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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.


Alternative reconstructions[edit]


This noun is usually reconstructed with the initial *h₁ and thus explained as active participle of the verb *h₁ed- (to eat). However, Aeolic ἔδοντες (édontes) appears to be a folk-etymological adaptation to ἔδω (édō), and the initial ἔ- is hence no evidence for *h₁-. Old Armenian ատամն (atamn) also points to *h₃-, as well as a prefixed Greek derivative νωδός (nōdós), which requires *n̥-h₃d- (where */h₃/ was regularly vocalized to ό in interconsonantal position). Thus, the word is ultimately an active participle of the root *h₃ed- (to bite) +‎ *-ónts.


*h₃dónts m (oblique stem *h₃dn̥t-)[2][3]

  1. tooth


Athematic, hysterokinetic
nominative *h₃dónts
genitive *h₃dn̥tés
singular dual plural
nominative *h₃dónts *h₃dónth₁(e) *h₃dóntes
vocative *h₃dónt *h₃dónth₁(e) *h₃dóntes
accusative *h₃dóntm̥ *h₃dónth₁(e) *h₃dóntm̥s
genitive *h₃dn̥tés *? *h₃dn̥tóHom
ablative *h₃dn̥tés *? *h₃dn̥tmós
dative *h₃dn̥téy *? *h₃dn̥tmós
locative *h₃dónt, *h₃dónti *? *h₃dn̥tsú
instrumental *h₃dn̥téh₁ *? *h₃dn̥tbʰí


  • Armenian: *ataman
  • Balto-Slavic:
    • Lithuanian: dantìs
    • Old Prussian: dantis
    • Slavic: *dęsna, *dęsno, *dęslo "gum" < PIE *h₃dón- + Slavic *-sno- (*-slo- is by dissimilation from earlier *-sno-) (see there for further descendants)
  • Celtic: *dantom (see there for further descendants)
  • Germanic: *tanþs (see there for further descendants)
  • Hellenic: *odónts (see there for further descendants)
  • Indo-Iranian: *Hdánts (oblique stem: *Hdát) (see there for further descendants)
  • Italic: *dents (see there for further descendants)


  1. ^ Ringe, Don (2006) From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic, Oxford University Press
  2. ^ Kroonen, Guus (2013) Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 11), Leiden, Boston: Brill
  3. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008), “dēns”, in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, pages 166-167