Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium

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Etymology scriptorium

Welcome to the Etymology scriptorium. This is the place to cogitate on etymological aspects of the Wiktionary entries.

Etymology scriptorium archives +/-

November 2014

ciabatta, zapato, сабата... лапоть?[edit]

These entries say it's ultimately from Persian (via "[Ottoman] Turkish zabata"), which is probably incorrect as far as I can tell. I found Russian лапоть, is it also a loanword? --Z 16:58, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Russian ла́поть (lápotʹ) is inherited from Proto-Slavic *lapъtъ / *lapъtь and is probably unrelated to those other words; see ЭССЯ. --Vahag (talk) 18:38, 1 November 2014 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

We have no Italian entry for the mushroom sense, none of the easily accessible online sources I checked gives an etymology, and Italian Wikipedia doesn't seem to mention it (though it's hard to be sure, given that it's widely used as the word for "crimes" in Italian). There's one source in Google Books here] that says it came from an Italian mushroom grower's name, but it doesn't say whether this happened in Italian or English. There's also the possibility of folk etymology of the sort that happened with broccoli, which I've seen attributed to an Italian family name as well. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:29, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Neither form is listed in my Italian etymology sources. It may derive from the plural of cremino which is a type of chocolate truffle. — Ungoliant (falai) 19:44, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
See here for an etymology. I too do not find the mushroom sense in my standard Italian dictionaries. --Vahag (talk) 19:49, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
If the change from /e/ to /i/ is not a phenomenon somehow internal to English, the most obvious possibility is that it is some kind of dialectal influence, either metaphony or simply borrowed from an Italo-Romance variety where a change like that took place in general, with Sicilian the most obvious candidate. Derivations from proper names (as from acronyms) are generally suspect of being false etymology prior to the 20th century. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:56, 20 November 2014 (UTC)


Since it's this time of the year again, I wondered about the details of this etymology. Wikipedia (which also interestingly gives the alternative form Allhalloween) states that the origin of the word is Scots, which sounds possible and not implausible but is not obvious (nothing specifically Scots about the phonology or morphology), while we here at Wiktionary don't. But then, the OED is a source that must be taken seriously. Anybody who can add to this?

I also see that e'en gives Hallowe'en as a derivation. This is a bit awkward: the entry is for the adverb, and the word Hallowe'en is obviously not derived from the adverb e'en < even, but the noun. Not sure how to solve this one best; there should be two different sections, one for the adverb and one for the noun sense, but two identical definitions look a bit stupid. It seems that there isn't even a good way to solidly link to a specific homonym; in this case, an obvious way out is provided by the different word classes, but in case we want to link, say, to one of several homonymous nouns, how do we do this here? What's the standard practice? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:14, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

How are PIE words notated?[edit]

I am new to Wiktionary, and I was wondering what for example the numbers under individual Latin letters meant, as of course these words were meant to be visible in their fluidity, since nobody actually has seen anybody say these things. I hope I have made myself clear, if not, please tell me, and thank you for your help. þþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþþ so many thorns, its getting spiky. —This unsigned comment was added by 2602:306:BCAE:4CE0:2CBB:BBF8:A787:A041 (talk) at 02:04, 6 November 2014 (UTC).

See WT:AINE for the system of representation we use. You may also need to read w:Proto-Indo-European for an explanation of some of the concepts involved. Proto-languages such as Proto-Indo-European are theoretical constructs used to show our best guess as to what the language that gave rise to all of the descendant languages may have been like. In the case of laryngeals, we have a very general idea of what they must have sounded like, but not enough to use a normal phonetic symbol. Instead, we use capital H, with a subscripted number to show which type of laryngeal it was. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:50, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
Actually, we use a lower-case h with a subscripted number. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:19, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

притча во языцех[edit]

Apparently this Russian expression is borrowed directly from Old Church Slavonic, using its grammar, roughly meaning "talk of the town". What would be the original OCS spelling? Not sure if it's притъча во ꙗзꙑкцѣхъ (pritŭča vo jazykcěxŭ)? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:09, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Probably притъча въ ѩзꙑцѣхъ (pritŭča vŭ języcěxŭ). --WikiTiki89 05:41, 17 November 2014 (UTC)--WikiTiki89 05:41, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I don't agree with your edit in diff, though. Here's why: 1. It's definitely idiomatic. Why did you remove the tag? 2. Linking to Russian во язы́цех (vo jazýcex) doesn't seem right, it's only used in this set expression and is grammatically and semantically incorrect from the modern Russian point of view. The term "язык" only means "tongue" or "language", not "people" as in OCS and Russian has the form "в языка́х" in the locative/prepositional case, not "во язы́цех". Cf. "exempli gratia" where "exempli" probably doesn't mean anything in English. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 10:09, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
The idiomatic tag is redundant; if it wasn't idiomatic, it wouldn't be included in the dictionary. I remove this tag everywhere I see it, and there are others who agree with me. If we don't link во (vo) or языцех (jazycex), then we shouldn't link притча (pritča) either because it is also OCS, even though it happens to coincide with the Russian word as well. --WikiTiki89 16:57, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

