Sep 28, 2009

WORD OF THE WEEK: Of Perianths & Prefixes

Summary: This week's featured vocabulary word is perianth, made up in part by the prefix peri-. The definitions and an illustration, courtesy of, are displayed in this post.

This week's word features a common American English prefix (so, if you've been studying your prefix and suffix lists like a good vocabulary student, you're already familiar with it): Peri-. In and of itself, peri- means "around, near or enclosing." And the word perianth refers to the sepal, or leaf, near or sometimes fused with and enclosing the petal of a flower—such as in the illustration below. (This illustration comes from, with thanks.)

cross section of flower 1b: 1 filament, 2 anther, 3 stigma, 4 style, 5 petal, 6 ovary, 7 sepal, 8 pedicel, 9 stamen, 10 pistil, 11 perianth

The remainder of the word comes from the Greek word anthos which literally means "flower," and entered the English language shortly after 1800. For a sound bite of the pronunciation of perianth (PER-ee-ANTH), click here.

What other words do you know that feature the prefix peri-? (Hint: click the word's link in the photo illustration for more!)

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009

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