Apologies if this is the wrong site to ask this on.

I am looking for an English word that is derived from Ancient Greek τάσσω, meaning I arrange, I draw up, or I order. I would like a word that evokes this Hellenism, with a similar meaning in English, but the only derivations I can find are through τακτικός -> English tact, tactful.

I do not mind using technical/uncommon language, but I am unaware of any resources for finding such derivations!

  • 1
    Are you looking for an English verb "with similar meaning"? Or will a noun do?
    – fdb
    Oct 4 at 11:32
  • 2
    FWIW tact / tactful are from Latin tango "I touch".
    – psmears
    Oct 4 at 15:50
  • 2
    @psmears You're right, although tactics/tactical is from τακτικός. It's somewhat of a coincidence that they have the same four initial letters as tact/tactful, though both sets are ultimately from the PIE *tag- meaning "to touch."
    – cmw
    Oct 4 at 19:07
  • @psmears Hmm... - maybe this is an issue with Wiktionary then? They seem to have it as coming from τακτικός. Oct 5 at 11:15
  • 1
    Is the word you are looking for, cognates? Are you looking for English cognates of the Greek word "τάσσω"?
    – Nacht
    Oct 6 at 2:36

The word you are looking for would be taxonomy, from τάσσω, fut. τάξω, to arrange in a certain order, e.g. of troops. Τακτικός is that which is required for the arrangement: the tactics.

  • 6
    Also "taxon". ___
    – Draconis
    Oct 4 at 16:55
  • 2
    as a verb: "taxonomize"
    – user253751
    Oct 5 at 10:01
  • Thanks! I don't know how I forgot about this term/stem - I appreciate your help greatly in shaking up my memory. Oct 5 at 11:19
  • "taxonomy" derives from τάσσω and νόμος (usually meaning "law", for example "law and order" is perfectly translated as "νόμος και τάξη", although in this case it has a more abstract meaning closer to "science" or "technique"). The direct greek equivalent is "ταξινόμηση", which means "classification" -- for example, a person sorting incoming mail for further processing is called ταξινόμος. Arranging things in a certain order is better expressed with συντάσσω, for example you would command troops to assume formation by saying "συνταχθείτε".
    – Jon
    Oct 5 at 13:31

Another common English word is syntax: literally the "ordering together" of words, from συντάσσω > σύνταξις.


taxi, taximeter, task, tax, taxis, taxology, taxation

All seem to also stem from τάσσω. Taximeter and taxology sound particularly Hellenic as they are a mixture of 2 Hellenic based words.

  • meter - from Greek μέτρο (measure)
  • logy - from Greek λογία

See also a relative article on the etymology of the words above.

Task is also close to the original meaning, especially if used as a verb.

E.g. He was tasked to paint the fence.

  • 2
    Good examples! About task, isn't that ultimately from Latin tango?
    – Cerberus
    Oct 5 at 4:19
  • Good observation. As far as I could find: - Task comes from the old French tasque from tasche (duty) from the Latin tasca (a duty, assessment) from taxa, which is relatedto the Greek verb tasso (put in order, evaluate; τάσσω). Source: ewonago.wordpress.com/tag/etymology-of-task - Tango is more related to the touch and movement.
    – Spyros K
    Oct 5 at 11:41
  • 1
    @Cerberus: It seems like all of these are descendants of Latin tango, but tango is in turn cognate with τάσσω. So a word like taxi would be cognate with τάσσω, but not not a descendant of it. Oct 5 at 18:55
  • 2
    Just to clarify what Cerberus and @BenCrowell said, being "related to" τάσσω is not the same thing as descending from it. The Greek is more like the uncle of the English than the parent. See Etymonline for the direct relationship. So while "taxology" (and "taxonomy" work (and "taxis", too), the others are more distantly related.
    – cmw
    Oct 5 at 19:35

posting this after the answer has been accepted, but here is another option if you allow synonyms to τάσσω.

κοσμέω has a synonymous meaning to tasso and the following English words seem to be related:

cosmos cosmetology cosmonaut cosmogony cosmopolite cosmetic macrocosm

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