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Wednesday: July 1, 2009

Latin Puzzle

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:36 PM UTC

I think it was Patterico’s Pontifications where I recently ran across a weblog called Verum Serum. An interesting name, since it has three or four meanings in Latin:

  1. True Whey (taking Verum as an adjective and Serum as a noun). I thought the second word meant ‘gravy’, but apparently not, at least in classical Latin. Which is too bad: “True Gravy” might almost work as a website name, but not “True Whey”.
  2. Late Truth (taking Verum as a noun and Serum as an adjective). Alternatively, this could mean “Too Late Truth” or “The Truth Too Late”, since the adjective has both meanings.
  3. Truth of the Chinese (taking both words as nouns, with Serum genitive plural). Just to be pedantic, “Chinese” here is plural, so perhaps “Truth of the Chinese people”. (Hmmm. That’s not clearly plural, either, since “people” may be a singular meaning “nation” or a plural meaning “persons, humans”. English is a tricky language.)

So which of these interesting possibilities is the right one? None, as it turns out: it’s only half Latin. As the proprietors say on their ‘About’ page, “Verum is Latin for truth, as in truth serum. Why Latin? Because we’re tired of the Catholic blogs hogging all the cool names.”


Filed under: — site admin @ 8:56 PM UTC

In its article on Leibniz, Wikipedia reports: “No philosopher has ever had as much experience with practical affairs of state as Leibniz, except possibly Marcus Aurelius.” Possibly? Privy Counselor of Justice to the House of Brunswick, trusted adviser to the Electress of Hanover and the Queen of Prussia, and Imperial Court Counselor to the Habsburgs are important positions, beyond the reach of most philosophers, but they hardly compare to being Emperor of Rome.