Friday, May 27, 2011

Verbum Hodiernum: MENS

Today's word is the noun MENS (gen. mentis) which is of course familiar from English words like "mental" and also from compound forms like "demented." You can also sometimes see the Latin phrase compos mentis used in English writing.

In Latin, mens was personified as the goddess Mens who had her holiday on June 7. Both the Latin word mens and the English word "mind" go back to an Indo-European root *men- having to do with the realms of mind and memory.

You can also see the Latin word mens at work in the adverbial forms of the later Romance languages, such as Italian -mente - e.g. perfettamente, semplicemente, honestamente, etc. (while in English we use the suffix - ly to create equivalent adverbs: "perfectly," "simply," "honestly," etc.). You can actually see that usage emerging already in Latin as in this phrase from Catullus: Obstinata mente perfer.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs:

Mens peregrina est.

Mens aequa in arduis.

Mens invicta manet.

Amor mentes nectit.

Scientia sol mentis.

Obcaecat mentem passio.

Mens vertitur cum fortuna.

Mala mens, malus animus.

Mala mens, suavissima verba.

Ne vincat inertia mentes.

Speculum mentis est facies.

Ebrietas est speculum mentis.

Mens sana, in corpore sano.

Terra corpus est, at mens ignis est.

Tria perpetim agunt: sol, ignis, mens.

Summa est velocitas mentis.

Mentis acies nonnumquam hebescit.

Ut visus in oculis, ita mens in anima.

Hominis mens discendo alitur.

Mens alitur discendo et cogitando.

Pars nostri melior mens est.

Aliud cupido, mens aliud suadet.

Musica mentis medicina maestae.

Lingua mentem ne praecurrat.

Lingua non discrepat a mente.

Mens hominum ignara, caeca futuri.

Cute sub agnina latet mens saepe lupina.


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