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imperiling, challenging, or affecting basic beliefs, attitudes, relationships, etc.
Earthshaking in its literal sense was modeled on epithets for the Greek god Poseidon (he caused earthquakes) and the Latin god Neptune. Ennosígaios and Ennosíchthōn, both meaning “earthshaker,” were epithets for Poseidon in the Iliad and Odyssey. Latin Ennosigaeus is a pretty unimaginative borrowing. Earthshaking entered English toward the end of the 16th century; its usual sense “of great consequence or importance” dates from the 19th century.
… not everything true is universally comprehensible. And that, small as it is, is an earthshaking insight.
Divorce is hardly an earthshaking event in politics these days.
a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.
English palimpsest comes via Latin palimpsēstus from Greek palímpsēstos “rubbed again, scraped again,” i.e., in reference to durable parchment (not papyrus) “erased (so as to be able to be written upon) again.” Palimpsests are important in recovering the texts of ancient manuscripts. At least two unique ancient texts have been recovered through modern techniques of decipherment: the first text is Cicero’s dialogue De Re Publica (“On the Republic, On the Commonwealth”), which was discovered in the Vatican Library in 1819 and published definitively in 1908. The second major find is the Archimedes Palimpsest, containing seven treatises by the Greek scientist and mathematician Archimedes (c287-212 b.c.), which was made legible after decipherment performed between 1998 and 2008. Palimpsest entered English in the 17th century.
All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.
Holmes and I sat together in silence all the evening, he engaged with a powerful lens deciphering the remains of the original inscription upon a palimpsest, I deep in a recent treatise upon surgery.
a source or supply of anything, especially when considered inexhaustible: a wellspring of affection.
Wellspring from its earliest records has meant both “source or headspring of a river or stream” as well as “source of a constant supply of something.” The extended, metaphorical sense appears earlier, in the Old English version of the Cura Pastoralis (Pastoral Care) of St. Gregory the Great (a.d. c540-604) that was commissioned by King Alfred the Great (a.d. 849-899). The literal sense of wellspring, “source of a stream or river,” first appears in the Catholic Homilies (c990) composed by Aelfric “Grammaticus” (c955-c1025).
I decided to reach deep down, to the wellspring of my charisma, which had been too long undisturbed, and dip my fingers in it and flick it liturgically over the audience.
And from the same wellspring of creativity, utilizing that same power to abstract, they were the first people to see the world around them in symbolic form, to extract its essence and reproduce it.