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Word for the Wise June 05, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Collocate

A woman highly skeptical of the language used by bureaucrats checked in with us about a word she considered suspect: collocate. She told us she had come across plenty of (and we quote) "errors of usage, punctuation, spelling," and so on in a publication by a federal agency and was looking to doublecheck that collocate is indeed an acceptable term to describe "being located in the same spot." (来源:专业英语学习网站 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

It was a colluctation to keep our pleasure at her question under control, since her query provides us with the perfect opportunity to collect our thoughts about co-locations and collocations. But we'll begin by explaining colluctation: that little-used synonym of struggle shares the Latin luctari ancestor (meaning "to struggle; wrestle") with reluctant. The col- prefix goes back one more generation, to the C-O-M that means "with; jointly; together." When that prefix is combined with a word beginning with B, P, or M, it retains its C-O-M spelling (as in commingle); combined with an R sound, C-O-M is turned into C-O-R (correlate); and when it is paired with an L sound—as in locate—C-O-M turns into C-O-L, and we get collocate, meaning "to set or arrange in a place or position, especially side by side; to occur in conjunction with something."

 
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