Thursday, December 23, 2010
Verbum Hodiernum: AQUA
Today's word is the wonderful noun AQUA, water, which gives us so many English derivatives, like "aquariums" and "aquaducts" and "aquifers" and so on.
There are also some less obvious words, such as "ewer" which comes from Old French eviere, via the Latin aquarius, the adjectival form of aqua - and, of course, we know "Aquarius" in English as a sign of the zodiac. In a related derivation, English "sewer" comes from Old French sewiere, which is aquarius with the prefix ex-.
In Latin, there are some important phrases and idioms that use today's word, such as aqua et ignis, "water and fire," which serves as a shorthand for the necessities of life. Since the Romans used water-clocks, water could indirectly refer to time; aquam dare meant to give someone the time they needed to speak, while aquam perdere referred to wasting time.
Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:
In aqua scribis.
In mari aquam quaeris.
Transivimus per ignem et aquam.
Nec pleno flumine cernit aquas.
Omnes aquae in mare revertentur.
Eunt anni more fluentis aquae.
Vivis piscibus aqua, mortuis vinum.
Tempora labuntur more fluentis aquae.
A cane muto et aqua silente caveto.
Vitium capiunt, ni moveantur aquae.
Aquam e pumice postulas.
Ranae aquam ministras.
Cribro aquam hauris.
Haurit aquam cribro qui discere vult sine libro.
Aquae furtivae dulciores sunt.
Ardea culpat aquas, quia nescit nare per illas.
Contra hominem fortem et potentem aquam currentem, noli contendere.
Aquae non currenti et homini tacenti credere noli.
Amicus magis necessarius quam ignis et aqua.
In pugna miles, nauta peribit aqua.