This small Latin word has come up in two different contexts in the last week, a sure clue from the gods, or at least from the control panel of the simulation we are all living in, that it's time to do a little post about it. The first time was in a passing reference to Lincoln's assassination, when John Wilkes Booth is reported to have shouted "Sic semper tyrannis!", or "Thus always with tyrants!", a good thought unfortunately very misapplied to his particular situation. It turns out that it is also the motto of the state of Virginia, which frankly, I feel they might have wanted to change up a bit after Booth's misappropriation.
The other sighting was in a way with which I am more familiar, yet really fairly ignorant of all the same. This is when you cite a word or phrase and then say sic. Now the way I always more or less read this is to say to myself, this word or phrase is spelled or even perhaps grammatically wrong, but we all take the meaning anyway, and we are not going to clean up the original just to make the whole thing look better. I am afraid that whenever I see this, I also read the word 'sick' into it, so my gloss is something like 'this is the sickly version, but please take no offense here, as there is nothing we can do about it'.
I am not sure how this 'sic' squares with the first one, which means something like 'thus' or 'so'. I'll do a little check now, but please feel free to elucidate the whole thing further...
Apparently the second type of 'sic' does still mean 'thus' or 'so', but it's kind of an emphatic use, saying something like, yes, it looks wrong, well, pathetically so, really, but it's staying in. In other words, it's not a typo, it's deliberate, so don't get on my case about it,I know what I'm doing here...Yeah, short word with a lot of baggage.