A word that today is associated with love and romance, you might think that it is obvious where the word comes from: surely it is simply from the name of the saint whose feast day is celebrated in February? Saint Valentine.
However, there is more to it than that. The name is where it all starts. What does this name really mean?
People often have names that are no reflections at all of their character. There can be unhappy people called Joy, or atheists bearing the name Timothy, which means “honouring god”. So it should be surprising that the name Valentine derives from a word that has nothing to do with romance.
Instead, it comes from the Latin word valentia, which meant “strength”, or even “capacity. Those of you who know the word from chemistry may be nodding your heads at this point, as valentia, via the German…
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