Talk:abet

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Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

(abet — part 1)[edit]

QUESTION: Is there any way to track the edits on a particular word. I continue to post a logical, researched and widely accepted etymology for "abet" and it continues to be edited out. Thanks. CraigSalvay

Usually you'd just add the page to your watchlist (which happens automatically when you edit it), and monitor that. If you dispute the currently given etymology, you could use the rfv-etymology template to set up a discussion for it. Equinox 03:29, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Can someone explain where I get more complete instructions about editing and how to present source material? I have read the "Help" section of wikipedia.org. and am unable to find a comprehensive roadmap to the process by which words are edited and sources are given. Thank you CraigSalvay

Also, Equinox, how do I message you about abet? I would be grateful to learn the ropes on this word. Thank you.

I have suggested an alternative etymology and asked that someone please tell me what criteria an entry must meet in order to be included. It appears that those comments have been edited out of this discussion altogether. So, again, I submit an alternative etymology for ABET and ask that someone (perhaps User:Equinox) explain what additional information I need to adduce in order for the inclusion of my research into this word. CraigSalvay 18:57, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


Alternative etymology without loss of meaning from Semitic languages to present-day English. From Hebrew עבד (Ahbed) “to work” “to serve.” Biblical Aramaic, Aramaic and Syriac all use the word in the sense of either “slave” or “servant.” Hence, the meaning of abet as “assist [in the manner of servant].” Compare Aramaic and Syriac avdah (slave, servant) and Arabic ’abada (’abada, he served, worshipped, obeyed) and Ethiopian ’abbata, meaning "he imposed forced labor" and Akkadian abdu, meaning "slave." NOTE: Modern Ethiopian still uses the word “abet” as a response to one’s being hailed by name, in the sense of, “At your service.”

The problem is that, while your research is entertaining — it's always cool when unrelated languages happen to have words that sound similar and have similar meanings — see http://web.archive.org/web/20070227031854/http://members.aol.com/yahyam/coincidence.html for a bunch of examples — it is known that abet doesn't come from these Semitic roots, so no amount of information adduction will make this research relevant to [[abet#Etymology]]. —RuakhTALK 16:49, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

(abet — part 2)[edit]

Note: this was originally a separate section, below. I've brought it up here for clarity. —RuakhTALK 16:54, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

User:Craigsalvay has an alternate etymology for abet that has been reverted a few times due to lack of sources. I suggested that he put it up for discussion instead of repeatedly adding the same text. He sent me his ety suggestions by e-mail, so I am reproducing them here where they can be discussed. (Everything after this paragraph is from Craig. I hope e-mail hasn't trashed any important non-standard characters.) Could somebody with specific knowledge of abet take a look at this, so we can either integrate it into the entry or make a permanent, properly evidenced decision to reject it? Equinox 23:19, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

The etymology that appears in the "old" sources, OED and Century Dictionary, for example, appear to derive from the similarity in sound between ABET and the words (ME. abetten", OF. "abetter" and "abeter" [bait, as a bear], Icel. "beita" [bait, cause to bite]. While the Europeans who conjured these etymologies surely had good intentions, they largely overlooked Semitic language word origins; perhaps, they were unfamiliar with the languages - Ancient Hebrew, Arabic, Akkadian, Syriac, Aramaic, Hittite - or perhaps their Euro-centric view did not permit them to imagine that some words have been in continuous use, with their meanings virtually unchanged, for more than 5,000 years. One such word is ABET. I have provided the following information about the Semitic language origins of the word, namely: Alternative etymology without loss of meaning from Semitic languages to present-day English. From Hebrew עבד (Ahbed) "to work" "to serve." Biblical Aramaic, Aramaic and Syriac all use the word in the sense of either "slave" or "servant." Hence, the meaning of abet as "assist [in the manner of servant]." Compare Aramaic and Syriac avdah (slave, servant) and Arabic abada (abada, he served, worshipped, obeyed) and Ethiopian abbata, meaning "he imposed forced labor" and Akkadian abdu, meaning "slave." NOTE: Modern Ethiopian still uses the word "abet" as a response to one's being hailed by name, in the sense of, "At your service."

You indicated that there needs to be additional information about the source of this information. Can you tell me how (in what format) I enter that source information? My point of departure for my etymology was a book by Ernest Klein, "A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of Hebrew Language for Readers of English," MacMillan Publishing Company (NYC), 1987, at page 461.

—This comment was unsigned.

