February 10, 2019
obstacle (noun)
\AHB-stih-kul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: something that stands in the way of progress or achievement : hindrance
How do you use it?
"Without this unerring guide the Scarecrow and his comrades might never have gained the Emerald City; for many were the obstacles thrown in their way by the arts of old Mombi." (L. Frank Baum, _The Marvelous Land of Oz_)
Are you a word wiz?

Which word do you think is related to "obstacle"?

Let nothing stand in the way of choosing A. The Latin word "stare" meaning "stand" is at the root of "obstacle" and "stable." Both words entered English through Anglo-French (the French language used in medieval England). "Obstacle" traces to the Latin word "obstare," meaning "to stand in front of." "Obstare" was formed by combining "ob-," meaning "in the way," with "stare." Latin speakers used "obstare" to form "obstaculum," meaning "obstacle," which passed into Anglo-French and eventually became our "obstacle." "Stable" stems from the Latin "stabulum" which itself traces to "stare." Other "stare" relatives include "circumstance," "constant," "distant," "instant," "stage," and "stature."
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