Military

By on September 24, 2013

Today’s word is - MILITARY.  It comes from the Latin word – MILES, MILITIS –  which means soldier.

Many will remember the name – MILES STANDISH – from our American history course in High School and some will recall the character in the broadway play – A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM – Miles Gloriosus (a pompous braggadoccio who comes to seek his bride at a bordello). The Roman soldier made Rome the greatest power in the Mediterraenean. The word is less common as a first name in today’s modern world.

The word – MILE (singular), MILES (plural) – is from another Latin word. The Roman soldier, of course, marched many miles each day.  The distance was measured by the paces.  The Latin word – MILLE – means a thousand.  The military mile was a thousand paces (Latin – Mille passuum).  Kilometer means just that … a thousand paces because the meter was the measurement of the lenght of the soldier’s step.  In the USA the mile is 5,280 feet.

The words – million, millepede, millenium – come from – MILLE – meaning – 1,000.