Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2014/April

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← March 2014 · April 2014 · May 2014 →


While reading on Encyclopædia Iranica, I learned that jism (also jesm) happens to be a Persian word for "body", as well. The meaning seems a bit off so I don't intend to seriously suggest a connection, but it surely made me go hmmm for a moment. (Actually, the only way I'm familiar with the English word jism is through its relevance for the etymology of jazz, although by now I'm of course familiar with the related term jizz.) Turns out there are several erotic films from South Asia titled Jism (after the Persian word, present as a borrowing in Urdu and Hindi), a potential source of unintended amusement for Anglophone audiences outside South Asia. Just throwing this one out here. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:07, 2 April 2014 (UTC)


Something doesn't quite add up about this etymology. It says that it's from Pre-Finnic širti, of Slavic origin, and implies that the Pre-Finnic š- is a reflex of Slavic ž-. But as far as I know, Proto-Finnic is older than Proto-Slavic, so it doesn't work out at all chronologically. Of course, it could have been borrowed in pre-Slavic times, but then it's the ž sound that is suspect. Proto-Slavic žь formed either from through the second palatalisation, or from gjъ through iotation. Both of those changes happened relatively late in Slavic history (as they affected most Germanic loanwords), so it's hardly possible that such a word was borrowed into Proto-Finnic early enough for it to have undergone š > h, which is a regular sound change of Proto-Finnic date. —CodeCat 14:26, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

See p. 159, especially footnote 13. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:05, 4 April 2014 (UTC)


Anyone keen to have a go at this? I've literally never heard this word before (as an Australian), and I've been speaking English for a long time. The state of neglect of this entry, coupled with the number of senses that people have dumped in there, suggests that it is a regionalism (possibly British?).

I'm putting it here because it needs an etymology-fan to undertake the task of cleaning it up. This, that and the other (talk) 11:07, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

I took a run at the structure (ie, three etymologies and some subsenses) and the first etymology. I was not impressed by Century's rendition of the second etymology and found no other source. The third seems indeed trivial. DCDuring TALK 14:04, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • FWIW, I'm used to the first etymology's senses, but I'd never encountered the second or third etymology's senses. Native English speaker in the US, born and raised in Virginia. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 17:34, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
    That's why I reordered the etymologies to place the one with common senses at the top. I don't doubt that all of the definitions in all of the etymology sections had some currency in the 19th century, as reflected in the entries in Merriam-Webster 1913 and Century. Some of our definitions are just copies or paraphrases of these. Our subjective impressions plus review of other dictionaries are often the only practical means of determining how to label the less common senses. OED; Century; and MW 1828, 1913, c1935 and c1965 are useful for estimating dates of currency. We have many, many definitions that are very uncommon, some for homonyms that are currently virtually unused now. Very little translation effort or user attention should go to these, but absent labels provide no clue about this. DCDuring TALK 20:11, 8 April 2014 (UTC)


In reply to Talk:squeamish#Etymology:

See Anatoly Liberman's OUP etymology blog.

If it's an old blend involving qualmish, and the original meaning is more like "easily repulsed", squirm suggests itself as partner, although it's unclear if squirm is that old, especially in the meaning "to recoil or twist in discomfort". Other words such as squeal, squeak, scream, and for the current meaning squint might have reinforced this formation. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:05, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Slavic rain[edit]

I saw this edit by User:Angr. Even though *dъždžь seems better than *dъždь, it still seems strange to me. Is it possible it could have been *dъžďь? --WikiTiki89 18:03, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

I got *dъždžь from Terence R. Carlton, Introduction to the Phonological History of the Slavic Languages (Slavica Publishers, 1990, ISBN 0-89357-223-3), who says that the jotation of zd and zg is ždž, parallel to the jotation of st and sk to šč. When not after z, the jotations of d and g are different (ď and ž respectively), but after z they merge. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:11, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
  • What's jotation? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 18:30, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
    A.k.a iotation. --WikiTiki89 18:41, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
    • It's an alternative spelling of iotation. The example of stj and skj > šč is wrong, though. In OCS the result is št, as in modern Bulgarian. What are the outcomes of these four sequences in other Slavic languages? —CodeCat 18:44, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
In Polish at least (I don't know about the smaller Lechitic languages) stj/skj became szcz and zdj/zgj became żdż, and these cannot come from šť and žď; in Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Slovene stj/skj became šč and zdj/zgj became ždž (be+uk)/žj (sl), but these could all come from earlier šť and žď. In the other languages they became št and žd or šť and žď. So only Polish has clear evidence for šč and ždž as opposed to šť and žď, but šč/ždž > šť/žď is a pretty natural dissimilation, and positing the opposite sound change (šť/žď > šč/ždž) for Polish is problematic because ť/ď normally become c/dz in Polish, so you'd expect *sc/zdz rather than szcz/żdż. At some level though, whether we write šč or šť for sla-pro is a purely notational issue; the point is that the contrasts č~ť and dž~ď were neutralized after s/z (which became š/ž in that context). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:25, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I guess for some reason I didn't realize that represented an affricate rather than d + ž, so it makes more sense to me now. Before I was wondering where the ž would have come from. --WikiTiki89 00:06, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, that's why some people write it ǰ or ǯ rather than , but is by far the most common spelling. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:25, 9 April 2014 (UTC)


