December 04, 2011
vagabond (adjective)
\VAG-uh-bahnd\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: moving from place to place without a fixed home
How do you use it?
The book's hero is a vagabond handyman who does good deeds for people in the towns he visits.
Are you a word wiz?

The root of "vagabond" is the Latin word "vagari," which means "to wander." In its wandering over the years, this root has shown up in other words, too. Which of the following words do you think also comes from the root "vagari"?

If your thoughts wandered to answer B, you were right! The idea of wandering is apparent in the word "vagabond," but we have to look closer to see it in its cousin, "extravagant." "Extravagant" is a combination of the root "vagari" and the prefix "extra-." "Extra-" means "outside" or "beyond." "Extravagant" used to refer to things that wandered beyond their usual bounds. Eventually it came to have the extended meanings "going beyond what is reasonable or suitable" and "lacking moderation, balance, and restraint." Some other members of this wandering family of words are "stray" and "vagary."
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