was used as the destruction of a virus, it was once used for the slaying of men or of husbands.
    Both pesky things really! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was amazed at just how many there are, Jingles, even sticking just to those that are in the Shorter OED (and there might be more) ...

      Delete
  4. One more - Cidecide. The destruction of all things that kill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or cidercide? The killing of cid ... no that's just silly.

      Delete