This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Word To Use Today: quarantine.


It's such a lovely word, is quarantine. It could be some juicy fruit, or a type of heavy shining silk, or wine heated with cloves and honey...

...but of course it isn't.

Quarantine is when an animal (sometimes a human animal) is kept by itself to stop it spreading a disease.

Quarantine is a rather special word because it's one of the very few to be commonly understood when written in flags.

Unfortunately the understanding-thing falls down a little bit because the yellow signal flag Q, for quarantine:

Quarantine Flag

when flown alone from a ship indicates that there's actually no disease on board, and so the ship isn't in quarantine.

I'm sure there's a good reason for this, but I haven't the faintest idea what it is.

Word To Use Today: quarantine. This word comes from the Italian quarantina, which means a period of forty days, from the Latin quadrāgintā.


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