Saturday, January 22, 2011
Verbum Hodiernum: LEVIS
Today's word is the Latin adjective LEVIS, meaning "light" (in weight), along with related metaphorical meanings such as "swift, light-footed," "slight, without weight," "easy to do," "easy to digest," "mild, gentle," etc. This Latin adjective shares the same root as the verb levare, "to raise" (which is a matter of weight, of course!).
From Latin levis we get the English word "levity," and from the verb levare, we get "lever," "elevate," and also "relieve" and "alleviate." Likewise legerdemain, "sleight of hand," which we borrowed from the French, also comes from the Latin levis.
The vowel is short in levis, but there is another Latin word, lēvis, with a long vowel, which has a quite different meaning: "smooth, not rough."
Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs:
Fortuna levis est dea.
Rapida fortuna ac levis.
Levis sit tibi terra!
Levis est labor omnis amanti.
Omne in amore malum leve est.
Leve fit, quod bene fertur, onus.
Parva leves capiunt animos.
Tempus facit aerumnas leves.
Maxima bella ex levibus causis.
Lucra levia crumenam efficiunt gravem.
Si non vincis parva et levia, quando superabis difficiliora?
Quid levius vento? Fulmen.
Quod praeteriit, levius est.
Multae manus onus levius faciunt.
Multae manus onus levius reddunt.
Levissima res oratio.