Today I'd like to briefly talk about the Latin verb rapere, which meant "seize" or "carry off". Its past participle, raptus, has been extremely influential in our language. In later Latin, it developed into the noun raptor, meaning "thief", which eventually became a term for "bird of prey" in English. In Old French, it evolved into the verbs rapir and ravir, meaning "take by force"; in the fifteenth century, these turned into English rape and ravish, respectively. In church contexts, rapture came to refer to a "state of mental transport", like being carried off by God. Things that were seized were often taken quickly, so rapidus and eventually rapid emerged from that sense. Ravine, usurp, ravenous, rapacious, rapt, surreptitious, and many other words can also all be traced back to raptus - I'll have to go more in depth on several of those later.
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.