Etymology Of Court Essay

1165 words - 5 pages

Etymology of Court

In this report, I have attempted to display a general understanding of how the word court arrived in the English language and suggest reasons for its evolution. Much of the challenge has been determining what of the information I could present. Length restrictions and the condition set out, to use The Norton Anthology of English Literature as the only source to show the synchronic use of the word, have forced me to take a more narrow approach. Since court is a polysemic word I decided that rather then dwelling on the changes in all of its senses, I would attempt to acknowledge why this occurred. The latter part of the essay is spent discussing how court has branched its meaning to be used in the adjective courteous and how it operates as a verb.

The etymology of the word court is a complex study. By looking at its roots, we find the word dates back to Latin origin. In Latin, curia meant a senate house. When Julius Caesar ruled, the Curia Julia was the name given to the senate house he started. The similar sounding curtus, meant short. It seems that both of these words became the word cort in Old French. This is relevant because after the Norman Conquest, French borrow words began to appear in English, including court. Intriguingly, court has never meant “to be short” in the English language. A third Latin word, cohors gave court a new meaning again. Cohors had meant an enclosed yard for housing poultry. By 1300, Englishmen were using court to mean “A clear space enclosed by walls or surrounded by buildings” (Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED) 2000, court). Hence, the English “court” became a polysemic word.

Albert C. Baugh places court in the group of “Governmental and Administrative Words” that appeared in the century and a half following 1250, in his book, A History of the English Language. He suggests “We should expect that English would owe many of its words dealing with government and administration to the language of those who for more than two hundred years made public affairs their chief concern” (1978, 168-169). By including court in this category we can make some conclusions regarding its evolution. Though the political institution has always existed, its structure is volatile and subject to change. In fact, one of the primary (and perhaps the most important) engines of historical change has been the constant transformation of the political state. Since our lexicon evolves to adhere to our present day needs, the word court has had to alter its implications to suit the political climate of the moment. At one time, using court in the context of a place where people would be found to be innocent or guilty of a crime would suggest a place where a monarch would decide the fate of the accused. A modern day notion of this scenario invests the power to decide the destiny of the individual to a jury, an arbitrarily chosen group of members from society. In both circumstances the court is a part of a function of...

Find Another Essay On Etymology of Court

Beowulf’s Loyalty Epitomizes the Anglo-Saxon Culture

2413 words - 10 pages the surface, carrying the sword hilt and Grendel's severed head and carries them both back to Heorot Hall. When everyone sees that Beowulf has survived this second encounter, there is a greater celebration and gift-giving. Finally, the Geats take their leave of the Danes; Beowulf says goodbye to King Hrothgar and sails back to Geatland, where he is a lord in the court of King Hygelac. Eventually, Hygelac and all his relatives are killed in

Creative Expression Cannot Happen When You Are Dead

2570 words - 10 pages For Medical Ethics”, 2). Euthanasia etymology comes from eu meaning “well or good” and thanatos meaning “death” (Euthanasia, 1). No matter how it is used, however, some are inherently opposed to any form of euthanasia would be accepting of it in certain cases. A survey of people in the United States shows that 45% of those who participated are supportive of legalizing euthanasia, while 36% are opposed and 23% are undecided (, 1). FOX

El Dorado: The Ideal Society

1937 words - 8 pages be found in the utopian society of El Dorado. We must also understand the etymology of the word utopia. "Eu" means good, "topos" means place, and "ou" means no. Roughly, the meaning of utopia is "the good place that is no place." This brings me to my point; though Voltaire was bringing light to social injustices through his satirical work, his notion of this ideal society could never actually occur. However, if we take the advice that Voltaire

Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Reality, Appearance and Deception

896 words - 4 pages Reality and Illusion in Hamlet   Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the

Sub-plots in Hamlet

1118 words - 4 pages Sub-plots in Hamlet   There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras

Hamlet as Victim and Hero

1301 words - 5 pages Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his

Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone

1188 words - 5 pages Use of Light and Dark in Antigone   The "Golden Age" of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos

charant Creon as the Main Character of Antigone

1231 words - 5 pages Creon as the Main Character of Antigone   Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three

Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness

525 words - 2 pages The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has

Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield

898 words - 4 pages Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield   Efficacy lies at the heart of human desires for immortality. Characters throughout literature and art are depicted as wanting to step aside and see what their world would be like without their individual contributions. The literary classic A Christmas Carol and the more recent, but ageless, film It’s Wonderful Life both use outside influences (three ghosts and Clarence the Angel

Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon

2172 words - 9 pages Searching for Identity in Song of Solomon         Abstract: Whether Africans really fly or just escape a monumental burden, perhaps only through death, is a decision Toni Morrison has apparently left to her readers. Never the less, no matter what you believe, within Song of Solomon, the suggestion is, that in order to "fly" you must go back to the beginning, back to your roots. You must learn the "art" from the old messages.   O

Similar Essays

Etymology Of The Word "Ballet" Essay

959 words - 4 pages Etymology of Ballet PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 5 Etymology of BalletIn APA StyleMeghan FindleyTA: Heather GiovaniniUniversity of North TexasEtymology of Ballet"Ballet is not a technique but a way of expression that comes more closely to the inner language of man than any other- George Borodin" (Cirioli, 2007). Ballet is just a word, but like all words, it can be dissected into its etymology representing multiple meanings, definitions, usages, and a

Discuss With Reference To The 'rules' And Examples Of The Operation Of Precedent And Statutory Interpretation.

1924 words - 8 pages draftsmen's time amongst other factors such as the legal compatibility and legitimacy of the rules they are drafting for enactment, would prevent them from creating 'all-embracing' rules, which are perpetually concise and unambiguous. The English language itself cannot aid the draftsmen in this task, for its diverse etymology provides an inexact tool for achieving clarity of meaning and certainty. Due to the technical meaning of terms and their

Why Is The Crucible So Called

2264 words - 9 pages concealment'. The court scenes were times of tension, intensity, pressure and conflicts between powerful authority refusing to realise they have signed away innocent lives on the strength of a lie. Also things are permanently and physically changed in a crucible, they are turned from one thing into another. This is reflected in the play by the fact that many things in the play are exerted to high pressure and pushed to the limits of reason due

Rise Of The Militant Class: Secular Martial Arts

1880 words - 8 pages , establishing a religious, as well as an academic, following. The teachings and practices of Taosim, Buddhism and Tantra were integrated into the education of the classical Japanese noble class. During early Classical Japan, the majority of political power was held within the Imperial Court, which consisted of the ruling imperial family alongside several other aristocratic families. Most military power was held in the hands of the Imperial family