Feb 9, 2011

A small reflection on a word “effutire”.

In one of his letters St. Jerome complains that the person delivering the mail was in a hurry to leave and therefore he (Jerome) had to reply to some inquiry fast which compelled him to ramble (effutire compellor).

This verb “effutio, effutire” means something like ramble on without thinking and not giving oneself enough time to order one’s thoughts.

But where does it come from? It is derived from the verb “fundo, fundere, fudi, fusus” - to pour or to liquefy something or also “to speak abundantly” or to pray “fundere orationes”.

From this verb “fundere” was derived a name of a small unstable dish named “futile” - a dish that spilled very easily from which, by way of association, the adverb “futilis, futile” was also derived which found its way into English as futile, useless, vain.

So in conclusion it is useful to recognize that “effutire” and “futilis” are related concepts derived from the concept of spilling with “effutire” meaning “to ramble on” and “futilis” meaning “futile, vain”.

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