Thursday, January 17, 2019

Language of Confusion: Get -Rect, Part II

We’re back! As you’ll recall from last week, the -rect words come from the Proto Indo European root reg-, which means move in a straight line. It has a lot of word-descendants, and this week we’re going to look at words that still have reg- in them.

Regular showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French reguler, although that meant ecclesiastical—relating to the church. That word comes from the Late Latin regularis, containing rules for guidance (does seem like a church thing), from the classical Latin regula, rule. In English it had the church-y meaning, too, basically meaning the opposite of secular, but then in the late sixteenth century it meant things that followed patterns, which is more similar to how it was used in Latin, really.

Region showed up in the fourteenth century meaning “tract of land of a considerable but indefinite extent”, which I guess is pretty much how we use it today. It comes from the Anglo French regioun, Old French region, and classical Latin regionem, which, yeah, just region. It’s from the verb regere, to rule, set straight, or guide.

That rule part of regere is about to become significant. See, regime showed up in 1792 (yes, a specific year!) from the French régime, which came from the Old French regimen and classical Latin regimen, which could mean regime or government. That’s also where we get regimen from, although it showed up in the fifteenth century, also from Old French’s regimen. And regiment is from there, too. It’s even older in fact, having shown up in the late fourteenth century, although back then it referred only to a government, not becoming an army unit until the sixteenth century. It’s from the Old French regiment and classical Latin regimentum, administration or rule, so the government thing kind of makes sense. If anything, the fact that it’s a part of the armed forces is the weird part.



  1. Well, the armed forces is a part of government.

  2. Regular as the opposite of secular... Interesting.

  3. Regime could be used to describe the Idiot-In-Chief and his cabal of cronies and kleptocrats currently squatting at 1600 Pennsylvania.

  4. I would say I'm non-regular.
    Um, wait...

  5. This is so interesting!


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