Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Etymology of the word "Corona"

 The etymology of the word 'corona' is of course the obvious, literal meaning. It comes from Latin words which mean something like crown or wreath. There are related Greek and Old English words with similar meanings, though they may not be connected (in fact I'd say that it's unlikely as Old English was spoken in Britain while the Roman Empire flourished on continental Europe). So we have a simple contrast: Corona means crown in most European languages but has come to mean circle in many others; this change reflects fundamental differences between two different cultures and worldviews.

The Romans believed that the sun was a god, and this is reflected in their language. They used the word 'sol' to refer to it (like we use Greek-derived words for scientific concepts such as proton or neutron). It's interesting that they didn't believe in any other gods: there were no other deities associated with the sun; indeed they even had a deity called Luna who was their moon goddess! The Romans associated certain virtues such as strength and longevity with the sun.

The Greek culture, on the other hand, was polytheistic; they had many gods. Interestingly a lot of their deities were associated with physical phenomena: for example Zeus (their most important god) was associated with lightning and thunder as well as the sun.

So we have a contrast between the Romans and Greeks here. The Romans saw the sun in religious terms, while the Greeks had no such sense of awe; they just believed that it was a physical phenomenon like any other.

The Romans had no word for circle in their language, and so they used the Latin words 'circum' or 'orbis', which both mean around. When they refer to the sun as a circle, they really mean that it is like a wheel (because wheels are circular). So we can see how an idea of religious awe turned into one of simple physicality.

So in the Roman worldview, the sun was a god and it rode on its chariot around the world. The Romans believed that there were many different worlds, each one inhabited by gods. One of these worlds was their own - this is perhaps reflected in our word 'orbis', which means circle but also refers to things like maps!

Corona" is the name of a flower or plant. Although it does not grow in all places, many people are familiar with the name because of its association with jewels and precious metals.

My first thought is that a corona (plural coronas) should not be confused with the solar corona. The latter refers to the extended outer atmosphere of the sun, whereas I am referring to a plant named "Corona" and its ecosystem.

The word "corona" in English can mean crown, wreath or garland. The Latin root of the word means "crown". It is a noun and refers to something worn on one's head.

The word "corona" may also refer to the innermost region of a large plasma sphere surrounding an object that is not luminous, such as a planet.

I have researched the word "corona" in Latin and discovered that it means "crown". The etymology of a word can reveal its history. For example, if you dig deeper into why the word "rooster" came about, you might discover that roosters were considered to be guardians who would wake people up or protect them during rough times.

I would not consider a corona (plural coronas) to be the same thing as a crown. While they may look similar if seen from afar, I believe it is wrong to equate them.

In astronomy, a corona is the sun's atmosphere and consists of plasma surrounding the Sun. Although it mainly consists of ionized hydrogen and helium emitted from within the Sun itself, there are minor traces of free-flowing ions and electrons that stream into space or feed back into the solar wind.

The word is also used to describe a ring of plasma that forms the outer envelope of a star, such as in the Sun. This is often called an "planetary corona" if it results from plasma convection—as opposed to solar wind—in which case it would be more specifically referred to as a magnetosphere.

And in meteorology, the term corona is used to describe the outer layer of a thunderstorm cloud that has special visual effects due to diffraction. These include a wide range of luminous phenomena from a large spectrum of plasma visible around the sun or moon.

The word corona is also used to describe a crowning glory of light that surrounds the heads of sacred figures, such as deities or saints.

It derives from Greek korōnā, "garland", and Latin corōna, "crown" (see also: Corona Borealis).

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