A man called Tertius

In my next Radwinter novel, which has taken far too long to write, and I am only now in the final stage of editing, there is a peripheral character whose middle name is Tertius. Spellcheck decided that this wasn’t what I meant and offered me several alternatives, which was kind.

Tertius of  is a boy’s name, originally Latin and means “third”., so in real life I would guess anyone given that name would either be a third child in a family, or a third son in line called that. Apparently, Tertius was an associate of St Paul who helped him write his epistle to the Romans. So what else did spellcheck offer? No names but an interesting variety of suggestions:

  • Tetris is a video game, quite simple to play, coloured squares slide down a frame on the screen, and by moving them players can make a line of all one colour which then disappears. If you don’t do it quickly enough the frame fills up and the game is over. The name comes from a Greek word meaning four. Tetris is also the plural of tetri (თეთრი), the currency in Georgia, which is 1/100 of a lari (ლარი).
  • tortious – means to do with torts, which are some sort of legal something or another. This is what Wikipedia says: A tort, in common law jurisdiction, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits a tortious act.
  • terries – This could be the plural of terry – either as in the name Terry, or as in the cloth nappy used for babies. I used cloth nappies with both my children and felt very environmentally friendly, and proud when i saw them all flapping bright and clean on the washing line. I think I knew but had forgotten that ‘terry is a type of fabric, with ‘raised uncut loops of thread covering both surfaces, used especially for towels’
  • tertian – this is rather horrid as it is ascribed to malaria and other diseases which exhibit symptoms every other or every third day. In a nicer sense it is to do with music and intervals of a third (major or minor) Tertian can also apply to a stage in a Jesuit’s training
  • terminus – the end! This is particularly used in transport.

Spellcheck is really useful, although I sometimes disagree that the way I’ve written a word needs changing, and more often get sidetracked as I have here by the suggestions offered!

My featured image is a seagull showing tertial feathers, ‘the flight feathers borne on the basal joint of a bird’s wing’.

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