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Advantage | Vocabulary

Let’s explore the meaning and origin of the word “advantage”. Created by David Rheinstrom.

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Video transcript

- [David] I have the high ground, wordsmiths because we're talking about the word "advantage" in this video, ad-van-tage. A noun. It means a better position, something that helps. If we're running a foot race and I get a three minute headstart over you, that's a definite advantage. I got to start before you did. And indeed, that's what the derivation of this word gives us. "Avantage" can literally be translated from French as beforeness. So "Avant" means before in French, both before in time and in before in space. So it can mean both earlier and front of. Ag, in English pronounced ig, right, this a-g-e is a noun forming suffix that also comes from French. It works like this. You pack stuff into a package, you store things in storage. Leaky things are prone to leakage. You get the picture. So thinking about avant or advant, right, with the "d" in there, and a-g-e as a noun forming suffix, what similar words can you think of? I'll give you 10 seconds. Here we go, music break. (upbeat music) Here are three that I came up with. Disadvantage, right? The opposite of advantage. This is when something is making things harder for you, like your opponent in a foot race, getting a three minute headstart, for example. Advance is a verb. It means to go forward or to go onward or up. And vantage, this noun is usually part of the phrase "vantage point". It means a good spot, to view things from. The top of a hill is a great vantage point from which to watch a fireworks display, for example. All right, let's use advantage in a few sentences. Elias P Beanpole, the tallest boy in 6th grade had a distinct advantage on the basketball court. He was like 20 feet tall. He could dunk from half court. That was his advantage. That's his superior position, right? But he did keep bonking his head on the ceiling, which I would say is a distinct disadvantage to being that tall. "Listen, just because my mom runs a candy shop doesn't mean you could take advantage of our friendship." To take advantage of an opportunity is to get some benefit from it, but not always in a fair way. To take advantage of a friendship is to say something like, "Hey, your mom has that candy shop. How do you feel about hooking up your friend David with some free candy, hmm?" You do that enough times and you're probably going to exhaust your friend and your friendship. Taking advantage doesn't have to have a negative connotation or feeling, though, you could take advantage of a windy day and fly a kite or take advantage of a rainy day and play a board game, that kind of thing. I hope you take advantage of these videos, dear wordsmiths, and realize that you can learn anything. David out.