-izn- infix[edit]

Just a thought. Could the infix -izn- as in shiznit have arisen through (probably humorous) reanalysis of business /bɪznɪs/ as derived from the shortening biz /bɪz/, in AAVE possibly with devoicing /bɪs/ (does AAVE devoice word-final fricatives too?), according to the schema /b-/ + /ɪzn/ + /-ɪs/? After all, there aren't many English words including the sequence /ɪzn/, are there?

As for the -iz- infix, an analogous derivation might also be found, but I can't think of any right now. In any case, it is clear that the infix in shiznit is -izn-, not -iz-, as the article illogically claims. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:44, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

Blend of business and shit? Renard Migrant (talk) 16:15, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
I believe it’s a blend of shit and isn’t it. —Stephen (Talk) 05:16, 29 November 2014 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

See the talk page for explanation. First one IP added some nonsense which was reverted, then another IP added what they claim is sourced, but seems unnecessary, and it's been going back and forth a bit. Can someone settle this? Chuck Entz (talk) 14:56, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Derivation from Syriac "nativity"/Christmas is in black and white in the first source listed on the Citations tab. Both sources listed there are from the Encyclopedia Iranica.
Note: for the etymology I initially just had "Loanword (with accompanying change of meaning) from Nestorian Christian word for Christmas: Syriac ܝܠܕܐ (yaldā, “nativity”), i.e. of Christ." On second thoughts, that should probably read "...Church of the East technical term...".
Either way, without the bridge "winter solstice", this simple etymology causes onomastic problems since the average reader will not understand how a technical term for Christmas should become the name for another (non-Christian) festival. Which is why I initially had an additional definition that exposed a progression.
As to whether its necessary or not to indicate that both festivals occurred on the winter solstice: The original entry had a ridiculous definition related to Mithra being born of a rock. The Internet is littered with that nonsense, all of which seems to derive from a fanciful transplanting of a certain Roman belief to the Iranosphere, and then associating the Syriac word for "birth" with that. As such, to explain the connection (i.e. because both festivals occurred on the winter solstice, and *not* simply leaving an association with "birth") is sensible, and not doing so would be negligent.
And, besides its useful. (At least as useful as going back to the dawn of time with an etymology that has nothing to do with what the word was borrowed for).
(rest of this post is a cross post) -----------------------------------
Re: etymology... From the first source cited on the Citations tab:
  • "In Islamic Persia, the night of the winter solstice (the last night of autumn) was known under its Syriac name of Šab-e Yaldā (the night of nativity)"
  • "Being the longest and the darkest night of the year, additionally connected with Christianity, Šab-e Yaldā usually has negative connotations in Persian poetry".
For Syriac Yalda = nativity/Christmas:
  • take your pick.
  • Like this one (first hit, was for the fa term): "Yalda -- the longest night of winter; from Syr. Yalda "Christmas". This word corresponds to Arab. ___ Milād and is derived from the same Semitic root YLD (or WLD) -- to give birth or to be born."
-- 17:48, 27 November 2014 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. It's the same as march#Etymology 2, but that doesn't explain the final -er which is I think what the tagger is concerned with. Change to march (border region) +‎ -er? Renard Migrant (talk) 16:12, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

hmm, not so sure ... Looks like Etym1 uses the demonym suffix -er#Etymology_2 whilst the other uses the agent suffix Leasnam (talk) 07:33, 29 November 2014 (UTC)


Does anyone know the etymology of this Russian word? Also, while we're on the subject, can anyone confirm that this and this are both called на́ледь in Russian? Ru.WP says they are, but they seem to form in two different ways, and look different. - -sche (discuss) 23:06, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

