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Etymology scriptorium

Welcome to the Etymology scriptorium. This is the place to cogitate on etymological aspects of the Wiktionary entries.

Etymology scriptorium archives edit

July 2016


Etymology says coined as a translation of republic / res publica with the rise of Pan-Arabism during World War I, however this may be wrong. According to Nişanyan, Ottomans used to call the government style of Switzerland and the Netherlands جمهور ‎(jumhūr), however as early as 1876, the term جمهوريت ‎(jumhūriyyet, republic) appears in Ottoman dictionaries. I dont speak Arabic but according to Nişanyan this derivation is also irregular and fits the Neo Ottoman coinage style. The entry can be found in Nişanyan, Sevan (2002–), “cumhuriyet”, in Nişanyan Sözlük, however I believe you need a membership to read all the details. --Anylai (talk) 08:51, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

While we're at it, it's not clear to me when, how, and from which language Swahili jamhuri was borrowed, considering that this is after the influx of Arabic loanwords. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:23, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I am not sure how Arabic loans were rendered in Swahili. Basically the Arabic ية ‎(-iyya) is most of the time "-iyyet" in Ottoman Turkish. Plus as I said, originally in the 1800s, the word for this western government style was already called جمهور ‎(jumhūr) in Ottoman. I don't know if the Arabic entry is lacking this sense or even had it in the past at all. First we must know if this derivation fits the rules in Arabic, plus if it was coined in WW1, Turkish form can not be borrowed from Arabic, it was coined a lot before than that in Ottoman. --Anylai (talk) 23:06, 5 July 2016 (UTC)


  1. Kopf itself says it is probably from cuppa, and that in turn lists it as a descendant. And cup also claims Kopf as a cognate: or, rather, says 'compare' with a list. So these branches all refer it to PIE *kewp-.
  2. Under cup, by the way, Kopf is glossed as "cup; bowl", a sense that's not mentioned under Kopf itself.
  3. But cop also claims it as a cognate, and takes them back to Gmc *kuppaz, which of course should go back to a PIE beginning with */g/. That Gmc entry displays an impressive array of descendants, which might well trump the 'probably' in the first point. Could the Gmc have been late enough, and the Latin variant cuppa early enough, for this to be in fact a borrowing?

I realize that these have been confused for a good 2000 years, and are not easy to unravel now, and we have some merging, but is one side of this less plausible than the other in modern thinking? --Hiztegilari (talk) 15:19, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

German Kopf now means only "head". The sense "cup" still existed in early modern German, while the sense "head" is as old as the 13th century. (Both senses still coexist in Dutch kop.) -- The predominant opinion throughout the German and Dutch etymological standard literature is that all the relevant continental Germanic words are borrowed from Latin cuppa. None of these sources considers the Germanic words to be inherited from PIE, though some of the Dutch sources say that, alternatively, the Germanic and Latin words could be borrowings from the same unknown substrate language. So the point is simply that our Gmc *kuppaz (< PIE) is a very doubtful reconstruction that shouldn't be treated like a fact. (We do that all the time.) Kolmiel (talk) 14:32, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
If the word was indeed borrowed from Latin, it looks like the forms with o are older (early West Germanic or Late PGmc). The ones with u are more recent re-borrowings (probably in Mediaeval times with the spread of Christianity). Late Latin cuppa may have even been borrowed from a Germanic tongue then borrowed back into Latin (i.e. cūpa > Gmc/(Frk) *kuppa > Latin cuppa; alongside older Latin cūpa). Leasnam (talk) 15:41, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
The older Gmc words also deviate further from anything resembling a "tub": e.g. Old English and Dutch words meaning "spider". This makes it doubtful that it could have been a borrowing, since the semantic distance covered is too great for so short a time Leasnam (talk) 15:51, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

chantre, chanteur[edit]

I'm looking for a name to a new category that would gather pairs of French words such as: pâtre-pasteur; chantre-chanteur; moindre-mineur; on-homme. These are not really doublets, for which we already have a category. Rather, one word comes from the Latin nominative, while the other comes from the accusative. Any idea? --Fsojic (talk) 09:30, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

I'd say they are really doublets. Why wouldn't they be? They're just a very specific kind of doublet. Parallels in English are mead²/meadow and shade/shadow, which come from different cases of the same Old English word. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:33, 3 July 2016 (UTC)


French gestion and Spanish gestión have etymologies just mentioning Latin gestio. But we only have this as a verb, with no obvious relation of meaning; there would presumably have been an abstract noun gestio, gestionem as intermediate, at some stage of Latin. --Hiztegilari (talk) 15:24, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Added the noun. It's attested from the classical period. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:20, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

clubs (in cards)[edit]

Wondering if anyone had any insight as to why we call the suit in cards "clubs", when in fact it isn't a club at all...it's a clover. Is there some reason for this ? Is it a horrific corruption of clovers...just comparing the Dutch klaveren ‎(clubs, literally clovers), Swedish klöver ‎(clubs, literally clover) Leasnam (talk) 00:32, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

In earlier times, each language had its own name and symbol for the four suits. French trèfles (clovers, which is why our modern club suit looks like clovers), Italian bastoni (clubs, walking sticks), Spanish bastos (clubs, truncheons, with a drawing of a walking stick), German Eichel (acorn). In recent times, a single set of symbols (basically the French set) for the four suits has been adopted by all languages, even though the old name for the symbols has been maintained by each language (hence a clover called a club in English, or Eichel in German). —Stephen (Talk) 01:15, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Wow, ok. So in the past, in England the cards had images of literal clubs ("cudgels/bats/sticks") on them ? Leasnam (talk) 01:22, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
England used the Italian name (translated), but applied it to French cards. ref., eg., http://www.wopc.co.uk/uk/index2 --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:30, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
I see. Ok - Thank you, all ! Leasnam (talk) 01:31, 6 July 2016 (UTC)


Old Norse descendant is ørr, the ø a result of u-mutation + i-mutation. *arwaz yields u-mutation only. What is the reason - levelling from the plural? -- 17:05, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

According to Kroonen's Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, the Nordic (and Finnish) forms are from a variant *arwiz-. KarikaSlayer (talk) 03:55, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
It's an *e-stem in Finnic though (*arpe-); these are probably more often from *a-stems etc. than from *i-stems. --Tropylium (talk) 17:00, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
Is this suffix possible with neuter gender? -- 17:02, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Greek βούρτσα, Turkish fırça[edit]

The Turkish word is claimed to be from the Greek, which in turn is claimed to be from German Bürste. The former part is confirmed by Turkish wiktionary, the latter seems perfectly impossible to me. Now, isn't rather the Greek from the Turkish and it from Arabic فرشة [furša]? The Arabic word belongs to a fully developed root (whose original meaning may be “to spread”, but need not, since these meanings could be denominal from فرش [farš], carpet). Kolmiel (talk) 00:40, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

PS: Greek wiktionary also mentions a lot of strange things, considering Old High German, Italian, Turkish, and Albanian origin. Pretty much everything but Arabic. (I google-translated it.) Kolmiel (talk) 00:46, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
The Turkish etymological dictionaries unanimously derive fırça from Greek. The origin of the Greek itself is disputed. Your Arabic comparison seems interesting. Note also Persian فرچه ‎(ferče), Armenian ֆըռչա ‎(fəṙčʿa) (from Turkish). --Vahag (talk) 07:52, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
The Turkish word looks to me like a conflation of the Greek and Arabic words. If it's just from Greek, why isn't it *vırça? I think /v/ is a perfectly ordinary consonant in Turkish. And if it's just from Arabic, why isn't it *fırşa? Again, /ʃ/ is a perfectly ordinary consonant in Turkish. Instead it looks like speakers took advantage of the overall similarity of the two words, but got the /f/ from Arabic and the /tʃ/ from Greek /ts/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:41, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

