Adult vs Adultery

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Adult vs Adultery

Postby Sabina » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:10 pm

Have you ever wondered what the connection is between the words adults and adultery?

Remarkably, the answer is that the words don’t share a common ancestor. “Adult” comes from the Latin verb adolescere, “to grow up, mature.” Students of Latin will understand what we mean when we say that adultus is the pluperfect of adolescere. Adultery, on the other hand, derives from a French word, avoutre, which in turn evolved from a distinct Latin verb, adulterare, “to corrupt.” The verb adulterate, “to debase or make impure by adding inferior materials or elements,” stems from the same source.

The sense of “adult” that means pornographic emerged as a kind of reverse assumption that adult and adultery have more direct links than they do.

Let’s look at the dictionary definition of adultery: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.” In fact, there are two types: single adultery (with an unmarried person) and double adultery (with a married person.) Here is the definition of adult: “having attained full size and strength; grown up; mature.”

What conclusions can we draw regarding relationships from these twists of etymology? Maybe that a real-life definition of adult is the condition of being responsible for our choices, and that the choice of whom to love and honor is probably the most adult decision of all.

Source: Dictionary.com
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Re: Adult vs Adultery

Postby Ryan » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:37 am

[El] <3
[R] If you don't understand something I said or why I said it... ask me.
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Re: Adult vs Adultery

Postby mirjana » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:45 am

Wow Sabina. [El] What a brilliant analysis and conclusion.
Thank you for this linguistic pleasure.
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