Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Drome - Running & Racing, Of Course

A Running Boy (1802) by Jens Juel
(because, apparently, this is how people ran in the 19th century)

-DROME

Suffix.
[Representative of Greek dromos course, running, avenue, related to dramein run.]

Forming nouns denoting:
(a) a place for running, a course, etc
(b) a thing that runs

There's nothing too spectacular about the suffix -drome, which makes rather predictable appearances in words like aerodrome and hippodrome (which, to my crushing disappointment as a child, is not a course for racing hippos). It does, however, pop up in a few odd and interesting places, including syndrome, from sun- (together) and dramein (to run), literally 'a running of symptoms together'. It's also the suffix in palindrome, a word like 'nun' which reads the same backwards and forwards, constructed from palin (again) and dramein (to run), so literally 'a running again'. And it's the prefix in dromomania, which is an irresistible urge to run, travel or wander.

A rather one-sided, under-supported race at the Jerash Hippodrome in Jordan
(photo by Bernard Gagnon)
Do you know any other interesting -drome words?

Are you a dromomaniac?

Do please leave your raciest comments in the box below.

98 comments:

  1. Loxodrome? I think it would be interesting, if only I understood it. It seems to be something to do with following the course a compass shows you, and that not being a straight line. Or something. People mention Mercator quite a lot...I know loxos means oblique...
    ...um...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hmm. I've attempted to read the definition in the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

      "Loxodrome, also called Rhumb Line, or Spherical Helix, [a] curve cutting the meridians of a sphere at a constant nonright angle."

      I'm afraid my brain switches off somewhere in the middle of 'meridians', and thus I'm left none the wiser by the end of it.

      Delete
  2. In the ichthyology world of migratory fish there are plenty of -drome formed adjectives to define their particular fishy habits:
    amphidromous - fish that travels between fresh and salt water, but not to breed
    anadromous - fish that live in the sea and breed in fresh water
    catadromous - fish that live in fresh water and breeds in the sea
    diadromous - fish that travel between salt water and fresh water
    oceanodromous - fish that migrate within the sea only
    potamodromous - fish that migrates within fresh water only

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