Word for the Wise August 02, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Cataract Awareness Month
August is Cataract Awareness Month. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding folks cataracts are both relatively common and curable. As they encourage people to check out clouding of the eyes, we're encouraging you to pull away the clouds that hide the stories of the various cataracts out there. (来源：英语麦当劳www.EnglishCN.com)
The medical folks interested in fighting cataracts may know that the word cataract comes from the Latin word for portcullis. In fact, for a few centuries, cataract was synonymous with portcullis.
Portcullis (literally "sliding door" in Anglo-French) names the iron grating that is hung over the gateway of a fortified place and lowered between grooves to prevent passage. The concept of a lowered gate obstructing access to the outside no doubt influenced the application of that term to a film descending over a person's eyes and obstructing his or her vision.
Then there's the cataract that means "a great fall of water over a precipice." Both this and the previously mentioned portcullis sense come from the Latin cattaractes, meaning "waterfall, portcullis." This Latin noun, in turn, descended from a Greek verb meaning "to dash down." Moving forward into the history of English, the literal waterfall sense of cataract spun off a figurative sense meaning "downpour" or "flood."
Dash out a word question or two and await our cataracts of information.