Today I'm going to talk about the Latin verb rumpere, which meant "to break", "burst", or "destroy". If you speak a Romance language, you probably know one of its descendants: Spanish has romper, Italian has rompere, and French has rompre (all mean "break" as well). However, there are some hidden descendants as well. The fourth principal part of the verb, ruptus, had a sizeable impact on the English language: mostly through Old French, we got the words eruption (a "breaking out"), abrupt (a "breaking off"), interrupt (to "break between"), disrupt (to "break apart"), corrupt ("destroy" with an intensive prefix), bankrupt ("broken bench"), and, of course, rupture. Most interesting to me was how the word went into Vulgar Latin as rupta, which meant "broken group", and then that became Old French route, which referred to troops fleeing the battlefield, and that gave us the English word rout.
8/21/2021 03:26:09 pm
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.