Hebrew עֶבֶד (`ebhedh, éved, slave) does exist, but Craig's conspiracy theory has no basis: there are plenty of words with accepted Semitic etymologies. I see no reason to diverge from accepted scholarship about this word. —RuakhTALK 23:39, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
A quick glance at the OED suggests that his etymology is probably wrong. Their earliest citation for the word (the etymology of which agrees with our current text) is 1380. Considering that there was significant contact between Old French and English at that point in time, the etymology is perfectly reasonable. Additionally, the citation shows a meaning close to what would be expected from the Old French. The alternative etymology is that much less likely as the original meaning was something like "bait, hound on". Further, if I have my history right, Semitic influence in English would have been very sparse in the 1300s. Besides that, for a borrowed word like that to have no semantic shift at all for such a period of time would be highly unlikely. That all points to the alternative suggestion as being a wrong assumption. —Leftmostcat 00:21, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Additionally, I find the expression the Europeans who conjured these etymologies outrageous and the theory aptly described as conspiracy - dismissible. I disprove adding such kind of original research no less than I disprove the theory about the Korean origin of cub. I really think that we should adapt some rule in accordance with the one in Wikipedia about original research. Bogorm 16:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
First to the conspiracy theory. Repeated review of the OED shows that its compilation, while masterful, based its etymologies only on predecessor words that appeared in writings that were submitted and classified in the famous "Scriptorium." However, there was little or no inquiry into sources for the English words that pre-dated Latin, Greek and middle and high Teutonic languages. Notable exceptions to this practice of compilation by the editors of the OED were those words appearing in the Hebrew Bible (Tanach) which were preserved in that book and continuously used by their reference in biblical exposition; for example, there remains the word Behemoth cited as coming directly from the Hebrew, for which no intermediate Latin or Greek citation is given.
Leftmostcat says his history suggests "Semitic influence in English would have been very sparse in the 1300s [AD]." This assertion is not correct; Phoenician traders (from the Levant, modern-day Lebanon/Syria, have been traveling the Mediterranean for more than 3,000 years; for example, the traditional year given for the founding of Cadiz, Spain (originally Gehdehr) by the Phoenicians is 1104 BC. Further, the concept of indentured servant and slave were both prevalent in Phoenician society and were expressed by a word similar to Ehvehd in Phoenician. Also, of great interest to me in recent research of the word "abet" has been my correspondence with a professor in Ethiopia who, in her last email, told me that Modern Ethiopian still uses the word 'abada' as a response to one's being hailed by name, and that response is understood to mean 'At your service'. craigsalvay 04:36 UTC
I'm not disputing the use of Semitic languages, but the amount of contact they'd have had with English. I very much doubt that English was in common use by Mediterranean traders before 1340. It wasn't until a number of years later that English even regained status as a language of government in England. From around the Norman invasion of 1066, Old French was the prestige language for a few hundred years. Additionally, as Widsith mentions below and as I mentioned above, the original use of the word abet was quite different in meaning. It is through semantic shift, another of the arguments for the unlikelihood of your claim, that it comes to have any connotations of servitude at all. Regardless of whether the OED is eurocentric or not, they still have a much more solid case in this instance. —Leftmostcat 08:04, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • The modern meaning of abet might be "assist (in the manner of a servant)" (although personally I dispute that), but that is certainly not what the word meant originally. The root is Old French beter (bait, hound on) and its original meaning in English was ‘encourage, urge on’, as in Fleming's “The Scottish queene did not onelie advise them, but also direct, comfort, and abbet them, with persuasion, counsell, promise of reward, and earnest obtestation.” The idea that abet means just "help" or "assist" is fairly modern and has probably come about from the usual legal collocation of "aiding and abetting", which always used to mean "helping and inciting". Ƿidsiþ 07:38, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
First, the interpretation of the word "abett" in Fleming's work does not seem inconsistent with the definition "serve;" I posit that the word "abet" originally meant and still broadly means "serve" or "assist." Further, English law has often uses tautology to express an all-encompassing concept. You cite, "aiding and abetting." You might also cite, "rest, residue, and remainder." In the latter, all the words generally mean that which is left from a set. So the same, "aid and abet" is likely a tautology.

QUESTION: As a new user of Wiktionary, what is sufficient proof in order to add a possible etymology to Wiktionary such as the one I have proposed for abet? craigsalvay 04:51 01 Feb 2009 (UTC)

Further information regarding ABET: Modern Greek uses the word ypoboitho (υποβοηθώ, the root pronounced voyTHO). It incorporates the initial silent letter (essentially a place-holder for a diacritical mark) that is written " ' " in the International Phonetic Alphabet, and it follows that letter with "B" (pronounced "V" in Greek) and the sound "TH," an aspirated "T." Thus, ypoboitho is a word that means "help" or "assist" and contains all the sounds in order of the Semitic word A-B-D. Any comments? I would appreciate someone expert in Greek to comment. craigsalvay 04:53, 07 Aprila 2009 (UTC)