Word of the Day : November 25, 2020
posthumous \PAHSS-chuh-muss\ adjective
1 : born after the death of the father
2 : published after the death of the author
3 : following or occurring after death
Did You Know?
The etymology of the word posthumous tells a complex story. In Latin, posterus is an adjective meaning "coming after" (from post, meaning "after"). The comparative form of posterus is posterior, and its superlative form is postumus, which means, among other things, "last." Postumus had specific application in referring to the last of a man's children, which in some cases meant those born after he had died. Latin speakers incorrectly identified the -umus in this word with humus, meaning "dirt" or "earth" (suggesting the ground in which the unfortunate father now lay). The Latin spelling became posthumus, as if the word were formed from post and humus, and both the "h" and the suggestion of "after burial" or "after death" carried over into English.
Aired November 25, 2020
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