1. Clemens says

    The German translation in the old-fashioned way is “gemein” which has the more common meaning “mean, not nice”.

    I always wondered why the mean fruit-fly was so mean ^^

  2. says

    John is right. The meaning of vulgaris is commom. Somehow (elitist thinking, maybe) vulgar has been conflated to gruesome or disgusting. Not only in English but also in most Romance languages. Well, another curious Linnean adjective is “officinalis” (in the sense of pharmacist’s office).

  3. says

    In taxonomy, vulgaris may mean ‘common,’ but in classical Latin, I’m almost positive it means ‘of the people.’ In fact, root ‘vulg-‘ is directly related to germanic ‘folk.’

    The People’s Octopus. Lol.

  4. Happy Tentacles says

    Yes! The People’s Octopus. Looking a bit self-satisfied whilst meditating on Cephalopod superiority and pretending to be a piece of rock.

  5. Brian says

    “Nothing vulgar”? Look at those bright flashy light spots — quite vulgar. A refined octopus does not draw attention to himself. Now be a dear and pour us some tea.

  6. Claire Binkley says

    #7: how stereotypical.

    I’ve also seen “vulgar” or anything with that sort of sound in many languages meaning “common”.

  7. Sili says

    Funny – in my mental dictionary “vulgar” means roughly the same thing as “gaudy”. Certainly nothing like “gruesome” and “disgusting” is a stretch.