Thursday, September 8, 2011

Verbum Hodiernum: CARMEN

Today's word is CARMEN, which is a third-declension neuter noun, genitive: carminis.

Latin meaning and usage: The basic meaning is a tune or a song, as well as a verse composition, such as a poem. It can also refer to a magic formula or incantation, as well as oracular statements or moral aphorisms in verse form. It is what you could call any kind of ritualized language, as distinct from everyday speech.

Latin word formation: You can see the same root in the name of the Roman goddess Carmentis (also known as Carmenta) who was associated with prophecy and supposedly pronounced oracles on the Capitoline Hill. The festival of the Carmentalia was celebrated on January 11th and 15th.

English cognates and derivatives: The English word "charm" comes from this root, via the Old French charmer and the Late Latin verb carminare.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which also contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below:

Carmina non dant panem.

Carmina poscit amor.

Qui bona vina bibunt, etiam bona carmina scribunt.

Levant et carmina curas.

Carmina morte carent.

Debemus carmina Baccho.

Minuentur atrae carmine curae.

Cuius enim panem manduco carmina canto.

Non scribit, cuius carmina nemo legit

Qui bona vina bibunt, etiam bona carmina scribunt.

Carmina iam moriens, canit exequialia cygnus.

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