The word defenestration was invented from Latin roots specifically to describe one 1618 incident, the Defenestration of Prague, in which several officials were tossed unceremoniously out of a window by some angry Protestants, and to refer to future such window-removals. The root here is the Latin word fenestra, meaning "window". This has a curiously obscure etymology. Some linguists think it may derive from Etruscan (which would make it non-Indo-European) and others proffer a connection with the Greek verb phainein, which means "to show" (this would be from the Proto-Indo-European root beh, meaning "to shine"). Apart from this main part, we have the prefix de-, meaning "out" (and this definitely is from an unknown Etruscan word), and the suffix -ion, which just implies an action. So, if we go as far back as possible, defenestration can be taken to mean "to show out". Interesting.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-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 College in the fall.
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