Posted by Michael Stueber on June 26, 2001 at 17:16:18:
In Reply to: Re: WORD ORIGINS posted by Mark Lyons on June 25, 2001 at 23:31:36:
: I do not know the origin of "police,
Greek "polis" meaning "city". Police are one of the basic types of people needed to run a civilization. Also from this root: metropolis ('meter polis", "mother-city"), politics, and cosmopolitan.
constable, or marshall
Interestingly enough, these words both came from the same place. The Teutonic kings considered their horse-keepers to be their chief household officers. The Old High German "marah scalh", "horse servant", became "marechal" (with an accent over the "e") in French.
The same position, in Late Latin, was referred to as the "count of the stable", the "comes stabuli".
I checked a dictionary for synonyms of "police officer" and came up with, among other things, "detective". It seems obvious (a detective detects things, right?), but I looked up its origin anyway.
The Latin word "tengere, tect-" (related to the Teutonic "thek" (with a hard "th"; sounds like "tek") means "to cover". A de-tective is, therefore, one who uncovers. Neat, huh? :)
(In case you hadn't noticed, I'm kinda big on English ;) )
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