The meaning of words change over time

vita, vitae

  • declension: 1st declension
  • gender: feminine
  1. life, career, livelihood
  2. mode of life
  3. blood

neonatus, neonati, neonate

  • declension: 2nd declension
  • gender: masculine
  1. new-born
  2. fledgeling

ancilla, ancillae

  • declension: 1st declension
  • gender: feminine
  • opprobrious (insulting) of a man
  • handmaid
  • maid servant
  • nun (self described)
  • slave girl


  • to foretell, predict or to make predictions.
  • to indicate beforehand.
  • to declare or foretell by or as if by divine inspiration.
  • to utter in prophecy or as a prophet.
  • to make inspired declarations of what is to come.
  • to speak as a mediator between God and humankind or in God’s stead.
  • Archaic. to teach religious subjects.

Words have meaning, sometimes more then one, but what happens when meaning is lost, or misunderstood? A word in the right ear could mean the difference between victory and defeat on the battlefield, on the campaign trail or in the conference room. Words have changed the course of history. The city state of Carthage was destroyed by the Roman Legions, but it was because of spoken words in the Imperial Senate. Appianus Alexandrinus, the Alexandrian Senator, claims that Cato the Elder ended most of his speeches with, “Ceterum autem censeo Carthaginem esse delendam” or rather, “Moreover, I also vote Carthage be destroyed and all its population exterminated.”

What happens when a message isn’t delivered because the messenger chose not to? What if this is not done out of malice, but rather when taken out of context and misunderstood? What if the deception was never intentional, what if the miss-communication was due to a mistake in proper translation? Once stories are developed they begin to take on a life of their own. Successful stories are not always completely factual, but rather comprise the most compelling epics. Something that may have begun with some elements of truth, eventually become distorted through the repeated retelling and reinterpretation over a period of time, eventually to the point where they barely, if at all, resemble the original tale.

Changes between accepted meanings gradually diverge throughout the ages in human society, the same is true in a longer, more drawn out fashion, of definition in Kindred society. Where as the old eventually make way for the young in mortal society, allowing for growth and change, this is not true in Kindred society. Overtime, what is well known becomes slowly forgotten until its meaning is lost, only to be replaced by something else.

Like a joke...