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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Friday, September 18, 2020

Word of the Day

By Rich Kozlovich

Because of writing so much about Anthropogenic Global Warming I’ve used the word Medieval often.  Discussion of the Medieval Warming, and Roman Warming periods are necessary because both were substantially warmer than it is today, and much more of Greenland really was green, and we know that from the historical records regarding the agricultural practices of the Vikings who settled there.  But, invariably, I misspell it, because in my mind, even though I know better, I’m saying Midevil, and I'm not alone in this: 

Common Misspellings: medeival, medievel, medeivel, midevil, mid-evil, medival, mideval, midieval, midievel, mideival, mideivel

In reality, Midevil, along with the others listed above, aren't words at all. The right term is actually Middle Ages.  Which is what Medieval means.  

Fortunately, I’ve come to stop worrying about misspelling it because we now have spell check, to which I’m eternally grateful, especially since at 74 I’m having difficulty remembering how to spell so many more words now.  Or for that matter, even remembering them.  Senility starts slowly, but in most cases, it’s inevitable, and I’m having my share of difficulties with it.  As my wife, queen of my heart that she is, is fond of pointing out (actually enjoys pointing out)  – You’re losing it!

However, I’ve always liked words, and I also liked knowing their origins.  As an example, the word awful means something terrible or at least bad.  Originally it meant to be filled with awe, or awe inspiring.  Sincere was taken from two Latin words, sine "without" and cera, "wax".  Contractors used to hollow out marble pillars to make smaller marble pillars and filled the holes with wax, thus a pillar that was sine cera, or sincere, had no wax in it. 

As I’ve said, the word medieval means Middle Ages, but has its origins in the Latin term medium aevum ("middle age") and first came into use in the 19th century, which makes me wonder why they needed to make up a word to define an era.  But, truth be told, I like it better than Middle Ages. 

I hope now that I've written about it, I'll remember how to spell it.


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