The Corner

More Volcanic Latin

The controversy won’t go dormant. From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg,

There may not be a single word for a volcano, but there is a Latin phrase for it:

mons flammas eructans  (“mountain belching fire”)



Aren’t you being more than a trifle gullible? The Romans employed ample terminology for volcanoes; even more for the sort of eruptions of stupidity evidenced by your reader. I suggest you consign his email to the mouth of a mons flammas eructans. While you’re at it, utter a prayer to Volcanus.


good heavens — anyone who saw the doctor who episode “the fires of

pompeii” (2008) knows there was no latin word for “volcano.” also,

that as bad as volcanic eruptions are, they prevent the pyrovile rock

people from becoming our new alien overlords. sheesh.


According to the episode “The Fires of Pompeii” they simply didn’t have one.

THE DOCTOR (subdued, to Donna)

They don’t know what it is. Vesuvius is just a mountain to them, the top hasn’t blown off yet. The Romans haven’t even got a word for volcano. Not until tomorrow.

On a slightly more serious note, I’ve recently become hooked on Doctor Who (thanks to iTunes) and was wondering if you had any thoughts on the series.

Love your work


What’s the big deal?  After all, the French don’t have a word for entrepreneur, right?

And, last.


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