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Tricky words in today´s OVI
           

Pridané: 29.11.2004
Autor: Andy BILLINGHAM
Kategória: 48/2004

The title of President produces a bit of trickiness this week, because I have to cope with two of them together in the same extract without using their full titles more than once each. The word comes from Latin with the meaning of "a person sitting in front, or at the head of the table", so the Slovak "predseda" is a calque of that.

It's interesting to follow how the status of the post of president has developed in history. The earliest sense (medieval English) is the one which has been preserved in Slovak: the person who presides over (leads) a meeting or association of a group of people, a council, an academy or a society. In the 15th century it meant the head of a university college, and in the 16th century the chief judge of a law court. The idea of the president as the leader of a state government AND the idea of the leader of a commercial or industrial company appeared in the United States at the same time in the 1780's. So it is possible to have two different presidents together with equal historical rights to the title.

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