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Prodigy

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Prodigy

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:00 pm

Today's Delancey Place: St. Thomas Aquinas coined the word prodigy and defined it as the offspring of a mating between a human and an animal. The article does not trace the circuitous route from that meaning to today's usage as an outstanding or precocious individual. Any guesses?

And by the way, the book from which the article is taken maintains that all of us are perverts somewhere along a sliding scale! Personally, I am not telling.
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Re: Prodigy

Postby Slava » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:37 pm

My honest opinion? :!: Never trust Delancey Place.:!: I do not recall ever having been able to confirm anything anyone here has posted quoting this site.

Thomas Aquinas died in 1274. According to etymonline, the first recorded use of prodigy is from 1658.

Anyone care to take a stab at filling in the centuries?
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Re: Prodigy

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:38 pm

This was purportedly a quote from the author of a new book entitled Perv that includes the idea of the sliding scale I mentioned. Not from Delancey place per se.
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Re: Prodigy

Postby Audiendus » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:47 pm

Slava wrote:Thomas Aquinas died in 1274. According to etymonline, the first recorded use of prodigy is from 1658.

That is the first recorded use of prodigy to mean "child with exceptional abilities", but etymonline gives the first recorded use in any sense as "late 15th century". That's still somewhat later than Aquinas, but he was an Italian writing in Latin, so it seems unlikely that he coined the English word! Perhaps he just took the existing Latin word prodigium, which can mean "a wonder" or "something extraordinary", and used it in a narrow, pejorative sense.

I note that some English dictionaries include "something abnormal or monstrous" among the meanings of "prodigy".
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Re: Prodigy

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:52 pm

So both a centaur and the young Mozart were prodigies. But what about the prodigal son? Foolish, but neither wondrous nor monstrous, an ever repeating story.
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Re: Prodigy

Postby Slava » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:47 pm

Perry Lassiter wrote:So both a centaur and the young Mozart were prodigies. But what about the prodigal son? Foolish, but neither wondrous nor monstrous, an ever repeating story.

No relation. See Prodigal.
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Re: Prodigy

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:42 am

I have known a few child prodigies who were monsters.
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