Quarantine Is Derived From Italian word “Quaranta” which means forty

by Aadarsh Jain

Quarantine Is Derived From Italian word “Quaranta” which means forty

April 19, 2021

During the black death(the bubonic plague), the ships travelling all across the world had to wait before entering the respective city or town so as to stop the epidemic from spreading. The incoming ships had to stay at the port or wait for "quaranta" days or forty days.

The Derivation Of Word "Quarantine"

The phrase comes from the Italian “quaranta giorni,” which means “forty days.” The city of Dubrovnik, now in Croatia, was infected with the Great Plague, which was wreaking havoc throughout Europe. The governing bodies of Dubrovnik at the time passed a law requiring all ships and citizens to isolate themselves for forty days before entering the city as a measure of protection. The plague, also known as the “Black Death,” killed nearly half of Europe’s population between 1345 and 1360.

All ships and people had to be isolated for 40 days before entering the city.

Quarantine Now

Although the word “quarantine” can be traced back to the Black Death or the Plague, it is often used to indicate the prevention of movement of contagious people, livestock, or goods. This restriction is in place to break the chain of infection and prevent the disease from spreading. Quarantine is not the same as medical isolation, in which people who have been diagnosed with a communicable disease are separated from the rest of the population. Although the words are similar, cordon sanitaire refers to the restriction of people’s movement into and out of a given geographic region, such as a city, in order to prevent an infection from spreading.

The idea of quarantine has been around since biblical times, and it has been used in numerous locations throughout history. The village of Eyam in England during the bubonic plague epidemic in 1665; East Samoa during the 1918 flu pandemic; the Diphtheria outbreak during the 1925 serum race to Nome; the 1972 Yugoslav smallpox outbreak; and widespread quarantines applied around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic after 2020 are all examples of notable quarantines throughout modern history.


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