"It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial repositories, put together well after the languages they define.
The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature."
-Jorge Luis Borges, Prologue to "El otro, el mismo."
There are words we use often here on ATS. We use them sometimes without even thinking, presuming we know exactly what they mean. Maybe we do.
But do we all know what they originally meant?
Well with the help of Etymonline
, the Online Etymology Dictionary, i have selected certain words that
are commonly used within the alternative topics often discussed here on ATS.
Maybe, once again, we will learn something from the past......
*Words/sentences in BOLD are of particluar interest.*
O.E. belyfan, earlier geleafa (Mercian), gelefa (Northumbrian), gelyfan (W.Saxon) "believe," from P.Gmc. *ga-laubjan "hold dear, love
from PIE base *leubh- "to like, desire
c.1200, "state of life bound by monastic vows
," also "conduct indicating a belief in a divine power
," from Anglo-Fr. religiun
(11c.), from O.Fr. religion "religious community," from L. religionem (nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods," in L.L.
"monastic life" (5c.); according to Cicero, derived from relegare "go through again, read again
," from re- "again" + legere "read" (see
lecture). However, popular etymology among the later ancients (and many modern writers) connects it with religare "to bind fast
" (see rely),
via notion of "place an obligation on
," or "bond between humans and gods." Another possible origin is religiens "careful
opposite of negligens.
c.1300, "knowledge (of something) acquired by study
," also "a particular branch of knowledge," from O.Fr. science, from L. scientia
"knowledge," from sciens (gen. scientis), prp. of scire "to know
," probably originally "to separate one thing from another, to
distinguish," related to scindere "to cut, divide
," from PIE base *skei- (cf. Gk. skhizein "to split, rend, cleave," Goth. skaidan, O.E.
sceadan "to divide, separate
;" see shed (v.)).
c.1300, from O.Fr. filosofie (12c.), from L. philosophia, from Gk. philosophia "love of knowledge, wisdom," from philo- "loving
" + sophia
," from sophis "wise, learned
Meaning "system a person forms for conduct of life" is attested from 1771.
1653, "study of the soul," probably coined mid-16c. in Germany by Melanchthon as Mod.L. psychologia, from Gk. psykhe- "breath, spirit,
" (see psyche) + logia "study of." Meaning "study of the mind
" first recorded 1748, from G. Wolff's Psychologia empirica (1732);
main modern behavioral sense is from 1895.
1387, "branch of speculation which deals with the first causes of things
," from M.L. metaphysica, neut. pl. of Medieval Gk. (ta) metaphysika,
from Gk. ta meta ta physika "the (works) after the Physics
," title of the 13 treatises which traditionally were arranged after those on
physics and natural sciences in Aristotle's writings. The name was given c.70 B.C.E. by Andronicus of Rhodes, and was a ref. to the customary
ordering of the books, but it was misinterpreted by L. writers as meaning "the science of what is beyond the physical
c.1300, from O.Fr. conspirer, from L. conspirare "to agree, unite, plot
," lit. "to breathe together
," from com- "together" +
spirare "to breathe" (see spirit). Conspiracy is from 1386; conspiracy theory is from 1909.
1592, "conception, mental scheme
," from L.L. theoria (Jerome), from Gk. theoria "contemplation, speculation, a looking at, things looked
at," from theorein "to consider, speculate, look at," from theoros "spectator
," from thea "a view" + horan "to see." Sense of
"principles or methods of a science or art (rather than its practice)" is first recorded 1613. That of "an explanation based on observation and
reasoning" is from 1638. The verb theorize is recorded from 1638.
"financial institution," 1474, from either O.It. banca or M.Fr. banque (itself from the O.It. term), both meaning "table
" (the notion is of
the moneylender's exchange table), from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. bank "bench"); see bank (2). The verb meaning "to put confidence in
(U.S. colloquial) is attested from 1884.
1378 (n.), 1399 (adj.), from L. secretus "set apart, withdrawn, hidden
," originally pp. of secernere "to set apart," from se- "without,
," prop. “on one's own
” (from PIE *sed-, from base *s(w)e-; see idiom) + cernere "separate" (see crisis). The verb meaning
"to keep secret" (described in OED as "obsolete") is attested from 1595. Secretive is attested from 1853. Secret agent first recorded 1715; secret
service is from 1737; secret weapon is from 1936.
1531, "friendly association with others
," from O.Fr. societe, from L. societatem (nom. societas), from socius "companion" (see social).
Meaning "group of people living together in an ordered community
" is from 1639. Sense of "fashionable people and their doings" is first
L. adv. and prep. meaning "down from, off, concerning
." Used as a prefix in Eng., as in defrost (1895), defuse (1943), decaffeination (1927),
etc. Usually felt as meaning "down," but in L. it could also be completive in intensive (cf. demerit), perhaps with a sense of "down to the
," 1900, short for bunkum. During the protracted Missouri statehood debates, on Feb. 25, 1820, N.C. Representative Felix Walker
began what promised to be a "long, dull, irrelevant speech," and he resisted calls to cut it short by saying he was bound to say something that
could appear in the newspapers in the home district and prove he was on the job. "I shall not be speaking to the House," he confessed, "but to
Buncombe." Bunkum has been Amer.Eng. slang for "nonsense" since 1847.
1460, from M.Fr. militaire, from L. militaris "of soldiers or war
," from miles (gen. militis) "soldier," perhaps ult. from Etruscan, or
else meaning "one who marches in a troop," and thus connected to Skt. melah "assembly," Gk. homilos "assembled crowd, throng
." The noun
sense of "soldiers generally" is attested from 1757. Military-industrial complex coined 1961 in farewell speech of U.S. president Dwight D.
Eisenhower. Militarism is first recorded 1864, from Fr. militarisme.
late O.E. (c.1050), wyrre, werre, from O.N.Fr. werre "war" (Fr. guerre), from Frank. *werra, from P.Gmc. *werso (cf. O.S. werran, O.H.G. werran,
Ger. verwirren "to confuse, perplex
"). Cognates suggest the original sense was "to bring into confusion
." There was no common Gmc.
word for "war" at the dawn of historical times. O.E. had many poetic words for "war" (guð, heaðo, hild, wig, all common in personal names), but
the usual one to translate L. bellum was gewin "struggle, strife" (related to win). Sp., Port., It. guerra are from the same source; Romanic peoples
turned to Gmc. for a word to avoid L. bellum because its form tended to merge with bello- "beautiful." The verb meaning "to make war on" is
recorded from 1154. First record of war time is 1387.
1795, in specific sense of "government intimidation during the Reign of Terror in France
" (1793-July 1794), from Fr. terrorisme (1798), from
L. terror (see terror).
"If the basis of a popular government in peacetime is virtue, its basis in a time of revolution is virtue and terror -- virtue, without which
terror would be barbaric; and terror, without which virtue would be impotent
[edit on 05/08/2009 by LiveForever8]