May 01, 2012
erudite (adjective)
\AIR-uh-dyte\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: having or showing wide knowledge gained chiefly from books
How do you use it?
"Matthias did a cartwheel. He whooped with joy. 'Methuselah, you're a magician, an ancient wizard!' The old mouse shook his head modestly. 'Oh, dear me, no. I like to think of myself as an aged but extremely erudite scholar.'" (Brian Jacques, Redwall)
Are you a word wiz?

"Erudite" comes ultimately from the Latin word "rudis." What do you think "rudis" means?

You're an erudite word scholar if you chose C! "Erudite" traces back to the Latin word for "rude" or "ignorant." How did such a fancy well-behaved word spring from such a terrible beginning? It's all in the prefix "e-," which means "away from." In this case, the prefix "e-" combined with the Latin word "rudis" to form the Latin "erudire," which means "to instruct." From there, the adjective "erudit," meaning "learned," came into Middle English. English speakers added the silent "e" at the end to give us "erudite."
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