tepe (plural tepes)
- A tell.
- second-person singular present active imperative of tepeō
From Old Turkic töpü, from Proto-Turkic *tepö (-ü) (“hill, top; top of head”), possibly from Proto-Altaic *t`ĕp`á ("tuft (of hair)"). The original meaning was probably "crest, top of head". Proto-Altaic *tújpè ("hill, top") could be a possible reflex in Turkic.
The root is rather difficult to distinguish from Proto-Altaic *t`ḕpá ("to catch, embrace") and from Proto-Altaic *t`òp`u ("round, clot"). An expressive sound shape, liable to mergers. Note that within Turkic there may have also been a confusion of this root with Proto-Altaic *tújpè ("hill, top"), cf. some Oghuz forms with d- (Doerfer TMN 1, 450-452 attempts to connect Turkic *tepe with Mongolic deɣe- ("above"), which has a different, quite plausible etymology). The original meaning of *t`ĕp`á could be "top of head" (whence "tuft of hair on top or back of head"), cf. the common Turk.-Mong. derivative *t`ep`a-lV "spot on the forehead of an animal" (WMong. tögele, Khalkha tȫĺ; Turkmen depel, Azerbaijani täpel, Kyrgyz töböl etc.).