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Indagatrix

Definition: a female searcher or investigator

Pronunciation: in-DA-ga-trix

Origin:

This intriguing noun didn’t change or alternate, but was directly taken as is from the Latin. The Latin indagator means tracer or investigator, while indagatrix is simply its feminine form.

Why this word?

Because it makes me wonder if the word is rare because there are very little women investigators or tracers in history and folk, or whether- female investigators and tracers are rare because the word is such. The era of CSI, NCIS and Homeland (!!!) brought forth indagatrixes by the dozens, but they really are a new addition. We only need to go as far back as to the “A Team” or “Miami Vice” where women were merely hostages and victims, always saved by the brave and strong men.

Outside the world of TV shows, this word also reminds me that not languages are structured the same. While the English language doesn’t differentiate its nouns in form of male or female- other languages did (and still do). In Latin, the term philosophy is feminine, and thus we have the famous Cicero quotation- “O vitae Philosophia dux! O virtutum indagatrix” that was later on used by Ben Franklin in his autobiography as “O philosophy, life’s guide! O searcher of virtues!”

How to use the word indagatrix in a sentence?

Unfortunately I do have to admit that there are not too many occasions in which you need a word to attest to a female searcher or investigator- but I wish there were! Something like-

“When I grow up, I want to be an indagatrix!”

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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

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