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In de war[edit]

Hey, in Dutch there is something as "in de war zijn", which means "to be confused". Is the Dutch "war" the same as the English war in the meaning of disruption or something like that? Mallerd 10:44, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't know much about Dutch, but I think the answer is probably yes. The English word war was borrowed from Old French (it's essentially the same as French guerre), which in turn was a borrowing from Old High German werra which meant ‘confusion’. Probably Old Saxon had a similar word which led to the modern Dutch form. (It's theorised that the French and other Romance-speaking peoples had to borrow a Germanic word for war, because the native form from Latin bellum sounded too much like bello- ‘beautiful’, and the Germanic languages amazingly enough never had a standard prosaic word for war, so ‘confusion’ was the nearest they could get.) Widsith 11:16, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I think the Dutch word war is probably cognate with the English word, but the meaning is not the same. The Dutch that means war is oorlog, while the Dutch word war means confusion, disorder. Dutch war is, I believe, related to Dutch warboel (tangle, chaos), warwinkel (tangle, chaos), verwarren (to entangle, to confuse), verwarring (confusion, disorder), as well as to German Wirrwarr (clutter) and verwirren (to confuse, to perplex). Rather than being a loanword from English, I think Dutch war is from Proto-Germanic *werso, which is also the etymon for German verwirren (to confuse) and the English word war. —Stephen 13:38, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Okay :) thanks, by the way do you know if there are any etymological dictionaries available? Not just by the internet I mean. In bookstores or are they exclusive? Mallerd 17:54, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Oh yes 1 more thing then, do you know why German, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian have the word krig, Krieg for war and Dutch oorlog? Oorlog is so much different and the only Dutch meaning is war. Do you know that as well? Mallerd 17:56, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

I think oorlog is cognate with war+lay, originally meaning something like "conflict destiny". The German word Krieg is from MHG kriec (exertion, enmity, opposition) < OHG krig (stubbornness, defiance), cognate with Greek ύβρις (outrage). As for etymological dictionaries, there are numerous available, depending on the languages you are mainly interested in. If you speak Dutch, Dutch is nicely dealt with in the Van Dale Dutch Dictionary. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language has excellent etymology information in it. The University of Texas has an interesting etymology site at —Stephen 21:37, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
We just picked a different word as our main word, but there are lots of traces of a krig cognate (krijg in our case), that are still in use. For example krijger = warrior, krijgsheer = warlord, krijgskunst = art of war, etc.

War, etymology[edit]

How is it that people are confirming that war is derived from ONF guerre? Could it not also be that the two words developed independently from each other (though they are obviously of the same root), as it seems that Anglo-Saxon had a similar, though rather uncommon, word werre that was not borrowed from Norman French. Though many sites on the internet seem to point that modern "war" is derived from Norman French, several older book sources state that "war" has stayed in the language and is derived directly from a Germanic root, which is also the source of "worse", rather than having been brought into the language again via another language (Norman French.) I'm not sure if there has been any insights into this etymology, but the etymology that "war" is the derivative of guerre and not just a cognate doesn't to have conclusive evidence. Anyway, just asking. -Noimnotokay 03:05, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I don’t think you read the etymology. It says: Anglo-Norman werre < Old Northern French werre, a variant of Old French guerre < Old Franconian werra, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *werza- ("confusion"). —Stephen 17:18, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

On 21JAN2011 this explanation was added: "Or from Middle English werre, from Late Old English werre, wyrre "armed conflict" from Old Northern French werre (compare Old French guerre, gwerre),of Ancient Greek origin, from Latin verro (“go,sweep,sweep away,contend ,raid”),from Ancient Greek ερρω (“go,sweep,sweep away,contend ,raid”)." and soon after reverted. Now it has been put in again. I would have expected some substantiation for such a non-standard explanation. In addition, it confuses cognates and etymons and a French/Normal French "gw"/"w" is quite a reliable sign for a Germanic loan. If it were inherited from Latin, the change from "v" to "gu"/"gw"/"w" needed a very good explanation before this etymology could be seriously considered. I will revert it again. Berndf 21:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Definition of war[edit]

The definition of war as arm-using event is wrong. War is to impose one person or entity own's will over another person or entity. So to buy a pear in a countryside environment is a way of imposing over capitalists, that is banks, to change their way of doing things, that is kill everyone who opposes them by starvation by decapitation etc., it is War. People playing with handguns are, grown-up children who still have not left childhood.

Evidence for this? Equinox 20:40, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Not cognate to German Wehr?[edit]

I'd always assumed that Wehr was the direct German cognate of English war and OHG werra, but apparently they're not even known to be related. The PIE roots we give are similar, and I think tracing the root for war to a word meaning "thresh" is a bit of a stretch considering that the metaphorical meanings seem to be confined entirely to Germanic, so Im tempted to think that they come from the same root after all, but nobody else seems to believe that (e.g., Etymonline agrees with us), so there must be some reason why this seemingly obvious connection is not being made. Soap (talk) 16:37, 21 October 2017 (UTC)