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Online works based on the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg


Words in Swedenborg
and Their Meanings in Modern English

by Rev. Frank Rose


The Writings of Swedenborg are full of truth and beauty. even though he wrote so many years ago the teachings have not in the least faded. He wrote in simple and direct Latin. Within a short time after his death all of the theological works he had published were available in English and they have all remained in print to this day. But the English poses many challenges to a modern reader. Some of this is due to the fact that Latin is a very different language. For one thing it is possible to write long sentences in Latin and have them still be understandable, whereas English works better with short sentences. Vocabulary is another problem. Many of the words and phrases found in translations of Swedenborg are puzzling. The words may seem strange, or used in unusual ways. For one thing, Latin does not use the words "a", "an" or "the". It might make more sense in some cases to leave them out, or to interchange them. For another thing, adjectives are often used in Latin as nouns; this is why we find such words as "truths" and "internals." Some words have a meaning that is commonly known, but are also used at times to mean something else. For example "read" can either have its usual meaning, or mean "recite". In the dictionary we give more than one definition for such words. If the original word is repeated in the definitions, it is simply saying that it is used in the way the reader expects, plus the other uses listed. This little dictionary has been compiled to help readers get closer to the intended meaning.

The entries fall into various categories:

  1. Latin, Greek and Hebrew

  2. New words

  3. Misleading words

  4. Adjectives used as nouns

  5. Phrases (such as "the celestial of the spiritual")

  6. Words that are not used as much now as they used to be (the bulk of the entries in this dictionary are in this group)

  7. Mistranslations (in some cases the translator made an error and so the meaning can only be discovered by looking at the original Latin)

Not included: place names, anatomical words, diseases, people's names and some unusual words from the Bible....

Frank Rose, Tucson, 1985

New Words

There are more than a dozen new words in Swedenborg's Writings, many of them appearing only a few times in one particular translation. There are five that are frequently used: CONJUGIAL, CONTAINANT, PROPRIUM, SCORTATORY, VASTATE

Misleading Words

There are many words that have a different meaning than the average reader would expect. Here are some of them:

Accidental Admit Affect Affection
Apprehend Assumption Bride Bridegroom
Bull Charity Chaste Circus
Colds Continent Continuous Convenience
Deprecate Determine Earth Efficient
Elation Enormous Enthusiastic Exasperation
Excite Expiration Express Faith
Fantastic Forensic Genii Genius
Generous Goods Gymnasium Honesty
Humour Ideal Illustration Immediate
Inferior Infidelity Innocence Inoculate
Insinuate Intuition Intercourse Jealousy
Justification Lasts Luxury Man
Matrix Mean Meat Offering Medium
Melancholy Memorabilia Mere Meritorious
Mind Nations Natural Naturalist
Nectar Noble Occasion Omen
Orchestra Order Ordination Organ
Own Paradise Parchment Passion
Peculiar Plastic Posterior Predication
Presently Primate Primeval Primitives
Proper To Prove Pulse Rational
Read Real Things Remains Resuscitate
Salute Save Scandal Science
Sensible Sensuous Simple Siren
Skirt Solemn Spontaneous Stock
Stupor Succeed Suffer Himself Sweetmeat
Tabernacle Tempt Temptation Tenor
Tiara Transcribe Translate Typical
Ultimate Vicar Virtue Voluptuous
Vulgar Want

Word List

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M

N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Z   Diagrams

to A

(Abbreviations used in this work: adj. = adjective, L. = Latin, n. = noun, opp. = opposite, pl. = plural, prep. = preposition, transl. = translated)




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Words In Swedenborg

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