temple

Definitions

General English

Food

  • A naturally occurring hybrid of Citrus spp

Medical

  • noun the flat part of the side of the head between the top of the ear and the eye

Origin & History of “temple”

Temple for worship (OE) and temple at the side of the head (14th c.) are distinct words. The former was borrowed from Latin templum, which originated as a term relating to divination, used by priests in ancient times. It denoted a space marked out or ‘cut’ out as suitable for making observations on which auguries were based – some say a space marked out on the ground, others a section of the night sky. It probably came ultimately from the base *tem- ‘cut’, which also produced Greek témein ‘cut’ and the English suffix -tomy ‘surgical cutting’. It has found its way into most western European languages, including German, Dutch, Swedish, and Danish tempel and Welsh teml as well as the romance languages.

Temple ‘area at the side of the head’ comes via Old French temple from vulgar Latin *tempula, an alteration of tempora, the plural of Latin tempus. this of course originally meant ‘time’ (English gets temporary from it), and it seems that the sense ‘area at the side of the head’ arose via an intermediate ‘appropriate time, proper period’, hence ‘right place (for dealing someone a fatal blow)’.
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