The Word of the Day for July 17, 2009 is:
omnibus • \AHM-nih-bus\ • adjective
- 1 : of, relating to, or providing for many things at once
- 2 : containing or including many items
At the beginning of the school year, teachers held an omnibus meeting to tie up many of the loose ends that were left unaddressed over the summer.
Did you know?
The adjective omnibus may not have much to do with public transportation, but the noun omnibus certainly does — it not only means “bus,”but it’s also the word English speakers shortened to form “bus.” The noun “omnibus” originated in the 1820s as a French word for long, horse-drawn vehicles that transported people along the main thoroughfares of Paris. Shortly thereafter, omnibuses— and the noun “omnibus” —arrived in New York. But in Latin, omnibus simply means “for all.” Our adjective omnibus, which arrived in the mid-1800s, seems to hark back to that Latin omnibus, though it may also have been at least partially influenced by the English noun. An “omnibus bill” containing numerous provisions, for example, could be likened to a bus loaded with people.
exorbitant • \ig-ZOR-buh-tunt\ • adjective
1 : not coming within the scope of the law
2 : exceeding the customary or appropriate limits in intensity, quality, amount, or size
I asked what the rent was for the apartment, and my jaw dropped open when they quoted me an exorbitant sum.
Did you know?
The first use of “exorbitant” in English was “wandering or deviating from the normal or ordinary course.” That sense is now archaic, but it provides a hint as to the origins of “exorbitant”: the word derives from Late Latin “exorbitans,” the present participle of the verb “exorbitare,” meaning “to deviate.” “Exorbitare” in turn was formed by combining the prefix “ex-,” meaning “out of,” with the noun “orbita,” meaning “track of a wheel” or “rut.” (“Orbita” itself traces back to “orbis,” the Latin word for “disk” or “hoop.”) In the 15th century “exorbitant” came to refer to something which fell outside of the normal or intended scope of the law. Eventually, it developed an extended sense as a synonym of “excessive.”
*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
To get started learning an “inflected” language—that is, the nouns, pronouns, and adjectives having different “endings” depending on what grammatical function they have in a given sentence—the initial hurdle one must face and soon overcome is to become “friends” with the terminology of these various functions—called “cases”—and to learn their corresponding functions, and therefore how a given Latin word is translated within those respective case functions.
So, there’s no better time than now for everyoneto start getting on your case(s)! Below is a fairly simplified summary overview of the five (5) basic Latin “cases” (excluding the relatively infrequent “Vocative” case) which the beginning Latin student must acquire early on (right-click on the chart image to download to your computer, or for a PowerPoint of the same, click here). You should become as comfortable with the grammatical concepts shown here as you are with pizza . . . or burgers and fries . . . or ice cream on a hot summer day! (Hint: Make this part of your regular diet, too!)
To download a PowerPoint presentation on the above chart, including the five (5) Latin noun declensions—click by click—click here. The same is also *permanently available for downloading from the sidebar. For a PowerPoint presentation of the declension of the 1st Declension Latin noun, terra, click here. For a PDF click here, or go to the sidebar for either.
*(Note: our English word permanentcomes straight from a Latin compound of per = through and maneo = (I) remain. So, the Latin permaneo = last, continue, remain, endure. Hey, it happens all the time: “Latin IS English!”)