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Week of August 23, 2020

Everydayus Latin, pt. 1

Sunday

“Ad lib” means to improvise and perform spontaneously. The term is a shortening of “ad libitum,” or “according to pleasure.”

Monday

“Quid pro quo” means “something for something,” as in an exchange.

Tuesday

“Semper fi” is a shortening of “semper fidelis” or “always faithful,” and is the US Marine Corps’ motto.

Wednesday

“Vice versa” translates to “in a turned position,” but in modern English means interchanged or a switched position.

Thursday

“Per se” means “in itself” or “intrinsically” in English.

Friday

“Pro bono” shortens “pro bono publico” which means “for the public good” and usually refers to professional services (especially legal) offered for free.

Saturday

“E.g.” might appear before an example, since it stands for “exempli gratia” or “for the sake of example.”

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Week of August 16, 2020

Don’t Box Me In

Sunday

It is against the rules of boxing to hit an opponent below the waist, so both the terms “low blow” and “below the belt,” indicating unfair conduct, come from this sport.

Monday

A bell marks the end of a boxing round but can also stop a knockout count, so the term “saved by the bell” came to mean being rescued from a bad situation.

Tuesday

A boxer’s trainer can throw a towel into the ring to stop the fight if it is too dangerous for the boxer to continue, so “throw in the towel” means quitting or surrendering in an endeavor.

Wednesday

“Down and out” means a knocked-out boxer, or a destitute or defeated-feeling person, as a opposed to being “down but not out,” when you’ve taken hits but may still recover.

Thursday

“On the ropes” initially referred to a boxer who has been forced back against the ropes by an opponent with his or her movement restricted, and was likely in trouble.

Friday

Each boxer has a designated corner where they recover between rounds with their trainer and any other support team members. Hence the origin of “to have someone in your corner.”

Saturday

Boxing gloves offer some cushion for both puncher and punched, but when “the gloves are off,” it’s raw, bare-knuckle brawling.

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Week of August 9, 2020

Single and Lovin’ It

Some symbolism and translations from the familiar American $1 bill. Sources for all info at bottom.

Sunday

Above the pyramid, it says “Annuit Coeptis,” or “Providence has favored our undertakings.” Charles Thomson, who was very involved in the original money designs in 1782, explained that this phrase “alludes to the many signal interpositions of providence in favor of the American cause.”

Monday

Below the pyramid it says “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” or “A new order for the ages.” Thomson said this referred to the new form of government which had just been created, and signified “the beginning of the new American Era.”

Tuesday

The eagle holds a banner in its beak reading “E Pluribus Unum,” or “Out of many, one.”

Wednesday

The unfinished pyramid represents “strength and duration” and the eye in the radiating triangle above the pyramid is a Masonic symbol for the all-seeing eye, representing The Great Architect of the Universe.

Thursday

The eagle holds both symbols of war and peace: arrows in his left talon and an a olive branch in his right. This is important in symbology, where the right is considered dominant. Short-lived earlier eagle designs on silver coins showing arrows in the right talon were used by some in Europe as evidence that the young US was militarily belligerent. The circles containing the pyramid and eagle together make up both sides of “The Great Seal of the United States.” Notably, Benjamin Franklin considered the eagle to be a bird of “bad moral character” and strongly favored the “more respectable” turkey on the seal instead, while he and Thomas Jefferson both preferred an image of an Egyptian pharaoh chasing the Israelites through the parted Red Sea accompanied by the motto “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,” but these designs didn’t make the final cut.

Friday

Many numbers on the bill are logistical, such as serial number, year of printing, numbers representing the location of printing, plate serial number, and the like, though this information is also useful to identify counterfeits. Beyond that, look for a lot of thirteens. In the chevron in the middle of the seal of the Department of The Treasury, there are 13 stars in honor of the thirteen original colonies. There are also 13 stars above the eagle’s head representing “a new constellation taking place in the universe,” 13 arrows in the eagle’s left talon, 13 stripes on the eagle’s sheild, and 13 rows of blocks in the pyramid.

Saturday

The number 1776, the year when the US was founded, also appears in Roman numerals on the pyramid’s bottom row.

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Week of August 2, 2020

Stately Individuals

Sunday

The state of Louisiana is named for King Louis XIV of France, since French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle first claimed the Louisiana Territory.

Monday

The state of Virginia is named for “The Virgin Queen,” Elizabeth I of England, who gave explorer Sir Walter Raleigh permission to colonize it in 1584.

Tuesday

The state of Georgia is named for King George II of England, since the US was not yet a country when this future state was named by Europeans in 1733.

Wednesday

Maryland was named for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I, the English king who granted the charter to form the Maryland colony.

Thursday

King Charles I also granted the charter for the colony of what is now the Carolinas, and they are named after the Latinized version of his name, Carolus.

Friday

Pennsylvania, or “Penn’s Woodlands” is named for William Penn, who granted the land to King Charles II to repay a debt owed by his admiral father.

Saturday

Washington is named for…yep, George Washington, and is the only state named for an American president.

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Week of July 26, 2020

What We’re In

Sunday

“Covid-19” stands for “COronaVIrus Disease 2019”

Monday

Corona viruses are a class of viruses which have crown-like spikes on their surfaces. “Corona” means crown in Latin and Spanish.

Tuesday

Despite the damage they do to humans and other living things, viruses themselves are not technically alive, since they need host cells to survive and reproduce.

Wednesday

The word “quarantine” derives from “quaranta giorini” or “forty days” in Italian. Starting in the 1500s, ships arriving in Venice from ports affected by the bubonic plague had to anchor 40 days and wait before landing, extending the initial 30 day waiting requirement enforced in the city of Ragusa, and this law spread as a protection measure for European coastal cities.

Thursday

“Vaccine” derives from “vaccina,” a name for cowpox virus (vacca = cow in Latin). In a realization that effectively started modern vaccine science, British physician Edward Jenner observed that local milkmaids who’d had cowpox before never got the more pernicious smallpox which frequently ravaged 18th Century English towns. He used a preparation of cowpox virus to immunize people against the closely-related smallpox, though modern virologists suspect it may have actually been horsepox providing the immunity.

Friday

Transmission studies of the closely-related SARS CoV-1 virus produced the familiar 6 feet / 2 meter social distancing figure, which was officially made part of CDC guidelines during the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 virus.

Saturday

Washing / sanitizing your hands reduces their potential as spreaders of viruses and other germs by physically removing or destroying these agents before they can hitch a longer ride on your hands and do more damage.