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ANATHEMA

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ANATHEMA

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:26 am

• anathema •

Pronunciation: ê--thê-mê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A formal ecclesiastical curse accompanied by excommunication from a church or other religious organization. 2. A strong denunciation leading to rejection or ostracism from any organization. 3. An outcast, a person or object reviled, cast out, or avoided as a result of misdoings. (Click here to see alphaDictionary's Dixie-Yankee Test at work in Charleston, SC.)

Notes: Today's Good Word is hardly good; it refers to such a strong denunciation for such repulsive wrong-doing that the word itself is something of an anathema. You seldom hear it except in hyperbole, where it overstates the case. The adjective is anathematic and the verb, anathematize. The interesting aspect of this word is that it is commonly used as a mass noun without an or the, e. g. Kindness is anathema to terrorists.

In Play: The curse or the person cursed may be an anathema: "Rockefeller was known for his anathemas on railway companies that carried oil from his competitors at affordable prices." More often, however, it is used as a mass noun referring to the thing accursed: "The word chad has become anathema for election boards since the 2000 US elections."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Late Latin anathema "doomed offering, accursed thing", a word the Romans borrowed from Greek anatithenai, anathe- "to dedicate" based on ana- "up, back, anew"+ tithenai "to put." The original meaning was "an offering to the temple". How the Greek meaning migrated to the Latin sense of the word is something of a mystery. The Greek root tith- originated in the root *dhe/dho- "set, put," which also gave us English do and German tun "do". In Latin, the initial [dh] became [f], producing Latin facere "do, make" from which we get English factory and French faire "do, make". (Mr. Michael Mohr's offering of today's Good Word was far from doomed; indeed, we heartily thank him for it.)
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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:56 am

In Latin, the initial [dh] became [f], producing Latin facere "do, make" from which we get English factory and French faire "do, make".

And Portuguese fazer, Spanish hacer, Italian fare, Romanian face, Catalan fer.

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Postby frank » Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:14 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:
In Latin, the initial [dh] became [f], producing Latin facere "do, make" from which we get English factory and French faire "do, make".

And Portuguese fazer, Spanish hacer, Italian fare, Romanian face, Catalan fer. Brazilian dude


And in Dutch doen, deden (did), the only verb in this language that has not lost the PIE reduplication over the millenia.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:56 pm

What about tun, taten?

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Postby frank » Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:13 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:What about tun, taten?


Apparantly, in all the Germanic languages a reduplicated form can/could be found back (also English 'did').

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Postby portokalos » Mon Jul 03, 2006 2:37 am

It is used in Greece until today as an expression of indignation against other person the panathema πανάθεμα (σε)! Πα is fron παν- pan means all-absolutely.
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