I'd say that the na- part is the same as the preposition, so that leaves only the second part. —CodeCat 23:16, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
And it looks like the second part must be connected to лёд (ljód) somehow. —CodeCat 23:18, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Checked and fixed the entry. Re: attention tag. The three senses in the Russian wiki can be compressed into two, which I have done. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:00, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
Thank you both! :) - -sche (discuss) 00:33, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
It's likely this was formed before Modern Russian, so I'm going to change it to "equivalent to". --WikiTiki89 01:35, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
See also ЭССЯ, reconstructing Proto-Slavic *naledь, but saying that the "Proto-Slavic antiquity is questionable". --Vahag (talk) 05:30, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
But at the same time, the fact that it's an i-stem is interesting. I don't think i-stems were productive much beyond Proto-Slavic (I'm not sure if they were even productive in by late Proto-Slavic times), and as far as I know they've not been productive at all for most of Russian's separate history. So if it's not Proto-Slavic, it's very nearly so at least. —CodeCat 13:23, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

December 2014


According to the Russian Wiktionary (source: G. P. Tsyganenko etymological dictionary), the term is derived from German via Polish - German Schweizer and Polish Szwajcar. According to the entry In the feudal Germany, Swiss soldiers were often used as mercenaries and were often employed as guardsmen. Cf. modern Russian word for Swiss man: швейца́рец (švejcárec) (only different in the ending). Calling German and Polish speakers @-sche, Angr, Kephir:. Does the etymology seem plausible to you, were German and Polish words used in the sense of "janitor, doorman, usher"? Certainly, Swiss people are not common guest workers (gastarbeiters) in modern Russia, not in the menial jobs, anyway. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:07, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

I can see User:-sche has updated Szwajcar (Polish wiki also has "najemny żołnierz ze Szwajcarii" - "(hist.) hired soldier from Switzerland"). The German Wiktionary also has "Türhüter (beim Papst)" - "doorkeeper/guard by the Pope" for Schweizer. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 02:22, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
I would guess that it is alluding to the Swiss Guard. --WikiTiki89 02:33, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, Swiss people historically found employment in Germany (and elsewhere) as mercenaries, house guards, and doormen, and so Schweizer came to mean not only "Swiss person" but also "doorman", and Szwajcar came to also refer to [Swiss] mercenaries. ("Doorman" is actually the only meaning listed in the 1908 edition of Hermann Paul's Deutsches Wörterbuch, possibly because Paul considered the literal meaning obvious. I don't like when lexicographers do that.) And yes, German lent the word to Polish and Polish lent it to Russian. By the way, ru.Wikt says that швейцар means specifically "a uniformed doorman in a wealthy home or institution"; is "janitor" a separate sense, or is the meaning of the word just rather broad? Nevermind, see my edit to the entry. - -sche (discuss) 02:34, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. I included "janitor" since it also means "doorman" but yes, "швейцар" is normally a uniformed doorman". Well, only well-off people hire doormen, so the second part is kind of obvious. In short, "швейцар" is a full equivalent of "doorman" these days, uniformed or not, in a rich or a poor home. (I typed my answer to your question before you crossed it out.)--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 02:47, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
OK. I dropped 'janitor' from the list of meanings because in the US, a janitor isn't a doorman but rather a worker who empties trash cans and mops floors. - -sche (discuss) 02:58, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Unlike German and Polish, Russian "швейцар" is an indoor worker (never a gatekeeper) and doesn't have the meaning of (armed) "guard". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:12, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
I find Polish szwajcar (doorman), with small letter, in many standard Polish dictionaries, marked as “dated”. For the sense development see Černyx, referenced in швейцар. --Vahag (talk) 07:06, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Vahagn. Could you make շվեյցար (šveycʿar)? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:09, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Sure. Looks like the word has been borrowed all over the USSR. --Vahag (talk) 07:41, 2 December 2014 (UTC)


The etymology currently states, "from Cariban chico", but does not specify which Cariban language. Etymonline says possibly Carib, but possibly Wolof or Yoruba. MW10 says Carib at chigoe but Wolof at jigger, and derives chigger from both of those. The OED says "West Indian" but maybe from French, Spanish, or a creole thereof; that entry, however, hasn't been updated since the first edition. Might this warrant an "uncertain"? Cnilep (talk) 04:37, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

I think French, Spanish and creoles are just intermediaries. Century 1911 gives alternative spellings chigo, chegoe, chigga, chiggre, jigger. Spellings 1 & 3 look possibly Spanish; 2 & 4 possibly French (= French chique); 5 possibly English. Any of them could be corresponding Creoles. They also point to "West Indian or S. Amer. origin". This vagueness is common for taxonomic and vernacular names for living things and the possibility of African influence arises often for New World living things where slaves were present, though some dispute the likelihood in most cases. The uncertainty is not quite the same as complete ignorance, however. I assume you would have the text talk about the possibilities, but categorize it as uncertain. DCDuring TALK 01:16, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
"chique" in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language). tab 2 also suggests a Caribbean source. DCDuring TALK 01:21, 7 December 2014 (UTC)


