I’m trying to figure out how the Latin word “Examen” came to mean “examine.”? The basic translation seems to be “swarm of bees,” and I’m curious how that comes to mean an examination (particularly ”of conscience”).
The origine is ex-ago, to move out, to drive out. The meaning examination, investigation, consideration seems to be derived from the meaning tongue of a balance, which in turn is derived from the verbal root in the sence of what moves/is driven out of the resting position. I guess the meaning swarm of bees is what is moves/is driven out of a beehive.
Same in the other Romance languages. It is very obvious that the meaning of 'swarm' is the inherited one: French essaim, Italian sciame, Portuguese enxame, Catalan eixam, and that examen/exame/esame are later learned words.
Why the Spanish-Portuguese cluster adds an -n-, I don't know. But it can also be seen with EXAGIU: (Pt+Sp) ensaio/ensayo vs (Ct+Fr+It) assaig/essai/saggio, EXSUCARE: (Pt+Sp) enxugar/enjugar vs (Ct+Fr+It) eixugar/essuyer/asciugare, etc.