A census giving consensus for consent?
August 13, 2011 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Etymology Question: Relationships of modern word consensus to Latin consensus from sentio from (pre-Latin?) sent? Specifically, is censor or census in there somewhere as a predecessor or descendant?

I've spent some time toddling around on this and getting myself confused with the See Also listings. I'm trying to determine if there's any relationship between the Latin consensus with its older con-sent roots, and the idea of the census/censor. Also whether one precedes the other, or if they're just separate words that happen to wane homonymical whilst occupying similar ideas.

Could anyone shed some light as comprehensively as reasonable? It's getting rather dark over here...
posted by Phyltre to Writing & Language (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In a word, no. Census (a Roman would have pronounced this "KEN-sus") and Sensus ("SEN-sus") are not connected.
posted by philokalia at 4:57 PM on August 13, 2011

Best answer: Nope. C and S were pronounced differently in Latin, even though C ends up being pronounced like S before E and I in English words that come from Latin, so censeo and sentio are totally different words.

Censeo / censere, from which we get censor and census, means "appraise" or "give an an opinion." Both of them make sense if you think of the appraise sense.

Sentio / sentire, from which we get sense and consensus, means "feel" or "perceive." Consensus means literally "feeling together."

They're not related.
posted by nangar at 5:03 PM on August 13, 2011

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