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Saint Ignatius High School

Etymology Word of the Week

Director of Admissions Pat O'Rourke '90, a self-proclaimed "word nerd," brings you his Etymology Word of the Week. Every other week he presents an online Etymology lesson just for fun!

Etymology Word of the Week – As some of you know, in addition to working in the Admissions Office, I also teach Latin at Saint Ignatius and am something of a "word nerd."  Thus, each week, I’ll sneak a vocabulary word (sometimes derived from Latin, sometimes not) into the e-blast.  Here then is this week’s edition of the Etymology Word of the Week.  


Definition: “Impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.”  

Origin/Derivation: From the Greek blasphemein meaning “to speak ill or evil of.”  The first element of the word is uncertain but perhaps related to blaptikos meaning “hurtful”; the second element is from the Greek pheme meaning “utterance.”     

Related Words/Phrases: euphemism (a nicer way of saying something, such as “landfill” instead of “garbage dump”); not much else here other than some obscure words 

Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul” - seen here in The Blues Brothers telling her husband (Matt “Guitar” Murphy) to think about it before quitting his job to rejoin the band.  A few moments earlier, she had warned Jake and Elwood about blaspheming in her restaurant.