June 09, 2012
rebus (noun)
\REE-bus\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a riddle or puzzle made up of letters, pictures, and symbols whose names sound like the syllables and words of a phrase or sentence
How do you use it?
John frowned at the rebus, then laughed when he realized that the message in the pictures was "look before you leap."
Are you a word wiz?

Which of these words do you think comes from the same parent word as "rebus"?

Don't worry about a thing if you picked answer A. Our English word "rebus" comes from a Latin word meaning "by things." That makes sense, since you solve a rebus by looking at pictures of things. The Latin word "rebus" comes from the even older word "res," which means simply "things." Latin "res" didn't give English too many words, but some of its lexical children include "rebus," "real," and "republic." The word "res" is still commonly used in the field of law.
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