Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lost in Translation, or on the Way There

Last Sunday I was pushing a cart through  the perennials area of American Plant Food on River Road, when I saw a sign for "Helleborus Nigersmithi". After a staring for a moment, I spent much of the rest of the trip trying to remember what the Latin word for blacksmith is, and whether I had ever known it. The household dictionary says "faber ferraria", so evidently I never did. But I admire the eccentricity of wrapping the blatantly Germanic "smith" with a Latin adjective and ending.

I guess one could move on to goldsmith and tinsmith, though in the latter case probably only classicists or chemists would understand.

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