When I use a word …: A time to be born …BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7085.0g (Published 29 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:g
- Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist in Oxford
There is a widespread myth that births occur more commonly at around the time of a full moon. It is certainly true that time has always been associated with reproduction in one way or another. The earliest known word for time (see Gegenbaurs Morph Jahrb 1982;128:257-89) was probably the Acadian word ittum, which originally meant a momentous event, such as an eclipse of the moon or a monstrous birth. This itself gave birth to the Hebrew word for time, eht, the Etruscan word for the time of the full moon, itus, and hence the Greek o (eidoi) and the Latin Idus, words for the day of the month (the Ides) that fell near the full …
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