Word of the Week: ad infinitum

Hello All!

It’s time for yet another Word of the Week!

This one comes from the book I just finished reading, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. I must confess that I chose this word based on the fact that it is a Latin term, and I find that particular language to be most fascinating. A dead language that no one really knows how to speak, and yet the words themselves remain etched into most fields of study. Science, law, linguistics; these and many more share a bond with the immortal language.

When I saw the term “Ad Infinitum” sitting at the end of a sentence, I immediately added it to my list, knowing it would lead me along a trail stemming from a fascinating origin, and laced with an equally fascinating meaning. It did not disappoint.

ad•in•fi•ni•tum 

a-d-i-n-f-i-n-i-t-u-m-by-nameless-designer

Definition: “to infinity, or forevermore … without end or limit”

Synonyms: ceaselessly, endlessly, forever, perpetually

Origin:

As is evident by the words spelling and syntactic structure, it is of Latin origin. It is a term that can be used in place by the more easily recognized term ‘et cetera’ , and vice versa. It can be used in most contexts, usually to insinuate that something can be continuously repeated a limitless number of times. It is most commonly associated with mathematics, so that the numbers do not have to be continuously written out. It is suggested that the first use of the word “ad infinitum” came about in the 17th century. There is actually a book written by Nicholas Olster called “Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin”, in which the author delves into the history of the Latin language from its roots to where it stands today in our society. The purpose of the title is to show how the Latin language, even in its verbal disuse, continues to live on.

I don’t know about all of you, but I find this term to be absolutely fascinating. Human has always questioned whether or not anything within this universe, or the universe itself, is in fact infinite or limitless. I suppose this curiosity stems from the knowledge that we are mortal, and therefore directly subjugated to our own limit on a daily basis.

With another word added to our Dictionary of Awesome, I bid you adieu. Happy reading everyone!

Cheers 🙂

 

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