Acolyte is a really pretty word synonymous with "follower" or "assistant", especially in a religious connotation. That makes sense; when the word was first borrowed in the fourteenth century, it had to do with people who helped out priests in the Catholic Church. That Middle English word came either from Old French or Medieval Latin, where it took the forms of acolite and acolytus, respectively. Either way, it goes back to Ancient Greek akolouthos, which still had the general definition of "follower". The literal meaning, however, meant "together with [someone on] a journey", the prefix a- in this case meaning "together with" and the root keleuthos meaning "path". The etymology of that is unknown, but it probably comes from a Proto-Indo-European root sounding like kel and containing a similar denotation.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd