Word Nerd: A Cite to See

Columns Education Evergreen Geek Culture Word Nerd


Today’s Word Nerd will look at three words that have almost nothing in common except pronunciation, and yet they get mixed up all the time. Just for fun, we’ll throw in a suffix that you’ll probably never use.

The physical location where something is, was or will be, such as the site of a building or battle. On the Internet, site refers to a virtual location.

to reference an authority, such as a legal precedent, or to issue a citation (either negatively, such as a traffic ticket, or positively, such as a military honor).

The ability to see, or something to look at.

Site dates from around 1350; it’s Middle English, derived from the Latin situs, meaning position, arrangement, location.

Cite originates around 1400; late Middle English, from the Latin cit?re, to hurry or to set in motion.

Sight first appears before 950; from the Old English sihth, by way of the German Gesicht meaning face.

Bonus word:
a suffix used in biology to create cell names and classifications; a word ending in -cyte is a name of a cell. Example: lymphocyte.

-cyte comes from New Latin -cyta, from the Ancient Greek kutos container, vessel, jar.

If you site an author, you’re identifying his location.
If you mention the sight of a historic event, you’re talking about watching it happen.

Liked it? Take a second to support GeekDad and GeekMom on Patreon!

2 thoughts on “Word Nerd: A Cite to See

  1. The virtual sense of “site” as a location is not restricted to the Internet. For example, a feminist critic might talk about the body as a site of discrimination. While bodies are physical, the critic is talking about the idea of the body or bodies in general, which are abstract.

Comments are closed.