More cognates which may help determining the real source: Middle Armenian վրձին ‎(vrjin), Bulgarian ву́рца ‎(vúrca), Romanian vîrță, Albanian vurcë. --Vahag (talk) 10:01, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Okay. So it's a bit more complicated than I'd thought :) But German Bürste has nothing to do with this, right? Kolmiel (talk) 13:50, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
I have been looking at Nişanyan's dictionary and the oldest attestation is from 1501 فرچه ‎(furça) and claims it is from Greek "vrútsa" which in turn is borrowed from Vulgar Latin "*bruscia" (see brosse). Maybe it would be good to know since when the Greek form is attested. Plus Greek entry shows the origin as Bürste. According to Nişanyan "*bruscia" is derived from Latin bruscus and it is also a borrowing from Celtic. But the French entry "brosse" says *bruscia is from Proto-Germanic. So everything is messed up. I have looked at the entries starting with /f/, there are indeed 3 or 4 Greek words starting with /v/ or /b/ rendered as /f/ but it may not directly be from Greek. Although f is not native to Turkish (except onomatopoeia), Greek f = Turkish f. I went through all of the entries starting with /f/ in his disctionary, the result was: apart from fırça; fesleğen ‎(basil) (attested since the 1600s, from βασιλικόν ‎(vasilikón)) and fıçı ‎(barrel) (attested since the 1500s, cognate to Latin buttis) and fiğ (attested at the 1300s, apparently from βικίον ‎(vikíon)) were the only words rendered with /f/ that had either /b/ or /v/ in their Greek counterparts. I went through all of the entries starting with /v/ too, Greek /v/ is equal to Turkish /v/, interestingly they all correspond to /v/ at any language. Apart from Turkic ones like (ver- ‎(to give), from *bēr-).
Plus, could the Arabic word فرشة ‎(furša, brush) be also a borrowing from the same source but wrongly connected to فرش ‎(faraša, to spread)? Perhaps from Ottoman? I can see that Ottoman /ch/ sometimes was rendered /sh/ in Arabic in borrowed words. For example شيشكلي ‎(shishekli) equivalent to Turkish çiçekli and شاويش ‎(shawush, sergeant), equivalent to Turkish çavuş. Have they been always like that or just later assimilations? --Anylai (talk) 13:53, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
The Turkish "v" is more of an approximant /ʋ/ isn't it? So Greek /v/ -> Turkish /f/ would not be extremely surpsrising maybe. — Now, Latin bruscus ~ bruscia is a much better candidate than the German word. It's probably Germanic, see the details at brush. (It's also remotely related to Bürste actually.) — The Arabic word could indeed be unrelated to the root. But note that Steingass also mentions a sense “to have dense and extended branches”, which seems much to closer to “brush”. Kolmiel (talk)
PS: Yes, Turkish /tʃ/ generally becomes Arabic /ʃ/. — To me personally the most probable path would now seem to be Germanic > Latin > Greek > Ottoman > other "Islamic" languages. Kolmiel (talk) 14:33, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
PPS: Other sources say that Latin bruscus is a conflation of ruscum ("thorny shrub") with brucus ("heather"), which latter would indeed be from Gallic (cf. brusque). At any rate, bruscus meant a shrub, and this also the original meaning of French "brosse". (Incidentally, the notion that βουρτσα is from German seems to be from the idea that "brosse" is from Old High German burst ("bristle"), also found on French wiktionary, but this is contrary to the original meaning of the Romance word.) Kolmiel (talk) 15:59, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
So the Arabic word might be showing signs of folk etymology? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:01, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
Maybe, although furša alongside firša is as close as you can get to Turkish fırça in Arabic (provided Arabic got it from Turkish). Kolmiel (talk) 16:41, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
How old is the *b- > v- shift in Turkish? It seems possible at first glance that Greek β had already turned to labiodental [v] while Turkish initial v was still bilabial [β] (and understood by speakers as an allophone of /b/) (phonetic vs. orthographic notation are getting confusing here, but bear with me), which might have left labiodental [f] a better substitution. --Tropylium (talk) 16:36, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
According to w:Turkish phonology vu- is still pronounced /βu-/, /β/ here being a stop. So [f] may indeed be closer or just as close. Kolmiel (talk) 16:41, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
The examples of *b- > v- shift are few actually: ver- ‎(to give), var- ‎(to arrive), var ‎(there is) and vur- ‎(to hit) (which is actually expressive). In the dictionary of Clauson I can see they have already shifted to v- in the earliest Turkish texts (from 14th century). Some suffixes also followed *-b > *-v > ∅. Some verbs like ol- ‎(to become) (from *bōl-) were interestingly never attested as *vol- too, but this loss is very rare in such stems. I wish I knew about quality of the consonants, I am inadequate at these topics but I can give some examples of -v- > -f- examples, since these were not tolerated word initially. For example yufka ‎(thin), küf ‎(mold), ufal- ‎(to get small, to shrink), ufak ‎(little) comes to my mind. They ultimately all go back to *v < *b. --Anylai (talk) 17:41, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
I wonder if it's related to French bruyère and the second etymology of briar (briarwood pipes are made from roots of w:Erica arborea, a species of heather). Chuck Entz (talk) 03:00, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

The Greek word comes from the Byzantine period. It is attested in the forms βούρτζα ‎(boúrtza), βούρτσα ‎(boúrtsa), βρούτζα ‎(broútza), βρούτσα ‎(broútsa), βρουτσίν ‎(broutsín) (hence directly վրձին ‎(vrjin)). The earliest datable attestation I could find was from the 12th century, but this one, 7th row from the bottom is probably even earlier. Apart from the Romance–Germanic explanation discussed above, a native origin from βύρσα ‎(búrsa) has also been proposed. --Vahag (talk) 17:19, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Hebrew transliteration[edit]

Tweaks to the Hebrew word ילם appearing in the etymology section of ylem so that an automatic Roman alphabet transliteration appears would be much appreciated. — SMUconlaw (talk) 20:07, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Two things: One, Hebrew does not have automatic transliterations. Two, there is no word ילם meaning "blind"; the closest word I can find is אילם \ אִלֵּם ‎(ʾillēm, mute), the word for "blind" being עיוור \ עִוֵּר ‎(ʿiwwēr). Also, according to w:Ylem, Ganow said I mean this is the old Hebrew word meaning something like "space between heaven and earth". I can't think off the top of my head what word that could be with that meaning, but I will try to find it, but for now it seems that אילם \ אִלֵּם ‎(ʾillēm, mute) would be the best guess. --WikiTiki89 20:58, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
Another possibility is something from the root ע־ל־ם ‎(ʿ-l-m) (נֶעֱלַם ‎(to disappear), הֶעֱלִים ‎(to conceal), עוֹלָם ‎(word, eternity)). --WikiTiki89 21:11, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
However, in all likelihood, this guy had no idea what he was talking about and there never was a Hebrew word. --WikiTiki89 21:14, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I noted from the source that Gamow did not actually identify the Hebrew word in question. I don't know which editor added the Hebrew bit. Do you think we should just omit it, or add a "best guess"? — SMUconlaw (talk) 21:43, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, remove the Hebrew. I'm sure that Gamow, who was a mild antisemite, had no clue. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:54, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Really, I had no idea. Don't know much about the chap, apart from having read one of his books about the Big Bang. I've removed the information. — SMUconlaw (talk) 11:37, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

What's the source of these Russian terms - Modern or Ancient Greek?[edit]

I'd like to ask why Russian derivatives from Greek where Ancient Greek [b] is now [v] in Modern Greek are considered to be borrowings from Ancient, not Modern Greek.

