Word: amalgamate

Pronunciation: ə-MAL-ɡə-mayt

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: combine or unite to form one organization or structure

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Okay, perhaps I went with a more common word for this week’s vocabulary post. To be honest, I find this one particularly interesting because I’ve seen and heard various forms of it: as nouns, as a verb, and even as an adjective. It seems to be a popular choice for referring to combinations and mixtures. Why “unite” two things into one when you can “amalgamate” them instead?

To “amalgamate” two or more things is to combine them into a single structure or organization. The word arose in the early 17th century and comes from the Latin verb amalgamare “to mix”, which in turn stems from the noun amalgama, meaning “mercury alloy”. This noun derives from the Greek noun málagma, which means “emollient”.

A less common definition for the word “amalgamate” is in chemistry, where it’s usually used in the adjective form “amalgamated” to indicate a metal that has been alloyed with mercury. Note that the verb “amalgamate” stems from the noun “amalgam”, which means “a mixture or blend” or “an alloy of mercury with another metal”. I myself tend to use it most often in its noun form “amalgamation”, the action of combining or uniting. If you often join things in your stories and feel that common words like “merge” and “unite” are overused, “amalgamate” and its related forms are good words to keep on your vocabulary list!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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