Ceasefire: Words: Pan

Share
Related Topics
BEFORE Ulster loyalist spokesmen began throwing verbal bricks at the 'pan-nationalists' I must admit that I had not come across this particular pan- combination. Pan-Buddhists, Pan-Anglo-Saxons and the Pan- Celtic Movement, yes: Pan American Airways certainly. I had even heard of the pan-

Satanists, who thought the Prince of Darkness ruled the world. All these expressions are attached to specifically named groups. Pan-Slavism wanted a confederation of all Slavonic- speaking people, Pan-Celtism made common cause with all Celts, and so on. But the loyalists won't put a name to it: they can't say 'pan-Irish' because they honestly don't believe Ireland has a common cause.

The ancient Greeks, whose words pas (all) and panta (everything) gave us all these combinations, would have taken pan-nationalist to mean 'comprising all the nationalists', like their pamphylos, 'from all sorts of different tribes', or the modern Greek panethnos, 'from all nations'.

However, the ancient Greeks could put the pan prefix on anything, and often it meant little more than 'very', as in panaplos (highly delicate), pammikron (unusually small) or panaristos (the very best). On that principle pan-nationalist means 'very nationalist' - or, on the analogy of the militant Pan Africanist Congress, founded as an offshoot of the ANC, 'extreme nationalist'. This is rather more like it. Spoken by a loyalist, pan-nationalism is as highly charged a bogey-word as, say, pan-teutonism was for many a hundred years ago. Some loyalists even prefer to talk of 'the pan-

nationalist front', with its ugly overtones of racial intolerance.

Milton, that zealous Protestant, would naturally have taken the strictly classical view of the matter - the idea of pan- as meaning 'all-embracing'. He coined pandemonium, his word for the high parliament of all the devils in Hell.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Forget charging by the page - with books, heart matters more than heft

Katy Guest
Public concerns over a third Heathrow runway appear to be secondary to the needs of businesses  

Business people are the new trade unions - unelected but continually to be appeased in case they turn nasty

DJ Taylor
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test