The Latin word plaga means a snare or a hunting net, and is thought to derive from the Proto Indo-European root *plak, meaning “to weave.” From this came the Latin noun plagium, meaning the act of “kidnapping” and “the netting of game.” The perpetrator of the act was called a plagiarius, that is, a kidnapper (a person who steals a human regarded at the time as “belonging” to another, for example a child or somebody else’s slave).
By extension, plagiarius also came to mean a seducer or, after the Roman poet Martial complained of another poet “kidnapping his verses” in the 1st century AD, somebody who commits literary theft by attempting to pass off others’ artistic designs, ideas or writing as their own.
In the 17th and early 18th century the Latin for “kidnapper” and “kidnapping” were adopted into English as “plagiary” and “plagium,” respectively. Martial’s sense of the plagiarius as the committer of literary theft was also adopted into English: over time, the word “plagiary” evolved into “plagiarist,” the modern word for the perpetrator of literary theft, while the modern word for the act changed from “plagium” to “plagiarism.”
Photo: Chen Wen-chan, Taipei Times 照片：自由時報記者陳文嬋
(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
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Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (2/5) 坐我的新車去兜風吧（二） A: How about we organize a road trip to test out my new set of wheels? B: Alright. Any thoughts on where to go? A: I’m thinking of driving along the east coast and staying in Taitung for a long weekend. What do you think? B: That’s a great idea — but does your vintage car have air conditioning? A: I’m afraid not, but at least the weather is starting to cool down now. How about this Saturday? B: Sure. Let’s do it! A: 我們來規劃一趟公路旅行，試試我的新車，你覺得如何？ B: 好啊。你有想到去哪裡嗎？ A: 我打算沿著東海岸開，然後週末連假待在台東。你覺得呢？ B: 那真是太棒了──不過，你的經典車有空調嗎？ A: 恐怕沒有哦，反正天氣開始變涼了。星期六出發怎麼樣？ B: 當然。就這麼做吧！ （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文: