Viva la Etymology

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

I just learned about a restaurant whose mission includes “conviviality,” in addition to good food and service. Naturally, the Latin root word came to mind.

Vivere is Latin for “to live.” Think of some other -viv- words, and chances are that most of them will connect to life and liveliness. Vivacity, vivacious, vivid, vivify, the musical notation vivace, and viviparous (bearing live young, as opposed to eggs), are members of the family.

The prefix con- derives from the Latin preposition cum, meaning “with.” When you’re convivial, you’re “living with.” You’re lively along with someone. No doubt the restaurant hopes there will be lots of customers for you to be convivial with.

An exceptionally lively fellow diner might be named Vivian!

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