When I use a word …: A time to be born …

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 29 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:g
  1. 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 Embedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded ImageoEmbedded Image (eidoi) and the Latin Idus, words for the day of the month (the Ides) that fell near the full …

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