Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lost in Translation



I’ve always found it amusing that the family name Perdue in Perdue Farms, a huge purveyor of chicken, probably comes from the French word meaning lost. You come through our coops, chickie, and you’re dead meat. This in spite of the disclaimer found on their web site:

“Perdue Farms and our farm-family partners share a belief that it is our responsibility to treat the animals in our care with respect.” [Poultry Welfare]

But I digress. As a root, -perd- came from a Latin word meaning to destroy or lose; in turn, that came from the Greek of the same meaning. It later morphed into the spiritual sense of moral corruption and ruin, even becoming a substitute word for hell.

Aside from the familiar perdition, the root showed up in a number of words.

deperdition: loss, waste, destruction by wasting away.
disperdition: an undoing.
imperdible: unable to be lost or destroyed.
ligniperdous: wood-destroying.
officiperd: the throwing away of one's labor.
perdido: a person who is considered lost; a desperate or depraved person; a dead person.
perdifoil: a plant that loses its leaves annually; a deciduous plant.
perdite: debauched, abandoned, wicked.
perditious: damnable, pernicious. Also in weakened sense: harmful, undesirable.

SIDEBAR: Pain Perdu: French toast the Cajun way

SIDEBAR: Sons of Perdition

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