Fun Etymology Tuesday – Lunatic

A bit earlier today than last week!
Our apologies for that – our schedule has been crazy lately!

Speaking of crazy, today’s word is “lunatic”!

When it came to English, during the late 13th century, it meant something like affected with periodic insanity which was dependent on the phases of the moon while, today, it’s mostly used, by laymen obviously, to refer to someone who is mentally ill, regardless of the phases of the moon of course.

It came to English either from Old French “lunatique”, meaning insane, or possibly from Late Latin “lunaticus”, meaning moonstruck, which of course comes from Latin “luna”, meaning moon (which explains the phases of the moon idea). We also get a derivative noun, that is, “a lunatic”, referring to a crazy person. Originally, though, this word actually also referred to someone who had lucid intervals in their madness, while later it became a legal term (that’s right, we said legal term) for a person of an unsound mind.

That’s it for today! Next week, we’ll have more FunEty for you, of course, and hope you’ll join us then to learn more about the (sometimes) rather crazy origins of some English words! See you then!

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