In the December Vocabula Now Online: Them's Crying Words

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Dec 17 21:41:35 UTC 2007

On Mon, Dec 17, 2007 at 01:38:25PM -0800, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> I must be missing something. OED online has _decimate_ , to execute one in every ten (as in the Roman army) from 1600, with the verb _decimo_ as etymon.
>   OTOH, I don't find the Latin verb in either Short's _Latin Dictionary for Schools_ (1916) or Traupman's excellent _Bantam New College Latin & English Dictionary_ (except in the English-Latin section where it translates "decimate.")
>   Can it be there *was* no Latin verb _decimo_?  Hard to believe, even for gullible me.

It's in Glare's _Oxford Latin Dictionary,_ with quotes from Tacitus and
Suetonius. A short entry, but it's real.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

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