Examples: Вениами́н ‎(Veniamín) - ancient Βενιᾱμῑ́ν ‎(Beniāmī́n), modern Βενιαμίν ‎(Veniamín).

Same with алфави́т ‎(alfavít, alphabet), Вавило́н ‎(Vavilón, Babylon), etc. The etymologies might be right and they are usually sourced but aren't the spellings and pronunciations adjusted to the Modern Greek where letter β is now pronounced [v]? @Vahagn Petrosyan (edited Вениамин), @Wikitiki89 (edited алфавит). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 08:28, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

Those words are attested already in Old East Slavic and are borrowed from Byzantine Greek, which we treat under Ancient Greek. See the 10th and 15th century pronunciations in Βενιαμίν ‎(Beniamín) and ἀλφάβητος ‎(alphábētos). No one ever borrowed anything from the useless Modern Greek. We should probably generate a script error when people use {{etyl|el|xx}}. --Vahag (talk) 09:16, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
(E/C) @Vahagn Petrosyan Thanks. Did Byzantine Greek have "v" pronunciation of "β"? I just want to know how "v" came about in Russian in Greek derivations. Perhaps the use of "в" (v) vs "б" (b) in Russian is of interest for words where English or other European cognates have "b". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:31, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
I would just mention that the sound changes that affected β began in one region in about 300 BC (beginning of the Koine Greek period), and gradually moved across the entire Greek language area until the sound shift was completed by about 300 AD. Most Greeks were already pronouncing β as v by 100 AD. Here in the West, we like to pronounce Ancient Greek beta with a b because that was the pronunciation during the Classical period, which ran from 510 BC to 323 BC. In the Koine period, beta changed to veta, but we still assign the sound of b to the beta of this time. I think we generally consider Koine Greek to be Ancient Greek for the purposes of etymologies (but I could be wrong about this). —Stephen (Talk) 09:27, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
@Stephen G. Brown Thanks, Stephen. It seems Russian has borrowed from later forms of Greek but directly from Greek not via other languages. алфави́т ‎(alfavít, alphabet) is especially good example (it's "-vit", not "-bet"), since letter βῆτα ‎(bêta) in Ancient Greek changed to βήτα ‎(víta) in later forms of Greek, which is also reflected in the Russian borrowing. The letter "β" itself is called бе́та ‎(bɛ́ta) in Russian, which is apparently from Ancient Greek, possibly via another language. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:31, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
The Cyrillic alphabet itself has some obvious clues as well. В being pronounced /v/ or /ʋ/ is one of them, but also И is based on Greek Η, yet pronounced /i/. Х was /x/, no longer an aspirated plosive. Oddly, Г kept its plosive pronunciation, as did Д, so they weren't entirely consistent with it. —CodeCat 13:04, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
That's true, of course, and I had this in mind when asking the question. Old East Slavic and Russian were definitely influenced by the late forms of Greek. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:12, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
I wonder if the reason that Г and Д kept their pronunciation as stop sounds is simply that the corresponding fricatives didn't exist in late Proto-Slavic (or rather in Old Bulgarian as of 850 AD or so). Benwing2 (talk) 16:12, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Г was a fricative in some Slavic dialects, but not anywhere in South Slavic. —CodeCat 16:48, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that you're right about "not anywhere in South Slavic". --WikiTiki89 14:23, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
It doesn't matter, though. The important thing is that no Slavic variety contrasted /ɡ/ and /ɣ/ phonemically, so the Greek letter gamma could be borrowed for any Slavic language's reflex of PSl. *g, regardless of its phonetic realization. And no Slavic language ever had /ð/, so the Greek letter delta could be borrowed for stop /d/, even if it wasn't a stop in Greek. But since /b/ and /v/ did contrast in Slavic, they needed separate letters, so they took Greek beta for /v/ (as it was also pronounced in Greek at the time), and modified it for /b/ (which existed in Greek only as an allophone of /p/). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:04, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

skrattuz & butmaz[edit]

In looking at the declension (inflection) tables of these two: *skrattuz, *butmaz, are they correct? I mean, should they show a different consonant due to Verner's alternation: *skratt- vs *skrad- and *butm- vs *budm- ? Comparing the descendants, it's obvious they should (?) Or perhaps, was the distribution unknown ? Leasnam (talk) 00:51, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

*krattijô--this too. Old High German suggests *krad- Leasnam (talk) 01:19, 11 July 2016 (UTC)


Recent edits to the etymology of this term have instigated a conversation where I have been accused of committing "cuntery", because I reverted the etymology to its original form which, according to an anon, is "mad". I started this discussion here to come to a community consensus – several words in related and unrelated languages have the same source, so it sure would be nice to have an official and consistent source. All input is welcome! --Robbie SWE (talk) 18:55, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

As rude as the anon was, he's right. This word comes simply from Proto-Slavic *volxъ. See also Włoch. --WikiTiki89 19:03, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Great! Thanks @Wikitiki89, still a bit pissed about being called a cunt though, but I'll get over it :-) --Robbie SWE (talk) 19:21, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Just think what a sucky life he must have that his only comfort is calling people cunts on the internet. That should make you feel better. --WikiTiki89 19:34, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Reconstruction:Proto-Celtic/ɸēskos et al.[edit]

