Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Betty Vanderwielen

The origins of 'quarantine'

Funky Phrases


Public domain

This was a doctor's mask during the 16th century plagues.

SEELEY LAKE – The word quarantine has been much in the news lately. In terms of COVID-19, it means stay in your home away from other people for 14 days. But where did the word come from? Interestingly, it originated during another pandemic, the bubonic plague that spread across Europe in waves.

Quarantine derives from the phrase "quaranta giorni" which literally means "space of 40 days." It refers to the policy, first started in Venice, Italy, in 1377, of refusing to allow ships arriving from plague-stricken countries to dock until they had remained offshore for a certain period of time....

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