lid

The title of today’s post isn’t the English lid that means ‘cover’ but the Spanish lid that means ‘contention, controversy, argument, disputation.’ Probably no English relative will come to mind until you learn that the Spanish noun evolved from the Latin stem līt whose meanings included ‘strife, dispute, quarrel; charge, accusation, lawsuit.’ In that last sense, the Romans combined līt– with the verb agere ‘to do, make’ (think agente/agent) to create the compound lītigāre that we’ve borrowed as litigar/litigate.

From lid Spanish has made the verb lidiar that means basically ‘to struggle, fight,’ particularly against a bull. A derivative sense is ‘to get along, cope, get by, make out, make do, deal with, manage.’ English doesn’t seem to have any simple descendant of līt– the way Spanish does, but English law uses the Latin phrase ad lītem “to refer to the appointment by a court of one party… to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party such as a child or an incapacitated adult, who is deemed incapable of representing himself.”

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shoreacres
    Mar 14, 2017 @ 20:51:20

    It does occur to me that a litigious person is one who seems to delight in fighting: albeit in the courtroom rather than a bull ring.

    Reply

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If you encounter an unfamiliar technical term in any of these postings, check the Glossary in the bar across the top of the page.
©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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