Why exactly do we include the ɸ- in words like this? AFAIK ɸ is deleted word-initially in all Celtic languages so why is it reconstructed at all? I know that PIE *p in some positions ends up as a consonant rather than nothing, e.g. in Old Irish secht < *septṃ, but in this case the Proto-Celtic word is already written with /x/, i.e. Reconstruction:Proto-Celtic/sextam not Reconstruction:Proto-Celtic/seɸtam. Why don't we include the resolution of ɸ to either nothing or x or whatever, rather than inconsistently including ɸ itself? Benwing2 (talk) 05:04, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Your assumption seems to be wrong (although I had thought this, too). But even the shift p > ɸ is only reconstrued for late Proto-Celtic according to wikipedia. I think PIE p- was definitely lost in Insular Celtic so that none of the living or well-attested Celtic languages have it. Maybe also in other branches, but Proto-Celtic seems to have retained it. Kolmiel (talk) 17:14, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
ɸ is lost word-initially in all attested unambiguously Celtic languages, but it leaves traces in other positions (e.g. sɸ- is distinct from both s- and sw-; intervocalic -ɸr-/-ɸl- becomes -br-/-bl-). And then there are ambiguous cases that might indicate a word-initial consonant in Proto-Celtic, but not necessarily. The Latin place names Hercynia and Hibernia seem to show /h/ in words that would be reconstructed with word-initial ɸ, but (1) word-initial /h/ was lost early on in Latin anyway, so these spellings may not actually indicate a true /h/, and (2) the etymology of Hercynia isn't entirely certain. Then there are Lusitanian words spelled with p that come from PIE p (e.g. porcom ‎(pig)), but Lusitanian might not be descended from PC. If it is, however, then it's possible that Lusitanians used the letter p to stand for /ɸ/, meaning that porcom would be pronounced /ɸorkom/ and be descended from *ɸorkom. Since word-internal ɸ is definitely needed for PC reconstructions, and since word-initial ɸ might be needed for them, it seems safest to reconstruct it everywhere it's expected. All modern Celticists I'm aware of regularly use ɸ (or f to stand for the same thing) in their PC reconstructions. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:43, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
I prefer using the letter "f" to be honest. We use it for the same sound already in Proto-Germanic and Proto-Italic. —CodeCat 21:51, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Germanic and Italic eventually did shift *[ɸ] > [f], though; the latter also *[θ] > [f], which most likely never involved an *[ɸ] stage. Celtic didn't, which would seem to make using *‹f› a bit odd. --Tropylium (talk) 23:40, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Not odder than using ⟨ö⟩ for [ø] rather than [ö]. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 00:12, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Tropylium. I also think it's not bad to have the somewhat "obscure" letter <ɸ> for a sound that may not even have been there anymore, rather than the straightforward <f>. Kolmiel (talk) 00:19, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
OK, makes sense, but it still doesn't answer the question of why we have Reconstruction:Proto-Celtic/sextam instead of Reconstruction:Proto-Celtic/seɸtam. Benwing2 (talk) 00:27, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Partly because that's what the sources do (all Celticists I'm familiar with would reconstruct it as *sextam and not *seɸtam~*seftam) and partly because you can't tell from a [xt] or [xs] cluster in PC whether it goes back to PIE [pt]/[ps] or [kt]/[ks], so if there was a word with an unknown etymology you wouldn't be able to decide between them. As for which symbol we use, I have no particular objection to using "f" instead, and some sources (e.g. Matasović 2009) do use "f", but I think "ɸ" is a little more common. Maybe "ɸ" is good because of its visual similarity to "∅", thus reminding us that in most contexts it disappeared (became zero). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:15, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
OK, the same argument about not knowing whether ɸ was present in words of unknown etymology applies even more to word-initial ɸ, so I'm still confused as to why the sources are inconsistent in sometimes including ɸ and sometimes its resolution. Benwing2 (talk) 16:31, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Modern sources consistently show word-initial ɸ/f, though sources from a hundred years ago, like {{R:MacBain}} and Pedersen's Vergleichende Grammatik der keltischen Sprachen didn't. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:35, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, what I meant was, is it really the case that the sources consistently include initial ɸ e.g. in ɸēskos (rather than omitting it) but don't include ɸ in seɸtam (instead including x)? This still seems strange to me, since it both cases you can only know that the ɸ was present (rather than something else like k, or nothing at all word-initially) using PIE etymologies. Benwing2 (talk) 21:45, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it's really the case that they do so. As to why, maybe it's because in sextam there's still something holding the place of ɸ, while in ēskos there wouldn't be. Or because, as Hibernia, Hercynia, and porcom show, there is still a chance that Proto-Celtic had a genuine ɸ in ɸēskos before it broke up, but there's not the slightest indication that it ever had anything but /x/ in sextam. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:48, 15 July 2016 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

This entry has not one but three numbered etymologies in one etymology section, and they sort of overlap. Could someone sort through these and merge them into one accurate one? Chuck Entz (talk) 13:55, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Looks like each is built upon the previous: Etym 3 from Etym 2 from Etym 1 Leasnam (talk) 15:35, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

I did some research - and these all look like unsupported guesses, not supportable by available evidence. Re-did etym accordingly...for the interim. What I did find is that "stogie" = cigar dates back to 1869. And "stogie" = boots to at least 1855. Seems that stogies = boots is from earlier "stoga boots" - though, don't know the etym of this, and perhaps unrelated to the cigar meaning. Although there are plenty of essentially contemporaneous citations for Conestoga Wagon, there are none to support that either the boots or the cigars were in any way associated with these wagon; similarly, nothing I could find supported that the cigars were associated (back in 1869) with the township of Conestoga or any cigar manufactory or brand there. I think we need to delete def 1, which is a back-formed def based on the supposed etymology. Sonofcawdrey (talk) 01:20, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

OED says that the word was originally stoga, from Conestoga, Pennsylvania, and then notes: "It is alleged that stoga boots and stoga cigars were so called because they were used by the ‘stoga drivers’, i.e. the drivers of the Conestoga wagons plying between Wheeling and Pittsburgh." — SMUconlaw (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, alleged, though doesn't seem to be proved. Cannot find any citations for "stoga drivers". Though, there are citations for "stoga cigars" from 1870-1890s. So, could amend to "probably". Will attend to it. - 02:07, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

Luxembourgish Minn (etymology 3) and English minnow[edit]

Are these two related? BigDom 18:48, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Yes. The Luxmbourgish / Central Franconian word is from Middle High German *müne, which is in line with Dutch meun, Middle Low German mȫne, Old English myne. Alongside there's a variant with -w- in English minnow, Old High German muniwa. Both are seemingly from Proto-Germanic *muniwō. Kolmiel (talk) 19:38, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
I've written the etymology. Kolmiel (talk) 20:03, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt response! I'd guessed it was, but wasn't sure about the in-between MHG word. BigDom 04:58, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

German Schmand vs. Czech smetana vs. Hebrew שמנת (shamenet)[edit]

The Slavic word is clear, also that regional German Schmetten derives from it. German Schmand is a matter of faith: both the Germanic and the Slavic derivations are plausible. But now I've come across the Hebrew word additionally. Apparently it's modern and derived from an older word for "fat". — What's the deal here? I suppose that the "fat"-word is unrelated. (Is it?) But was the derivation for "cream" formed under the influence of the Slavic and/or Germanic words? Or is that coincidental, too? Anyone know anything? Kolmiel (talk) 20:48, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

The Hebrew looks like an example of phono-semantic matching, meaning it was coined using existing roots and morphemes but intentionally (or perhaps subconsciously) in a way to sound similar to Yiddish שמאַנט ‎(shmant) or German Schmand. --WikiTiki89 20:55, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes. That's was I was going for, too. Didn't know the technical term, though :) Kolmiel (talk) 21:45, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Just to be more specific, this word was formed from the root שׁ־מ־ן (see category) in the pattern קַטֶּלֶת. --WikiTiki89 00:21, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
I made a little note in the etymology of the Hebrew word. Kolmiel (talk) 18:29, 16 July 2016 (UTC)


This says it's derived from Medieval Latin, which is in turn from New Latin. Something fishy... —CodeCat 01:00, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

@CodeCat: Fixed. I believe both terms are early-modern coinages. Isomorphyc (talk) 01:33, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Dan Polansky added it in 2009, but noted that he got it from the 1911 Century Dictionary ([1]). I agree that there's no way ML can come from NL. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:37, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

Appendix:List of Proto-Indo-European nouns[edit]

I was checking errors for further automatisation: double spaces and spaces after comma, rendering of Albanian. When arriving into full stops, which where used in some transcriptions (!?), I left two final: in Avestan būza. and Old Church Slavonic zrĭno.; please check whether the result is correct. Sobreira (talk) 10:06, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

