Bite-sized Et·y·mol·o·gy

Truer Words

noun: etymology

  1. the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.

    the origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning

An Entire Story Within Each Word

Pop Quiz: How much of your day is spent reading, writing, typing, speaking, and otherwise interacting with words? A lot, right? And of that time, how often do you look at a word and think about its origins? If you’re anything like me, the answer is rarely. 

This week I had one of StevensIS’ past print jobs placed on my desk, Truer Words. Upon pulling out the pieces I was instantly transfixed. The creator, Emily O’Connor, has curated a collection of cards that tell the stories of common words in a genius way.


Meaningful Learning

O’Connor has a deep dedication to turn learning into an empowering experience for her students. After struggling to connect with lessons in her early years of school, she found creative ways to learn reading and mathematics. This creativity has taken a starring role in her teachings now. Emily has founded an educational therapy clinic to teach dyslexic children who struggle with mathematics fluency and comprehension. On the Services page on her website, in bold lettering it clearly states, “My fundamental belief is that all children can learn.”


Visual and Conceptual Harmony

Along with tutoring mathematics, Emily offers a workshop where she teaches her understanding of word families on an in-depth level, along with exploring the concepts behind the cards themselves. What struck me about these cards is that I could instantly understand them on a basic level. By one glance I was learning, and I was ENGAGED. Not only that, but I wanted to know more. 

On the front of each card lies a big-picture tapestry of a word family, illustrated with actual roots or stems, outlining Present Day English forms along with the roots. On the back, it delves deeper into the word structure. 

From a design standpoint, the delicate illustrations by Holland Royal sing on the page as a stunning visual aid for each concept. These are a truly superb example of visual and conceptual harmony in every detail, even down to the natural feel of the heavy weight stock they’re printed on.

To learn more about Truer Words, or order your own set: Visit