Tag Archives: loquor

Ventriloquy

Ventriloquy: The act, art or practice of speaking in such a manner that the voice appears to come not from the person, but from some distant place.

Ventriloquy comes from the Latin word ventriloquus which itself comes from two other Latin words. Venter means stomach or belly.  And loqui means to speak.  So, a ventriloquist is someone who appears to be speaking, not with the mouth, but with, perhaps, the stomach.

The ancients believed that a person practicing ventriloquy was under duress, or under the spell of a demonic power, or the power of a deity.

Circumlocution

Circumlocution: an indirect way of speaking when you would rather avoid speaking clearly, speaking directly, or getting to the point. An evasive way of speaking.
 
Try to get a straight answer out of a politician. Good luck. Politicians are known for their circumlocution. Which reminds me of my favorite quote on politicians:
 
“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain 
 
Circumlocution comes from two Latin words. Circum means around. Loquor, which means “I speak” also gives us the English words eloquence, allocution, and obloquy.

Colloquialism

My girls and I were reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis when the word colloquialism popped up.  Here is the sentence:

“In my talks, I used all the contractions and colloquialisms I ordinarily use in conversation.”  – C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. 

I asked my girls what the word colloquialism meant.

Here is my daughter’s guess:

Phrases and expressions used in normal conversation

She got it.  Here is Google’s definition:

a word or phrase that is not formal or literary, typically one used in ordinary or familiar conversation.

Colloquialism comes from the Latin prefix con, which became col before the letter l, and the Latin verb loquor, meaning, “I speak”.