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VarietyThe Life of a Roman Concept$
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William Fitzgerald

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226299495

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226299525.001.0001

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Words and Meanings

Words and Meanings

(p.12) 1 Words and Meanings

William Fitzgerald

University of Chicago Press

Starting from the strong use of ‘various’ in certain passages of English poetry, from Pope to Louis MacNeice, this chapter shows that the Latin varius was more semantically full than our ‘various’ as it is currently used, and that its influence on English ‘various’ persisted into the twentieth century. The chapter considers the semantic field of varius and its Greek equivalent poikilos, and the different senses in which it was used. It ends by considering some passage in Latin poetry (and one in English) in which one sense of varius (changeable) is played off against another (variegated).

Keywords:   varius, poikilos, distinguo, variety

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