The full stop in both of those forms is an error, not part of the transliteration. The only language I'm aware of in which we use a full stop as part of the transliteration is Burmese. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:16, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Also Kashmiri, Kamviri, Hittite and Kashubian? Sobreira (talk) 12:20, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I guess as well that all the </> and <;> are separators, sometimes even not used as it (I mean the separated part is missing). Sobreira (talk) 12:32, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, the slash is used in these PIE lists to separate stages of the same language, e.g. Old English/Modern English, Old Persian/Modern Persian, Old High German/Modern German, etc. The semicolon is used to separate words in the same language. I strongly suspect Kashmiri and Kamviri should not have full stops in transliteration. Hittite definitely shouldn't: the "Tarx.u" given on the page should probably be "Tarḫu". And Kashubian is written in the Latin alphabet and so shouldn't be using transliteration at all. According to Kashubian alphabet the diacriticked forms of "o" are ò, ó, and ô. I have no idea which one "taro.n" is supposed to have. These PIE lists are an almighty mess anyway. I've half-heartedly tried to clean some of them up in the past, but I don't have the patience. All the words really ought to be cited in the original script and linked to with {{l}} or {{m}} (with automatically generated transliterations where possible), rather than the way they are now. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:39, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

'blate' is a cognate of 'éblouir'.[edit]

Will someone please add https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/blate#English as a cognate to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%C3%A9blouir ?

blate is not really a true/full cognate. In form it descends from a different root, but the Scottish word picked up some of the meaning from Old English blēaþ Leasnam (talk) 15:41, 21 July 2016 (UTC)


Really from Old English? The quotation with what appears to be the original usage appears to be from the Netherlands. DTLHS (talk) 03:12, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

to bait[edit]

Are there really three different verbs? "Etymology 1" and "Etymology 2" look quite similar to me. --Fsojic (talk) 14:25, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Hmm, not quite sure...possibly, IF Verb-Etym_1 is a recent formation from the noun (adhering more closely to the noun senses in Etym_1), and Etym_2 is much older, and has deviated from the literal meaning Leasnam (talk) 16:58, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

August 2016

"Ladder" as Japanese calque[edit]

Sense 5 of ladder states: "In the game of go, a sequence of moves following a zigzag pattern and ultimately leading to the capture of the attacked stones." The 2003 quotation states that the term ladder is derived from "(shicho, 'she-ko' in Japanese)". I am thinking that this sense should be moved into its own etymology section, as a calque of the Japanese word. However, what is that word? It appears from the translation section that ladder in Japanese is 梯子 ‎(hashigo), not "shicho" or "she-ko". Could someone knowledgeable about Japanese (and go) help? — SMUconlaw (talk) 13:37, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

It is シチョウ according to Appendix:Go jargon and Ladder (Go). --Einstein2 (talk) 14:26, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Does that literally mean ladder? — SMUconlaw (talk) 15:21, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't know if it should be considered a separate etymology. It's still the same word ladder, only a new meaning was added. —CodeCat 15:32, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Assuming the etymology is a translation of a Japanese word, wouldn't the etymology slightly different from the main one? (I guess a note could be added to the existing "Etymology" section without creating a new section.) — SMUconlaw (talk) 15:35, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
But the word used in the translation is just ladder. —CodeCat 15:38, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Maybe I'm confused, but isn't that what a calque is? A literal translation of a foreign term? — SMUconlaw (talk) 17:48, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
There are several different calques, according to w:Calque. One kind of calque exists only for foreign terms with multiple senses. In this case, the foreign term has one or more common senses that are translated with a particular native term, but it also has one or more additional senses that are not present in the native term. The calquing occurs by adding these additional foreign senses to the existing native term. In this case, the common Japanese word for "ladder" (whatever it is), is translated with simply ladder in English. However, this Japanese word has additional meanings that ladder does not, and so ladder has these additional meanings added to it. No new word is derived, therefore there is no separate POS header with a separate etymology. —CodeCat 18:24, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Japanese for ladder ‎(as in, two long vertical supports with rungs, used for climbing to reach higher places) is 梯子 ‎(hashigo). The hashi- portion is cognate with ‎(hashi, edge) and ‎(hashi, bridge), and derives from an ancient root referring to the gap between two things.
The Japanese term シチョウ ‎(shichō, /ɕit͡ɕoː/) in reference to this maneuver in go is also variously spelled in kanji as 四丁 ‎(literally four nails), ‎(irregular reading, literally subjugate), 翅鳥 ‎(literally flying birds), and 止長 ‎(literally stopping length). I suspect the first spelling represents the original derivation.
Ultimately, the English term ladder in reference to go has nothing to do with the original Japanese term, so this is not a calque.
For those interested, see more detail in Japanese at the Japanese Wikipedia article on シチョウ, and at the Weblio compilation page for this term (see the topmost entry for the list of alternative kanji spellings).
‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:01, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Also, FWIW, the 2003 quotation's attempt at phonetics ("shicho, “she-ko” in Japanese") is just plain wrong -- the ⟨ch⟩ in the romanization is decidedly not pronounced like an English k. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:12, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Great, thanks for clarifying. I'll add "[sic]" to the quotation. — SMUconlaw (talk) 19:29, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

девяносто - two possible etymologies?[edit]

I'm having a bit of a talk at User talk:Chuck Entz#девяносто ‎etymology. regarding the correct etymology of this word. Some sources state that the word was reformed in other Slavic languages while others think that the word is related to *десять до сто (10 from 100). Could you guys maybe shed some insight into this issue and figure out which of these etymologies is the truth, or if they're both right to some degree? 03:58, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

