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Feb 22, 2010
This week's theme
Latin terms in English

This week's words
locum
ex cathedra
de jure
ad hominem
caveat
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

According to a story, probably apocryphal, former US Vice President Dan Quayle once said, "I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have is that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people."

Latin is a dead language. No people speak it as their everyday language. The area south of the US is called Latin America because most of the people down there speak Spanish, Portuguese, or French, all derived from Latin.

Latin took its name from Latium, a region in ancient Italy. Various dialects of Latin eventually blossomed into the Romance languages: French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish, while Latin itself faded away.

Fortunately, you don't have to travel to Latin America to use this week's terms from Latin. They have been borrowed into English and are now part of the language.

locum

PRONUNCIATION:
(LOH-kuhm)

MEANING:
noun: A person filling in for another, especially for a doctor or clergyman.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin locum tenens (holding the place), from locus (place) + tenere (to hold). The full form locum tenens is also used in English.

USAGE:
"Health authority CEO Bruce Quigley says they're now able to offer higher rates for locums at both rural hospitals to fill vacant shifts."
More Pay Offered to Cumberland County ER Workers; The Chronicle Herald (Halifax, Canada); Jul 27, 2009.

See more usage examples of locum in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart, his next to escape the censures of the world. -Joseph Addison, essayist and poet (1672-1719)

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