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Playa and Pla­gia­rism, Plain

Playa (Span­ish for “beach”) comes from the Latin pla­ga, mean­ing “re­gion to go hunt­ing” (hunt­ing for wa­ter an­i­mals, clear­ly!), which is re­lat­ed to the Greek pla­gos (“side” — the beach is just one side of your town!).

From that same root, we get the Eng­lish Pla­gia­rism — be­cause the orig­i­nal Latin, in the sense of “hunt­ing”, turned in­to “kid­nap­ping”, which then turned in­to, “lit­er­ary kid­nap­ping.” Se­ri­ous­ly!

The orig­i­nal Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean root, be­fore it be­came Latin, for these words is *pele, mean­ing, “flat, spread out”. Think of the Eng­lish, plain, as in, the plains of the mid­west! And what is the beach of not flat land spread out? Well, most beach­es, at least.


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