Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Verbum Hodiernum: TERRA

Today's word is the noun TERRA. The word means "earth" in the general sense of earth as opposed to sky, and it also means "land," in the sense of ground, the soil beneath our feet, and also in the sense of a country or region. The phrase orbis terrarum was commonly used to refer to the whole world.

There are few English phrases that actually contain this Latin word, such as "terra incognita" or "terra firma." Via Italian, we get "terra-cotta." There are also many English words derived from the Latin such as "subterranean," "terrain" and "territory." The dog breed "terrier" is so named because the dogs were trained to chase their quarry, such as badgers, into their underground burrows. The word "terrace" originally referred to a platform built for walking across a mound of earth, hence the name. And don't forget the great science fiction adjective, "Terran."

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:

Omnes terra sumus.

Terra es, et in terram ibis.

Nihil in terra sine causa fit.

Terra corpus est, at mens ignis.

Qui de terra est, de terra loquitur.

Nihil novum super terram.

Sol stat, sed terra movetur.

Redditur terrae corpus.

Sit tibi terra levis.

Omnia de terra facta sunt et in terram pariter revertentur.

Terrae, ad quam pergis, cape mores, quos ibi cernis.

Omnes homines terra et cinis.

Non est ad astra mollis e terris via.

Terra amat imbrem.

Amicitia vera, rara avis in terra.

Alia terra alios mores postulat.

Vox sanguinis clamat de terra.

Novos caelos et novam terram expectamus, in quibus iustitia habitat.

Omne quod exoritur, terra fit et moritur.

Diligite iustitiam, qui iudicatis terram.

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