Aug 11, 2009

Rapid Rhetoirc: LADRONE

Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

ladrone (lah-DROHN) n. robber; thief.

The English language inherits this word from the Spanish word ladrón, which has similar meanings. In the back of my mind this word festered when I came across a map with the inscription Islas de los Ladrones ("Islands of Thieves"), but I could not retrieve the word at will and had to drag out the dictionary.

Supposedly the Spanish crew of Ferdinand Magellan (also known by his Portuguese name of Fernão de Magalhães) gave these islands their disparaging name in 1521. There was a misunderstanding and a dispute over the value of provisions received by Magellan's ships that led to the unfortunate moniker.

Islas de los Ladrones, by the way, are better known today as the Mariana Islands. People should expect a blow to the head if they use the term Islas de los Ladrones nowadays.

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