Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers When I use a word

The eyes have it

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:639
  1. Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist
  1. Oxford

    Etymologically speaking, a doublet is a pair of words that have the same origin but different spellings and often different meanings. English is replete with such pairs, as the following examples show:

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    Then there are triplets. They include cloak/cloche/clock, pauper/poor/poverty, coign(e)/coin/quoin, and regime/regimen/regiment (about which I have previously written—BMJ 1996;313:776). And there is the septuplet antler/augur/eye/inveigle/ocular/ullage/window.

    Let's start with the Indo-European root OC, which gave the Latin word for an eye, oculus. This gives us words such as ocular, inoculate, and some words that contain the syllable -oc-: atrocity from atrox (black …

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