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-naut

Taikonaut was recently an OED Word of the day. It is thought to be a blend of the Chinese words tai kong (outer space) and astronaut. It is one of several words ending in -naut.

The OED says -naut forms words with the sense of voyager or traveller. Here are some more examples:

  • aeronaut – a balloonist; a spider which floats through the air
  • aquanaut – an underwater explorer
  • Argonaut – one of the legendary heroes who sailed with Jason in the Argo
  • cosmonaut – a Soviet or Russian astronaut
  • psychonaut – someone who experiments with psychedelic drugs
  • Reaganaut – an advocate of the policies of US President Reagan

The word juggernaut (a heavy lorry) has quite a different etymology.

By Resource Centre

The Resource Centre at INTO University of East Anglia.