Kloekhorst 2008:518 argues for a *-mn̥ derivative of the root *h₃neh₃- (“to name”), reflected in Hittite [script needed] (ḫannai-, “to sue, judge”) (originally "to call to court") and Ancient Greek ὄνομαι (ónomai, “to blame, scold, insult”) (with a semantic shift comparable to English to call names).
Sources disagree on the reconstruction of this word. Some reconstruct it with initial *h₃- because of Greek ὄνομα (ónoma), ὄνυμα (ónuma), but the lack of an initial laryngeal in Hittite 𒆷𒀀𒈠𒀭 (lāman) might suggest *h₁ (although the fate of word-initial *h₃ in Anatolian is unclear and controversial), and Armenian անուն (anun) could be from either one. The Greek o- could be due to assimilation to the following o-, just as in ὀδούς (odoús, “tooth”), from *odonts, assimilated from *edonts, from *h₁dont-, although this is now reconstructed with *h₃ by some authorities. Medial *-eh₃- is sometimes reconstructed on the basis of length in some Dutch and Low German denominal verbs, but these are more likely to be late forms using the Germanic a/ō ablaut found also in class VI strong verbs (and in Indo-Iranian it could have arisen by Brugmann's law, and in Latin by the analogy cōg-nōmen (“surname”) : co-gnōscō (“to know”), from PIE *ǵneh₃-).
Cowgill and Beekes (1969) have argued that initial e-/o- of Greek and inital a- of Armenian are simply prothetic vowels, i.e. not of laryngeal origin, which would then render the reconstruction as *nómn̥.
The original paradigm is also somewhat difficult to reconstruct precisely; it might be proterokinetic ablauting *h₁nómn̥ ~ *h₁n̥méns, or just acrostatic with or without zero grade in weak cases. The Tocharian forms seem to come from *(h₁)nem-, which could be from the oblique form in an acrostatic paradigm.
*h₁nómn̥ or *h₃nómn̥ or *h₁néh₃mn̥ or *h₃néh₃mn̥ n
|locative||*h₁némn̥, *h₁némni||*?||—||*h₁n̥mén, *h₁n̥méni|
- Albanian: *enmen
- Anatolian: [Term?]
- Hittite: 𒆷𒀀𒈠𒀭 (lāman)
- Balto-Slavic: *inˀmen (see there for further descendants)
- Celtic: *anman (see there for further descendants)
- Germanic: *namô (see there for further descendants) (< collective)
- Hellenic: [Term?]
- Indo-Iranian: *Hnā́ma (see there for further descendants)
- Italic: [Term?]
- Phrygian: ονομαν (onoman) (accusative singular)
- Tocharian: [Term?]
- Stüber, Karin (1998). The Historical Morphology of n-Stems in Celtic. Maynooth Studies in Celtic Linguistics III. Maynooth: Department of Old Irish, National University of Ireland, pp. 53–59. ↑ISBN.
- Kloekhorst, Alwin (2008) Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 5), Leiden, Boston: Brill, ↑ISBN, page 282ff