Battering Ram

Have you ever had those moments when you realise the etymology of a word you’d never thought about before? I had a good one recently, while visiting Fort-la-Latte in Brittany. Outside the main gate, there was a replica medieval battering ram, with the tip in the shape of a ram’s head (a ram being a male sheep). As soon as I saw it, the lightbulb went off: ram!

It’s called a battering ram, because it’s used for barging into a door, similar to the way a ram butts heads with his rivals. And of course we use to ram as a verb to describe such an action. It’s a little connection, which you may have already been aware of, but it’s a nice feeling to join some dots you hadn’t even thought of before, and add a little nugget of knowledge to your brain!

5 thoughts on “Battering Ram

  1. […] What struck me as unusual as a child was that priests also got to be called Father. It seemed a touch blasphemous to me (though the irony of celibate priests being called father didn’t strike me at the time). If I’d discovered then that the word pope (Il Papa in Italian) was derived from words for father, I wouldn’t have found it unusual. He’s one step away from God, and I don’t think most Catholics would mind looking up to him as a father figure. But priests? It always seemed a bit much. Little did I know that I wasn’t alone, and this is a question often asked in theological circles. It’s particularly vexing for some believers, because apparently Jesus said at one point to call no man father. Though I think the response of most theologians to this apparent problem is a fairly sensible one, seeing the word as referring to a priest’s fatherly duty to his flock. Though using both father and flock does seem like a curious mixing of metaphors, unless we’re to think of priests as rams. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s