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omne ignotum pro magnifico
awm-nee ig-NO-tum pro mawg-NI-fi-ko
that which is unknown is exaggerated in importance; the unknown is thought to be grand
1831William Godwin Thoughts on Man One of the most glaring infirmities of our nature is discontent. One of the most unquestionable characteristics of the human mind is the love of novelty. Omne ignotum pro magnifico est. 1864Charles Kingsley The Roman and the Teuton The usual rejoinder to this argument is to fall back upon man's weakness and ignorance, and to take refuge in the infinite unknown. Man, it is said, may of course interfere a little with some of the less important laws of his being: but who is he, to grapple with the more vast and remote ones? Because he can prevent a pebble from falling, is he to suppose that he can alter the destiny of nations, and grapple forsooth with 'the eternities and the immensities,' and so forth? The argument is very powerful: but addrest rather to the imagination than the reason. It is, after all, another form of the old omne ignotum pro magnifico…1891Olph SchreionGasps (Punch Vol. 100, May 1891)And over everything hangs that inscrutable charm which hovers forever for the human intellect over the incomprehensible and shadowy. Omne ignotum pro mirifico, I might say, but I prefer the longer phrase.1892Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 'I begin to think, Watson,' said Holmes, 'that I make a mistake in explaining. 'Omne ignotum pro magnifico,' you know, and my poor little reputation, such as it is, will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid….'

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