The term “identical” comes from the Medieval Latin word “identicus,” which means “the same.” This is derived from the Latin word “idem,” meaning “the same,” combined with the suffix “-icus,” indicating a characteristic or relation.

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*i-dhe-” means “to see” or “to recognize,” which is related to the concept of sameness or identity.

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “idem” developed, meaning “the same.” The Medieval Latin “identicus” combines “idem” with the suffix “-icus,” meaning “the same” or “identical.”

3. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Medieval Latin “identicus” was adopted into Middle English as “identical,” meaning “exactly the same” or “alike in every way.”

4. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “identical” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meaning of “exactly the same” or “alike in every detail.”

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “identical” has remained relatively stable, transitioning from Medieval Latin “identicus” to Modern English “identical.”

Usage Examples

  • “The twins are identical in appearance.”
  • “Another example of ‘identical’ in a sentence is ‘The two documents are not identical, but they are very similar.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “identical” was significantly influenced by the need to describe things that are exactly alike in every aspect, such as in legal, scientific, and everyday contexts.

The word “identical” reflects the importance of exact sameness and uniformity, emphasizing the role of precision and accuracy in human cognition, communication, and various fields of study.