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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.




Both Sanskrit and Ancient Greek reflexes have a radical stress throughout the paradigm, which indicates that this accentuation was original, and that the PIE word for "brother" had an acrostatic inflection. Archaicity of the paradigm is furthermore indicated by the fact that the rest of the inherited kinship terms in Sanskrit have suffixal and desinential accent, so the pattern for the word for "brother" couldn't arise by analogy. The hysterokinetic inflection of other kinship terms (e.g. for *ph₂tḗr (father) and *dʰugh₂tḗr (daughter)) did exert influence in the two, which is evident by the absence of zero-grade in the suffix syllable (Sanskrit forms with -tā, -taram etc., Greek with -τηρ, -τερος etc.).

The root vowel is short in all of the reflexes, and no trace of lengthened grade can be found: in no language did Eichner's law operate (which predicts non-coloration of the *ē in **bʰrḗh₂-tr). Furthermore, in Balto-Slavic one can find an acute vowel (reflecting *bʰréh₂) instead of a circumflex vowel (which would reflect **bʰrḗh₂).


This lexeme is widespread, though absent from Albanian[2][3] and rare in Anatolian.[2] Because it means "kinsman" in Greek,[2][3] and meant both "brother" and "kinsman, cousin" (or "comrade") in Celtic (e.g. Old Irish bráthair) and Baltic (e.g. in Latvian and Old Prussian),[3] some suspect it had similarly wider meaning in PIE (even in English "brother" is often used to refer to socially-affiliated non-relatives).[3]


*bʰréh₂tēr m

  1. brother


Athematic, acrostatic
nominative *bʰréh₂tēr
genitive *bʰréh₂tr̥s
singular dual plural
nominative *bʰréh₂tēr *bʰréh₂terh₁(e) *bʰréh₂teres
vocative *bʰréh₂ter *bʰréh₂terh₁(e) *bʰréh₂teres
accusative *bʰréh₂term̥ *bʰréh₂terh₁(e) *bʰréh₂term̥s
genitive *bʰréh₂tr̥s *? *bʰréh₂troHom
ablative *bʰréh₂tr̥s *? *bʰréh₂tr̥mos
dative *bʰréh₂trey *? *bʰréh₂tr̥mos
locative *bʰréh₂tr̥, *bʰréh₂tri *? *bʰréh₂tr̥su
instrumental *bʰréh₂tr̥h₁ *? *bʰréh₂tr̥bʰi

Coordinate terms[edit]



  1. ^ Ringe, Donald (2006) From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic (A Linguistic History of English; 1), Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 14
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 James Clackson, Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction, page 200 (2007, →ISBN)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 J. P. Mallory, ‎D. Q. Adams, The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European (2006, →ISBN), page 214