Printable Version
Pronunciation: (Adjective) æ-grê-gêt, (Verb) æ-grê-gayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, noun, verb

Meaning: 1. (Adjective) As a whole, total, as 'aggregate sales for the quarter'. (Botany) Clustered. 2. (Noun) A whole comprising separate elements, the total sum of all parts. 3. (Verb) To gather into a whole, bring together several elements into a whole.

Notes: Here is a noun created from a verb by simply removing the secondary stress: [æ-grê-gayt] > [æ-grê-gêt]. The result of aggregation is an aggregate. Aggregation is the action noun, aggregator (with an O) is the personal noun. Aggregative is the adjective referring to the process of aggregation.

In Play: Today our noun is an alternative for 'melting pot': "The United States is an aggregate of peoples from every nation on Earth." The verb is just a fancier way of saying 'collect': "The investigating committee aggregated all the e-mails and text messages relevant to the issue at hand."

Word History: Aggregate is an English redesign of Latin aggregatus "associated, united", the past participle of aggregare "add to (a flock), to collect (in a flock)". This word is made up of ad "(up) to" + gregare "to gather (into a flock)," from grex, gregis "a flock". Latin drew this word from PIE root ger-/gor- "to gather", which also went into the making of English cram. It also underlies Greek agora "marketplace", where Greeks gathered for the society as well as shopping. Agora also appears in allegory, from allos "other" + agora, originally "other than the agora". (So, now let's thank Gordon Wray for the aggregate of all his contributions to this series and especially for today's intriguing Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!