This LiveScience article ([1]) uses "betel" in an unfamiliar way:

ancient Mesopotamian gods, which were typically depicted as "betels" — stones or meteorites

. The word page shows nothing and Google searches have been unhelpful. Can anyone shed light on this?--Auric (talk) 19:31, 2 December 2014 (UTC)


The Ukrainian word "rada" (рада) and the Dutch/Afrikaans word "raad" both mean "council" and "advice". Do they have a common origin - i.e. is the Ukrainian word a Dutch loanword? Do they have their origins in the Proto-Germanic "*rēdaz"? FokkerTISM (talk) 12:05, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

According to rada#English, the Polish word rada is a loanword from Middle Low German rât, which in turn is cognate with the Dutch word. Assuming the word was borrowed into Polish before any other Slavic language, the Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, and Belarusian words would then be borrowings from Polish. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:43, 3 December 2014 (UTC)


I can't find the supposed Late Latin etymon laura (in an applicable sense) between the English laura and the Ancient Greek λαύρα (laúra) in L&S, Gaffiot, the OLD, or Niermeyer. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 21:27, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

See laura in Hofmann's Lexicon Universale. --Vahag (talk) 21:57, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
@Vahag: Thank you. I've now added an entry for that sense and have removed the {{rfv-etym|lang=en}} from the English etymology. I don't suppose there's a version of Hofmann's Lexicon Universale that's searchable by headword, is there? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 14:06, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
There is headword-searchable version for GoldenDict. I have uploaded it here. --Vahag (talk) 15:21, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
@Vahag: Oh, lovely! The most I was hoping for was an interface like the one for Gaffiot’s Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français; selectable and copyable entry text is a big bonus. Thank you very much. The one shortcoming is that the page number isn't indicated in the entries; referencing entries on Wiktionary will therefore by slightly laborious. Still, that is a small matter; thank you again. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 18:59, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
If you like that, here are some more out-of-copyright la and grc dictionaries in the same format. --Vahag (talk) 20:17, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Excellent. Thank you so much for bringing GoldenDict and that content to my attention. It's a boon. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 21:16, 7 December 2014 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. Middle French économiste (household manager). The Trésor de langue française informatisé says first attested 1767, which is about 150 years into the modern French period. A Google Book search only finds false positives; books purporting to be from the 16th century which when you check turn out to be from the 20th century. Renard Migrant (talk) 00:35, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

It looks like there are two words here, an earlier one meaning "household manager", and then later, either a re-formation from economy +‎ -ist or a new sense applied to the existing word meaning "someone who studies the economy" in the modern sense. At least in English, it appears we revamped the old word. I dont know about the French. Leasnam (talk) 04:18, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I wonder too if this might not be one of the many words borrowed into English, given new meaning, and then exported again to other languages with the new signification...can anyone verify this to be the case? Leasnam (talk) 04:31, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
While you may be right, I can't find economiste in any Middle French sources. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:25, 13 December 2014 (UTC)


I think we need to add a source for that Italian briga ; intuitively, I'd say it is a br- Celtic variant of latin fr- frango, frio => break, briser

  • Occitan briga has the meaning of "crum" (a little broken piece)
  • brigada has the military meaning of "section"
  • brigante, the one of "breaker" see casseur "hooligan".


While the ultimate source of the word is, of course, indeed Latin, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru suggests that its borrowing into Welsh is via the path Latin > Old French > English > Welsh (1567). I propose reflecting this in the text of the item. -- Focalist (talk) 15:46, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

That seems very likely. If it had gone straight from Latin into Welsh during the days of the Roman Empire, it would have wound up looking more like *cynnefnio or something. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:05, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Diolch am y golygiad / Thanks for the edit, Angr. -- Focalist (talk) 20:01, 11 December 2014 (UTC)


Would love to know the etymology of this bizarre term which is not in my Oxford. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:09, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

