etymologies
a ?b ?c ?d ?e ?f ?g ?h ?i ?j ?k ?l ?m ?n ?o ?p ?q ?r ?s ?t ?u ?v ?w ?x ?y ?z




aesthetics: the study or theory of beauty [< G aisthetikos: sensitive < aisthanesthai: to feel < IE avis-: to perceive] lit. perception; the study or theory of perceiving
cf. Kant's Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Ästhetik)

analogy: similarity in some respects between things otherwise unlike [< G analogia: proportion < analogos: in due ratio < (ana-: according to + logos: word, reckoning (< legein: to speak, choose, read < IE leg-: to gather))] lit. proportional reckoning or gathering

aphorism: a short sentence expressing a general truth, maxim [< ML aphorismus < G aphorismos: distinction, determination < aphorzein: to divide, mark off < (apo-: from + horizein: to bound, limit (< horos: boundry, limit))] lit. a limited, or (more likely) limiting, expression

civil: of a community of citizens, their government or their interrelations [< L civilis < civis: citizen < IE kei-: to lie; bed, couch, night's lodging, home; beloved, dear] lit. of that which lies or supports lying (spatially or temporally); of that which is held dear

coup: a blow; a sudden, successful move or action; brilliant stroke [< (ME coupe & Fr coup) < OFr colp < ML colpus < L colaphus: a cuff, box on the ears < G kolaphos: buffet] lit. a punch or beating
Note: Over time the word's brutality has lessened, its inception denoting a veritable beating and the current parlance the much gentler connotations of efficacious action.

deity: the state of being a god; divine nature; a god [< LL deitas: divinity < L divinitas < L deus: god < IE deiwos: god < dei-: to gleam, shine] lit. that which gleams; a gleam
Note: Its connotations of transience and deception derived from its origin from terms signifying things of an epiphenomenal or chimerical nature make this word's use as an appellation ripe with the possibility of intended derision.

dejection: lowness of spirits; depression [< ME dejeccioun < L dejicere (< de-: down + jacere: to throw (< IE ye-: to throw, do))] lit. condition of being or having been thrown down
Note: Its common meaning, a lowered state, shows the evolution of the word's usage. A concurrent and more accurate usage upheld by the medical field is that of feces or defecation, the latter being an act the above etymology captures vividly.

dialectic: the art or practice of the logical examination of an idea involving the demarcation of its thesis and antithesis [L dialectica < G dialektike: the dialectic < dialektikos: discourse, discussion, dialect < dialegesthai: to disourse, talk < (dia: between, through, across < disa: in two, apart < IE dis- < dwo: two) + (legein: to choose, talk < IE leg-: to gather, collect)] lit. the art of discussing through, the art of coalescing the divided
Note: The former etymological meaning is that of the method used by Plato, who himself coined the term. The latter is that of the method dialectics was to become in modern and post-modern philosophy.

elation: feeling of exultant joy; high spirits [< elatus (past participle of efferre): to bring out, lift up < ex-: out + ferre: to carry, bear] lit. a carrying or bringing out; out-bearing

epilepsy: a recurrent disorder of the nervous system, characterized by seizures of excessive brain activity which cause mental and physical dysfunction [< LL epilepsia < G epilepsia, epilepsis: a seizure < epilambanein: to seize upon < (epi-: upon + lambanein: seize < IE (s)lagw-: to grasp, seize))] lit. a seizing upon
Note: The connotations of the Greek word lambenein run the gamut of apprehension from the physical to the noetic. It seems possible that epilepsy etymologically connotes both the seizing of the body by the mind's vertigenousness and the seizing of the mind by its own process of hyper-intellection (or fruits thereof).

etymology: the origin and development of a word, affix, phrase, etc. [< OFr ethimologie < L etymologia < (G etymon: literal sense of a word (< etymos: true) + L -logia < G logos: word (< legein: to speak, choose, read < IE leg-: to gather))] lit. the true reading of a word

experience: anything observed or lived through; knowledge or skill from this; to personally encounter or feel [< L experientia: trial, proof, experiment < experiri: to try, test < IE per-: to try, risk, come over, transport] lit. tried and tested perception
Note: Experience is revealed to be something worked through--what perception is built up into--not the immediate perceptual encounter itself. Aristotle in the Posterier Analytics states as part of his generative psychology that "from repeated memory of the same thing experience [empeiria] arisis" (100a 5). The Greek empeiria is derived from the same Indo European root as the Latin experientia, both, then, essentially a consious effort toward the re-positioning of perception.

