To put the pan in the demic

I’ve noticed that the words ‘pandemic’ and ‘epidemic’ have recently been used interchangeably in the media and in everyday speech. Any extensive outburst of a contagious disease is a pandemic or an epidemic, depending on which prefix you prefer or comes to mind first. Pandemic sounds a bit more catastrophic, while epidemic has a scientific,Continue reading “To put the pan in the demic”

Drink or be scolded therefor, only do it in Latin

I good friend of mine forwarded this to me from today’s Times. Of course, berating a drunkard in perfect Latin is always advisable, except when the inebriating wine has been an Opimian, or the hungover man is too crapulentus, or intoxicated, which gave the English word ‘crapulous’. Incidentally, books are inebriating, too, and one comment about Richard de Bury (1287-1345),Continue reading “Drink or be scolded therefor, only do it in Latin”

Etymological thought of the day

It is widely accepted that the Viking presence in 10th-century Rouen area (future duchy of Normandy) left no discernible linguistic traces in the langue d’oïl language group beyond some scattered words relating to shipping and other very specific operations. However, as I was musing on the biography of the French word “seuil”, I noticed the striking similarityContinue reading “Etymological thought of the day”

When a cock and a bull make history

I was wondering the other day what would be the origin of the expression “cock and bull story”. I checked the Online Etymological Dictionary, which is supposed to compile entries from all known etymological lexicons, but I was disappointed with the harvest: “Cock-and-bull is first recorded 1620s, perhaps an allusion to Aesop’s fables, with theirContinue reading “When a cock and a bull make history”

No, da ce iaște plagiatul?

Ultimele peripeții ale noului guvern au scos la iveală o problemă la care puțini mai stau să se gândească în mijlocul atâtor preocupări, distracțiuni şi urgențe (ministeriale): ce ne repugnă la ideea de plagiat? Imoralitatea lui? Tradarea concordanței presupuse dintre viața privată-intelectuală-publică? Întâi madama Corina Dumitrescu a primit stigmatul plagiatului, pe urmă conu Ioan Mang.Continue reading “No, da ce iaște plagiatul?”

Ce se întâmplă când absolvi

O persoană tare dragă mie este pe punctul de a absolvi o anume universitate, motiv pentru care am început să mă întreb cum de ajung studenții să absolve, în chip etimologic, o instituție de învățământ superior. De ce limba română foloseşte verbul a absolvi cu acest sens? Cu toții știm că “a absolvi” mai inseamnăContinue reading “Ce se întâmplă când absolvi”