Tìm hiểu về tiền tố PAN và những từ có tiền tố này

Tìm hiểu về tiền tố PAN và những từ có tiền tố này

In children’s books the Greek god Pan is portrayed as half man and half goat—he had goat hooves and goat ears and a couple of little goat horns and goat hair down his back: but he walked upright and had human hands.  In most of the stories about him he is a “country bumpkin” kind of god, and the great Olympian deities (especially Apollo) have little trouble getting the best of this mischievous sprite.

That, however, is how city folk saw him.  In the country he was something else—a fearsome terror of the night.  In fact, it may be that the Middle Ages image of the Devil—Satan—derived from the horns and hooves of Pan.  It is from this Pan, not the citified Pan, that we get the English word panic, fear so strong that it deprives one of his or her very reason.

Because of this,  you might think that English words that have the prefix pan would have to do with fear, but this is not so.  It so happens that there was another Greek word pan that was taken into Latin and meant all. 

So we see pan inserted in front of almost any place name to mean all of that place,  For example, ­pan-American refers to all of the Americas (both north and south), pan-Asian would refer to all of Asia (pan-Asian games).  Similarly, pan inserted in front of the name of a nationality means all members of that nationality (pan-Hellenic). 

Here are some more English words that begin with pan in the sense of all: 

Pantheon (all the gods).  “The Hindu pantheon consists of millions of gods.”

Pantheism (the religious belief or philosophy that god is the universe—“all”).  “Because of some of the things he said, some people think Einstein was a pantheist, although he was never specific.”

Panorama (an all-encompassing view).  “A panoramic view of the ocean is a popular aspect of our resort.”

Panchromatic (sensitive to all colors).  “This 20mm film is panchromatic.”

Panacea (generally used derisively to describe something as a solution to all of one’s problems) “The gentleman’s proposal is not the panacea he would have us believe it is.”

Pandemonium (“all” plus “demon”—this word was originally coined by Milton in his epic poem “Paradise Lost” as the capital city of Hell.  It has evolved and now usually is a humorous word for chaos—the sort of thing that happens when you have a bunch of children in the same room. “Pandemonium broke loose when we turned off the lights.”  (Also sometimes spelled pandaemonium).

Just to be a little more complicated, there is also an Old English, Germanic rooted stem word pan that means flat.  A pan in modern English is a cooking vessel that is flat—used for frying, and a pancake is cooked on such a pan.  A panatela is a long, thin, flat cigar (no bulge in the middle).

There is also panache /pəˈnæʃ/ a French word that is used a lot in English (but not fully Anglicized as it is pronounced as the French would pronounce it).  It describes a certain enthusiastic competence that people, especially women, very much admire in a man.  It is derived from French and originally was the name for a feathered man’s hat.

Finally, there is Pandora’s box.  This is alluded to in literature and is part of common speech.  The myth has it (Greek again) that the gods trapped all the evils of the world and locked them away into a box, which they then assigned to Pandora for safe keeping—with strict instructions that she should never open it.  Well, of course, curiosity “got the better” of her, and one day she peeked in, thereby releasing all the evils of the world.

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