What's bizarre about it? Obviously it is from trans- (beyond) + Oxus (Amu Darya), thus “the lands beyond Amu Darya”. --Vahag (talk) 13:50, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Good to know it comes so easily to you. Would you mind adding that etymology to the entry? Many thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:22, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I have read a lot of Classical literature, that's why. --Vahag (talk) 16:38, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Is it exactly as Vahag says or is it trans- +‎ Oxiana? Oxiana occurs in a work of Ptolemy and appears in historical works in English. oxianus is used as a specific epithet for species discovered in or near Persia/Iran. It is not in Lewis & Short, though Oxus is. DCDuring TALK 16:45, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Trans- + Oxiana would mean "beyond Oxiana", but Transoxiana is not beyond Oxiana, it is a part of Oxiana. The same way, Transcaucasia is from trans- + Caucasus (not Caucasia). Other similar examples: Transalpine Gaul, Transjurane, Transnistria. The second part is usually a river or a mountain. --Vahag (talk) 18:13, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. DCDuring TALK 19:20, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

乒乓 and 乒乒乓乓[edit]

According to the etymology section of 乒乒乓乓, this word is first attested in the Ming Dynasty and derived by reduplication from 乒乓. But the etymology section of 乒乓 says that 乒乓 is first attested in the Qing Dynasty. The Ming Dynasty was before the Qing Dynasty, so if all of this is correct, "乒乒乓乓" is attested before "乒乓", which seems surprising. Is there an error here, or is the reduplicated form really attested before the basic form? And if there isn't an error, can anyone provide evidence for the Ming Dynasty attestation of "乒乒乓乓", and for the statement that "乒乓" isn't attested until the Qing Dynasty? (Pinging User:Wyang, who added both etymology sections.) —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 22:33, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

For some reason, the pinging was not working. Thanks for the comments. I looked up the term in the corpus of Classical Chinese literature and it seems both started to be used in the Ming era. I've modified the entry. Wyang (talk) 04:24, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

apple-pie order[edit]

RFV of the etymology. Lexicografía (talkcontribs) in this edit added the current etymology. I've tried to improve the style to make it sound less like a university essay (Wiktionary is not an academic paper). I'm also suspicious because in the next edit he/she changed nappe pliée to nappe plié, which is wrong, see nappe it's feminine. Can anyone source these two proposed origins, or is unknown a better etymology? Better unknown than a completely made-up etymology. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:19, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

We have some more extreme folk and other etymologies on talk pages. See Lord willing and the creek don't rise and, especially its talk page. It is possible and desirable to educate users by explaining one's reasoning. DCDuring TALK 18:59, 17 December 2014 (UTC)


The entry buoy and the Appendix entry on PGM *baukną claim the Middle Dutch word 'boeye' derives from PGM *baukaną, which would require a change from [k] to [w] or [j], which the respective entries declare to have happened in either Middle French or Middle Dutch. The entry boei on the other hand claims 'boeye' to come from Latin boia. The latter seems more reasonable to me, as a change from /k/ to /∅/ is nothing I ever heard of in Dutch; but my knowledge of Old and Mi ddle French is very much zero. Either must be wrong, it would be nice if someone could clear that situation up. Korn (talk) 09:49, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

boei from *baukną is just plainly wrong. The form boken is still attested in Middle Dutch, and is the real descendant, but eventually yielded to baken, from Frisian. —CodeCat 15:12, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Derivation from boia is the older of the two views of it. I dont know...semantically this just seems too much of a stretch because not all buoys are tethered (--according to this view, would we actually be calling the 'buoy' itself a "tether", "strap", "fetter", or "chain" (?) because it's nothing of the sort)...but all buoys do signal. And keep in mind, this is a nautical term...taken from the speech of sailors...and a corruption (possibly also a diminutive) of what would be the correct form at that time, bōken... I dont see this as a stretch by any means. Leasnam (talk) 07:30, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
But it would be very much an ad-hoc explanation, so it is not very convincing. —CodeCat 15:25, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
The entry at boei should really be split into 2 Etymologies...the senses and current etymology on page are correct for sense 2 ("shackle"); the etymology of sense 1 ("buoy") is missing, and probably should include both theories herein mentioned. Leasnam (talk) 20:10, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure a split is reasonable. All Middle Low German variants of the word mean both 'floating beacon' and 'tether' and show the typical signs of a French loan word. Further, Dutch, Low German, and Middle Frisian as far as I know, have no known instance of deletion of unvoiced plosives. And lastly, standard Dutch /u/ (spelled oe) is a normal reflex of Latin ō, whereas a similar (not identical) pronunciation of PGM *au is much rarer. For the reasons given I'm removing all references to the *baukaną etymology until someone provides a cite. Korn (talk) 10:36, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Etymologiebank (M Philippa cites) splits them into 2 distinct words, 2 separate etymologies: citing that the etymology of the "floating beacon" word is uncertain and may come through Old French from Frankish, or it may be a special use of the "shackle" sense. It is unclear. Etymology.com also cites both, as does CNRTL, so keep those references handy as it is easily cited by many dictionaries, English and French...Leasnam (talk) 11:37, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Does anyone have any insight or information on the likelihood that Middle Dutch boeye is a derivative (diminutive) of bōde "warning, omen, sign, herald, messenger" (i.e. < *bōdje)? Leasnam (talk) 08:50, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Etymology of Bad Citation[edit]

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Tea room/2014/December#Etymology of Bad Citation.

