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equilibrium

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equilibrium

Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:25 am

• equilibrium •

Pronunciation: e-kwê-lib-ri-êm or ee-kwê-lib-ri-êm • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (No plural)

Meaning: 1. Balance, a state of equal distribution that prevents toppling or collapse, as to maintain one's equilibrium in walking. 2. The stability that results from balance, as the equilibrium of power in the Middle East or someone's mental equilibrium.

Notes: Image Today's word has a rather large if aged family. The adjective is equilibrious "in balance", as you might lead, hopefully, an equilibrious life. To do so, you would have to equilibrate [ee-kwi-lê-breyt] the various aspects of your life. The act or process of bringing things into balance is equilibration. For some reason the family of this Good Word is getting lost in the shuffle of technology; let's bring some equilibrium back to our use of the entire equilibrium family.

In Play: If you can't equilibrate all the aspects of your life, you might learn how to equilibrate a stick on your nose—or a plate on the stick—as equilibrists do: "At the circus we enjoyed an equilibrist who balanced a spinning plate in perfect equilibrium on the end of a thin, vertical rod balanced on his nose." However, we mention this word today for its broader applications: "After nearly tipping over from the discombobulation of parenthood, grandparenthood returns a bit of pleasant equilibrium to your life."

Word History: This word was almost traced from Latin aequilibrium (or equilibrium) "balance", based on aequi- "even, equal" + libra "balance". The root aequi- is a variant of aequalis from aequus "even, level" and the source of English equal. This sense of balance is why the sign of Libra, the 7th sign of the zodiac, is a set of scales. Little is known of either of these roots beyond Latin. (Today we tip our hats to Michael McWilliams of Raytheon Australia for his suggestion that we try to bring today's word into better equilibrium with its family.)

Image


I can't help surmising that Latin «libra», in the sense of a balance for measuring weights (cf the illustration, supra), does not itself derive from «libra» as a unit of weight (actually, mass). But then again, it might be the other way 'round !...

Henri
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:26 am

Portuguese: equilíbrio
Spanish/Italian: equilibrio
French: équilibre
Catalan: equilibri
Romanian: echilibru

There's a CD by Renato Russo, a Brazilian rock singer who's now dead, called Equilibrio Distante, sung in Italian. Great CD.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:32 am

I can't help surmising that Latin «libra», in the sense of a balance for measuring weights (cf the illustration, supra), does not itself derive from «libra» as a unit of weight (actually, mass).

But that would be pondo, as far as I know.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:51 am

Lewis gives both the sense «balance» and «unit of mass» for Latin «lîbra». «Pondo» is, of course, the ablative of «pondus», «weight» (i e, «mass»)....

Henri
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:55 am

I was talking about a slightly different pondo.

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Postby tcward » Sat Jul 16, 2005 12:32 pm

I can't help agreeing with Henri on this one. In fact, I was going to post what he had said, only in my own words (Henri has such a way...).

When something is balanced on a scale such as that pictured, it would make perfect sense to say that the two (being compared) are of "equal weight"... Non?

-Tim
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Postby tcward » Sat Jul 16, 2005 12:33 pm

I like the pondo - ponder connection. Would that be connected to compendium, by any chance...?

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Postby Stargzer » Sat Jul 16, 2005 4:47 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:I was talking about a slightly different pondo.

Brazilian dude


Both pondō and pondo seem to have the same definition but a different prounciation. See also this link for Latin Pronunciation.


BTW, I ran across a page of Latin Survival Phrases, complete with Classical pronunciations! :)

VALE!
Regards//Larry

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Jul 16, 2005 6:32 pm

Both pondō and pondo seem to have the same definition but a different prounciation.

Not exactly. Pondo (pound) is an indeclinable word that was originated from pondus, i, a masculine noun of the second declension.

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