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PEST PESTLE PESTILENCE PLAGUE

Mort Mortar Mortal

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This overview exposes the ideas linking MORTar with MORTal and PESTle with PESTilence, PESTs and PLAGUE. Note that pest or pestle points to PLAGA or PLAGE which stands for "stroke". In fact, both PLAGUES and STROKES remain major causes of MORTality. Further links of "Stroke" with Apoplexy are explored in another overview. Also note that Baba Yaga is the only witch who flies in a MORTAR holding in  in her hand a PESTLE. What is the link of Baba Yaga with PHARMAcy is an interesting question pointing to the survival of ancient symbols and myths now surviving among southern Slavs (note that current views of Baba Yaga reflect the distortions by Pushkin, who as a poet of the Russian autocracy obscured the roots of myths inherent in Baba Yaga and the traditions extant to this day among villagers in Ukraine pointing toward ancient PHARMAcology and Ceres)  

In modern parlance, PESTicides imply poison for PESTy insects. In fact, PESTIcides STRIKe as much human health as do insects. In any case, STROkes cause fear or STRAch in Ukrainian since they deform health. Plague points to PLAGIO, a Greek root for "deformation" or crooked as in PLAGIOCEPHALY, a term for deformed heads. Shakespeare did not diminish ancient stories that inspired him but in most instances those who copy and deteriorate or distort the work of others are called PLAGIARISTS. 

PEST and PLAGue bring to mind the Bubonic Plague. "Bubo" or boubon in Greek, refers to the groin. In medical parlance, bubo relates to a host of infectious causes, particularly tuberculosis, which causes the swelling of lymphatic nodes (lymph nodes) or Bubos. Swollen lymphonodes are most visible in the groin, axilla and neck. The principal and historic plagues were those caused by the Tuberculosis and by the Yersinia Pestis bacilli. The most virulent form of "plague" was called the "Black Plague" because the Yersinia bacteria caused the blood to coagulate within the vessels causing massive gangrenes. Another name for the Black Plague was Pestis Fulminans or Pestis Major.

Napoleon examining a person with Bubonic Plague
In current parlance, we also know of "BOOB" and "BUBO" which point to terms like "BLOOM" and "BLOUSE" which are terms explored in another overview.

From  PEST and PESTer we get to ePISTle, often used by churches to PESTer their flocks of faithful MORTals to "get ready" for a the after-life.  

Pestle and Mortar, in a manner of speaking, imply a rod or projectile and a receptacle which in combination help to "strike" or blow (stroke), "pelt", "crush" or "grind"  or pulverize or mash matter, in particular the matter of enemy soldiers (and more recently of civilians as well). A gentler sense is conveyed by the description of some flowers with a "pestle" or "pistle" or gynecim (in Latin pistillus for pestle). The above terms evolved toward PILL and PILLar, explored in another overview.

Pharmacists use a pestle and mortar to grind matter into powders used in PILLs; cooks to make paste like PESTo and masons to make MORTar to build MAUSOLEums to memorialize MORTAals as did the widow of MAUSOLEus, a work of such beauty that it is remembered as one of the seven wonders of the world.

A military mortar or Howitzer or in Spanish "Obus".
Military establishments use the word MORTar to describe a weapon that inflicts high MORTality. Ancient MORTars were catapults that shot PELlets or PILls. Another vista of MORTar emerges from MORTgages, which may become MORTal instruments used and abused by bankers who seek profits insured beyond the MORTality of their clients. Another source of MORTality stems from pharmacists, who may err when preparing PILLS with a PESTle and MORTar, causing some patients to feel PESTered and others to end up in a MORTuary.


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