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  • Mysteries of vernacular:

  • Quarantine,

  • a state, period, or place of strict isolation

  • meant to prevent the spread of disease.

  • In the 14th century,

  • the Bubonic Plague,

  • later called "The Black Death,"

  • spread across Europe

  • with devastating consequences.

  • It's been estimated

  • that the Plague decimated at least one-third

  • of Europe's population.

  • In a vain effort to stave off infection,

  • the Italian-speaking port city of Ragusa,

  • in what is now Croatia,

  • mandated that ships arriving

  • from Plague-infested areas

  • remain isolated on the water

  • until it was deemed likely

  • that they weren't carrying a disease.

  • This meant that the entire contents of a ship

  • and all of its passengers

  • were often forced to remain on board

  • for five or six weeks before being let ashore.

  • Though the drastic measure

  • was only marginally successful,

  • it wasn't long before other port cities followed suit.

  • In 1397, the official period of isolation

  • imposed on ships and crews

  • was set at forty days.

  • Although it did little to protect ports from infection,

  • the directive stuck.

  • From the Italian word quaranta,

  • meaning forty,

  • this period of stasis was given the name

  • quarantine.

  • And by the mid 1600s,

  • the word quarantine was being used

  • to describe any place,

  • period,

  • or state of isolation,

  • plague-related or not.

Mysteries of vernacular:

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B2 TED-Ed quarantine plague isolation period infection

【TED-Ed】Mysteries of vernacular: Quarantine - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

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    Bing-Je posted on 2013/12/13
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