• arcane •
Pronunciation: ah(r)-kayn • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Mysteriously secret, known or understood only by initiates, those with special access.
Notes: This word is the adjective for arcanum (plural: arcana) "secret knowledge accessible only to members or initiates". This is the stuff of fraternal organizations like the Royal Arcanum, a venerable fraternal life insurance society. The adverb is arcanely and an arcanist is someone with secret information. So far the noun arcanity hasn't made the major dictionaries but it is floating around the internet.
In Play: This is a good word for referring to rarities most people would not understand, such as arcane reading habits or, "Sarah's knowledge of arcane economic principles occasionally pays off." Play with it? Sure: "He is a man of such arcane knowledge that even he barely understands it."
Word History: Today's word comes from the Latin adjective arcanus "shut up, closed" hence "secret". The adjective is based on arca "a chest, box, safe", a good place for secrets. Arca is also the origin of our word ark, as in the Ark of the Covenant, kept in the Holy of Holies in the Israelite tabernacle, and containing the Ten Commandments. The Latin word may have been influenced by the Hebrew word for "ark", aron, but it is unrelated to arcade, which derives from Latin arcus "arch".
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- Grand Panjandrum
- Posts: 1464
- Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
- Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil
Brazilian dude wrote:Today's word comes from the Latin adjective arcanus "shut up, closed" hence "secret". The adjective is based on arca "a chest, box, safe", a good place for secrets.
I'd never thought about that before.
Never, ever; or only arcanely thought about it?
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
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