n) KEY NOUN:
- Sexual intercourse between partners who are not married to each other.
The word fornication
had a lowly beginning suitable to what has long been the low moral status of the act to which it refers. The Latin word fornix,
from which fornicti,
the ancestor of fornication,
is derived, meant "a vault, an arch." The term also referred to a vaulted cellar or similar place where prostitutes plied their trade. This sense of fornix
in Late Latin yielded the verb fornicr,
"to commit fornication," from which is derived fornicti,
"whoredom, fornication." Our word is first recorded in Middle English about 1303.