origin of ‘rival’: one using the same stream as another

From ‘rīvus’, ‘a stream’, the Latin adjective ‘rīvālis’ (of, or belonging to, a stream) was used as a plural noun, ‘rīvāles’, to denote persons who have to use the same stream, and persons who have the same mistress, competitors in love.

Read More

‘scruple’ (literally a small sharp stone in one’s shoe)

‘scruple’—from Latin ‘scrūpŭlus’, literally ‘a small sharp or pointed stone’—probably because such stones used to get into the open shoes of the Romans, ‘scrūpŭlus’ came to denote ‘a pricking, uneasy sensation’, hence ‘trouble’, ‘doubt’, ‘scruple’

Read More

linguistic pondering over ‘Libra’ and ‘pound’

The English noun ‘pound’ is from Latin ‘pondō’, short for ‘lībra pondō’, literally ‘a pound’ (= ‘lībra’) ‘by weight’ (= ‘pondō’)—Latin ‘lībra’ meant ‘the Roman pound of twelve ounces’, and ‘pondō’ was a form of ‘pondus’, meaning ‘weight’.

Read More