• credo •
kray-do, kree-do • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A creed, a fixed if not formal belief or set of beliefs that determine behavior. 2. (Capitalized: Credo) A creed of the Church, usually in Latin. 3. The recitation of a creed or Credo. 4. A musical setting of the Nicene Creed.
Notes: Creed is a nativized form of credo, borrowed from Latin. Credo has a more serious, formal connotation due to its habituation in religions. Credulous and credulent are distant relations; otherwise, it is a lexical orphan.
In Play: People who devote themselves to their occupation tend to have credos: "The credo of the serious scientist is that the essence of science is the love of knowledge, and the utility of that knowledge is a minor if any concern." However, anyone can have a credo: "The fiery credos that drive young minds tend to fade as the mind grows older."
Word History: Today's Good Word is Latin credo "I believe", the first word of many creeds in the Church. It is the 1st person singular of credere "to believe", created from a metathesized version of PIE kerd-/kord- "heart". It is also the source of Sanskrit shraddha "belief", Irish creidim "I believe", Breton krediñ "to believe", and Welsh credaf "I believe". It occurs across a wider swath of IE languages unmetathesized in the sense "heart": English heart, German Herz, Danish hjerte, Irish ceirtlín, Hindi hrday, Bangla hrdaya, Sinhala hadavata, Latin cor, cordis, French cœur, Armenian sirt, Russian serdce, Polish serce, and Serbo-Croatian srce. It also shows up in Russian seredina, Serbian sreda, and Breton kreiz "middle". (Let's send Lew Jury yet another kudos for spotting the interest in today's Good Word and bringing it to our attention.)
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