Word of the day

to remain poised or balanced.
to oscillate or move from side to side or between two points.

Watching them to the ground, the wings of a hawk, or of the brown owl, stretch out, are drawn against the current air by a string as a paper kite, and made to flutter and librate like a kestrel over the place where the woodlark has lodged …
John Leonard Knapp, Journal of a Naturalist, 1829
At this period the balance of tropic and pole librates, and the vast atmospheric tides pour their flood upon one hemisphere and their ebb upon another.
Victor Hugo, The Toilers of the Sea, translated by William Moy Thomas, 1866

The verb librate comes from Latin lฤซbrฤtus, the past participle of lฤซbrฤre โ€œto balance, make level,โ€ a derivative of the noun lฤซbra โ€œa balance, a pound (weight).โ€ The further etymology of lฤซbra is difficult. It is related to Sicilian (Doric) Greek lฤซฬtra โ€œa silver coin, a pound (weight),โ€ also a unit of volume, e.g., English litre (via French litre from Latin). Both lฤซฬtra and lฤซbra derive from Italic lฤซthrฤ. Lฤซbra becomes lira in Italian, libra in Spanish and Portuguese, French livre (both coinage and weight). The abbreviation for lฤซbra (weight) is lb.; the symbol for lฤซbra (the coinage, i.e., the pound sterling) is ยฃ. Librate entered English in the 17th century.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.