Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
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.



Lycian and Tocharian reflexes necessarily point to *h₂ówis. However, this noun is usually reconstructed as *h₃éwis in order to "account for the Anatolian and Armenian h- and for pervasive o-vocalism, in spite of the Tocharian form, which then remains unexplained" (Lubotsky). Alternatively, acrostatic ablauting *h₂ówi- ~ *h₂éwi- paradigm can be reconstructed (such as the one presented here in the declension table), and then one can "assume that the attested forms have the o-vocalism of the former variant, and the h- of the latter" (Lubotsky).

R. A. Pooth argues that the word has the original meaning "one who produces clothing (from wool)". See *h₂éwis.


*h₂ówis f[1]

  1. sheep


Athematic, acrostatic
nominative *h₂ówis
genitive *h₂éwis
singular dual plural
nominative *h₂ówis *h₂ówih₁(e) *h₂óweyes
vocative *h₂ówi *h₂ówih₁(e) *h₂óweyes
accusative *h₂ówim *h₂ówih₁(e) *h₂ówins
genitive *h₂éwis *? *h₂éwyoHom
ablative *h₂éwis *? *h₂éwimos
dative *h₂éwyey *? *h₂éwimos
locative *h₂éwi *? *h₂éwisu
instrumental *h₂éwih₁ *? *h₂éwibʰi


Many languages (Germanic, Tocharian) show a semantic shift from "sheep" (male or female) to "ewe".

In Balto-Slavic, the PIE root was generalized to form both the nouns for sheep and ram via the usual derivative suffixes, but only the sheep sense is listed here for all of them except for Old Prussian in which the sheep word wasn't recorded. See further on the *ovьnъ.


  • Anatolian:
  • Armenian:
    • Old Armenian: հովիւ (hoviw, shepherd) < *h₃ewi-peh₂ < *h₃éwis + *peh₂- (to protect)
  • Balto-Slavic: *awis, *awinas
  • Celtic: *owis
    • Old Irish:
  • Germanic: *awiz
  • Hellenic:
  • Indo-Iranian: *Háwis
    • Indic
    • Iranian:
      • Wakhi: yobc (< *āvi-či-)
  • Italic: *owis
  • Tocharian:
    • Tocharian B: awi (pl) (< *h₂ewéjes; base form *ā(u)w)
  • *(h₂)ówila (< *h₂ówileh₂) "~sheep, ewe" [2] (< *(h₂)ówi- + dim. suffix f. *-lā)
    • Lusitanian: oilam ( "ewe" (< *owila-)
    • Indo-Iranian
      • Aryo-Indic
        • Sanskrit: avilā f. "ewe"
        • Prakrit: avila- m. "sheep, goat"


  1. ^ Ringe, Don (2006) From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic, Oxford University Press
  2. ^ (2003:144-145, Krzysztof T. Witczak, "New Evidence for the Indo-European Terminology for sheep", Lingua Posnaniensis XLV, 2003)