Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Underground | Suburban | Newton | Apple | Bite |

Municipal trains approaching the main station feature an announcement saying, passengers can change to suburban, regional, national and international trains.

During such an announcement I overheard a guy behind me asking his partner -
« what's the difference between underground and suburban trains? »
Most English speakers would know that the « burbs » or « suburbs » are smaller towns surrounding a larger city - also called bedroom communities because commuters will come home from the city, go to sleep, not doing much else.

But literally « sub » can mean « under » or « near by » in Latin and « urbs » means city - » so under the city « - » underground « - would be a possible interpretation. But it's wrong because of the gotcha!!! idiomatic effect.

« Urbis at Orbis » is probably the the genitive of urbs and orbs - and means something like « of the city and the globe »

The orb that ought to be on Newton's tomb, according to the Da Vinci Code is the other biblically relevant round thing - the apple, which brought Newton illumination by dropping on his head - or so the saga goes.

So an apple hanging above your head - especially if already eaten into might bring extra illuminating effects (I mean Newton was brilliant to begin with).

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