\ \ [19] The Greek adjective ákros meant ‘topmost, at the tip or extremity’ (it derives ultimately from the Indo-European base *akmeaning ‘be pointed or sharp’, which also gave rise to acid, acute, oxygen, and edge). It crops up in acrophobiafear of heights’; in acropoliscitadel’, literally ‘upper city’; in acromegalyunnaturally enlarged condition of the hands, feet, and face’, literally ‘large extremities’; and in acronym, literally ‘word formed from the tips of words’. Acrobat itself means literally ‘walking on tiptoe’. The -bat morpheme comes from Greek baíneinwalk’, which is closely related to basis and base, and is also connected with come. Akrobátēs existed as a term in Greek, and reached English via French acrobate.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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