Derived from Dico: Dictator, Dictum, Addicted(?)

Varro, De Lingua Latina 6.61-2

“The Latin verb dico has a Greek origin, the Greek verb deiknuô which means “to show”. From this meaning, as well, comes dicare “to show, dedicate” as when Ennus writes: “I say that this circus has six little turning posts.” From this word as well we get iudicare, “to judge” because the ius “right thing” is spoken. And from this we get iudex because the judge speaks the judgment (ius dicat) once he has the authority. From the same place, we have dedicate because the ending comes from speaking (Dicendo) certain words.  Thus when a temple is dedicated by a magistrate it is done by speaking after the pontiff. From dicere, from speaking, is indicium (“information”); from this he declares war (indicit); “has invited people” to a funeral (indixit), he has postponed a day (prodixit), he has submitted a judgment (addixit). From this root as well we have named a dictum (“saying”) from farce and also the adjective dictiosus  (“witty”). From this root we also have dicta, orders given by leaders in a military cample; and we also have dictata, dictation exercises in school. And we also have dictator as leader of the people because he must be called (dici) by the counsel. Some old phrase come from this too such as addici nummo (“to be betrayed for a penny”) or dicis causa “for the sake of judicial precedent” and addictus, to be bound to someone.”


Dico originem habet Graecam, quod Graeci deiknyo. Hinc etiam dicare, ut ait, Ennius:

Dico VI hunc dicare circum metulas.

Hinc iudicare, quod tunc ius dicatur; hinc iudex, quod ius dicat accepta potestate; hinc dedicat, id est quibusdam verbis dicendo finit: sic, enim aedis sacra a magistratu pontifice praeeunte, dicendo dedicatur. Hinc, ab dicendo, indicium; hinc illa: indicit bellum, indixit funus, prodixit diem, addixit iudicium; hinc appellatum dictum in mimo, ac dictiosus; hinc in manipulis castrensibus dicta ab ducibus; hinc dictata in ludo; hinc dictator magister populi, quod is a consule debet dici; hinc antiqua illa addici numo et dicis causa et addictus.

Semantic Change and the Challenges of Linguistics: Varro, On the Latin Language, V.2-3

Varro, On the Latin Language, V 2-3

“…The first part, where we consider why and from where words develop, The Greeks call etymology; the second part is semantics. I will speak of these two categories in the following books together but more sparingly of the second.

These things are often rather obscure because every word that has been used does not still exist; the charge of time has made some forgotten. Moreover, every word that still exists, since it may be subject to misuse (applied incorrectly, for example) may not be wholly the same (since many words are altered by changes in spelling). And not every word has its origin from roots based in our own language. Many words indicate a different thing now from what they used to mean: for example, hostis (“enemy”). For, people who used this word in the past meant a foreigner who followed his own native laws; now when they use it they mean what used to be called perduellem (“enemy”).”

priorem illam partem, ubi cur et unde sint verba scrutantur, Graeci vocant etymologian, illam alteram peri semainomenon. De quibus duabus rebus in his libris promiscue dicam, sed exilius de posteriore.

Quae ideo sunt obscuriora, quod neque omnis impositio verborum exstat, quod vetustas quasdam delevit, nec quae exstat sine mendo omnis imposita, nec quae recte est imposita, cuncta manet (multa enim verba litteris commutatis sunt interpolata), neque omnis origo est nostrae linguae e vernaculis verbis, et multa verba aliud nunc ostendunt, aliud ante significabant, ut hostis: nam tum eo verbo dicebant peregrinum qui suis legibus uteretur, nunc dicunt eum quem tum dicebant perduellem.