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2009年9月24日木曜日

家畜は富の証明 - pecuniary

あまりお目にかからない単語だと思いますが、


金銭に関わる、金銭上の


という意味の形容詞として使われます。例えば、


He received thanks but no pecuniary compensation for his services.
(American Heritage Dictionary)


pecuniaryの語源を辿ると、peku-という印欧語族の語根に行き着くようです。peku-の意味は、cattleだということです。

つまり、家畜の牛を飼っているということは財力があると看做されることは直感的に理解できますが、peku-はラテン語のpecusさらに、pecuniaに発展し、wealthやpropertyという意味を持つに至ったようです。


For most of European history, meat has been a mark of power and privilege and a rare delicacy for the peasantry. The origins of "pecuniary" in pecus, the Latin word for herd, and of "capital" in capita, Latin for head (of cattle), are a reminder that meat was long a measure of wealth. Monks renounced flesh, to demonstrate their indifference to worldly advantage, and it was not until the twentieth century, when Colonel Sanders catered to the civilian infantry and even soup kitchens put a chicken in the pot, that the implications of flesh for class were reversed.
(Steven G. Kellman. Fish, Flesh, and Foul. American Scholar. 2000.)


同じくpeku-を語根に持つ単語として、"impecunious"という単語があり、こちらは否定の接頭辞"im-"があるので、財力がない状態、つまり”ジリ貧”のことを指します。

下記の引用は、貧しい学生時代を思い起こして、笑ってしまいました。

- Buy food in season. It's typically fresher, tastier and cheaper.
- Recycle. Save glass jars to use as storage containers. Clear jars let you see what's in them, so you're more likely to use leftovers before they become unrecognizable furred lifeforms.
- Don't give up entertaining, but pool resources with friends. If inviting guests to bring dishes to a potluck at your home makes you feel too much like an impecunious college student, organize a barbecue or picnic at a park (no need to clean house!) or arrange a progressive dinner with neighbors.
(Chicago Sun-Times. 2006.)

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