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Feb 26, 2024

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Word Etymology 2-20-13

There is a certain amount of INTRIGUE in attempting to EXTRICATE oneself from TRIVIALITIES. Some time ago we looked at the words: TRIVIA, TRIVIAL, VIA, DEVIATE, OBVIATE, OBVIOUS, SUBVIA etc. and saw the derivation from the Latin root word – VIA which means ROAD, STREET, WAY.

The meaning of TRIVIA, TRIVIAL comes from ancient Rome and as the story goes, the women who did the market day shopping each week came from suburban towns and would meet at a juncture where three roads came together. There they would gather before heading into Rome and talk about things, events, people and happenings that were interesting and provided fodder for gossip. This was small talk and considered unimportant. It was TRIVIALfrom the word TRI – THREE and the word VIA meaning ROAD. It was the talk of the three roads.

The prefix – DE – means FROM, DOWN FROM, AWAY FROM, and so the word DEVIATE or DEVIOUS which means TO BE AWAY FROM THE ROAD.

The prefix – OBmeans AGAINST, ON ACCOUNT OF and TO OBVIATE which means TO PLACE AN OBSTACLE IN THE WAY, TO BE BLOCKING YOUR PASSAGE, TO BE THERE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES AS YOU TRAVEL ON THE ROAD; therefore, the meaning of OBVIOUS is EVIDENT.

The prefix – SUBmeans UNDER. A subway, therefore, is under the street.

There had been a little, insignificant town outside of Rome where nothing much happened and where most things were trifling and trivial. It was perplexing as to why anyone would want to live in TRICA. The youth of course would eventually try to get out of TRICA. They would attempt to EXTRICATE THEMSELVES. The prefix – EX – means OUT OF, OUT FROM, and so the word EXTRICATE means TO GET OUT OF TRICA.

The word INTRIGUE comes by way of a slight spelling change from IN meaning IN, and TRICA meaning TRICA (town outside of Rome). Today it means TO BE INVOLVED IN PERPLEXITIES… with the connotation of being… clandestine, secretive, surreptitious. Perhaps it was difficult to readily escape from TRICA and it may have involved some espionage.