Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Speaking of obscure phrases from the Vulgate (to be sure, there are few if any non-obscure phrases from the Vulgate), a very good friend (okay, it was my girlfriend) recently used the phrase "to give up the ghost," which means the same as "to kick the bucket" or "to buy the farm," that is, to die.

I had not hitherto heard that phrase but I was handy enough with my browser to look up the meaning and source, which is Acts 12:

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

She was quite impressed when I proceeded to quote the Latin:

Confestim autem percussit eum angelus Domini, eo quod non dedisset gloriam Deo; et consumptus a vermibus exspiravit.
Actually, I don't think she was impressed in the slightest. I, however, was really impressed.

Point is, next time somebody says "kicked the bucket" or "bought the farm" or "gave up the ghost," you should say, "You mean he took a ride on the vermibus!"