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Latin roots 2; cedo, cedere, cessi, cessum - to go; to withdraw, yield


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Latin roots 2; cedo, cedere, cessi, cessum - to go; to withdraw, yield

Latin roots 2;  cedo, cedere, cessi, cessum




The Latin root ced, and its related forms cess and ceed have led to a vast number of words in the English lexicon.

One reason for this is the sheer number of meanings the word came to acquire in Latin itself. Cedo means I go, I move, but it also means go away from and this meaning led, via French, to the English word cede, meaning yield or give ground. When French motorists give way, they are told to cédez le passage. People may cede a point in an argument if they admit that their opponent is right.

On top of this, a frequentative form, cesso was derived from cedo, evolving the meaning of going away, stopping. From this, we have a number of words relating to ceasing or stopping.

Let's proceed to a succession of words related to this root.  

First, we will look at words related to the order of succession. This term relates to the order in which people will become eligible to take up an official position. For example, in the British royal order of succession, Prince Charles is first in line to the throne: he will succeed (sub - under + cedo) his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. At this point, he will accede (ad - to + cedo) to the throne, and be crowned King Charles III upon his accession. This event will normally take place when the Queen is deceased (de - away from + cessus = departure, death). However, another possibility exists. The Queen may abdicate and Charles could become King earlier, following the precedent (prae - before) of her uncle, Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936, thus ceasing to be King. Edward VIII was brother of the current Queens immediate predecessor, her father George VI.

Of course, institutions like the monarchy depend on your ancestry, or family descent. Many of the present Queen's ancestors or antecedents (ante - before) have been Kings and Queens in royal houses all over Europe. This is because members of royal families tended to interbreed for successive generations. The Queen's husband, Prince Philip was born into the royal families of both Greece and Denmark. In fact, in the tangled web of ancestry and who preceded whom, we find that the Queen and her husband are both second cousins once removed and third cousins too! As regards the former relationship, Christian IX of Denmark is Prince Philip's great grandfather and Queen Elizabeth's great great grandfather. As regards the latter, they share a great great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Now try to complete this text with some of the words above. (Hover your mouse over the gaps (tap on mobiles) to reveal the answers!)

When Francis Pott was researching his family tree, he had to consult a variety of sources to find out about his ____questionmark_____. Obviously, he knew about his immediate _____questionmark_____, his parents and grandparents, but after that details were sketchy. He wasn't helped by the fact that _____questionmark_____ generations of his family had christened their sons Thomas and Edward, so it was difficult to know which Thomas was the _____questionmark_____ of which Edward. In addition, when one Thomas was _____questionmark_____ in childhood, a later son might also be named Thomas and Francis had to uncover which one ______questionmark_____ the other. It _____questionmark_____ to be such a thorny problem, however, when Francis came upon some detailed church records. These showed that a number of Potts had worked for the Church as wardens and each one had _____questionmark_____ the previous incumbent of the post on specified dates.  


As you can see, by adding Latin prefixes to the roots cedo and cesso, Latin created a huge number of words which have been passed on to English. Here are some of the others:

  • abscess (ab – away from). The idea here is that a gathering of humours has gone out of the body and accumulated in an abscess - a collection of pus from a bacterial infection.

  • access (ad - to, towards). The Latin word accedo means move towards. it is the source of both access and accede. Access is connected with the idea of gaining admission or entrance to something, while accede is used for gaining access to an official role and is also used in the sense of acceding to a request or demand, giving agreement.

  • cease. Several words are derived from cease, meaning to stop. The phrase wonders will never cease is used to express surprise at a positive outcome, often sarcastically, and often in situations which are not, in fact, wondrous. The words ceaseless and incessant are used as adjectives describing activities which never stop. The noun cessation is often used in collocations like a cessation of violence or a cessation of hostilities, when two sides agree to stop fighting.

  • concede (con – wholly). When people concede a point they relinquish a claim, admit defeat or compromise by making concessions. However, the Latin verb concedo also carried the meaning of granting or allowing and a concession agreement is a contractual grant of rights or property given by government or some other legal entity.