extrovert: a person who is active and expressive [< (L extra-: additional < exter, exterus: on the outside, outward < ex-: out of, away from < IE eghs: out) + (ML versio: a turning < L vertere: to turn < IE wert-: to turn, wind < wer-: to turn, bend)] lit. that which turns, or is turned, outward
Note: The etymological meaning refers to something focused on or geared toward exteriority. ("Wind" from wert- can add a connotation of determinism, and "bend" from wer- can add a connotation of coercion.)
cf. Sex, Lies, and Videotape

facetiousness: joking or trying to be jocular, especially at an inappropriate time [< L facetia: a jest < facetus: elegant, witty < fax: torch < IE ghwok-: to gleam < ghel-: to shine] lit. shining; a source of this

hermit: a person who lives alone or in seclusion [< G eremites: of the desert < eremos: empty, desolate < IE er-: loose, distant, to seperate] lit. a desert dweller or distant person

ill: causing harm or evil; not healthy; not according to rule; to act weird [ME < ON illr < Gmc ihila < IE elk-: hungry, bad] lit. bad
Note: In slang ill characterizes idiosyncratic action. This is conspicuously represented in this instance by slang's ever laconic and caustic abbreviations as the apostrophe-deficient I will. In virtue of this, slang's ill is the synthesis of the conflict between to different processes (whose signifiers share with it and between themselves a coincidental phonetic similarity), those denoted by illation and elation. The former, conceptually explicated, means literally to bear the without from within (rationality), the latter--the former's antithesis--to bear the within from without (religiousity). Illing is the clashing of these two processes in the form of bearing from within the within-bearing without, that is, defining one's own identity and its relation to otherness by means of willing, action. It is the dissolution of the two alienated and negatively defined worlds (the within and without, nous and physis) by means of the positively defining and essence-demarcating interaction of the two in the form of will.

illation: the act of drawing a conclusion or making an inference; the conclusion drawn; inference [< L illatio < illatis < illatus (past participle of inferre: to bring in) < in-: in + latus (past participle of ferre: to bring) < tlatus < EI tlt? < tel-: to lift, bear] lit. in-lifting or in-bearing

imbecile: a retarded person; a very foolish or stupid person [< Fr imb?ile < L imbecilis, imbecillus: feeble, weak < (in-: without + baculus: staff (< IE bak-: staff))] lit. something lacking support
Note: The connotations of weakness accompanying the weighty and intimately related phallic and power-wielding representations contributed by staff describe something bereft of backbone, its essential character.
cf. Rousseau's Second Discourse

infer: to derive by reasoning, to draw an inference [< L inferre: to bring or carry in < in-: in + ferre: to carry, bear] lit. to carry or bear within

instinct: an inborn tendency to behave in a way characteristic of a species; a primal psychological force or drive [< L instinctus: to impel, instigate < (in-: in + stinguere: to prick (< IE steig-: a point))] lit. a prick from within

luxury: the use and enjoyment of the best and most costly things that offer the most physical comfort and satisfaction; anything contributing to such enjoyment [< OFr < L luxuria < luxus: extravagance, excess; dislocated < IE leug-: to bend] lit. dislocation or that which contributes to this
cf. Rousseau's Second Discourse

mortmain: the transfer of lands to a corporate body for perpetual ownership; the influence of the past regarded as controlling the present [< ME morte-mayne < OFr mortemain < ML mortua manus: dead hand < (mori: to die (< IE mer-: to die, to be worn out) + manus: hand, strength; power over (< IE men-: grasp, hold))] lit. a strong hold; the grasp of power
Note: Both of the word's meanings move from flaccidity to rigidity, taking full advantage of the etymology's fecundity. The former in the sense that the transfer takes place once the property is under no restrictions of ownership, for the owner's grip supples with death; and further transfers of ownership are precluded by a perpetual clinch. The latter in the sense that though a hand may be yeilding upon death, it stiffens--gaining strength in that it becomes increasingly unflexible--with time.

narcosis: a condition of deep stupor which passes into unconsciousness and paralysis [< G narkosis < narkoun: to benumb < narke: numbness, < IE nerk- < (s)ner-: to twist, entwine] lit. diseased condition of entwinement

paradigm: a pattern, example or model; a concept accepted in the intellectual community because of its facility in explaining a complex process, idea, or set of data [< LL paradigma < G paradeigma < (para-: alongside (< IE pera- < per-: a going beyond, forward, through)) + (G deigma: example < deiknynai: to show < IE deik-: to point out, show, pronounce solemnly)] lit. that which is beyond pointing; something that shows or explains throughout

passion: suffering of a martyr; extreme compelling emotion, the object of this [< LL passio: a suffering < L passus (< pati: to endure) < IE pe-: to hurt, to suffer, to harm] lit. a thing's suffering or the suffering caused by this thing
Note: It is only fitting that the fierce drive associated with passion be leaden with connotations of great pain. The two are intimately connected.

