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I started reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. It's fascinating so far. Book review on Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection is forthcoming, promise. In the meantime, in the book, James mentions that "the word identity was originally derived from the Latin words essentitas, which means being, and identidim, which means repeatedly." (p. 36 according to my kindle which could be anything really). He cites the American Heritage Dictionary, which indeed says precisely that.

I looked it up on my go-to sites, Merriam-Webster and Wikitionary. I can find no support for the idea that essentitas (I believe what James and the AHD mean is essentias) is related to the word identity. But, much more interestingly, the word identity does seem to come from the word identidem, which literally means "same and same", from the Latin root of idem (same).

This, by the way, doesn't take anything away from James's point that our identity is basically what we do over and over again. I think perhaps the word means "unchanging" (as in staying the same), reflecting the idea that we tend to think of ourselves as a constant rather than a variable, but I'm no linguist so you shouldn't take my word for it.


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