Friday, September 17, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: DE

Today's word is DE, one of the most common Latin prepositions. It is equivalent to such a wide range of English words that it is well worth taking a look at the article in the Lewis & Short Dictionary.

The basic idea is one of removal or separation, a semantic space it shares with the prepositions ex and ab.

Another important use of de is to express reference; compare the similar etymology of the English word "about" (which is from Old English ambutan, "from by the outside"). You can find this use of de in Latin book titles for example, such as Cicero's De Amicitia.

You can see de used to create many compound verb forms, including some where you might not recognize the compound because of a contraction: debeo, for example, is a contraction of de-habeo.

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:

Qui de terra est, de terra loquitur.

Ne aliis de se quisquam plus quam sibi credat.

De corde, non ex ore tantum.

Maioresque cadunt altis de montibus umbrae.

Plus aliis de te, quam tu tibi, credere noli.

De vivis nil nisi verum.

De absentibus nihil nisi bonum.

De absentibus nisi bene.

Nulla tam bona est fortuna, de qua nil possis queri.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Noli de mortuo gaudere, sciens quoniam omnes morimur.

Omnia de terra facta sunt et in terram pariter revertentur.

De alieno disce periculo.

Ne pugnes de alieno.

Omnia quae de terra sunt, in terram convertentur.

De fructu arborem cognosco.

Noli de mortuo inimico tuo gaudere.

De praeteritis non est querendum.

Faciamus de necessitate virtutem.

Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur.

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