But did you know the word’s been around since the 9th century?
Its quad root dates to the Proto-Indo-European or PIE language kwetwer, and linguists trace the PIE language to between 4500 BC to 2500 BC. We hear quad in words like quadruple and quadrilateral.
Quadraginta is the Latin word for forty. Quarantena referred to the desert where Jesus fasted for 40 days. In both Italian and French, the word also applied to Lent.
Today we we use the word to mean a period of isolation to prevent the spread of contagious disease.
The use of isolation traces to Middle Ages and Renaissance and the plague-ridden 14th century when Venice required the crews of ships from afflicted countries to remain at anchor offshore for forty days before docking.
According to The Visual Thesaurus, being quarantined isn’t all bad. There are famous cases of creativity that have risen from periods of quarantine.
- Shakespeare wrote King Lear
- Isaac Newton worked on his theories of optics and gravitation
- Giovanni Boccaccio wrote The Decameron, a book about people telling each other stories during quarantine
And stay-at-home authors create word origin searches like this to blog about. Which, if you were honest, is probably more than you wanted to know about quarantine.
What have you done while you stayed at home or quarantined during this COVID-19 pandemic?