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November 9, 1994

Amateur Etymologists Beware: Even During Carnival, Dirckx Lurckx

Author Affiliations

University of California—San Francisco

JAMA. 1994;272(18):1409. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520180033026

To the Editor.  —I write regarding the comment on the etymology of the word "carnival" by Dr Dirckx1 in a letter to the editor. Dr Dirckx traces carnival to carnilevaria (taking away meat) in medieval Latin.I had always understood that the word carnival was an anglicization of the Latin, carne (meat) and vale (farewell), signifying doing without meat during Lent as a form of penance. This construction has the appeal of common-sense logic, a quality for which Romans-Latins were admired.

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