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Etymology of 'identity'

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Etymology of 'identity'

Postby humanengr » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:27 am

The etymology of ‘identity’ in OED changed from Eds 2 to 3. The earlier edition made reference to Du Cange's 1844 explanation of identitās as ‘quævis actio repetita’ in his Glossarium mediæ et infimæ latinitatis, Volume 3.

What is the proper translation of "quaevis actio repitita”?

Is it “any repetitive action”? Or, has been claimed elsewhere (per FN 348 of this book), is “quaevis” an imperative form of the verb “quaero”, so the translation would be “To seek a repeat performance (or action)”?
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby adrianus » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:13 am

quaevis actio repetita = "any repeated action at all/whatever"
[quae + vis encliticum
quae actio = some/any action
quaevis actio = any action at all]

humanengr wrote:Or, has been claimed elsewhere (per FN 348 of this book), is “quaevis” an imperative form of the verb “quaero”, so the translation would be “To seek a repeat performance (or action)”?
No way. Everything about that is mistaken.
Minimé. Falsum in toto.
"Quaere actionem repetitam" = "Seek a repeated action"
"Quaeras actionem repetitam" = "Please seek a repeated action"
"Quaeris actionem repetitam" = "You seek a repeated action"
"Quaeris actio repetita" = "O repeated action [vocative], you seek"
--Pretty odd. // Alienius!
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby humanengr » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:00 pm

Thanks -- do you have a reference for vis as an enclitic?
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby Qimmik » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:39 pm

Allen & Greenough, New Latin Grammar sec. 151c:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=AG+151&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0001

Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary:
[url]
http://perseus.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/phi ... isandshort[/url]

The qui- element is an indefinite pronominal adjective, "any"

-vis is the second person singular pres. indic. of volo -- "you want"

quivis = "any you want"

identitas is not classical Latin. Perhaps it's a medieval, scholastic Latin word formed from identidem:

http://perseus.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.8:156.lewisandshort
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby adrianus » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:41 pm

Qimmik wrote:identitas is not classical Latin. Perhaps it's a medieval, scholastic Latin word...

According to this source, it occurs in Victorinus (AD 4th century) but I haven't checked in Keil:
Secundum fontem sequentem, apud Victorinum (grammaticum quarti saeculi aevi communis) est, sed in volumine de Keil non verificavi:
http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/pdf/victorinus_bruce.pdf
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby humanengr » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:08 pm

Thank you both. May I ask, then, what insight you can provide re the change from OED 2nd Ed.:
identity, n. (aɪˈdɛntɪtɪ) Also 6 idemptitie. [ad. F. identité (Oresme, 14th c.), ad. late L. identitās (Martianus Capella, c425), peculiarly formed fromident(i)-, for L. idem ‘same’ + -tās, -tātem: see -ty.

Various suggestions have been offered as to the formation. Need was evidently felt of a noun of condition or quality from idem to express the notion of ‘sameness’, side by side with those of ‘likeness’ and ‘oneness’ expressed by similitās and ūnitās: hence the form of the suffix. But idem had no combining stem. Some have thought that ident(i)- was taken from the L. adv. identidem ‘over and over again, repeatedly’, connexion with which appears to be suggested by Du Cange's explanation of identitās as ‘quævis actio repetita’. Meyer-Lübke suggests that in the formation there was present some association between idem and id ens ‘that being’, whence identitās like entitās. But assimilation to entitās may have been merely to avoid the solecism of *idemitās or *idemtās. However originated, ident(i)- became the combining stem of idem, and the series ūnitās, ūnicus, ūnificus, ūnificāre, was paralleled by identitās, identicus, identificus, identificāre: see identic, identific, identify above.]


to OED 3rd:
identity, n. Pronunciation:  Brit./ʌɪˈdɛntᵻti/ , U.S. /aɪˈdɛn(t)ədi/ Forms:  15 idemptitie, 15 ydemptyte, 15–16 identitie, 15– identity, 16 idemptity. Etymology: < Middle French identité, ydemtité, ydemptité, ydentité (French identité) quality or condition of being the same (a1310; 1756 in sense ‘individuality, personality’, 1801 in sense ‘distinct impression of a single person or thing presented to or perceived by others’) and its etymon post-classical Latin identitat-, identitas quality of being the same (4th cent.), condition or fact that a person or thing is itself and not something else (8th cent. in a British source), fact of being the same (from 12th cent. in British sources), continual sameness, lack of variety, monotony (from 12th cent. in British sources; 14th cent. in a continental source) < classical Latin idem same (see idem n.) + -tās (see -ty suffix1) [sameness], after post-classical Latin essentitas ‘being’ (4th cent.); the Latin word was formed to provide a translation equivalent for ancient Greek ταὐτότης identity.
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby adrianus » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:40 pm

De etymologiâ identitatis vocabuli, pauciores conjecturas proponit editio tertia de OED.
The thrid edition is less speculative, dropping speculation about identidem vs id ens.
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby Qimmik » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:00 pm

The two OED explanations aren't completely inconsistent. The Latin word identitas itself is difficult to explain on the basis of the normal principles of Latin word formation. The 3rd ed. OED definition seems closer to the mark-- formed on the basis of idem, which is also the basis for identidem, rather than on the basis of identidem, as a calque of a Greek philosophical term first occurring apparently in Aristotle.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dtau%29to%2Fths

Perhaps the second ed. is correct that the first instance of identitas in the surviving body of Latin literature shows up in the late, post-classical Latin authors Victorinus or Martianus Capella. Of course, it may well have been used earlier in works that haven't survived. Du Cange's derivation from i]identidem[/i], and his definition, quævis actio repetita, seem suspect.
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby humanengr » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:55 pm

It’s interesting, then, that the 3rd, while tracing to idem, indicates that the sense of "repetition" (2nd ed: ĭdentĭdem — "'over and over,' from phrase idem et idem") survives (3rd ed.: "continual sameness, …, monotony from 12th cent. in British sources; 14th cent. in a continental source).

Re identidem, Merriam Webster and Random House still trace to that:

identity (MW) -- Middle French identité, from Late Latin identitat-, identities, probably from Latin identidem repeatedly, contraction of idem et idem, literally, same and same; First Known Use: 1570

Identity (RH) -- 1560–70; < Late Latin identitās, equivalent to Latin ident (idem) repeatedly, again and again, earlier *idem et idem (idem neuter of īdem the same + et and) + -itās -ity

Viewed in isolation, do you see any support for tracing identidem to idem et idem?
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby Qimmik » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:23 am

do you see any support for tracing identidem to idem et idem?


Yes. The Oxford Latin Dictionary confirms this.
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Re: Etymology of 'identity'

Postby humanengr » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:23 pm

Thanks -- so, exploring further re tracing the sense of 'repetition', I see American Heritage provides a middle ground of formation from idem with 'influence' from identidem:
identity -- French identité, from Old French identite, from Late Latin identitās, from Latin idem, the same (influenced by Late Latin essentitās, being, and identidem, repeatedly), from id

That would seem to allow a plausible trace of 'repetition' to Latin now missing from OED 3.
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