Posted by: Jack Henry | August 17, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Multifarious

Last week, my husband and I drove up to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the Guillermo del Toro museum exhibition At Home with Monsters. It was an amazing collection of paintings, sculptures, skeletons, curios, and film clips from this movie directors home, Bleak House. Anyway, as I was reading one of the descriptions of the collection, I came across the word multifarious, which Id never seen before. I am familiar with nefarious as an adjective, but this made me curious enough to look into these words a little more. Heres what I found in Merriam-Webster.

nefarious (adjective)

: heinously or impiously wicked : detestable, iniquitous

<nefarious schemes>
<nefarious practice>

<race prejudice is most nefarious on its politer levels H. E. Clurman>

Latin nefarius, from nefas crime, wrong, from ne- not + fas right, divine law; akin to Latin fari to speak

multifarious (adjective)

1: having multiplicity: having great diversity or variety: of various kinds

<the multifarious activities of a farm Kenneth Roberts>
<multifarious noise of a great city A. L. Kroeber>

2 of a pleading in law: improperly uniting distinct and independent matters and thereby confounding them whether against one or several defendants

Latin multifarius, from multifariam on many sides, in many places, from multi- + -fariam

bifarious (adjective)


: twofold, ambiguous <some strange, mysterious verity in old bifarious prophesy Ned Ward>

Latin bifarius, from bifariam in two ways, from bi- 1bi- + -fariam (akin to Sanskrit root dh in dvidh in two ways, dadhti he places, sets)

Photo from LACMA exhibit, by Ray Pennisi

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

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