A Roman Calendar

When I’m writing or editing historicals, much of my word nit-picking relies on gut and ear. If something feels too new or sounds too new (as in, I don’t remember reading it in works of the period), I look it up. Which is how I came to look up date last week.

Date obviously has a long history…in some senses. Ignoring the fruit called a date, which has been around forever, let’s look at the noun and verb that both have to do with noting the day. These have been around since the 14th century, directly from the Latin datum. From which also comes data, apparently. Which makes sense, but I don’t think I ever thought of it, LOL.

This primary meaning gradually evolved to mean “appointment.” But it took several hundred years for that appointment to gain a romantic sense–as in, not until the 1890s, five or so years after it came to mean “liaison.” But this was still just the actual meeting. Calling a person your date didn’t come about until 1925.

And to round it all out, “date” was also used to call something old-fashioned or out-of-date (her clothes date her) in 1895. So many meanings! Some so very old, some so relatively new.

Quick side note! I just added a page to my website featuring the book covers I’ve designed. I didn’t realize how many there were! LOL. If you’d like to check them out–or if you have a project you’d like me to consider taking on–do swing over to http://www.roseannawhite.com/wordpress/designs and take a look at my gallery. I’d love to hear which is your favorite. 😉

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