Etymology given (for etymology #1) has no citations, for an otherwise contentious etymology. Should be removed or cite a dictionary. —This unsigned comment was added by Telmac (talkcontribs).

I've moved this to the correct venue for such questions. As to the merits: the New Oxford American Dictionary app on my computer has the same etymology, but preceded by "Perhaps...". Even if it can be referenced with stronger wording, I think we should follow suit. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:47, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Danke, dass ihr auf meinen Schatz so gut aufgepasst habt! Moni

Gern geschehen!

January 2015

yiddish זיידע etymology[edit]

Etymology given currently is of russian, weinreich gives slavic etymology but russian in particular is unlikely: polish and iirc czech cognate went to an affricate (/dzed'/ or some such, also yiddish did not extend that far east until much later, given ubiquity of zeyde it must be earlier (jacobs 2005). Shall I edit the page to reflect this? I'm unfamiliar with editing policies re: etymologies (copied from tea room, I don't know how to move to section)Telmac (talk) 19:08, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

You may be right that it's not from Russian but there are plenty of Yiddish words of Russian or Ukrainian origin. See Appendix:Proto-Slavic/dědъ, which may give a clue to a better origin. It may be Polish or Belarusian or Russian palatalised /dʲ/ may have been perceived as "z", I don't know. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:40, 27 January 2015 (UTC)


The reconstruction som appears dubious in view of Latin esom attested on the Garigliano Bowl, which confirms Varro's esum, and the cognates in Sabellic. See here. (Personally, I'm partial to Schrijver's suggestion that subjunctive forms have intruded into the paradigm, especially considering the Celtic parallels. In this case, esom and perhaps also sumus and sunt, if they are likewise from *esumus and *esunt, would find their natural explanations in the subjunctive with secondary endings, while the subjunctive with primary endings yielded the future.) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:55, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

And yet, som is attested in Old Latin. Analogy could have easily worked in the other direction, too. And I think you're confusing the subjunctive and the optative. Etymologically, the subjunctive continues the PIE optative and had secondary athematic endings only. The PIE subjunctive became the future in Latin, and had thematic primary endings. —CodeCat 23:05, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
som is the predecessor of sum, of course, and assumed to have arisen per aphaeresis from esom. This is now essentially consensus, see the Fortson snippet I linked.
As for the PIE subjunctive, it is attested with both primary and secondary endings, for example in Vedic, and there is no reason why this state of affairs could not be projected back to PIE. (There may have been a semantic difference, but it is unclear from the attestations.) But this is not relevant for my point that the reconstruction som for Proto-Italic is dubious. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:11, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Your link just led to a blank page. Anyway, you can move the entry if you want. —CodeCat 00:30, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
*h₁és- had zero grade in the plural, though, so sumus and sunt probably always had initial s-. Perhaps they are what influenced sum (*h₁esmi would normally have given *em in Latin), just as the singular apparently influenced estis. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:36, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
CodeCat: The Google Books link works for me. Weird. As for the subjunctive endings, see also García Ramón (sorry, German only), who suggests that primary endings are usual in the 2nd person singular (since the addressed person is present) as opposed to secondary endings in the 3rd person singular (no hic and nunc deixis, no imperative value). This article by Beekes on the same subject is unfortunately not available online. There's something strange, though: even Umbrian esu does not show rhotacism. Normally you'd expect *eru. Perhaps esu was influenced by an aphetic form *’su as in Latin.
Angr: Good point about *em, but: The phonologically regular reflexes would actually be (stressed vs. clitic forms) *em ~ *’m, es ~ ’s, est ~ ’st, *mos ~ *mus, *stes ~ *stis, *sent (compare Oscan sent) ~ *sent, so I don't think you can explain the attested forms this straightforwardly. The most attractive explanation of estis is that *stis was taken as an aphetic form (analogous to est ~ ’st) and a new stressed form estis was built on its basis. On the other hand, the subjunctive forms with secondary endings would yield *erum ~ ’sum, *eris ~ *’sis, *erid ~ *’sid (compare SAKROS ESED from the Forum inscription, with a secondary ending, compatible with García Ramón's suggestion!), *erumus ~ *’sumus, *eritis ~ *’sitis, *erund ~ *’sund (keep in mind that the -d vs. -t contrast in verbal endings was eventually levelled out in favour of -t, but not on a phonetic basis), and voilà, you find all the remaining forms directly: sum, sumus and sunt. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 05:34, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

