Speaking Of Words

Lynne Kiesling

The OED website has a feature that is dangerous for linguaphiles like myself — an email subscription word of the day.

I already subscribe to A Word A Day, which I love both for the words and for the epigrams that Anu Garg picks to illustrate usage. But I’m often so crazy busy that I don’t read my word. So two words might be too much!

Today’s word is near and dear to my heart; almost as good as the day he did “monopsony”:

ceteris paribus (KAY-tuhr-uhs PAR-uh-buhs, SET-uhr-is) adverb

Other factors remaining the same.

[From Latin, literally, other things the same.]

This is a favorite term of economists. It’s used to indicate the effect of change in a variable, assuming other variables are held constant in a system.

Today’s word in Visual Thesaurus.

“Ceteris paribus, I stand by my avoid recommendation.” William Lewis; Forget the Big Spend; Sunday Times (London, UK); Apr 11, 2004.

“But since, ceteris paribus, no poet can afford to dispense with anything that may advance his design, it but remains to be seen whether there is, in extent, any advantage to counterbalance the loss of unity which attends it.” Edgar Allan Poe; The Philosophy of Composition; 1850.

This week’s theme: Latin expressions.