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Etymology of “Second” (I.E., One-sixtieth of a Minute)

# Etymology of “Second” (I.E., One-sixtieth of a Minute)

The interesting etymology of “minute” and “second.” I learned about “second” from Calculus Made Easy by Thompson.

The word “second” came from the Latin “secunda pars minuta,” meaning “second diminished part.”
”one-sixtieth of a minute of degree,” also “sixtieth part of a minute of time,” late 14c. in geometry, from Old French seconde, from Medieval Latin secunda, short for secunda pars minuta “second diminished part,” the result of the second division of the hour by sixty (the first being the “prime minute,” now called the minute), from Latin secunda, fem. of secundus (see second (adj.)). The second hand of a clock is attested from 1759.”
© 2001-2016 Douglas Harper
The word “minute” came from the Latin “pars minuta prima,” meaning “first small part.”
“sixtieth part of an hour or degree,” late 14c., from Old French minut (13c.) or directly from Medieval Latin minuta “minute, short note,” from Latin minuta, noun use of fem. of minutus “small, minute” (see minute (adj.)). In Medieval Latin, pars minuta prima “first small part” was used by mathematician Ptolemy for one-sixtieth of a circle, later of an hour (next in order was secunda minuta, which became second (n.)). German Minute, Dutch minuut also are from French. Used vaguely for “short time” from late 14c. As a measure expressing distance (travel time) by 1886. Minute hand is attested from 1726.
© 2001-2016 Douglas Harper