Could someone double-check the PIE here? Unaspirated *ǵ oughtn't give Latin h, I'm wondering if it was mistranscribed for *ǵʰ. 4pq1injbok (talk) 11:52, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

De Vaan has ǵʰ, and that's also the only way it could fit with the Germanic descendants. I've fixed it. —CodeCat 13:18, 11 April 2014 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. I heard that the FPP of sequor is sequendus? --kc_kennylau (talk) 10:56, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

It's probably an older fossilised form. I don't think there is really any doubt that it came from the same root *sekʷ-, in any case. —CodeCat 13:03, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
secundus in Charlton T. Lewis & Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879 shows derivation from sequor, which accounts for the range of meanings. DCDuring TALK 14:31, 12 April 2014 (UTC)


Does someone know conjugation of Proto-Slavic verb *orzkrǫtiti? 21:49, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

I've added it. —CodeCat 22:15, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. 23:17, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Slavic verbs ending with *-ěti[edit]

Does someone know conjugations of Proto-Slavic verbs ending with *-ěti? Examples *želěti, *žьlděti, *letěti, *viděti, *gověti, *grьměti... As I see we don't have this type of verbs yet, and it would be of so much help to me. Thanks in advance. Une nymphe (talk) 01:53, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

There were different kinds. Slavic verbs in general always have two principal parts, so the infinitive alone doesn't tell you the conjugation of the whole verb. You need the present stem as well, and there were a variety of present stems with infinitives in *-ěti. There's a full list at Appendix:Proto-Slavic verbs. —CodeCat 01:55, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Could you create some of this just for demonstration? Une nymphe (talk) 02:02, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
I created *viděti, and we already had *uměti. —CodeCat 02:13, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
I see... however how is that in Serbo-Croatian verbal noun from *viděti is viđenje instead of vidijenje or verbal naun from *živěti in Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian is življenje instead of živenje and živlijenje? These look like they ware made from *živiti and *viditi. Same is with others. What do you think? Une nymphe (talk) 02:26, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Maybe you answered the question already. Both types of verbs share the same present tense stem, so it's possible that other parts of the paradigms were influenced by each other. —CodeCat 02:36, 13 April 2014 (UTC)


Could someone put conjugation for *jьskati, it seems there is no inflection-table tamplete for it. So if anyone knows. 18:22, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

There is already a {{rfinfl}} template on the page. —CodeCat 18:29, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm not an experienced user. Can you create it, or perhaps someone else? 18:33, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
The {{rfinfl}} template means that we know that something needs to be done, and it's on our to-do list. But there's only so much the editors here can do at once, so it may take some time. Improving the Proto-Slavic templates is just one item on a long list of things I plan to do, eventually... —CodeCat 18:36, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Can you create this one now? I would really like to know conjugation for *jьskati and would really like to ad conjugations for other Proto-Slavic words sharing this templates. So if you have some time to spear... 18:50, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
To be honest, I'm not even sure what the inflection was. The present stem shows the first palatalisation *sk > *šč, but that could result from both *-ske- (a simple thematic present, like *bьrati) and *-skje- (j-present, like *sъlati). I don't know which of the two types this verb belonged to. —CodeCat 19:05, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I think present was *jьščǫ and verbal noun *jьskanьje and imperfect *jьskaaxъ. 19:29, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I put it. I believe this is correct. 19:32, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Verbs with the same inflection *plěskati, *trěskati, *bliskati)....
I don't think it is. Old Church Slavonic and Old East Slavic both attest the unpalatalised form iskǫ/isku alongside palatalised ištǫ/išču. —CodeCat 19:37, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Slovenian has only iščem and Croatian has ištem/išćem, but with *plěskati Slovenian has pleskam/pleščem while Croatian has pljeskam/plješćem. So this can also be, the dual inflection *jьskǫ/jьščǫ in Proto-Slavic. 19:44, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
The -m forms are not original, so they can't be used as evidence for Proto-Slavic. And the -am ending is even more of an innovation. —CodeCat 20:14, 15 April 2014 (UTC)