-tas and -tus[edit]

Both of these suffixes form abstract nouns. Is there an etymological connection between them? —CodeCat 19:21, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

@CodeCat: I've been curious about that. I had wanted to create a PIE page for *-tuHts and was curious whether it should be connected to *-teh₂ts. —JohnC5 (Talk | contribs) 19:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)


I believe the etymology is from teichoic acid- can anyone find a definitive source? DTLHS (talk) 05:27, 9 January 2015 (UTC)


I think this probably came from the diminutive of spark, which was then used as a verb. There is a very strong similarity with the German word Funke, which in the form of Funkel developed the verb of funkeln (there is also a Fünkel and fünkeln). I'm not sure though, and it might be something else. Is there any evidence that an -le would be added onto a verb to make an other verb in the way it appears in the etymology section for sparkle currently? Is this supposed to be a frequentative? 06:28, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

  • I've got an older copy (copyright 1992) of Houghton Mifflin's American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition. This lists the etym as (EN WT links added by me):

Middle English sparklen, frequentative of sparken, to spark. See spark.

Does this suffice as a source? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 02:01, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
I split the entry to show the etymology of the words which coalesced in Modern English as sparkle. Leasnam (talk) 17:17, 12 January 2015 (UTC)


The etymology given, "French chancellerie, from Late Latin cancellaria, from Latin cancellarius, from cancellus (“lattice”) (English chancel), from cancelli (“grating, bars”) (from which cancel (“cross out (with lines, as in a latticework)”)), from the lattice-work that separated a section of a church or court.[1][2]" makes sense, but I wonder why a chancery would be named after this. Or is it meant to mean crossed out as in the frame-ruled paper copyists may have used. Any experts in the area able to shed light on this? Muleiolenimi (talk) 02:02, 13 January 2015 (UTC)


I think we have a problem here. The "food and beverage" and "council; assembly" senses have completely different etymologies according to my Oxford, but our entry as it stands does not state this. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:36, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

The Finnish -inen suffix[edit]

@Tropylium: I've always been puzzled by the inflection of this suffix and other words declining like it, which has -nen in the nominative singular but -s(e)- in the remaining cases. I wonder how something like that could originate. Northern Sami has -laš, which is similar to Finnish -lainen (< -la + -inen), but it could have been loaned from Finnic rather than inherited. However, the Sami suffix has -žž- as the strong-grade consonant, which, if it's not borrowed, would have to represent something like Proto-Samic *-Nś- (with N being some kind of nasal). It's conceivable that this cluster is somehow also ancestral to the Finnic form, but I have no idea and I could be totally wrong. —CodeCat 21:44, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

To this day no one knows for sure why the nominative is suppletive. All the oblique case forms of -inen with -ise- are however thought to come from, yes, an adjectival suffix *-ńćV, which is also the source of e.g. Finnish -isa and Northern Sami plain (: -žža-). The longer form -laš is essentially a half-calque: la + inenla + š. --Tropylium (talk) 01:18, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. Are there any uses of this suffix outside Finnic and Samic?
The only mention of more distant cognates I've seen in sources is that some exist, but I don't know which ones this would be exactly. I checked a couple handbooks I have around and at least Mordvinic, Permic and Hungarian do not seem to have any widespread adjectival suffixes that would seem to descend from this. (Which is not to say that cognates could not exist in fossilized form, or in other meaning.)
Also, what can be said about nainen; is it from the root of naida like the etymology currently says? A combination of verb + -inen is kind of unusual, it's normally attached to nouns as far as I know. —CodeCat 01:34, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
The stem for 'woman' is naa-, cf. naaras. Evidently the verb, then, is derived using the frequentative -ia. --Tropylium (talk) 05:48, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

pizda, *pьzděti[edit]

Is there relation between the words? And what's origin of Proto-Indo-European *psd- (Derksen:431)? —Игорь Телкачь 23:47, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

The PIE word is more usually listed in its e-grade *pesd-. I don't know if its anterior etymology is known, but it's presumably related to *perd- of the same meaning; perhaps one was originally a euphemism for the other. I don't know if or how pizda is related; it seems somewhat unlikely both phonologically and semantically. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 00:25, 20 January 2015 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Tea room/2015/January#forecastle.

