Words

I finds words fascinating and surprising. Especially the connection between words that, in English, we would not give a second thought to connecting. I am of an older generation that during high school was required to take Latin, so from time to time, I see connections in the Latin roots. But words retain the ability to surprise.

For example, do you know the meaning of “lapidary“? Not a word part of our daily lexicon, but live long enough and you might run across it. A “lapidary” is a person who cuts or polishes precious stones. At first blush there might be a connection with the Latin “lapis” meaning “stone” as in the semiprecious stone lapis lazuli. And indeed lapis is the root of lapidary. This on the “noun” side of things.

Over on the verb side we have lapidare which means to “pelt with stones.” Lapidate has the meaning to kill with stones.

Combine that with the Latin dis- meaning “apart” and we get dilapidare meaning to destroy or squander. Which forms the English dilapidate (verb) and the adjective dilapidated. Something dilapidated may have literally with pelted “to death” with stones.

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