Meanings

1.
the drain cleaner
(potential Rammstein song title ;))
Value:
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Prefix Verbs Explained - "ablaufen"

A fun look at the German prefix verb "ablaufen" and how it connects a sink, a conference and old milk.

Vocab:

ablaufen, abgelaufen, der Ablauf, der


Word Family

Root: *(s)krei-

The core idea of this root was

sieving

And based on that, it took on a figurative sense of discriminating, distinguishing.

There aren’t many German offspring but English has quite a few of them.
The most important branch is the one around the Latin cernere which was about separating, sifting, distinguishing.
Here’s a little overview over words in that branch:

  • discern (“separate”)
  • concern (“mix together, gathering together”)
  • secret, secretary (“separate away”)
  • excrete (“separate out”)
  • discreet (“separated off”)
  • discriminate (“separate off”)

And there are other surprising members as well, like these (and more):

  • critic, criterion (“passing judgements, discernments”)
  • certain (“distinguished with certainty”)
  • ascertain (“make certain”)
  • crisis (Originally in Greek: “moment of selection/judgement”)

 

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