Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Many senior centers sponsor bus rides to casinos. I’m not sure that it’s the best way for Granny to spend her pension check, but the word itself caught my eye.

Ultimately it tracks back to the Latin word for a house or cottage, casa, with the -ino acting as a diminutive. The original casino was an Italian summer cottage. The word also designated a public room used for social purposes, such as dancing. Today, it refers to a building dedicated to aleatory pursuits — gambling.

The root casa also led to the names of two liturgical garments. The cassock originally referred to a long coat worn by horsemen. The chasuble started out as a large round sleeveless cloak with a hood. In both cases, the garments covered the wearer like a little house.

SIDEBAR: liturgical vestments

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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