Skip to main content

Etymology is the part of linguistics (the scientific study of language) that explores the history of words. Etymology can trace the evolution and changes in both pronunciation and meanings of words. Etymology is not really an occupation: it is an interesting hobby that leads into history as well as a better understanding of the language. Then there are times when we run into some interesting, and perhaps surprising connections. For example “exit” and “coitus” share a common origin.

Let’s start with exit. The Latin base for “exit” is “exīre” meaning “to go out.” The Latin is from the prefix “ex” meaning “out” and the verb “īre” meaning “to go.” This is the same Latin base for the English “issue.”

“Exit” began its life in English in the theater as a stage direction. It literally means “he or she goes out.” In the seventeenth century, “exit” began to be used to mean “way out” and then in the nineteenth century it started to be used to indicate “door by which one leaves.”

English is, of course, a Germanic language which has acquired Latin vocabulary over the past 1,000 years through the French-speaking Norman invasion of 1066 and through technical and academic vocabulary from the Roman Catholic Church and science.

If we go back farther in time, we will find that both the Germanic languages and Latin have their origin in Proto-Indo-European. The designation “proto” indicates a language which has been reconstructed by linguistics but is not really used today. The Latin verb “īre” stems from the Proto-Indo-European *ei (linguists use the * to indicate that the word has been reconstructed) which was used to form “coitus,” “obituary,” and “transient.”

“Coitus” is from the past participle of the Latin verb “coīre” which is formed from the prefix “co” meaning “together” and the verb “īre” meaning “to go.”

“Obituary” also comes from a compound Latin verb “obīre” meaning “to go down” which is formed from the prefix “ob” meaning “down” and the verb “īre” meaning “to go.”

“Transient” is based on the present participle of the Latin verb “trānsīre” meaning “to go across, over” which is formed from the prefix “trāns” meaning “across, over” and the verb “īre” meaning “to go.” The Latin “trānsīre” is also the basic of the English words “trance,” “transit,” and “transition.”

Originally posted to Ojibwa on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 07:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Cranky Grammarians.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site