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Don't throw the baby out with the bath water

Posted by Word Camel on August 28, 2003

In Reply to: Let us not lose those infants with the provebial aqua.? posted by SPHINX 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 Latin words, infant, for 'baby' and aqua for 'water' instead of the more familiar phrase.