Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Word Wednesday - Where does 'disaster' come from?

As a matter of fact ...

The word 'Disaster' comes from the Middle French and Old Italian for 'Two-Stars'.  It's origins in the 16th century come from a time steeped in astrological superstition.

One of the most spectacular sights to see is a comet as it lights up the night sky. However, hundreds of years ago this spelled doom to those who read the night sky for celestial signs. 

It meant plagues, war and untold suffering were right around the corner. The Norman King, William the Conqueror, used the 1066 sighting of Haley's Comet as a sign to invade England. The bright comets was referred to as a 'disaster' from the old helenic of 'dis' meaning second and 'aster' meaning star. 

For our ancestors, the appearance of a second star meant catastrophe. Next time you feel like your day is a disaster, don't forget to look up. 

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