A work colleague has kindly provided the idea for today’s post. She came across the word bifurcate a couple of weeks ago which means to split one main body into two separate ones. She then decided google trifurcate, with the logic that there must be a word that means splitting things up into something other than two parts. She was right, trifurcate is to split of one main body into three. Feeling intrigued, she went further and typed in furcate, but the only meanings that came up were to do with dentistry so feeling disappointed she stopped.
On further research myself I found that bifurcation is “the splitting of a main body into two parts” according to Wikipedia. In law this relates to splitting issues into two parts. It also applies to system switches, river forks and whole heap of other things.
Dictionary.com defines the verb bifurcate as “to divide or fork into two branches”.
The Free Dictionary.com explains that bifurcate comes from the Latin word bifurcus (two-pronged) broken down into bi meaning ‘two’ and furca meaning ‘fork’. Trifurcate “having three branches or forks” comes from the Latin trifurcus broken down into tri meaning ‘three’ and furca meaning ‘fork’. The word furcate itself is “to divide into branches; fork”.
Wiktionary.org also lists quadfurcate which is “to divide or fork into four channels or branches”. And so it probably goes on…
A quick thank you to my work colleague for providing some of today’s blog. Her research meant that I have spent less time on the computer this evening, which is great seeing as I have pulled a muscle in my back!
- Word of the Day | bifurcate (learning.blogs.nytimes.com)