Thursday, February 1, 2018

Language of Confusion: Legs, Part IV

More -lect words, because boy are there a lot of them.

Lecture showed up in the fourteenth century meaning written works or literature, then learning from books before what we known it as. It comes from the Medieval Latin lectura, a reading, and classical Latin lectus, which is the past participle of legere, a word we should all be familiar with by now. Legere has a few different meanings, like select and choose, but to read is also one of them that formed a bit later, and kind of makes some of the other -lect words make more sense. Almost.

Plus there are other word related ones, like lesson, which showed up in the early thirteenth century from the Old French le├žon, from the classical Latin lectionem, a reading. Basically it’s a -lect word that got softened by French. Then there’s lexicon, from the Middle French lexicon or Latin lexicon, which all are just lexicon. It didn’t change much over the years, is what Im saying. It’s from the Greek lexikon, which, yeah, also just lexicon, and is from their word legein, to say.

Switching gears, let’s go look at neglect. It showed up in the sixteenth century from the classical Latin neglectus, the past participle of neglegere, to neglect or be indifferent to. The ne is from a Proto Indo European root, ne-, meaning not, while legere is select or choose and the g… is just there. Anyway, put it all together and it’s “to not select” which… I guess follows.

Next, intellect and intelligence, which both showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French intellect and intelligence. Not much imagination there. They’re both traced to the classical Latin intelligere, to understand, a combination of inter- (between) and legere, read or select. So it’s read or select between? What?

And that’s it for this week, although there are STILL words to look at. As a couple of people have already pointed out, this series has legs.



  1. Maybe selective about what they read...

  2. AS in
    Devin Nunes neglected to acquire any intelligence of his own. He needs to go back to playing with cows.

  3. One must not neglect the lecture...

  4. Lectern's got to be in the mix too.

  5. Lectures about the lexicon will commence without neglect.

  6. I'd attend an intellectual lecture about lexicon if it din't neglect to include a piece on dialect.


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