pervert: practitioner of sexual deviation [< L pervertere: to overturn, corrupt < per- (intensive) + vertere: to turn < IE wert-: to turn, wind < wer-: to turn, bend] lit. that which turns (the semantic significance of an intenstive in etymology is uncertain)
Note: The etymological meaning refers to something which is itself spinning, diverting or changing, or the cause of this in something else. ("Wind" from wert- can add a connotation of determinism, and "bend" from wer- can add a connotation of coercion.)
cf. My Own Private Idaho

proletary: a member of the lowest class of citizens [< L proletarius: a propertyless citizen of the lowest class whose sole contribution to the state is reproduction < proles: offspring < (pro-: forth + base of alere: nourish (< IE al-: to grow, nourish) + facere: to make, to do)] lit. that which produces nourishment and growth
Note: The etymological meaning refers to something that is nourishing and generative. This is both a positive and negative designation; positive in that it is supportive and constructive, negative in that it possess a generative quality on which something feeds. Thus it is necessary and yet of little significance in itself. Proletariat on the face of it (proles + ary + ate) means literally possessing (things) pertaining to offspring: this class is essentially marked by reproduction. Notice the distantly retained conotations of its being merely a form of sustenance in "offspring"--covertly presenting itself, or labled, as what a thriving society must spring from. Further, its earliest uses in English (late 19th century) swayed between proletariat and proletariate; the latter--rare today but not extinct--in overtly keeping with its Latin suffixes gives the word an anagrammatic peculiaraity, making for a word that can inventively harbor multiple unmistakably Marxian characteristics of its referent. What follows the latin prefix pro- is an anagram for retaliate, which when combined with the various meanings of the prefix creates equally the literal meanings of for-retaliate (-tion), favoring-retaliate (-tion), and before-retaliate (-tion). Represented respectively, the proletariat naturally resists exploitation; it will inevitably retaliate; it is by retaliation that they slough off their exploitators and establish themselves as an econimically viable class, if not abolish the classes themselves--afterwards becoming the non-proletariate.

sarcasm: a blatantly taunting or sneering remark [< LL sarcasmos < G sarkasmos < sarkazein: to tear flesh like dogs, speak bitterly < sarx: flesh < IE twerk-: to cut] lit. a flesh-cutting remark
Note: The appearence of flesh in the etymology shows sarcasm's absence of causticity, indicating a concentration on surface qualities; hence the lack of depth of both its target and the utterance's affect--a mere flesh wound. This supports its status as the lowest form of wit.

sardonic: disdainfully or bitterly sneering [< Fr sardonique < L sardonius (sardo: acute) < G sardonios: used of bitter or scornful smiles or laughter] lit. that which is of an acutely bitter quality
Note: The etymology shows remarks of a sardonic nature to be of a sharp and biting quality, placing it higher than sarcasm in the categorical gradations of humor, and thus breaking their synonymity. Further, the absence of a noun to designate the instance of a sardonic comment could, to paraphrase Peter Fuss, indicate the acute causticity and subtleness characterisitc of its use. A noun form is inimical to the concept, making bulky and static what is both sharp and volatile.

seduce: to entice or persuade to do something disobedient [LL seducere: to mislead, lead aside < (se-: apart < IE se-, swe-: apart, lone + ducere: to lead < IE deuk-: to lead, pull)] lit. to pull apart; to make solitary
Note: Though not related etymologically, the Greek word phtheirein means both to seduce and to destroy. The former meaning is limited to action taken by women--markedly commensurate with the latter sense, attributed to men, also meaning to kill or slay.

shaman: a priest or medicine man who is believed to be able to heal and to foretell the future through communication with good and evil spirits[< Russ < Tungusic šaman < Prakrit samana: Buddhist monk < Sans sramana: ascetic--akin to sram: to fatigue] lit. one characterized by, or causing in others, abstinence or fatigue
cf. Natural Born Killers

surtout: a man's long, closefitting overcoat [Fr trans.: overall < (sur- < L super, supra: above < IE eksuper < (eghs + uper): over) + (tout < L totus: all, whole < IE teu-: to swell)] lit. over all; swelling over
cf. Melville's Benito Cereno

teleology: the study of final causes; the fact or quality of being directed toward a definite end or of having an ultimate purpose [< ModL teleologia < (G telos, teleos: an end, completion (< IE kwel-: to turn) + legein: to speak, choose, read (< IE leg-: to gather))] lit. the study of turning points
Note: The Webster's New World College Dictionary states that the original meaning of telos was probably "turning point."