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April 30, 2012

HUMAN = related to Latin homo (gen. hominis) “man,” and to humus “earth,” (cf. Heb. adam “man,” lit. “(the one formed from the) ground” from adamah “ground”).

SPIRIT = mid-13c., “animating or vital principle in man and animals,” from O.Fr. espirit, from L. spiritus “soul, breath,” related to spirare “to breathe,” from PIE *(s)peis- “to blow”

Human means “earth” and Spirit means “wind, breath”

ANIMAL = “having spirit/breath/soul” L. animus “rational soul, mind, life, mental powers; courage, desire,” related to anima “living being, soul, mind, disposition, passion, courage, anger, spirit, feeling,” from PIE root *ane- “to blow, to breathe” (cf. Gk. anemos “wind,” Skt. aniti “breathes,” O.Ir. anal, Welsh anadl “breath,” O.Ir. animm “soul,” Goth. uzanan “to exhale,” O.N. anda “to breathe,” O.E. eðian “to breathe,” O.C.S. vonja “smell, breath,” Arm. anjn “soul”).

When people speak of the “animal nature” of humans, they are actually referring to the “spiritual nature” of humans.

PERCEIVE = c.1300, via Anglo-Fr. parceif, O.N.Fr. *perceivre, O.Fr. perçoivre, from L. percipere “obtain, gather,” also, metaphorically, “to grasp with the mind,” lit. “to take entirely,” from per “thoroughly” (see per) + capere “to grasp, take”

SENSE = c.1400, “faculty of perception,” also “meaning or interpretation” (especially of Holy Scripture), from O.Fr. sens, from L. sensus “perception, feeling, undertaking, meaning,” from sentire “perceive, feel, know,” probably a figurative use of a lit. meaning “to find one’s way,” from PIE root *sent- “to go”. Cognate with Lithuanian sinteti(“to think”), Old High German sinnan (“to go; desire”), Old Irish set(“path, way”).

SENSUALITY = mid-14c., “the part of man that is concerned with the senses,” from O.Fr. sensualité, from L.L. sensualitatem (nom. sensualitas) “capacity for sensation,” from L. sensualis “endowed with feeling, sensitive,” from sensus “feeling” (see sense). Chiefly “animal instincts and appetites,” hence “the lower nature regarded as a source of evil, lusts of the flesh” (1620s).

This last sentence is contradictory, since by definition, animals are spiritual beings.

Human comes from L. humus “earth, soil,” probably from humi “on the ground,” from PIE *dhghem- (cf. L. humilis “low;”

HUMBLE = from O.Fr. humble, earlier humele, from L. humilis “lowly, humble,” lit. “on the ground,” from humus “earth”

*Etymology from

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One Comment
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