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Jan 29, 2009
This week's theme
Latin terms in English

This week's words
ex libris
in medias res
dramatis personae
lares and penates
ex parte

A lararium from Pompeii
Lararium from Pompeii
(Photo: Patricio Lorente)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

lares and penates

PRONUNCIATION:
(LAR-eez and puh-NAY-teez)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Household gods: the benevolent gods in an ancient Roman household.
2. Household goods: a family's treasured possessions.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin Lares et Penates, from Lares, plural of Lar (in Roman mythology, the deity or spirit who protected a household) + et (and) + Penates (deities of the household that were believed to bring wealth), from penus (provisions, interior of a house).
In an ancient Roman home a shrine for the guardian spirits was called lararium.

USAGE:
"But let's face it, the nearest thing that many Aussies have in the way of religion, or, as it is labelled with new-age vagueness, spirituality, are those little do-it-yourself offerings to the roadside gods, the lares and penates of the new-age pantheists."
The Soft Toy Taking on a Religious Symbolism; The Canberra Times (Australia); Jan 14, 2006.

"The storehouse of all the shame and vulnerability in [Ben's] life would be locked; a private museum of curios with but one visitor, himself, to stare at the degraded and rejected lares and penates."
Kate Fillion; The Artful Forgery of the Self; The Toronto Star (Canada); Feb 6, 1993.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
And this our life, exempt from public haunt, / Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, / Sermons in stones, and good in everything. -William Shakespeare, playwright and poet (1564-1616)

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