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Pronunciation: æn-droyd Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, Noun

Meaning: 1. (Adjective) Resembling a man or a human being. 2. (Noun) Automaton resembling a man or a human being. 3. (Capitalized: Android) The trade name of the Google operating system for mobile devices.

Notes: This word should mean resembling a man (male) for andr- is the Greek root for "man, male". The word for "resembling a human being" is, of course, anthropoid. The two roots at stake here are not confused elsewhere; compare misandry "hatred of men, males", misanthropy "hatred of the human race". So, we are left with only the Latin term, masculine, which is limited to adjectival use and we now have two words for "human-like".

In Play: These days we are probably more familiar with the nominal use: "Preston Starch likes to play with philosophical questions like, 'How would I know I am not just an android?'" (Don't ask me; I'm in the same boat.) However, let's not forget that this word functions just as well as an adjective: "The fact that he has android features doesn't prove Mustafa Gahtan is one of us."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from Greek word for "male, man", andro-, plus the Greek suffix -eides "form, shape, like". We have no record of it as a Greek word, only modern Latin androides, which seems to have been based on a Greek model. Andro- is found in many other English words borrowed from Greek. It is the second component in philanderer, an overly loving man (combined with phil- "love"), androgen, the male hormone, and androgynous, having both male and female characteristics (andros "man" + gyne "woman"). It is also present in many names. It is the second element in Alexander and the first element in Andrew. Finally, it ended up in the English word dandy, which originally was a nickname for Andrew. (Our gratitude is owed today to a dandy manly man, Monroe Thomas Clewis. The proof he is no android can be found in his suggestion of today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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