Etymology
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paramedical (adj.)

"related to medicine in an auxiliary capacity," 1908, from para- (1) "subsidiary" + medical (adj.).

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parasympathetic (adj.)

in reference to major divisions of the nervous system, 1905, from para- (1) "beside" + sympathetic.

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paraquat (n.)
quick-acting herbicide, 1961, from para- (1) + first element in quaternary. So called in reference to its chemical configuration.
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para- (1)

before vowels, par-, word-forming element, originally in Greek-derived words, meaning "alongside, beyond; altered; contrary; irregular, abnormal," from Greek para- from para (prep.) "beside, near; issuing from; against, contrary to," from PIE *prea, from root *per- (1) "forward," hence "toward, near; against." Cognate with Old English for- "off, away." Mostly used in scientific and technical words; not usually regarded as a naturalized formative element in English.

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para- (2)

word-forming element of Latin origin meaning "defense, protection against; that which protects from," from Italian para, imperative of parare "to ward off," from Latin parare "make ready" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, procure"). It figures in parachute, parasol, parapet, etc.

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paralegal (n.)

"one trained in subsidiary legal matters," 1972, from para- (1) + legal assistant.

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paralanguage (n.)

"non-phonemic vocal factors in speech" (tone of voice, tempo, etc.), 1958, from para- (1) + language. Related: Paralinguistic.

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paratransit (n.)

also para-transit, "public transportation of a flexible, informal kind" (such as taxis, carpools, etc.), 1973, from para- (1) + transit.

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parastate (n.)

also para-state, "institution or body which takes on some of the roles of civil government," 1959, from para- (1) "beside" + state (n.). Related: Parastatal.

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paramagnetic (adj.)

"assuming, when freely suspended between the poles of a horseshoe magnet, a position in a line from one pole to the other," 1850, from para- (1) + magnetic. Related: Paramagnetism.

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