Hephaestus's Blog

Word of the Month: Celerity
June 8, 2015, 11:12
Filed under: Words of the Months

Etymology: From Old French celeritee (14c., Modern French célérité), from Latin celeritatem (nominative celeritas) “swiftness,” from celer swift“.

Definition: Swiftness.

Celerity is one of those words that have, for the most part, disappeared from common usage. However, back in the nineteenth century, it was considerably more common. Jane Austen, who used many words that have since fallen out of favor, used it, among others. It also appears in the (modern) historical novels of Patrick O’Brian, who used words found in documents of the period (Napoleonic Wars) to colour his writing.

Despite appearances, celerity is not related in the least to celery, which is descended, through French, Italian and Latin, from an old Greek word for parsley. Convergent evolution is not confined to biology. Go figure.

Please let me know if there are any words you would like featured by posting a comment on this post.


1 Comment so far
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How about shibboleth- it was a new word for me that I encountered recently. Might be interesting to you with your knowledge of

Comment by Charli Nauda

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