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Classical Home School Lesson: How Learning Latin Helps Kids Excel

UTILITAS – Usefulness

Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!

Roman Aqueducts

This week’s word of the week is Utilitas (You-til-eh-tas; yes like Utility), meaning usefulness. Utilitas is third declension and nominative case. It is singular and feminine. We get English words such as Utility from Utilitas.

Roman Utilities

Utility was a word we used in last week’s newsletter. It was used to described a type of friendship, Friendship for Utility. Do you remember? It meant it was a friendship kept for it’s usefulnessUtilitas means usefulness. The English word utility means “of practical use”. When we think of Utility, or Utilities today, we may think of our utility bills! Our water, sewer, and power systems are all called “public utilities”. We call them this because they are public facilities that we all use.

Did you know the Romans had public utilities too? Yup! Thousands of years ago, the Romans figured out how to deliver fresh water and remove wastewater from their cities. You can read more here on how they built them! There are still examples of the aqueducts standing today.

Economic Utility and Utilitarianism

When we say something has utility, it can also be a way to say something has value. Economists use the word utility to measure the value or expected value a good or service in the world of commerce. There is also a political and ethical theory called Utilitarianism. This theory believes that decisions should be made based off of the ability to achieve the highest level of happiness of the most amount of people.

The Utility of Latin

Studying and knowing the Latin language has a lot of utility!

There are many benefits to knowing Latin vocabulary. It is thought that there are over 10,000 English words with Latin roots. Some of our words come directly from Latin. Chances are you already know a great deal of Latin words!

Here are Four Benefits of Knowing Latin

  • Increased Vocabulary
  • Increased Reading Comprehension
  • Enhanced Critical Thinking Skills
  • Easier transition to learning Romance Languages

But beyond the measurable benefits of knowing Latin, there is the benefit of being exposed to ancient life, culture, and philosophy. Reflecting on this past has opened doors to many futures. My own included.

My journey with Latin began with a love for mythology and history, and ended with me working in the United States Senate. Reading the thoughts on what is a republic, a democracy, and the philosophy of men like Cicero and Plato inspired an entire career in public service. And now today, I work for a utility company, advocating for new, innovative energy policy solutions just like the aqueducts of Rome.

I can’t wait to see where your Latin Journey will lead you.

English words from Utilitas

  • Utility – Noun. Meaning: the quality of being of practical use
    • (Economic use) Noun. Meaning: measure that is to be maximized in any situation involving choice
    • (public use) Noun. Meaning the service (electric power or water or transportation) provided by a public utility
    • (computer science) Noun. Meaning: a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer
  • Utilize – Verb. Meaning: put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose
  • Utilization– Noun. Meaning: the act of using
  • Utilitarian – Adjective. Meaning: having a useful function
  • Utilitarianism – Noun. Meaning: doctrine that the useful is the good; especially as elaborated by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill; the aim was said to be the greatest happiness for the greatest number.

Check out our coloring books for more Latin fun!

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