Greek Word of the Day – Cyber

The original word is κυβερναω (kybernaw) “to guide, steer, govern.” The most common Greek form is the noun κθβερνητης, meaning “pilot, helmsman.”

The Latin & English root is “guberno,” from which we get “gubernatorial,” and “governor.” (There’s something called Grassman’s Law, that, in following the Indo-European languages, defines certain patterns/relationships. Thus Greek K frequently comes up in English as G. And Greek Y ends up U.)

And there’s more … the prefix “cyber-” is borrowed directly from the Greek root. But as Wikipedia notes: Cyber- is a prefix derived from “cybernetic,” which comes from the Greek adjective κυβερνητικος meaning skilled in steering or governing. It is used in the terms cybersex, cyberspace, cyberpunk, cyberhomes and cyberhate, but has been largely surpassed by e-.

Neat, huh? And in the replacement of “cyber-” with “e-” is another example of language’s tendency towards terseness.