belonging to the world

The words map and mundane have the same base: the Latin mundus, ‘universe, world’. Mundane literally means, ‘belonging to the world’.

Map is a shortening of the Medieval Latin mappa mundi, or literally, cloth of the universe (mappa: cloth, on which a map might be drawn & mundi: from mundus).

mundus comes from a Greek to Latin translation of the word kosmos, which has various meanings, including: to establish good order, to arrange; and secondly, to decorate, to adorn (especially in reference to women’s clothing). Pythagoras applied kosmos to mean ‘the firmament’ and this use was expanded to mean ‘the universe’.

(Image: Clouds near Rungstedlund. Photo: C. Reddaway)