L. informatio Latin etymology
Thread poster: dsutherland
Jul 29, 2009

I am trying to track down the etymology of L. informatio (concept or idea). Most IT-related sources suggest that the etymology of Eng. 'information' is from L. informare--using L. in- in the sense of 'to', to form or shape the mind. However, as a neuroscientist, it makes more sense to me that L. informatio uses L. in- in the sense of 'not', contrasting a concept or idea with something that exists 'out there, in the world'. Any comments or sources will be greatly appreciated!

Duncan

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-07-29 18:37 GMT]


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 07:53
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
INFORMATIO Jul 29, 2009

Hello Duncan!

"INFORMATIO" in Latin comes from verb INFORMO. The noun means "project, design, draft" and, sensu lato, "idea, notion, conception, representation".

Funnily enough, Santiago Segura's Etymological Dictionary says that INFORMATIO also meant "ETYMOLOGY" in Latin

From this word comes in Latin "INFORMATOR" (he who instructs or educates).

The verb, INFORMO (INFORMARE) comes from IN + FORMO, meaning "to shape, give shape, model something" and, in figured sense, to represent ideally, to describe, to draft, to model (spiritually), to organise, to educate...

"ANIMUS BENE INFORMATUS A NATURA" (The soul naturally well organized)

VIRTUTEM INFORMARE: to get an idea of virtue...

"Informar" appears in Spanish first in 1444. "Informe" in 1734.

I hope this helps a bit?

Flavio


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 07:53
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
IN (prefix) Jul 29, 2009

Dear Duncan,

I forgot to mention, that here "IN" cannot be taken as a negative prefix.

INFORMIS is an adjective that DOES feature "in" with a negative
meaning, but then it means "WITHOUT A SHAPE" --> FORMLESS,
SHAPELESS, even DEFORMED or UGLY. Figured sense, HIDEOUS.

It is definitely not the case for "INFORMATION". Here the prefix
"in" has the other meaning.

Best wishes!
Flavio


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dsutherland
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you... Jul 29, 2009

...for taking the time to reply, Flavio!

Duncan


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:53
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Perfect explanation Jul 30, 2009

Hi Fabio

Let me agree with your very clear explanation

Bye bye

Angio


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:53
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Flavio rocks! Jul 30, 2009

Wow, Flavio, can you please suggest us a good Latin book?
thanx!


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L. informatio Latin etymology

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