Vocab at the Movies: Road to Perdition


perditionIn a previous Vocab at the Movies post, we talked about atoning for one’s wrongs; today we talk about perdition: “a state of final spiritual ruin; loss of the soul; damnation.”

The film, starring Tom Hanks, is about organized crime during the Great Depression. It involves the attempted murder of a child witness to a crime — certainly an act likely to lead to perdition.

Perdition comes from the Latin word for lost, which also gives us the French word perdu, also meaning lost. A perdu can be a soldier sent on a particularly dangerous mission, and pain perdu is what the French call French toast: a way to save “lost bread.”

Some critics say Road to Perdition was one of the most overlooked movies of 2002. Perhaps this was because most people don’t know what perdition means?

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