Post Eagle Newspaper


Sep 28, 2023

69°F, clear sky
New Jersey

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Today’s words are STIGMA, STIGMATIZE – which come from the Latin word STIGMA meaning A MARK OF DISGRACE. (Do not confuse with the word – STIGMATA).

In ancient Roman times a runaway slave, upon being captured and returned to the master, would be branded with the large letter “F” burned into his forehead. The “F” stood for the first letter in the word FUGITIVUS meaning FUGITIVE. The Romans could put their slaves to death if the master had a good reason; otherwise, it was not permitted. Slaves were also used to deliver secret messages. A master or military leader would shave the hair off the head and inscribe a message on the bald scalp. He would wait until the hair grew back before he would send the slave on the way. The message covered by hair would go unnoticed. When the slave arrived at his destination, the receiver would then shave off the hair and read the message.