More Words Galore

Panakeia, The All Healing

Many English words have their origins in older languages.  Check out the following:

Panacea A cure for all ills.  In Greek mythology, Asclepius (the god of medicine) had a daughter named Panakeia which meant “the all-healing.”
Euphemism A mild and agrreable expression for a disagreeable thing.  Ex-“went to his reward”  is a euphemism for “died.”  Origin:  “eu” in Greek means “well” and “phemi” means speak
Harbinger A messenger who announces the coming of someone or something.  Origin: in German “heri” meant army and “berga” meant shelter.  A harbinger would go before the army and prepare a place for it to stay or announce its impending arrival
Autocrat A person whose laws are made and executed by himself.  Origin:  In Greek, “auto” means “self” and “kratos” means “power.”
Demagogue Originally referred to people or citizens but later referred to an agitator.  Origin:  From the Greek, “demagogus” meant a leader of the people.
Dead man’s switch A dead man’s switch is a switch that acts as a fail-safe which is automatically operated in case the human operator becomes incapacitated. For example, by death, loss of consciousness or falling asleep.
Maxim A saying of the greatest importance.  In Latin, “magnus” or “maximus” meant “great”
Agnostic A person who doesn’t know whether or not God exists.  Origin:  In Greek, “agnosto” meant “unknowable.”
Inveigle To persuade by deception, beguiling or blinding.  Origin:  In French “aveugler” means to blind or delude
Miscreant In medieval times, knights on Crusade called those who didn’t share their beliefs “miscreante” which means not believing or infidel.  Now refers to a general rascal.  Origin:  In French, “miscreant” meant “not believing.”
Eureka

Archimedes Principle

 

“I found it.”  Origin: Greek mathematician Archimedes was asked by the King of Syracuse to discover if his crown was really gold.  While stepping into his bath, Archimedes caused water to be displaced and realized he could measure the displacement of real gold in water and then do the same for the crown.  He yelled out “Eureka” at his discovery.Tomorrow:  Churchhill’s “Call to War”

Rita Bay

1 Comment

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One response to “More Words Galore

  1. Steve

    I like this one: tsunami. Japanese “harbor wave” i.e. tsu (harbor) nami (wave)

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