Sometimes it is Greek: Cavalcade

The annual Art Car Parade in Houston, Texas is a fantastic cavalcade of fabulously decorated cars.

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word:  Cavalcade
Have you ever been to London and seen The Changing of the Guard? This daily ceremony could also be called a cavalcade.  A cavalcade is any parade or procession, particularly one of persons riding on horses or in cars.  Any parade that involves people on floats could also be called a cavalcade.

Cavalcade’s etymological roots date back to Latin.  Caballus is a classical Latin word meaning “strong work horse.”  This word developed into caballicare, which means “to ride horseback.”  The Italians picked up this word and turned it to “cavalcare,” which eventually became cavalcade in English in the late 16th century.

New York City is a place where cavalcades happen with nearly clock-like regularity.  Some of the more fantastic New York City cavalcades include the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Lunar New Year Parade, and the Village Halloween Parade.

Mexico plays host to a variety of authentic cavalcades that even involve horses.  Chihuahua has two annual cavalcades to celebrate the history of the Mexican Revolution and Francisco (Pancho) villa.  The Cabalgata Binacional Villista is a cavalcade that takes place annually in February and March and commemorates the March 9, 1916 invasion of the United States by Pancho Villa’s men.  The cavalcade follows the same route that Pancho Villa himself used through Mexico.  Each night, the riders celebrate with dinner, a rodeo, music, and dancing.

Sample Sentence:

A clamorous cohort collaborated to create a cavalcade to commemorate the chimerical choreography of Gillian Lynne.

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