Thursday, July 16, 2015

Language of Confusion: -Rated R, Part II

Part two of the hit trilogy.

Shut up. It might be.

First up today: reverberate. It showed up in the late sixteenth century meaning to force back for a couple of decades before it switched to echo. Although before there was reverberate it was reverberen—really. Then there’s reverberation, which showed up way earlier, in the late fourteenth century, meaning a reflection of light or heat. Reverberation came from the Old French reverberacion, intense or a flash of light, and before that, the Medieval Latin reverberationem and classical Latin reverberare, reverberate or bounce back. The re- is where the back comes from and verberare means barrage or beat. Verber, the noun that comes from, means whip or lash, and it’s related to verbena, which is laurel branches (I could not make this up) and because those are bendy and good for whipping, we have bounce back, and thus, reverberate. Sure, why not?

Next is incarcerate. It showed up in the mid sixteenth century, either coming from the Medieval Latin incarcerates/incarcerare or just straight from incarceration, which showed up in the early sixteenth century. That incarcerare literally means imprison, with the in- obviously meaning in and carcer meaning prison. So incarcerate always just meant incarcerate. I guess language is very steady when it comes to imprisonment.

Penetrate showed up in the early sixteenth century from the classical Latin penetrates/penetrare, put or enter into, and despite what you dirty minded people might be thinking, it has nothing to do with a certain part of the male anatomy.

Finally, concentrate showed up in the mid seventeenth century as a verb (it wasn’t a noun until the late nineteenth century, believe it or not), about at the same time as concentration did. Like reverberate, there was another version of the word in use, concenter, which came from the Italian concentrare—really! Italian! Not French! It’s a mix of the classical Latin com-, together, and centrum, center. Which is also the origin word of center (Gasp!).

Welp, that’s it for this week. Actually pretty interesting. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion.



  1. I can think of the odd person who could benefit from a long spell of incarceration.

    Well, not them personally, but everyone else would benefit from them being locked away.

  2. Wait, is that Darth Verber? If it is, you could be right in the middle of that trilogy.

  3. I'm a romance writer. That part of the male anatomy is almost always on my mind. hahaha

    I needed a dose of your snarky humor today. Thanks. :)

  4. You got me all excited with that R rating. Now I feel duped. Alas.

    ;) Just kidding. I DID like the link, though! And OF COURSE this will be a hit series!!!

  5. Loved reading this post here today! Was fun!

  6. Only three parts?

    Incarcerate made me think of penitentiary. I saw a show about something once where they talked about where that word came from. So, there have been some changes in incarceration words. Sort of.

  7. Dirty-minded people? I don't know what you could possibly mean.

    And I always find these posts interesting.

  8. I wonder what other rate words popped up in these two centuries. Another interesting lesson on words. Have a great weekend.

  9. I know penetrate can mean many other things, but for me, it's always dirty...


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