Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Verbum Hodiernum: HOSTIS
Today's word is HOSTIS meaning a "foreigner, stranger," and more specifically an "enemy." The Latin word hostis refers to a public enemy, an enemy of one's people or country; the word inimicus denotes a more personal enemy (literally, the "un-friend").
This Latin word has some obvious English derivatives, such as "hostile," "hostility," etc. It is also the origin of the word "host," in the sense of an army or war-like expedition (e.g., the Biblical epithet "Lord of Hosts").
What is far more interesting is the connection to the English word, "guest," in the sense of a stranger. The English word probably derives from the Germanic root *gastiz, which is in turn derived from PIE *ghostis, the same root which gives rise to Latin hostis.
Here are some Latin sayings and phrases that use today's word:
Hostes non dormiunt.
Hostis honori invidia.
Tot hostes quot servi.
Hostis numquam spernendus.
Adversus hostes necessaria est ira.
Fides, etiam hosti, servanda est.
Hostium dona non sunt dona.
Mendax ab hoste non differt.
Amicus fronte, hostis pectore.
Frigus et fames durissimi hostes.
Pirata est hostis humani generis.
Ex amico inimicus, hostis ex socio.
Beneficus importunus hoste non minus.
Ab hoste maligno libera nos, Domine.
Pereunt auxilium qui dant suis hostibus.
Iram qui vincit, hostem superat maximum.