Word Wednesday: A Friendly One


Our featured word for our “Word Wednesday” post this month is a friendly one – amicus, friend, with a common base form of AMI.

In the Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classical Origins of English Words (Barnes & Noble, 2000 –  co-authored by Bob Moore and Maxine Moore) we find this entry (as given above), along with this description and explanation of the word:

We all know that an enemy is not a friend; what we may not know is that the literal meaning of the word is ‘not (a) friend’; en-, not + emy, friend.

…So it is with inimical, its literal meaning being ‘not friendly,’ hence harmful and unfavorable. …It also means hostile and unfriendly. ‘There was an inimical atmosphere about the castle, the source of which I could never pinpoint.’

At the other end of the field are the friendly folk. An AMIable chap is genial, warm, kind, and sociable. ‘Helen’s such a wonderful neighbor, so amiable and gracious.’ …That is generally true of AMIty as well, i.e, cooperation, friendship, good will, understanding, or brotherhood. ‘The Secretary General said he hoped the accord between the two governments would result in lasting amity.’

Some usage books also make the claim that in Spanish only a male friend is an AMIgo and a female is an AMIga, but recent studies reveal that the vast majority of senoritas have no objection to being called an amigo. The same is rumored to be true in France, although the rules state that it’s AMI for a male friend and AMIe for a female.

In court an AMIcus brief may be filed by a person or a party not involved in the case who wants to offer relevant advice; it is a called ‘Friend of the Court’ or, officially, amicus curiae.

You may remember this verse in Proverbs that relates to this Latin word: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Prov.18:24).

Now here it is in the Latin Vulgate: vir amicalis ad societatem magis amicus erit quam frater

Can you find the “friendly” words?:)

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 10:30 PM  Leave a Comment