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cataracts

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cataracts

Postby sardith » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:37 pm

Oh RATS! :P

I was just SURE that this word, cataracts, had its go around in Dr. Goodword's word processor, or perhaps I was just hoping against hope. :cry:

I'm doing some reading for a class, and it'd be very helpful if I could understand the metamorphosis of the word, cataracts from the meaning: waterfall or deluge; to, the opaque area on the lens of the eye. :?

So, I'm calling on any of you out there in Dr. Goodword's team of 'wordies', (I don't know what you prefer to be called), you've all been so helpful to me in the past. :wink:

I did find the following information on the internet, but I need someone to explain it to me:


1430, from L. cataracta "waterfall," from Gk. katarhaktes "swooping, rushing down," from kata "down" + arhattein "to strike hard." Its alternative sense in L. of "portcullis" was probably passed through M.Fr. to form the Eng. meaning "eye disease" (1547), on the notion of "obstruction." :roll:

Thank you for any assistance and I would like to suggest that we get this one into the queue of possible words for a Dr. Goodword article. It would be awesome! :D

Sardith :mrgreen:
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~
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Re: cataracts

Postby gailr » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:28 pm

These three links are from etymonline; hope this helps.

cataract (n.)
early 15c., "a waterfall, floodgate," from Latin cataracta "waterfall," from Greek katarhaktes "waterfall, broken water; a kind of portcullis," noun use of an adjective compound meaning "swooping, down-rushing," from kata "down" (see cata-). The second element is traced either to arhattein "to strike hard" (in which case the compound is kat-arrhattein), or to rhattein "to dash, break."

Its alternative sense in Latin of "portcullis" probably was passed through French to form the English meaning "eye disease" (early 15c.), on the notion of "obstruction" (to eyesight).

glaucoma (n.)
1640s, from Greek glaukoma "cataract, opacity of the lens" (cataracts and glaucoma not distinguished until c.1705), from -oma + glaukos, an adjective of uncertain origin (see glaucous)

glaucous (adj.)
"bluish-green, gray," 1670s, from Latin glaucus "bluish-green," of uncertain origin; used in Homer of the sea as "gleaming, silvery" (apparently without a color connotation); used by later writers with a sense of "bluish-green, gray," of olive leaves and eyes. Homer's glauk-opis Athene probably originally was a "bright-eyed," not a "gray-eyed" goddess. Greek for "owl" was glaux from its bright, staring eyes.
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Re: cataracts

Postby Slava » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:35 pm

I'm going with the idea that the eye affliction is more related to the portcullis concept.

A portcullis was a gate in grooves that could be lowered into place to block access to a castle or other fortification. I believe they were most often used over waterways. This meant they had to be a grate, not a solid wall.

As humans age, the onset of cataracts may be viewed as a portcullis. It doesn't completely block everything, but over time will cause problems in the passage of light.

Put another way, as in a cascade, it is a falling down of something over something else that blocks the view from inside.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Re: cataracts

Postby sardith » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:10 am

Thank you, gailr.

That is more information than I was able to come up with! :)

Sardith
p.s. Love the March embellishments to your emblem!


Thank you as well, Slava.

I suspected that there was something to the portcullis notion, but was unable to wrap my brain around it. I hate it when that happens. :roll:

Once again, your help will keep me from being bogged down. :D

Sardith :mrgreen:
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~
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