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This Proto-Indo-European entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



Within the disputed Indo-Uralic theory, it has been connected with the Uralic root *nime, whence Finnish nimi, Estonian nimi and Hungarian név.

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

  1. name
    *h₁nómn̥ dʰéh₁the gave a name


Athematic, acrostatic
singular collective
nominative *h₁nómn̥ *h₁némō
genitive *h₁némn̥s *h₁nm̥nés
singular dual plural collective
nominative *h₁nómn̥ *h₁nómnih₁ *h₁némō
vocative *h₁nómn̥ *h₁nómnih₁ *h₁némō
accusative *h₁nómn̥ *h₁nómnih₁ *h₁némō
genitive *h₁némn̥s *? *h₁nm̥nés
ablative *h₁némn̥s *? *h₁nm̥nés
dative *h₁némney *? *h₁nm̥néy
locative *h₁némn̥, *h₁némni *? *h₁n̥mén, *h₁n̥méni
instrumental *h₁némn̥h₁ *? *h₁nm̥néh₁



  • 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