Brain Post: The Origin of the Word “Quarantine”

The Brains | | BrainsBrains
Quarantine. image: wilx

The word quarantine is being thrown around a lot these days.

Where does it come from?

What’s its etymology?

The history of the word quarantine is very cool and learning it’s original meaning will make you sound way smarter than all your friends while you’re all #SocialDistancing, so let’s go for it.

“The very word quarantine is rooted in the Italian words quarantenara and quaranta giorni, or 40 days, the period of time that the city of Venice forced ship passengers and cargo to wait before landing in the 14th and 15th centuries to try to stave off the plague.” –


“The word quarantine comes from a seventeenth-century Venetian variant of the Italian quaranta giorni, meaning “forty days”, the period that all ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death plague epidemic.” – Wikipedia

Now, the next time you hear the word, quarantine, you can ask:  “Do you know where the word quarantine comes from?”

They won’t.

Then you can drop knowledge on them like an A-bomb and feel like the smartest guy/gal in the room.

If only for a little while…

Signal flag “Lima” called the “Yellow Jack” which when flown in harbor means the ship is under quarantine.

Quarantine Definition:

quarantine is a restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests.  It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, but do not have a confirmed medical diagnosis.  The term is often used synonymously with medical isolation, in which those confirmed to be infected with a communicable disease are isolated from the healthy population. – Wikipedia

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