Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Verbum Hodiernum: MANUS

Today's word is MANUS, a fourth-declension noun meaning "hand." In addition, it can also mean "band," as in an armed band or fighting force. As you would guess with such an important part of the human anatomy, there are dozens of different idioms using this word in Latin; it's well worth taking a look at the Lewis & Short dictionary entry to acquaint yourself with some of them!

There are many English words that come from the Latin word manus and its derivatives. Consider the adjective "manual" as in the phrase "manual labor," or the noun "manual" (i.e. a handbook). We still use the word "manuscript," even though it is not exactly written by hand anymore, and we still "manufacture" things, even though we might use machines to actually do the making. The chains that bind someone's hands are called "manacles," and you can also get a "manicure" (as opposed to a "pedicure"). The words "manner" and "manage" and "maintain" also derive from the Latin, via French, as does the word "maneuver." Even the word "manure" ultimately comes from Latin manus; it originally referred to manual labor (manu operari), but starting in the 16th-century, the English meaning came to be restricted to the spreading of animal fertilizer, i.e. manure.

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:

Erat manus Domini cum eis.

Longae regum manus.

Legis manus longa.

Ex propriis manibus vivo.

Mors et vita in manibus linguae.

Nescit quot digitos habeat in manu.

Manus manum lavat.

Quae fugiunt, celeri carpite poma manu.

Melior est avis in manu quam decem in aere.

Ubi quis dolet, ibidem et manum habet.

In flammam ne manum inicito.

Prudens in flammam ne manum inicito.

Multae manus onus levant.

Multae manus onus magnum levissime reducunt.

Multorum manibus grande levatur onus.

Lingua quam manu promptior.

Manum admoventi sunt vocanda numina.

Cum Minerva manum quoque move.

Cum Minerva manus etiam move.

Manus haec inimica tyrannis.

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