‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #6 “Lunatic”

Did you know that we are currently in the full moon phase? Although that shiny orb in the sky has appeared to be glowing in a circular fashion for a few nights now, the official full moon time was this morning at 8:07.

Do you get affected by the full moon? Do you find those around you getting cranky, emotional, irrational even? Is traffic more trying? Random upsets with friends occur? An annoying hiccup at work? Your pets go ape-shit?

I’ve started paying a lot of attention to the moon cycles. Ever since I started going off-kilter because of them… and my cat too.

The moon. Lunatic. Lunar. How did the term evolve to how we use it today?

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Photo by Guzmán Barquín on Unsplash

Let’s first look at the word ‘Luna.’

Wikipedia says, Luna: a Spanish, Italian and Romanian name of Latin origin, meaning moon.

How does this differ to ‘Lunar?’

The Collins Online Dictionary says, Lunar: of, or relating to the moon. 

We are clearly talking ONLY about the moon here. So where did the -tic come from, and how did this evolve to people going crazy?

The Online Etymology Dictionary says Lunatic is a late 13th century word meaning “affected with periodic insanity, dependent on changes of the moon.”

Origins are from Old French ‘lunatique,’ meaning “insane,”

or directly from Late Latin, ‘lunaticus’ meaning “moon-struck.”

Ok, so the moon can make you crazy, we get it. But is there any proper evidence to support this long-held superstition?

The Lexicon Orthopaedic Etymology says that the first uses of the word were related to epilepsy rather than insanity. It was believed that epileptic seizures were triggered by moonlight, therefore the term lunatic was reserved for those patients.

Epilep-tic.

Luna-tic.

Hmmm. 

However the very first known entry is in the 5th century Latin version of the Bible, where a father asks Jesus to cure his son as he is “lunaticus” – that is, suffering from epilepsy.

“Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick…”

Have you personally felt the effects of the full moon? Have you ever felt like going a little ‘cray cray’ at a certain time of month? (And no women, I mean the other time…)

I know a medical professional who sees 6 independent women from the police force, and they all concur that on the night of the full moon, they are much, much busier than usual.

Take that as you will. But today, tonight… beware…

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Photo by Drew Tilk on Unsplash

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

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