Tag Archives: Etymology


ɡɔːdiːˈeɪməs gaudeamus: merry-making by college students   Turn on the spigot Pour the beer and swig it And gaudeamus igit- (uh) -tur Tom Lehrer “Bright College Days” (1959)* Gaudeamus is the first-person plural present active subjunctive of the Latin verb gaudeo, “to rejoice”—so it means “let us rejoice”. It’s the first word of a thirteenth-century … Continue reading Gaudeamus


ˈɡæŋɡrəl gangrel (noun): a vagabond, vagrant or wandering beggar; a lanky, loose-limbed person; a toddler (Scottish hillwalking: a person who wanders far among the hills)   Only the real gangrel penetrates this remote corrie with its shivering waters and black Sgurr. Hamish Brown, Hamish’s Mountain Walk (1978) Brown is talking about Loch a’ Choire Mhoir, … Continue reading Gangrel

Latin Plurals: Nouns Ending In -a

First Latin scholar: Crispin, I have some fresh lime. Would you decline a tequila? Second Latin scholar: Certainly. Tequil-a, tequil-am, tequil-ae, tequil-ae, tequil-ā. Tequil-ae, tequil-ās, tequil-ārum, tequil-īs, tequil-īs. That’s a very old joke, referring to Latin first-declension feminine nouns. (My, what a laugh we used to have at the expense of those poor Classics students.) … Continue reading Latin Plurals: Nouns Ending In -a


ˈbəʊɡəs bogus (noun): a press for producing counterfeit coins; a counterfeit coin bogus (adjective): not real, counterfeit, existing in order to deceive bogus (adjective, 21st Century): bad, wrong, inappropriate  Bogus is a potentially expensive word. Back in 2008, the science writer Simon Singh wrote an opinion piece for The Guardian newspaper, entitled “Beware The Spinal … Continue reading Bogus