Thursday, June 26, 2008


Ram - n. a male sheep or goat, especially with horns.

Ram - v. the act of a ram by which he charges an object or rival ram horns-first.

Ram - v. by extension, any act of heavily-hitting something, particularly with a running start. Can be used of bumper cars or tree-trunks against a medeival gate.

Battering Ram - n. a long log or pole, sometimes headed with something sharp or toothed, used to strike blows against gates of a beleaguered city in order to destroy the gates and gain entrance.

Ramifications - n. the tremors or other consequences of a ram striking something.

Ramify - v. to create consequences like ripples in the water, various and successive

Actually, I didn't use a dictionary for those. This amateur etymologist was reading a book today and found the word ramify, which she likes for being so visual. So imagine her disappointment when she actually looked the words up and discovered that all sources agree that Ramify and Ramifications have nothing to do with sheep. Battering rams are apparently associated with sheep, but the Online Etymology Dictionary doesn't know why.

What the dictionaries say is that Ramify is from a Latin root meaning branch, associated with the Latin root meaning root and seen in Radish. It seems possible that Rams were named for having branches out of their heads. According to the dictionary Ramifications has nothing to do with impact as much as it does territory; it is the branching consequences of an action. Ramify would be similar. I like my description much better, but for etymology to be a science, I suppose there must be evidence.

It has been suggested that Ram, as in the sheep, is associated with a similar word for strong, impetuous, or violent. Since Ram is the shorter word, it seems more likely that the adjectives are metaphorical derivatives of the noun, describing the animal's distinctive behavior.

Also to ponder: rampart - 1583, from M.Fr. rempart, from remparer "to fortify," from re- "again" + emparer "fortify, take possession of," from O.Prov. amparer, from V.L. *anteparare "prepare," prop. "to make preparations beforehand," from L. ante- "before" (see ante) + parare "prepare

ramp - 1) To act threateningly or violently; rage. 2) To assume a threatening stance. 3) Heraldry To stand in the rampant position. [Middle English rampen, from Old French ramper, to rear, rise up, of Germanic origin.]

rampant - adj. 1) Extending unchecked; unrestrained: a rampant growth of weeds in the neglected yard. 2) Occurring without restraint and frequently, widely, or menacingly; rife: a rampant epidemic; rampant corruption in city government.

rampage - 1715, in Scottish, probably from M.E. verb ramp "rave, rush wildly about" (c.1300), esp. of beasts rearing on their hind legs, as if climbing, from O.Fr. ramper (see ramp, also cf. rampant). The noun is first recorded 1861, from the verb.

07483 ra`mah - thunder; vibration, quivering, waving, mane (of horse)
07215 ra'mah - corals

Quotes of definitions taken from Strong's Concordance as provided by God's Word for Windows, from, and from

To God be all glory.

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