At it under the arches

We all know the word and what it means; and probably sniggered over it at school.
The word is Fornication; the verb is to fornicate.
I was surprised to learn that the root of this word was derived from an architectural term, Fornix. The word first appeared in English in the early 1300s.
Now, on to the origin of the word ...
Back in Roman days there were official brothels. However, there was also the unofficial side of the business which was conducted out of sight in the streets and lanes beneath the City. The business (of sex) was preferred under an arch, which in Roman architectural terms was known as a Fornix. The prostitute was known as a Fornatrix and the client was known as the Fornicator.

In strictly architectural terms, the fornicator had sex with the fornatrix beneath the fornix.

It is interesting to learn the meaning of some words.
Try using the word Fornix in your next game of scrabble.


  1. I think I will smile to myself every time I pass under or loiter near an archway.

  2. Interesting from a scrabble perspective.
    Amazing the origin of words.

  3. A fascinating origin of the word.
    I remember the school boy sniggers.


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