January 2011 archive

Treatise (or Treacle) on Insanity

Bethlem Royal Hospital,

aka Bedlam

With my thoracic surgery staring at me from the other side of the weekend, I decided that grabbing something from the past and emending it would be easier than writing something totally new.  So I did.  This is from May 25, 2008.

I am intensely interested in how words have come to mean what they do.  Since words are all I have to argue for my inclusion into human society, how could I not need to be interested in those long forgotten thought processes.

With help from the Online Etymological Dictionary and its many contributors, I do the research so you don’t have to.

Insanity – 1432, (referring to health of body, or rather lack thereof), deriving from Latin sanus (health)

Interesting question:

Why insane?  Why not unsane?  Nonsane?  Presane or postsane?


insane – 1560, mad, outrageous, excessive, extravagant

sanity – 1602

sane – 1721 (back-created from sanity, which was back-created from insanity.)

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