Thursday, January 28, 2010

A new take on MacDonald's

"Fornix" is the Latin word for "vault or arch." "Fornix" is closely related to "fornication." It seems that prostitutes in ancient Rome used to hang out under the arches of certain public buildings. The act of carrying on an illicit sexual relationship consequently came to be called "going under the arches" or fornication.

[From the MedicineNet website.]


empty said...

And it seems that that word for "arch" is derived from a word for "oven". So furnace is also in this family, as are (more remotely) warm and thermal.

Stuart said...

Where do the arm-chair principles come from on which I am inclined to speculate about "derivation" relationships among furnus (oven, bakery), fornax (furnace, oven, kiln) and fornix (arch, vault, vaulted opening; monument arch; brothel, cellar for prostitution) ? I get these translations from the Latin Translation Assistant.

I think: "arch" is more general than than "oven", and "oven" is a just a thing which is arched - the opening, at least. So "oven" might be derived from "arch". On the other hand, ovens are specific things, and their construction principles involve an opening or arch. So "arch" might be a generalization (not merely "more general" !) from "oven", i.e. "derived" from it.

That kind of thinking starts with word similarities, then leaves them behind in favor of conceptual similarities. I feel that's a dodgy approach, but it's so easy ...

I hope marie-lucie is in a good mood when and if she sees the above speculations. In a ruthless frame of mind, she recently offered cake to Etienne and me, but I decided that the better part of valor was to run away.

Ø said...

I don't think that armchair principles can decide the question, but armchair research suggests that the word for arch is derived from the word for oven and not the other way round, since the relationship between the oven word and Greek and Germanic words relating to heat must be older.

A.J.P. Crown said...

You two ought to read the current post at Poemas del rio Wang, where “Lucus a non lucendo” is discussed.

Karen said...

Hmmm... this is very interesting indeed. Something that I won't tell my kids about..Not yet. :-)

empty said...

Just yesterday for the first time I had to learn how to remove unwanted comments, thanks to two of the same three spammers who just struck here.

Stuart said...

Recently I found that you can activate

Settings / comments / comment moderation

"only on posts older than X days". I entered 30, and for the first time today got an email notification with a new comment to a post older than thirty days. At the bottom of the email was a section

Publish this comment.
Reject this comment.
Moderate comments for this blog.

Following the Publish link took me to a page where I selected "reject". That was all I had to do to get rid of the comment. It had not been visible among the comments to the blog, but quarantined in wait for just such a decision as I made. I had at first followed the link to the blog page itself, and was confused at not seeing the new comment.

Very convenient !