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Word of the Week: Jede Woche ein neues Rätsel über Bedeutung, Verwendung und Herkunft eines englischen Worts.
Last week I visited my friend Steve in Hollywood, California. He looked like he always does: jeans, a faded blue T-shirt, mussed-up hair and that unchanging boyish grin. He had been working at DreamWorks SKG since the beginning of last year.
“Do you like your job?” I asked.
“I guess I have to say I don't like my job - I'm addicted to it. It's very time-intensive work. I barely have a moment to meet friends. And then, when I do, they invariably ask me what I've been up to. It's not easy to say that I've spent the past six months getting a 10-year-old girl to morph into a giant blueberry.”
I dutifully offered Steve consolation without really understanding his problem. As every room in my hotel was equipped with a built-in computer and free Internet access, I looked up the meaning of morph in an online dictionary that evening. It defined morph as:
a) to enter a cave or cave-like structure or wrap something around one’s body for shelter.
b) to dive feet first.
c) to change one image smoothly into another using computer animation.
Here is the correct answer.
If you look up the word ‘morph’ on the Internet site Wikipedia, you'll find three pictures depicting George Bush being transformed or “morphed” into Arnold Schwarzenegger. The intermediary image has characteristics of both men. Computer animation software first developed in the 1990s is now able to change one image into another through a seamless transition. The sequence of images is then incorporated directly into film. The verb morph describes this transformational action and comes from the Greek word morph meaning form or shape.
This root is found in many English words, such as morphology, the study of the form or shape of an organism or one of its parts or morpheme, a meaningful grammatical unit of language that cannot be divided into smaller parts.