I think you're still misunderstanding what I was saying. The word in East Slavic (according to Vasmer) is a direct descendant of the term in PIE. The reason that East Slavic differs from other Slavic languages is that the other Slavic groups re-formed the word. This re-forming has nothing to do with East Slavic, however. This theory explains the lack of the second д and presence of н, neither of which your theory explain. --WikiTiki89 15:01, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
@CodeCat, JohnC5, Angr: Could some of you PIE specialists confirm the sound changes from PIE *h₁néwn̥̄ḱomt to something similar to PS *devęnosъto? The ancestor form Vasmer actually gives is *nevenǝdḱɨ̥tǝ, I'm curious what stage between PIE and OES this actually refers to. --WikiTiki89 15:16, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: We have *h₁néwn̥(d)ḱomt already, and *h₁néwn̥ yielded Slavic *devętь. I'm uncomfortable with reconstructing *n̥̄ in PIE. This could occur post-PIE but this sound did not exist in PIE proper. —JohnC5 15:52, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't know much about PIE myself, I've just been copy-and-pasting from entries like nonaginta. I don't even know what *n̥̄ means. All I know is the form *nevenǝdḱɨ̥tǝ that Vasmer gave, not saying what stage of the language it was, and that it's related to nonaginta and ἐνενήκοντα ‎(enenḗkonta). --WikiTiki89 15:57, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
Wikitiki, *n̥̄ is a long syllabic alveolar nasal. Since the laryngeal theory has been generally accepted, PIE reconstructions have abandoned this sound and usually have syllabic nasal plus laryngeal instead in this case. In the case of this specific word (and other decades), one suggestion is that the length of the syllabic nasal arose post-PIE as compensatory lengthening due to loss of the *d to simplify the stop cluster *dḱ, possibly via an intermediate step where the *d was replaced with a laryngeal (possibly already in PIE) – which is phonetically plausible in particular if, as even some scholars who do not support the glottalic interpretation, such as Martin Kümmel, suggest, *d (and the traditionally reconstructed voiced stop row of PIE in general) was really pre-glottalised, or more precisely, an implosive stop. However that may be, the ancestral form you ascribe to Vasmer neither corresponds to nor even resembles any notation I have ever seen. If it is correctly rendered from the book, it could be a very unusual and obsolete notation of PIE; however, an emendation to something like *newenodḱm̥to would make it look a ton more plausible. I've wondered if it might really be a weird notation of Common Slavic, but that just doesn't look plausible to me. I suspect some kind of OCR error. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:39, 7 August 2016 (UTC)
Just to clarify, Vasmer does not say that that ancestral form is PIE. I just checked the PDF to avoid OCR errors (which there were): "Вост.-слав. слово, вероятно, произошло из древнего *nevenǝdk̑m̥tǝ «девятый десяток», ср. лат. nōnāginta из *novenāginta, греч. ἐνενήκοντα из *ἐνϜενήκοντα", translating to "The East Slavic word is likely derived from the ancient [or old] *nevenǝdk̑m̥tǝ “ninth ten”, compare Latin nōnāginta < *novenāginta, Greek ἐνενήκοντα < *ἐνϜενήκοντα". So I'm not sure what exactly he means by "ancient/old", but you were right about the , but it does use schwas and not o's (and oddly the diacritic on the k is an inverted breve rather than an acute accent). But anyway, do you think either *newenodḱm̥to or *nevenǝdk̑m̥tǝ could have derived from whatever we reconstruct the PIE word to be? --WikiTiki89 15:10, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: Regarding the diacritics above palatals, several different ones are used by different sources. the IEW, LIV, and LIN all use the inverted breve (*k̑, *g̑, etc.), many modern resources use the acute (*ḱ, , etc.), and some even use circumflexes (*k̂, , etc.). We've standardized to acutes because they are most common in English-language sources. —JohnC5 17:01, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
Huh, you're right — I've been assuming they're circumflexes, especially given that ĝ is available as a precomposed Unicode character (primarily for Esperanto though, I'd presume), and that Proto-Indo-Iranian transcription sometimes uses *ĉ ĵ for primary palatals; while the inverted breve notation seems completely idiosyncratic. --Tropylium (talk) 00:03, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: He could simply mean that projecting the Old East Slavic term back to PIE phonologically results in this reconstruction, without committing himself to its validity; you'll often find such "pseudo-reconstructions" marked as "virtual PIE". There do seem to have been intermittent changes, especially the adaptation of the ending to the word for "hundred". However, the context suggests that he does intend his reconstruction to be genuine PIE.
In modern PIE reconstructions, schwa is usually avoided because it is not thought to have been a phoneme in PIE anymore. In non-laryngealistic reconstructions, however, they are found, for example *pətḗr, where the modern reconstruction is *ph₂tḗr (this is the schwa primum indogermanicum that usually turns up as *i in Indo-Iranian, *e/a/o in Greek and as *a in other European branches, if at all), or *kʷətwṓr (> quattuor) where the schwa is allegedly an anaptyctic vowel used to break up a difficult consonant cluster (and often thought to have been inserted post-PIE; this is called the schwa secundum, often written in subscript, although I suspect that in the early days of Indo-European philology the two types of shwa were not differentiated by scholars and the terms schwa primum and schwa secundum are post-laryngealistic).
It's curious that Vasmer uses schwas in this case. It would be perfectly possible and even more immediately obvious to reconstruct Common Slavic *o as PIE *o. However, from your excerpt it is clear that he tries to reconstruct a PIE pre-form that the Latin and Greek cognates can also directly descend from, and as Vasmer evidently did not use laryngeals yet in those days, he had to resort to schwas, as they could give the needed results in principle. It is clear that his schwas are of the type schwa primum, i. e., vowels now considered to have arisen due to laryngeals that later disappeared, originally as epenthetic vowels (for example, *ph₂tḗr > *ph₂ətḗr > *pətḗr, although the Greek evidence suggests that the epenthetic vowel, which was probably already present in PIE on the phonetic level, was coloured by the laryngeal, which I cannot easily show here, except by writing *ph₂əatḗr). This implies that his reconstruction is effectively identical with the modern laryngealistic reconstruction *h₁néwn̥(d)ḱomt, although to transfer his intention more precisely into a laryngealistic notation you'd have to write *(h₁)newenh₁ḱm̥th₂ or the like (although the laryngeal between *n and *ḱ would probably have disappeared). Our reconstruction (of all decades from thirty on) neglects the ending, which looks like a collective suffix *-h₂. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:12, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the detailed explanation! One last question: could the ending -сто of девяносто have been simply a reflex of the original ending, or must it have been influenced by the word for "hundred"? --WikiTiki89 17:50, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, I guess it could possibly be a reflex of the original ending, but there are two possibilities: first, Proto-Slavic *-o generally does not reflect a final laryngeal; the only exception I'm aware of is the vocative singular of feminine a-stems, where it is thought that the laryngeal was lost at the end of a phrase, but the colouring remained; and the second problem is that PIE *m̥ > Proto-Balto-Slavic *im does not regularly turn into Proto-Slavic , but gives instead. The main exception is of course the word for hundred, but admittedly there does not seem to be a consensus explanation for it. (Baltic has the expected *im.) One popular hypothesis is that the Slavic word was borrowed from, or at least influenced by, Iranian. If this is so, it does not appear to be possible that the ending of the word for ninety in East Slavic is regular, and it must be analogically influenced by the word for hundred somehow. Granted, a difficulty with this I can see is how exactly this influence took place; the idea is presumably anticipation during counting, and considering that ninety immediately precedes hundred and the other decades do not show this ending, it does sound plausible. An alternative possibility is that Proto-Balto-Slavic *im regularly became Common Slavic under certain circumstances that are present in the word for hundred, and then presumably in the word ninety, too. However, I have trouble with this explanation too as parallels elsewhere are sorely lacking. (Also, in this case, what's the conditioning? Having an *s preceding and a *t following? But *sęťь has the regular reflex too, so I find this hard to buy. Hundred and ninety are literally the only cases, and the irregularity is really isolated and unusual. But then, the sequence *-imt- is itself isolated and unusual, so maybe *-im- developed differently from *-in- before coronals?) The vocalism of the Slavic word for hundred is an old and seemingly intractable problem. By the way, Romanian sută, which can plausibly only go back to (Early/Middle) Proto-Slavic *suta, confirms that the Proto-Balto-Slavic *im must have become *u before it became Common Slavic , precluding the possibility that maybe (Early/Middle) Proto-Slavic had still the regular reflex and the regular somehow became within Common Slavic. But I suspect this also makes the Iranian borrowing hypothesis more problematic. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:37, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
There is at least one other word where alternates with : заяц ‎(zajac). There is also the strange case of *olbǫdь vs. *elbedь, but that is less likely to be relevant here. It seems that influence from the word for *sъto is indeed the most likely scenario, however *sъto itself developed. --WikiTiki89 20:01, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
Good point about the "hare" word, although first, the alternation involves the front yer, not the back yer (though admittedly, that could simply be due to assimilation to the preceding j), second, it's not really clear if the alternation in Russian goes back to Old East Slavic (is it attested there?) or Common Slavic or is a later development (to be fair, traces of the alternation seem to be present throughout Slavic), and third, I cannot find an etymology for the Slavic etymon, which might help explain how that alternation came about.
As for the "swan" word, I've been wondering lately if the cause of the variation might not be that Common Slavic *olbǫdь was contaminated with a loanword from (West) Germanic *albit or (with umlaut) *elbit (there are variants in *-tь). (The supposedly original Slavic word is by the way curiously similar to *velьb(l)ǫdъ ~ *vъlьb(l)ǫdъ (Russian верблюд ‎(verbljud)) via (Early/Middle) Proto-Slavic *welib(j)andu ~ *ulib(j)andu from Gothic 𐌿𐌻𐌱𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌿𐍃 ‎(ulbandus) – it just occurs me that this need not necessarily be a complete coincidence at all, considering that camels have humps on their backs and and mute swans have humps on their beaks, haha!) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:36, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
Vasmer, citing "Соболевский, Лекции 99" (= "Sobolevsky, Lectures 99"), claims that the alternation in за́яц ‎(zájac) is due to the influence of the -ец ‎(-ec) suffix (< *-ьcь). He doesn't say in what stage of Slavic this conflation occurred in, but presumably it could have occurred independently in different Slavic branches. --WikiTiki89 15:58, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

piękny and cognates[edit]

