or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, January 23, 2009


Yesterday I wrote about the word "policy", and of course there's another "policy" in English, an insurance policy, and would it amaze you to learn that the two words are absolutely unrelated to one another, not even the slightest point of contact?

Let's begin at the beginning so you can see how the word slowly evolved. Indo-European "deik-", "to show", gave Greek "deiknynia", "to show". With the prefix "apo-", "off", the word mutated into "apodeixis", "proof", which eventually became in Middle Latin "apodissa", which meant "receipt", written proof that money or goods had changed hands. This in Italian became "polizza", with the same general meaning, and in Middle French "police", "contract", after which, in the middle of the sixteenth century, it showed up in English in its current form and with its current meaning.


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