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[55] we may define a word by giving its content as in the preceding instances, or by etymology: we may for instance explain assiduus1 by deriving it from as and do, locuples2 by deriving it from copia locorum, pecuniosus3 from copiapecorum. Genus, species, difference and property seem more especially to afford scope for definition, for we derive arguments from all of these.

1 Paulus (exc. Fest.) gives the following explanation of this absurd derivation, for which Cicero tells that Aelius Stilo was responsible: “Some think that assiduus was originally the epithet applied to one who served in the army at his own expense, contributing an as” (i.e. instead of receiving it)!

2 locheples (“wealthy”) is derived from locus = the posses sors of many places.

3 pecuniosus (“moneyed”) is derived from pecus = “rich in herds.”

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