Wanjuscha (talkcontribs) added the etymology of Dutch mast. How could the "s" have become "ч"? --WikiTiki89 17:26, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

I don't know, but I'm not sure if it could derive from any other source than Germanic. Is there a possible Russian source? —CodeCat 17:47, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Ok, I consulted Vasmer and made this change. --WikiTiki89 18:01, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

May 2014

Hey! This is my first edit; Sorry if I'm messing it up. Anyway, Маща is a loving nickname for any girl named Maria in Russian culture. Perhaps there is a relation?
No source, sorry. Experience. --User:TWDtSoM 1:00, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
The name is Ма́ша (Máša), not Маща, which would sound quite bad for a girl's name :). No relation between ма́чта (máčta) and Ма́ша (Máša) --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 01:13, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
There are several loanwords in Slavic where s in the source language has become š, such as Polish msza (Mass) < PSl. *mьša < Latin missa, or the whole slew of Polish men's names ending in -sz taken from Latin names ending in -s (Dariusz, Łukasz, Mariusz, Mateusz, Tadeusz, Tomasz, etc.). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:54, 15 May 2014 (UTC)


Hi, I recently added two possible etymologies for drag ("women's clothes worn by a man"): That it is derived from drag ("To pull along a surface") and that it comes from Yiddish trogn ("to wear"). A third suggestion that has been put forward at many places -- most notably Wikipedia -- is that it is a loan from Romani indraka, meaning skirt, coming into mainstream Englisch through the cant of fairground showmen. While I was not able to find a mention of "indraka" that was unrelated to the purported etymology, the ROMLEX Database has several obviously related Words: Latvian Romani andraka, jandraka and jendraka , Lithuanian Romani daraka and North Russian Romani indîraka, all meaning 'skirt'. If anyone of you knows a more reliable source for this etymology than a couple of online pages which quite obviously copied from eachother, we could include this possible etymology as well. To me it doesn't seem any less plausible then the other two suggestions.--Anonymest (talk) 12:15, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Do English words derive from Yiddish? --kc_kennylau (talk) 12:20, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
We don't have a Category:English terms derived from Polari, but that is almost certainly what this is. In fact, we don't seem to recognize the code pld at all. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:41, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
I seem to remember that there was a discussion about whether to recognize Polari as separate from English sometime in the past year, but I can't find it at the moment. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:21, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Whether it is or isn't, it can still be an etymology language. --WikiTiki89 14:44, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps Category talk:Polari language, including the RFDO discussion, is what you're remembering, Chuck. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:56, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
I added it to Module:etymology language/data. --WikiTiki89 15:02, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
If it is no language on its own, but mainly a variety of English, wouldn't it be more accurate to speak of English words, that originally were Polari slang, rather than from words derived from Polari? In any case, there is an English (sub-)category English Polari slang and it includes words, like palone and polari ("to talk"), that are quintessantially Polari and were not borrowed into more widespread slang. If a new category "English words derived from Polari" is created, the relationship between the two should be clarified.-- 20:20, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it is more appropriate to speak of terms or senses as being "{{cx|originally|Polari}}", rather than to speak of something as derived "from the {{etyl|pld|en}} language"(!). Consider how many other slangs were the first registers of a particular language to use certain words, and how we treat those slangs: for example, AFAICT we don't have an etyl-only code for "originally Cambridge student slang", we use plain text to say that in entries like nargery. (There are probably not that many more attested Polari-derived terms than attested Cambridge-student-slang-derived terms).) Indeed, most of our Polari entries already handle things with context tags rather than {{etyl}}. I think pld should be (re-)removed the etymology-only language-code module... - -sche (discuss) 02:20, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

barva, barwa[edit]

I think it's fairly certain that these languages got this word from some descendant of Germanic *farwō, but which one? Was it Old, Middle or New High German? Or maybe also (Middle) Low German? I think a "middle" language seems more likely, because the change f- > v- occurred by that time (which would explain why b- was borrowed rather than p-), and also because -w- > -b- had not yet occurred in High German. It's also more likely because all the Slavic languages eventually acquired /f/ as a phoneme, and this borrowing would have to pre-date that. —CodeCat 23:56, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Rejzek 2001 traces Czech barva to Middle High German varwe and indicates as possible the origin from Old High German far(a)wa. --Dan Polansky (talk) 06:11, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
I've just read a historical phonology of Slovene which mentions several German loanwords where /f/ was borrowed as /b/, and at least one Romance loanword (baška (bundle of sticks) < Latin fascis). AFAIK Latin /f/ never became /v/ in word-initial position in any Romance language, so a voiced phoneme in the source language may not actually be a necessary condition for phonemic replacement with /b/ in Slavic. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:46, 5 May 2014 (UTC)