What can take a person from avid to pavid in an instant – and not just pavid, but flavid?
I’ll back up for a moment. Avid you know, of course; it comes originally from Latin aveo ‘I crave’ (yes, that’s also the origin of avarice). But add a simple p and you go from being full of piss and vinegar to peeing yourself: pavid means ‘fearful’; it comes from Latin paveo ‘I fear’ (not ‘I hit the pavement’, though that might be a consequence), which is the source of modern Italian pauro and French peur, both nouns meaning ‘fear’. Puff and flutter that p in flusteration and you get flavid, which means ‘yellow’ and comes from Latin flavus (not to be confused with flavius, which means ‘yellower’ or ‘goldener’ and was apparently a good thing in Rome, as it shows up in names of numerous important people, including some emperors).
OK, so what – aside from a wanton p – could take a person from avid to pavid? And what – aside from wayward pee – could make them flavid? Well, how about a gravid nimravid? Continue reading