Posted by GPP on August 28, 2003
In Reply to: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water posted by Word Camel on August 28, 2003
: : : : : : : : the Neolithic age (c. 8000-5000 b.c.)
: : : : : : : :
: : : : : : : : what is the first "c." short for?
: : : : : : : Circa. It means "about."
: : : : : : It's a L***n word, almost never used in spoken or informal English.
: : : : : We try to avoid writing down the word L*tin around here. Search engine spiders picked up on a few people asking for translations, which snowballed. Since that's not our purpose, we try to minimize the damage.
: : :
: : : Since the Woolf reforms that came into effect in 1999, L#tin has been discouraged in English law. Stupid thing is that quite a bit was useful to express particular tenets or principles - and everybody knows what an 'affidavit' is, yet the use of that word is prohibited - but only in civil, not family, proceedings. I regularly hear and see the word 'circa' used - it sounds more pleasant that 'about' and has the added nuance of implying date, whereas 'about' is a general 'in the region of' expression, equally at home with area, date or pure number.
: : : Let us not lose those infants with the provebial aqua.
: : What are you saying Sir?
: He/she is making a joke and an a point about language at the same time. He is making a plea not to limit the use of L@tin phrases because sometimes they have lend a subtle shade of meaning it isn't possible to express in English any other way. The joke is that he's used the L@tin words, infant, for 'baby' and aqua for 'water' instead of the more familiar phrase.
Also to clarify, sphinx, there's a typo in there that you don't want to learn incorrectly--the word is properly spelled 'proverbial'. For discussion of the phrase itself, see this link: