January 14, 2008
pneumatic (adjective)
\noo-MAT-ik\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : of, relating to, or using air, wind, or other gas2 : moved or worked by air pressure3 : made to hold or be inflated with compressed air
How do you use it?
Pneumatic tires made automobiles ride much more smoothly, as the inflated tire was softer than the hard rubber ones used previously.
Are you a word wiz?

You're busy right now performing the action that is at the root of "pneumatic." What action do you think that is?

If you chose C, you can breathe a sigh of relief! English adapted "pneumatic" from Latin "pneumaticus," but the Latin word traces back to Greek "pneuma," meaning "air, breath," and "pnein," meaning "to breathe." The words in English that derive from "pnein" are few and tend to have a scientific sound to them. "Dyspnea," for example, means difficulty breathing, while "eupnea" means normal breathing. Hold on, you say--what about "pneumonia"? "Pneumonia" comes from another Greek word, "pneumon" or "pleumon," meaning "lung."
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