July 25, 2013
percussion (noun)
\per-KUSH-un\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a musical instrument (as a drum, cymbal, or maraca) sounded by striking or shaking
How do you use it?
He plays percussion in the school's jazz band.
Are you a word wiz?

Which word do you think comes from the same origin as "percussion"?

"Percussion" and "discuss" don't have much in common. But they both stem from the same Latin root, "quatere," meaning "to shake." Latin speakers used "quatere" to form "percutere" meaning "to beat." A form of "percutere" was adopted into Anglo-French as "percussioun," which then passed into Middle English and eventually became "percussion." The original meaning of "discuss" was "to drive away by or as if by scattering." That meaning stemmed from a Latin word, formed from "quatere," that meant "to shake apart." Other "percussion" relatives include "concussion," "rescue," and "percuss," (meaning "to tap sharply.")
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