What is the sincerest origin of the word “sincere?” One theory claims that “sincere” evolved from two Latin words: sine (without) and cera (wax).
In Ancient Rome, the phrase “without wax” was commonly used because sculptures were a popular art form at the time. Marble workers would cover up their imperfections with wax, and therefore, a perfect sculpture was dubbed “without wax.” Some pieces were even stamped with the phrase to further prove their authenticity.
While this is a fascinating theory, the Oxford English Dictionary states that “sincere” comes from the Latin sincerus, meaning “a sound that is pure.” Regardless of its historical accuracy, the phrase “without wax” pinpoints that which is truly sincere — total honesty.
(via Grammarphobia, Image via Christine Rode)