The Proto-Slavic reconstruction *pěkrъ offered at piękny and its apparent cognates pěkný and pekný is unexpected to say the least. Granted, Czech and Slovak are ambiguous, but Polish clearly points to a nasalised vowel, and all three point to *n, not *r in the suffix. The obvious seeming reconstruction is *pęknъ. Projected back into Proto-Balto-Slavic, the result is either *penkna- or *pinkna-. The IE etymology is not obvious. If there is a depalatalisation rule that operates before *n (I seem to recall seeing one proposed – by Matasović? – that operates before nasals and liquids and even *u in Balto-Slavic – as opposed to Weise's law in Indo-Iranian, which is more restricted in scope as it does not operate before nasals or vowels –, to explain most instances of the Gutturalwechsel that cannot be eliminated as loans), it is possible to choose the reconstruction *pinkna- and derive it from the nasal present *ph₂n(é)ḱ-, which is attested in Avestan and from which Proto-Germanic *fanhaną may be derived as well. Only under this condition is it possible to relate the Slavic word to Proto-Germanic *fagraz, but only indirectly through the root. Alternatively, assuming the same depalatalisation rule, it is indeed possible to derive the Slavic adjective from the nasal present *pin(é)ḱ- (attested in Indo-Iranian and Tocharian). Of course, both suggestions require that it was possible to derive adjectives in *-no- from nasal present stems instead of directly from the root in (Balto-)Slavic at least (I don't know if there any further examples for this off the top of my head). In any case, however, it seems impossible to connect Latin pulcher with either the Slavic or Germanic adjective, and it does not seem to have a good etymology. Only Umbrian pacer, which Kroonen does not mention, does look related and possibly even etymological identical with the Germanic adjective. Old Church Slavonic pěgъ ‎(pěgŭ) cannot be related on the face of it, barring further assumptions, evidence, or arguments, either. I have to question the reliability of the cited refs for Slavic etymology (especially Machek 1968, apparently the main culprit) if they make such basic errors, odd and far-fetched comparisons such as pulcher, and seemingly outright ignore regular sound correspondences and reconstruct arbitrary-looking Proto-Slavic pre-forms apparently only to force a comparison with a semantically similar Germanic adjective. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 11:53, 5 August 2016 (UTC)

That etymology was added in diff by a user known for adding problematic / untrustworthy etymologies. - -sche (discuss) 21:40, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
But they just copied it from the Czech cognate, pěkný, where it was originally added in this edit by a Czech editor. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:59, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Hm, at least there are valid refs, so I hesitate to simply remove the offending sections. I wonder if Machek and Rejzek acknowledge the problem. Sure, from the point of view of Czech and Slovak, reconstructing *pěk- looks feasible. However, it requires you to either separate the Polish term and claim that it is unrelated (which would be surprising) or explain the nasalised vowel in Polish away somehow. So I wonder if they offer such explanations. And the fact remains that a reconstruction ending in a suffix *-rъ instead of *-nъ requires justification (beyond "it is convenient because I want to relate the word to Germanic") too. If Machek and Rejzek do not offer compelling (not ad hoc) ways around these apparent difficulties, their attempts must be dismissed as arbitrary and entirely unconvincing. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:52, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
@Florian Blaschke: In pěkný, the *pěkrъ thing does not in fact seem to be backed up by refs. In pěkný, Machek is used to support "cognate with Latin pulcher ‎(“beautiful”)" while Rejzek 2007 seems to be used to back up the statement "Or cognate with Old High German ...". I do not have Rejzek 2007 but I have Rejzek 2001 and its "pěkný" entry does not contain *pěkrъ. The discussed information was added by User:Mormegil; he should be able to clarify where he obtained that information from. *pěkrъ is mentioned in Slovo a slovesnost[2], where the mention is as follows: "Machek spojuje pěkný na základě významové indentity[10] s latinským pulcher (gótským fagrs = angl. fair), vychází od základního *poik-ros, praslovanského tedy *pěkrъ (-nъ prý podle sličný, ladný …); polskou nasalisaci pokládá za sekundární." --Dan Polansky (talk) 13:33, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
A further mention of pěkrъ is in Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego[3] where the mention is "... być może pochodzi od psłow. dialektalnego *pěknъ / *pěkrъ – etymologia niepewna." --Dan Polansky (talk) 13:39, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, I think the refs point to what they back, don't they? The theory of pěkný coming from *pěkrъ is only from Machek (who claims the Polish nasalisation is secondary, and that -ny is per sličný), as already mentioned in the citation by Dan Polansky. Rejzek, as Dan Polansky explained, states the word origins are unclear and Rejzek's theory is Old High German fēh and PIE *peik-, *poik- (the nasalisation in Polish, again, secondary), with similar Old Church Slavonic pěgъ ‎(pěgŭ) from *poig-). I have basically nothing against removing/relativizing the Machek theory as outdated/obsolete. --Mormegil (talk) 13:12, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
@Mormegil: Thanks. What I found confusing is that the Machek [1] note is separated from *pěkrъ by the opening bracket in "(cognate" so it was not clear to me that Machek is used to reference *pěkrъ as well. --Dan Polansky (talk) 13:26, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

flat, flan and Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/pele-[edit]

By the way, that issue about (some of) the etym variations for flat, flan and others might be due to Pokorny giving two entries (805 and 813 if I remember well). As I'm no at home this days, I just wanted y'all to know. When back I'll do something if nothing was done. Sobreira (talk) 23:57, 5 August 2016 (UTC)


The etymology is messed up, deriving it < Middle English < Old English < ("possibly") Dutch < Old Saxon. (Apart from this, I would have expected something like "*kipe" or "*keep" [?] from Old English "cȳpe", but I don't know.) Kolmiel (talk) 21:41, 7 August 2016 (UTC)

