The Writer's Life: “Did you know? The origin of the word “sincere” might not be what you think it is. Or it might?.”
Read more: It used to be thought that “sincere” came from an unscrupulous practice in the world of goldsmiths. If a piece of work emerged from the mold with imperfections, they were smoothed over with wax steeped in gold dust – thus, “sine” – without; “cera” – wax. Likewise, in the marble quarries where Michelangelo worked, if a piece of marble had been hurt in the excavation, the quarrymen rubbed in wax to subdue the gouged scars. These origins have long been challenged by Latin scholars, who say that “sincere” comes from a medieval Latin word, “sincerus,” meaning clean, unadulterated, pure of composition. But - dah! Couldn’t “sincerus” have come from “sine” and “cera”? We shall never know until we get that book I’ve always wanted to see published – the dictionary that gives us the root of the word-root, and for several generations of origin where necessary.