Ruthie reasons analogically

The One Big Happy from January 23rd:

Ruthie reasons analogically, but from the morphological point of view, inaccurately.

If paralegal is para + legal and the para- contributes a element of meaning roughly ‘sort of, but not real’, then parakeet must be para + keet ‘a sort of, but not real, keet’, whatever a keet is. (What of parasol and parapet?)

From Michael Quinion’s affixes site on para-1 ‘beside; adjacent to’ (Gk. para ‘beside’):

A number of words from Greek contain this form: parallel; paragraph; parasite; parish; parody.

The sense of something irregular, or outside what is considered normal, appears in several English words: parapsychology; paranormal; parainfluenza; paramagnetic; paranoia; parasuicide.

The form is also used for occupational roles considered to be ancillary or subordinate; paramedic; paralegal; paraprofessional. Such terms are in general more common in North America than in Britain. Sometimes the sense is of something irregular: paramilitary, of an unofficial force organized on military lines.

Para- can refer to something beside or adjacent, as in parathyroid; parhelion; paracrine.

As for keet, I offer Dutch ‘mess; row, racket’ or ‘shed’.

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