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aperitif

A discussion of word histories and origins.

aperitif

Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:00 pm

Yesterday I was lucky to find at a book fair in my home town a magazine that deals of my treasured Portuguese language as its main theme. Should I say that I pounced on it and took out a subscription right away? I didn't have enough money, but good thing credit cards exist. Anyway, among the many interesting things that I've read, here's the etymology of aperitif, according to Língua Portuguesa magazine:

Aperitivo

Aperitivum era a palavra dos médicos antigos para purgantes. Nomeava a propriedade dos remédios de abrir o intestino e precipitar a saída de dejetos que congestionavam o organismo. Nada a ver com o sentido atual de petisco e derivados que nos estimulam a fome. A mudança vem da semelhança fonética com "apetite", do latim appetitus, desejo de comer e beber. Aperitivo, que antes só ajudava alguma coisa a sair do corpo, passou a nomear o que abre o apetite e, portanto, ajuda algo a entrar no corpo.

Aperitif

Aperitivum was old doctors' word for purgatives. It named the property of medicines to open up the intestines and precipitate the exit of refuse that congested the organism. It had nothing to do with the modern sense of appetizer and derivatives that whet hunger. The change comes from the phonetic similarity to "appetite", from Latin appetitus. Aperitif, which before only helped something to leave the body, went on to name what "opens" the appetite and, therefore, helps something to enter the body.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:48 pm

The Online Etymology Dictionary has a somewhat different and less scatological take, sans the reference to appetitus :

apéritif
1894, "alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite," from Fr., lit. "opening," from L. aperitivus, from aperire "to open" (see overt).


Perhaps our good doctor would care to weigh in on this pre/postprandial question ?...

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Postby Stargzer » Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:21 pm

Cassell's French Dictionary has:

apéritif a. (fem. apéritive) Aperient, appetizing.--n.m.An aperient, a laxitive; an appetizer, an aperitif.


And the Good Doctor's favorite has:

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

apéritif

SYLLABICATION: a·pé·ri·tif
NOUN: An alcoholic drink taken as an appetizer before a meal.
ETYMOLOGY: French, from Old French aperitif, purgative, from Medieval Latin aperitīvus, from Late Latin aperītvus, from Latin apertus, past participle of aperīre, to open. See wer-[sup]4[/sup] in Appendix I.




aperient

SYLLABICATION: a·pe·ri·ent
ADJECTIVE: Gently stimulating evacuation of the bowels; laxative.
NOUN: A mild laxative.
ETYMOLOGY: Latin aperiēns, aperient-, present participle of aperīre, to open. See wer-[sup]4[/sup] in Appendix I.
OTHER FORMS: a·per'i·ent —NOUN


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


So it appears that purgative, or opener, is the original meaning. The meaning seems to have migrated from something which performs an opening act to something that is the opening act. :roll:
Regards//Larry

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Postby gailr » Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:24 pm

While researching herbs and essential oils I encountered apertifs, purgatives, carminatives, cholagogues, emmenagogues, galactagogues... the mind--and the body--reels.

After reading all this I must disagree with Shakespeare [What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.] as "antiphlogistic" loses a little something.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:01 am

«Carminative» is to my mind a classic example of a word that doesn't mean what it «should» mean. Whenever I see this word, I can't help thinking that it ought to mean «scarlet», most likely due to the resemblance to carmine....

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Postby Stargzer » Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:25 pm

gailr wrote: . . . After reading all this I must disagree with Shakespeare [What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.] as "antiphlogistic" loses a little something.

gailr


Ah, no; phlogistic has a long yet now disreputable history, at least in physics and chemistry. :)

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
phlogiston
1730, "hypothetical inflammatory principle," formerly believed to exist in all combustible matter, from Mod.L. (1702), from Gk. phlogiston (1619 in this sense), neut. of phlogistos "burnt up, inflammable," from phlogizein "to set on fire, burn," from phlox (gen. phlogos) "flame, blaze" (see phlegm). Theory propounded by Stahl (1702), denied by Lavoisier (1775), defended by Priestley but generally abandoned by 1800.


Joseph Priestly, an English chemist and dissident cleric, discovered Oxygen and worked with other gases, including carbon dioxide. He left England after a mob burned down his house, believing him and his family to be still inside.

His house is located in [http://www.josephpriestleyhouse.org/]Northumberland[/url], Pennsylvania, "just down the road a piece" from the world headquarters of our most gracious host here, Dr. Goodword.

I have yet to perform my haj to both sites. Perhaps during an HC--Bucknell Patriot League contest . . .
Regards//Larry

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Oct 09, 2005 4:00 pm

Stargzer wrote: ...

Joseph Priestly, an English chemist and dissident cleric, discovered Oxygen and worked with other gases, including carbon dioxide. ...


Carl Wilhelm Scheele (for non-Swedish readers, a very brief biography is to be found here) is generally considered to be the first to have isolated oxygen, in 1772 or 1773. Unfortunately for his claim, the discovery was first published in his Chemische Abhandlung von derLuft und dem Feuer (the link is to a complete electronic version of the text) in 1777, two years after Priestly published the results of his own experiments performed in 1774. (This should not be taken to imply that a pigrimage to Priestly's home in Pennsylvania would not be well worth making....)

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:27 pm

Like many other chemists of his time, Scheele often worked under difficult and even dangerous conditions, which might explain his early death.


Even later scientist had their health problems. I've been searching but I can't seem to find a reference to a late-19th-century American poet I had to read in high school. He died while trying to invent a more powerful explosive. Obviously he was a better poet and chemist. :lol:
Regards//Larry

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Postby gailr » Mon Oct 10, 2005 9:34 pm

A trivia question for my science-minded friends:
What was exclaimed upon the first successful test of constantan? :D
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:07 am

Gail,

I couldn't resist looking it up on Wikipedia, but it's too much of a strain to try to find the quote. I'll have to wait til later to guage it's level of levity.
Regards//Larry

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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:44 am

Please, gailr and Larry ! This is a serious forum, on which we deal with enterprises of great pith and moment, and such scatological levity is hardly seemly !...

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Postby Stargzer » Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:02 pm

Mayhaps she should have posted under Res Diversae in the Pun Times thread?
Regards//Larry

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Postby gailr » Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:17 pm

Stargeezer, Henri is trying to introduce a damping factor and engaging in crosstalk that isn't worth a plugged nickel.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:51 pm

gailr wrote:Stargeezer, Henri is ... engaging in crosstalk that isn't worth a plugged nickel.
gailr


As usual...

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Postby Stargzer » Wed Oct 12, 2005 8:53 pm

M. Henri Day wrote:
gailr wrote:Stargeezer, Henri is ... engaging in crosstalk that isn't worth a plugged nickel.
gailr


As usual...

Henri


If I remember correctly, he doesn't shrink from such action because it goes with his chosen profession. The Alpha Agora is a busman's holiday for him. :lol:
Regards//Larry

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