Monday, November 14, 2005


This train of thought began with the unfolding of the butterfly's wings upon emergence from the pupal state. I wondered,and it's true: explication is related to unfolding. Pliegue or fold in Spanish is related to pleat in English. (Wrinkle is a sturdy Anglo-Saxon word, but all these others are Latinate.) To pleat (plegar) or make a pleat (hacer pliegues) is not the same as to fold or to bend (hacer doble). In Latin, explicatus is an unfolding. And so is explicatio, but the figurative use of explaining is noted. Plicare is to fold, wind, or coil. The Latin information comes from An Elementary Latin Dictionary (by Charlton T. Lewis, American Book Company, copyright 1890 by Harper & Brothers, according to the author's note in the preface "essentially an abridgment of my 'Latin Dictionary for Schools.'") This abridged book contains over 950 pages. Amazon shows that a version of this dictionary was reprinted by the OUP in 1981.


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