In this article, I’m focusing on the 7 traditional planetary bodies, the Sun and Moon (referred to as ‘the lights’), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and how they’ve inspired our language.
Astrology means ‘language of the stars’ and reaches back thousands of years. You’ll recognise most of these adjectives that allude to the personal qualities attributed to the planetary bodies above.
- ‘sunny’ – bright or cheerful, derived from the Sun
- ‘lunatic’ – insane, derived from Luna or the Moon
- ‘mercurial’ – subject to sudden changes of mood or mind, derived from Mercury
- ‘venereal’ – a venereal disease is a sexual disease, derived from Venus
- ‘martial’ – warlike, derived from Mars
- ‘jovial’ – happy-go-lucky and friendly, derived from Jove, the Roman equivalent of Jupiter
- ‘saturnine’ – gloomy, derived from Saturn
Did you also know that ‘influenza’ comes from the Latin influentia meaning influence, as many years ago it was believed that any illness or disease was due to unfavourable astrological influences?
Or that the word ‘disaster’ comes from the Greek dis-aster meaning literally unfavourable- or bad star, as the ancients used to refer to the destruction of a star as a disaster?
Bear that in mind when you next hear Craig Revel Horwood say “It was a dahnce di-SAH-ster, darling” on Strictly Come Dancing.
[photo from flickr.com]