Archive for November 24th, 2003

Those Happy Classick Years

Monday, November 24th, 2003

The Latin negotium, which means “business” and from which we get “negotiate”, and which other languages still use to mean bidness (como negocios en español, che!) has a neat etymology. It’s simply a negation (i.e. nec-ing!) of otium, “leisure”. So speakers of Latin seem to have leisure and non-leisure, instead of business and leisure. There are probably Latin words which directly mean business, I guess, but I can’t think of any very natural English words which mean non-leisure.

Don’t let the spelling of our “business” fool you, it’s actually “busyness”. We are lame. We’ve even started using the natural, beautiful “otiose” as though the state of leisure were some sort of pudendum – using it, I mean, to mean “indolent; idle; serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being”. That is lame! Otiose mofos of the world unite!