That etymology seems doubtful to me. Is this not "fore-" + "castle" as aftcastle is "aft-" + "castle"?

I don't know much of Anglo-Norman vocabulary, but did they borrow the "fore-" prefix or did they use some variant of "front" or something that looks like it? Tharthan (talk) 19:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Sounds like a calque claim that was not quite written out in full detail. --Tropylium (talk) 00:06, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
But then what is it calqued from? —CodeCat 00:38, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
…Nevermind, at the time of that comment the etymology claimed derivation from Anglo-Norman. --Tropylium (talk) 22:05, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, "castle" certainly is a Norman word. But it's telling that Dutch has a word with the exact same components: voorkasteel. —CodeCat 22:09, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Castle existed in Old English as well, if I do recall correctly. I am almost certain that some form of the word was attested in it at some point or another. Tharthan (talk) 21:47, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
I think they may have been trying to adapt etymonline, which has:
  • c.1400 (mid-14c. as Anglo-French forechasteil), "short raised deck in the fore part of the ship used in warfare," from Middle English fore- "before" + Anglo-French castel "fortified tower" (see castle (n.)).
This version doesn't try to say it came from Anglo-French, just that it was first attested in that language, but someone looking at the relative dates would be tempted to assume that the earlier attestation must mean it was the origin. The choice of fore rather than a French equivalent suggests to me that it probably originated as English, with technical vocabulary taken from French. I'm sure there was a lot of code switching, with the same people talking about the same things in different languages as the circumstances required, and I would guess that such people would be more likely to be writing in French than English. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:34, 26 January 2015 (UTC)


Can anyone shed more light on the origin of this term? (Can anyone identify the supposed Pali etymon?) - -sche (discuss) 00:05, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Dunno about Pāli, but Sanskrit has mūla 'capital'. --Tropylium (talk) 17:11, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks for that. I've amended the etym at moola from Pali to Sanskrit accordingly. So far, this seems like the most likely.
FWIW, I think I might have some Pali materials around the place somewhere. I'll poke around my bookshelves and see what I can find. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:48, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Pali has it too; see [2] at the bottom of the page (sense 6). Nevertheless I find it kind of difficult to believe that a Sanskrit/Pali word is the source of this 1920s American slang word. I bet it's something more prosaic like mo- from money plus sense 3 of -ola. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:08, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the Pali link. Re: source, I'll grant you that either Sanskrit or Pali seem too antique to be likely as the immediate ancestor of the English. Ultimate ancestor, sure, but something more recent would be needed as the vector. That said, mo- + -ola would be odd in that both have /o/, while moola has /u/. Given that this term likely arose in a purely verbalized context and not in writing, I'd expect /mo/ + /ola/ to become /mola/. /mula/ arising only makes sense to me if the term were coined in writing as ⟨mo⟩ + ⟨ola⟩. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 00:28, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

my word[edit]

In the last days of the month and with the danger of being forgotten in the next month's Tea room chat, the ety of my word says it's from an oath but not references. I would understand it's an euphemism for My Lord, but as it seems their <o> (of word and lord) are pronounced in a different way. Could it be? Anyway, a reference for ety?. Sobreira (talk) 11:06, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't have a source for the etymology, but I can confirm that word and Lord are pronounced differently. The two words do not rhyme. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:40, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Chambers agrees that the older form was upon my word, and one's word can be an oath or promise (e.g. giving one's word that one will repay money). Equinox 13:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah, so it's not a minced oath. It's sort of like "I say!", or "I swear..." in a sense. That's good to hear. We should probably update the etymology at my word, then. Tharthan (talk) 14:14, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
my word already says "From upon my word, an oath", and has done for years. I think it's correct to call "upon my word" an oath, even if it's not explicitly religious in nature - like "on my life" or "on my mother's grave", it's pledge of honesty that uses something dear to the speaker as a token. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:53, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks to y'all! Sobreira (talk) 10:26, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Kurdish qaz and the like[edit]

How exactly can qaz and its counterparts in other Iranian languages (Persian, Pashto, Ossetic) descend from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰans-? Especially in view of the regular, expected Avestan reflex (which matches Indo-Aryan perfectly), this doesn't make any sense. The explanation as a Turkic loanword is the obvious alternative. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:27, 29 January 2015 (UTC)