Amanda propaganda agenda / by Anthony Gibbins

What do these three words have in common? They all began life as a Gerundive of Obligation. Let me explain. There is a very unusual form of a Verb in Latin called a Gerundive. It has a couple of jobs, one of which is expressing obligation. Take the Gerundive legendus for example; it means something like needing to be read. It comes from the Verb lego, legere, legi, lectum to read. If I said liber est legendus I would basically be saying the book needs to be read. It is the root of our word legend.

On today’s page Hadrian says liber est inveniendus the book needs to be found. The Gerundive comes from the verb invenio, invenire, inveni, inventum to find. You may have already guessed that this Verb gives us our word invention. But who has to find this book? In Latin the Gerundive of Obligation is often paired with a Noun or Pronoun in the Dative Case, as here with vobis to you. We might read liber vobis inveniendus est as something like to you a book is needing to be found. But we should understand that as meaning something closer to you need to find a book.

Now what of amanda, propaganda and agenda? These English words began life as the Gerundives of amo, amare, amavi, amatum to love; propago, propagare, propagavi, propagatum to spread; and ago, agere, egi, actum to do. You may notice that these Gerundives all in in an -a. amanda ends in an -a because it is Feminine Singular. propaganda and agenda end in -a because they are Neuter Plural. (Yes, they have the same ending: eheu!) So, to make a long story short, amanda means she who needs to loved, propaganda means things that need to be spread and agenda means things that need to be done.

Miranda, too, is a Gerundive of Obligation. It means she who must be wondered at or admired.

You need to find a book of great importance, lost throughout many generations. I recently obtained a map which will show you where the book is.