Saturday, 30 April 2011


The Atlantic has put up its original review of Darwin's On the Origin of Species. My favourite thing about it comes in the second paragraph:

Wherefore, in Galileo's time, we might have helped to proscribe, or to burn had he been stubborn enough to warrant cremation-even the great pioneer of inductive research; although, when we had fairly recovered our composure, and had leisurely excogitated the matter, we might have come to conclude that the new doctrine was better than the old one, after all, at least for those who had nothing to unlearn.

Excogitated! Wondrous! I suppose it means to think out  - excogito ergo summarise.

Indeed, the OED says that it does mean think out, and moreover contains the wonderful adjective excogitous, used only once in 1646 in the sentence "Impatience is very excogitous."

An excogitous statue

1 comment:

  1. I excogitate things all the time. I started after a class in Rome. The teacher was talking Latin, and he had something to think about, so he said, 'ego hanc excogitabo rem,' 'I will think this thing out/through.' I remember his phrase because it because it was iambic pentameter, and ever since I have used the word "excogitate," as if other people should know what it means.