  • exceed (ex - out of, forth). If X exceeds Y, then X is greater or bigger than Y. If something exceeds your expectations, it is better than you had previously imagined. If something is excessive, then it is too much, more than enough. It is not a good idea to eat or drink to excess, as you will regret it later!

  • intercede (inter - between). If you intercede, you act as a go-between by acting as a mediator in a dispute, or by pleading on someone else's behalf. You could also intercede by intervening to separate conflicting parties. The noun, intercession, is also used in a religious sense for when people offer their prayers on behalf of someone else.

  • necessary (ne - not + cessus). If something is a necessity, it is not to be stopped - it is required. If something is necessary, it necessitates action and is not to be avoided. The bare necessities are those resources that are just sufficient to survive. It is also a classic song from the 1967 Disney film The Jungle Book.




Now use some of the words above in their right forms to complete the text.  

During the industrial dispute, there was little common ground between the government and the miners' union. The government deemed the miners' wage demands as _____questionmark_____, while the miners said that an increase in salary was a _____questionmark_____ given the rise in the cost of living. Neither side seemed willing to make _____questionmark_____ and so a strike was called. The miners attempted to block _____questionmark_____ to the coal mines to prevent any coal being mined. Eventually, both sides got together to negotiate after Members of Parliament _____questionmark_____ on their behalf. The Government _____questionmark_____ that they had been too inflexible and offered a rise in salary which was acceptable to the union. One political commentator said that it never _____questionmark_____ to amaze him that so much could be achieved when a little common sense was shown and that if there had been a constructive dialogue in the beginning, the whole strike would have been _____questionmark_____.   Now let's proceed to some more words from the same root.

  • proceed (pro - forward, in front). This verb has a number of meanings and words derived from it. One meaning of proceed is to go forward. On many formal occasions, there is a procession of people moving forward in a ceremonious fashion, Often there is a process which needs to be followed to ensure progress. However, the correct legal procedures must always be observed. If they aren't, then the authorities can instigate legal proceedings against any lawbreakers. Of course, due process must be followed - the legal rights of the individual have to be respected. Another meaning of proceed is "come from the source". Money gained from an event or activity is known as the proceeds.

  • recede (re - back). If something recedes, it goes back or goes further away. If the danger recedes, then the situation has become less perilous. To recede is also to diminish, as many of us with receding hairlines are all too painfully aware. From here, we get recession, when the economy contracts. Recessive genes are those which are not dominant, for example the gene for blue eye colour. If Parliament is in recess, then it is not sitting, it is suspended for a certain period. In North American English, recess is the break between school classes.

  • secede (se - apart). This means to withdraw or separate from a religious or political union or alliance. Independence campaigners in Scotland are looking to secede from the UK: they want secession from the union.

  • success (sub - under, after). This has the same root as succession, succedere, and the verb is identical, succeed. The idea is that to succeed, you must come up from under in order to get on well and prosper. You will then be successful.


Now see if you can succeed in filling in the blanks.   

11_Downing_Street_-_geograph.org.uk_-_25337711 Downing Street: home of the Chancellor of the Exchequer

It is often said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (UK Finance Minister) has the most important job in Government aside from the Prime Minister. He must _____questionmark_____ in balancing the country's books and in steering the nation away from _____questionmark_____ and economic problems.

He must also apply taxes in a way that is seen as fair, otherwise prospects for electoral _____questionmark_____ will _____questionmark_____ for his party.

Scottish nationalists claim that the UK taxation _____questionmark_____ is seriously flawed and that Scotland pays a disproportionate amount of tax.

In addition, they believe that the UK has squandered the _____questionmark_____ of North Sea oil revenues. In 2015, the Scots will vote on whether to stay as part of the UK or to _____questionmark_____ from the union and become independent.     


This marks the end of an exceedingly productive root. I wish you success in proceeding to learn the forms!      


Image Credits

Give way: By Roulex_45 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Cédez le passage: Par Roulex 45 (Travail personnel) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) ou CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 11 Downing Street: DS Pugh [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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