peripatetic
adj. walking or traveling about; itinerant.

“Peripatetic” in this very general sense is a faithful rendition of its literal roots: the word comes to English by way of Old French by way of Latin by way of the ancient Greek peripatetikos (περιπατητικός) or “given to walking about.” Its first use in English as an adjective in the literal sense was the early or mid-17th century, but it appeared nearly a century early in the sense of “disciple of Aristotle.”

The word is linked to Aristotle for a number of possible reasons—either his proclivity of walking as he taught, or because he frequently walked along the peripatoi, or covered walks, at the Lyceum in Athens. In any case, “peripatetic” can also refer to a follower of Aristotelian teaching (a noun or an adjective), but the modern use seems to be that of a wanderer or itinerant.

§1397 · October 4, 2006 · Tags: ·

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