Thursday, August 30, 2007

Today's etymology lesson:

lunatic (adj.)

c.1290, "affected with periodic insanity, dependent on the changes of the moon," from O.Fr. lunatique "insane," from L. lunaticus "moon-struck," from luna "moon." Cf. O.E. monseoc "lunatic," lit. "moon-sick;" M.H.G. lune "humor, temper, mood, whim, fancy" (Ger. Laune), from L. luna. Cf. also N.T. Gk. seleniazomai "be epileptic," from selene "moon." The noun meaning "lunatic person" is first recorded 1377. Lunatic fringe (1913) was apparently coined by U.S. politician Theodore Roosevelt. Lunatic soup (1933) was Australian slang for "alcoholic drink."

Speaking of the moon, here is a photographic progression of the recent lunar eclipse. It is the work of my brother, an astrophysics student and self-taught photographer. Click on the image if you want to see a larger version:

My husband also links to this on his blog.

"lunatic." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 30 Aug. 2007.>.

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