December 14, 2018
normal (adjective)
\NOR-mul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : regular, standard, natural2 : of average intelligence; also : sound in mind and body
How do you use it?
"His lower jaw hung down as if lacking strength to assume its normal position. He was the picture of an exhausted soldier after a feast of war." (Stephen Crane, _The Red Badge of Courage_)
Are you a word wiz?

The word "normal" comes from "norma," a Latin word for a tool used in a certain profession. Who do you think would have used the tool called a "norma"?

You hit the nail on the head if you picked C, a carpenter. In Latin, "norma" was the word for a carpenter's square, the tool which helps a carpenter produce corners and edges that are straight and that form right angles. "Norma" also had the extended sense "standard" or "pattern." Similarly, "normalis," the Latin adjective formed from "norma," had the literal meaning "forming a right angle" and by the Late Latin period had the extended sense "according to rule." It is from this extended sense that we derive most of the English senses of "normal."
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