The Manifold Meanings Of The Word Crate.
The word crate is fascinating in that it takes on multiple forms throughout history, assuming both physical and abstract connotations in the formation of words.
In modern parlance crate refers to a rugged box or container, usually made of wood, and used for shipping. In verbal form, the word means to put in a crate, as for protection; “crate the paintings before shipping them to the museum.”According to etymon.com, the word derives from the Latin word “cratis,” which means wickerwork or lattice. Along the way, a similar word “crat” is found in the Dutch language.
Another online etymology service suggests the word crate is related to the modern word cradle. A cradle is an ancient type of baby bed, and typically was made in the shape of a lattice basket. The word is believed to derive from crate or creel. The connotation of rocking is of much more modern origins and is said to have derived from the Scottish language.
Two additional words believed to be cousins of crate are “grate,” and “lattice.” Etymon.com, for example notes that grate derives from the Middle Latin “grata” meaning lattice, and from the Latin “crates.”. All three terms, in common imply a wickerwork or slatted type of supporting structure.
The word, crate, interestingly, has a number of abstract derivations, which probably few people are aware of. The suffix “crat” deriving from the French “crate” means back-formation, and is said to derive from the words cratie and cracy. A “crat” is also defined as a participant in or supporter of (a specified kind of) government or ruling body. The word relates abstractly to “crate” in that both words, one physical one social imply a supporting structure. If this seems a little tenuous the association picks up support from the Greek origins of crate, krates and kratos, meaning rule and strength, and related to “hard.” Krates and kratos are suspiciously close to the Latin “cratis” and since all three words suggest a type of support, physical or social, it is not unlikely that they derive from an older common word, and are thus cognates.
The suffixes “crat,” and “cracy” appear commonly as suffixes in such words as: autocrat, autocracy, bureaucrat, bureaucracy, consecrate, crate, desecrate, execrate, hierocracy, idiosyncrasy, kleptocracy.
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