Calm- Etymology

Late 14c., from Old French calme “tranquility, quiet,” traditionally from Old Italian calma, from Late Latin cauma “heat of the mid-day sun” (in Italy, a time when everything rests and is still), from Greek kauma “heat” (especially of the sun). Spelling influenced by Latin calere “to be hot.” Figurative application to social or mental conditions is 16c.

The word “Calm” originated in the late fourteenth century from the Old French word “calme, meaning “stillness, quiet, and tranquility”, and in Italy, the time of day when everything rests and is still. This is still a very pure and accurate description of the word today. Calm is often described or portrayed as a serene environment, and as a state of mind or being that is free from excitement or disturbance. 


I love the origin of calm in Italy, “A time when everything rests and is still”. To this day, the people of Italy take a break from their work and settle down a bit. They take a nap or just simply relax before returning to their activities. This time of day is typically mid-afternoon, after the “mid-day” meal, and is called a “riposo”. I love the idea and tradition of this- no matter how hectic life can be sometimes, they always make the time to forget their troubles and tend to personal matters. In my opinion, it is a healthy concept- personal business has been tended to, and you are able to return to your afternoon duties will full ambition. This idea also relates to the Greek origin of the word calm, meaning “heat (especially of the sun)”. When this mid-day nap/relaxing period takes place, it is typically very hot. Both origins work hand in hand in that aspect, which is pretty neat.


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  1. Be sure to add your own ideas in every post. Do you agree with the definition? What strikes you as strange or different than you expected? Best use of the word?
    gives some new information on the topic; informational post: has trouble with integrating read or learned information and mostly repeats without construction of new meaning; poorly organized
    post has little style or voice; words chosen show an attempt at bringing the content to life; sentence fluency is achieved in few places
    several spelling errors; several grammar errors; formatting makes post difficult to follow or read
    one piece of multimedia; multimedia does not add significantly to content or perspective; one or more links to obvious websites (Wikipedia, dictionary on line); post may be categorized or tagged
    a few information sources are cited accurately; uses citations for images improperly


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