Friday, February 22, 2008

Latinate terms with their connotations of classical wisdom

vās, vāsis or vās·um -ī (pl: vās·a -ōrum) [1]
n vessel, dish; utensil, implement

The "vessel" part of the definition is where we get the word vas deferens, which is one of the coiled tubes that carry the sperm out of the testes [2]. It's also the root of "vasectomy", which I think we're all familiar with.

The second part of the definition, "utensil, implement," is far more interesting when viewed in light of the first quote in the book. I think that the title implies that we (or at least, our genes) are the primary implement for bringing about change. We directly influence the future of the human race by choosing which genes are passed on to future generations, and which are unapologetically weeded out of existence.

1) The New College Latin and English Dictionary by John C. Traupman

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