Have you noticed that both the words coroner and coronary have some semantic relation to death? Yes? Well, the obvious conclusion there is that they both trace to some kind of Latin root for "death". This, however, is far from the etymological truth. They both trace to the Latin word for crown! Let me explain. It all goes back to the Proto-Indo-European root sker, which meant "to bend", which begot Greek korone, a word which evolved from "something with a curve" to "crown" because, after all, crowns are curved. Korone eventually gave way to a Latin word for "crown", corona, which is where our two words meet and also a remnant in English today (you may remember it as the hottest part of the sun). Coronary was taken nigh-directly into modern English because of the association with the way the veins ring the heart and a crown. Meanwhile, a coroner was originally an "agent of the crown" (thus the connection) who conducted criminal investigations, including cause-of-death investigations, eventually morphing into the post we have today. So corona and coroner are connected, not by death, but by royalty.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd