This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Nuts and Bolts: ignotum per aeque ignotum

No, no, not ignotum per ignotius, we've hopped around that subject in The Word Den before. This is ignotum per æque ignotum.

They're different. Ignotum per ignotius is where you explain something really easy by referring to something much more obscure.

'Why is that lady walking like that, Daddy?'

'She has a festinating gait, darling.'

Ignotum per ignotius makes perfect sense, but it probably only conveys any meaning if you already knew what you were talking about in the first place.

Ignotum per æque ignotum displays one small but vital difference from ignotum per ignotius: ignotum per æque ignotium is nuts.

You see, ignotum per æque ignotium explains something by referring to something that's not known to be true.

'What is fire hot, Daddy?'

'Because coal is made of dragons' poo, darling.'



But on the whole the world would be a duller place without it.

Chinese draak.jpg

Nuts and Bolts: this phrase is Latin for the unknown by the equally unknown.


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