There is a descendant with this form: kipe. Leasnam (talk) 06:24, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
Is it related to keep (i.e. originally, a place where animals are kept or guarded; pen) ? --the original Old English word would be *cōp, and cēpan would be a derivative of it... Leasnam (talk) 02:43, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
Wow, there are several competing etymologies for this word ! In addition to the one on the page, there is < Middle English cowpe, from Norwegian kaup "wooden can, box". Leasnam (talk) 02:49, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
It seems I can trace it back to Middle English coupe, cowpe ‎(coop for poultry; pannier; basket; wooden crate), and no further. It is a homonym for Middle English coupe ‎(cup; drinking vessel), and coupe ‎(guilt). I cannot validate a relation between the three (the third is obviously from Latin culpa and can be thrown out). The word seems to agree with Old Saxon kōpa, cōpa ‎(vat; barrel) and Old High German kuofa, chuofa ‎(tub), and perhaps to Dutch koep ‎(the area beneath a staircase; attic; loft; dormer), but cannot be traced further without uncertainty. Leasnam (talk) 03:02, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
OED suggests as follows: < Middle English, pointing to Old English, "apparently" equivalent to the Dutch, Middle Dutch, East Frisian, Middle Low German cognates < Old Low German, "for which Old Saxon had côpa, Middle Low German kôpe, Old High German chôfa, chuofa, Middle High German kuofe, modern German kufe". This is followed by a note stating "The German words are generally considered to be" from the Latin and medieval Latin "but if this be their origin, it is difficult to account for the umlaut in Old English cýpe". A further note adds that the Middle English terms are synonymous with kype, kipe ("basket; wickerwork basket for catching fish"). Kipe did not have the "enclosure for fowl" sense, but this is "a natural enough development of the sense 'basket'". — SMUconlaw (talk) 03:54, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
I find the shift in Latin -ū- > Gmc -ō- to be unusual if not implausible. Leasnam (talk) 05:49, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
There appears to be a Medieval Latin variant copa. I wonder if this is not simply a re-Latinised Romance continuation of cuppa, which is a variant of cūpa evidently due to the effect of the "Iuppiter rule", also known as "littera rule". --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:14, 9 August 2016 (UTC)


Anyone know when this word came about, and who first used it? I feel like I saw a printer brand called Inkjet, but I can't really remember. Philmonte101 (talk) 03:53, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

I think it was the original name for the inkjet technology. The earliest Google Books usage that comes up is 1971, in which it is clear that the term was already in common use within the printing industry. Wikipedia says: "The concept of inkjet printing originated in the 20th century, and the technology was first extensively developed in the early 1950s. Starting in the late 1970s inkjet printers that could reproduce digital images generated by computers were developed, mainly by Epson, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Canon." --WikiTiki89 15:21, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
The non-joined word can be found as early as 1950. DTLHS (talk) 15:27, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
In that example, the phrase is used literally to mean a "jet of ink", and not as the name of the technology. Also, that result is not coming up when I search for it, so maybe there are other results that I'm missing out on... --WikiTiki89 15:33, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
Google now tries to predict results that are "relevant" to you, even in books, making it nearly useless to try to find the earliest citations of something. It will actively hide results that you know are there and that you were able to find the day before. DTLHS (talk) 15:40, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
Ugh. And no way to switch this "feature" off? But Ngram Viewer still works? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:38, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
I particularly "enjoy" when it finds two citations from (say) 1950 and 1970, and then when I restrict my search to books published before 1960, it finds no citations. - -sche (discuss) 23:53, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
I enjoy when Google finds me what I'm looking for, but to each their own. --WikiTiki89 14:37, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

whim etymology of mining device[edit]

In the entry whim, there is a rare or technical definition referring to a device used mainly in mining. It seems this likely has a different etymology from the much more common "fanciful impulse" definition. I figure I'd point this out, on a whim. :-) Djr13 (talk) 07:21, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

OED suggests not. Whim is derived from whim-wham, which meant first "a whimsical object; a trinket" (or, in OED's terms, "a fanciful or fantastic object"). From there, the more common contemporary meaning "a whim or fancy" came about. It seems the machine sense is from the original sense of "a fanciful or fantastic object". — SMUconlaw (talk) 13:31, 11 August 2016 (UTC)


The anatomical sense, "relating to the chin", has a different etymology (see Latin gena ‎(cheek)), but I don't know the details. For genian, how does it come from Ancient Greek? (@Equinox) --Fsojic (talk) 08:19, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps via γένυς ‎(génus), meaning jaw? — Kleio (t · c) 09:11, 11 August 2016 (UTC)
According to the OED, it's originally from γένειον ‎(géneion, chin). I created a separate etymology section. The "chin" sense also has a different pronunciation, apparently. (I also updated the etymology for genian.) — SMUconlaw (talk) 13:10, 11 August 2016 (UTC)


It would be great if a German speaker could have a look at the etymology of Handlanger and see if it needs tweaking. Thanks. — SMUconlaw (talk) 12:51, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

Austrian German is not different enough to warrant being treated differently from regular German code-wise. Where they really diverge so much that it deserves a different code, we would treat Austrian simply as Bavarian (bar). I fixed the Handlanger etymology and changed it to plain 'German'. It's a perfectly normal word even in Northern Germany. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 13:16, 11 August 2016 (UTC)
Great, thanks. — SMUconlaw (talk) 13:19, 11 August 2016 (UTC)
Two thoughts: (1) Shouldn't the Hand part of the word be explained in the etymology? (2) The meaning of "someone who works into somebody else's hands" is not very clear. Does the word have the sense of "someone being an extension of someone else's hands"? — SMUconlaw (talk) 13:21, 11 August 2016 (UTC)
I was probably thinking too German there, I'll leave it to you to rephrase it. For the "Hand" part, I figured people who speak English would get it on their own. The word's literal meaning is 'someone who takes things and puts them into somebody's else's hands', so figuratively it is someone whose job it is to help somebody else succeed. It comes from langen (to grab/to hand something over). It can not mean anything with 'extension' because it lacks an umlaut. What you think of is expressed with the phrase 'langer Arm' (long arm), which is someone or something traveling around and doing a job for someone else in some effective manner. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 15:08, 11 August 2016 (UTC)
OK, thanks for clarifying. — SMUconlaw (talk) 15:28, 11 August 2016 (UTC)


The etymology is currently a bit unsatisfactory, but I am not really sure how to reconstruct its history any further. The verb has Germanic cognates, but I'm not sure about the verb class. Verbs with ij (from long ī) tend to be class 1 strong verbs, but this verb is found as a mix of strong and weak already in Middle Dutch. Moreover, weak verbs with ij have historically had a strong tendency to be drawn into strong class 1 by analogy, so the fact that strong forms are attested does not necessarily mean much.

There is a related noun which also shows ij, namely zwijm, which is not derived from the verb and has a separate history traceable back to Proto-Germanic. This lends credibility to the idea that the strong inflection is analogical, but I'd like to be more sure. What can kind of cognates can be found of the verb, and what verb class do they have, as far as can be determined? —CodeCat 18:57, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

North Germanic cognates: Faroese svíma, Swedish svimma, Bokmål besvime, and Danish besvime are all weak. Kroonen's Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic doesn't mention any root *swīmo-. KarikaSlayer (talk) 21:32, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
I found a source reconstructing the verb as a weak verb *swīmēna (which I believe would show as *swīmijaną), and *swīmōna, both meaning "to move, sway". Leasnam (talk) 02:37, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
Some also connect the verb to Old English swāmian ‎(to grow dark), which could support an original class 1 strong verb Leasnam (talk) 03:38, 15 August 2016 (UTC)


This is set to be the Foreign Word of the Day on the 26th to commemorate the Battle of Manzikert, but it has an rfe that would be great to deal with before that happens. Could a Turkicist please help out? @AnylaiΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 14:03, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

Sure I will take care of it. --Anylai (talk) 19:17, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
Hi @Metaknowledge, I edited the article but I am inexperienced about IPA. Etymology 2 has a different stress pattern, 1 and 3 has the stress on the final syllable, but 2 on the first syllable with high pitch. Like "ákın". Maybe It should be taken care of or unimportant. --Anylai (talk) 08:13, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't know anything about that, or whether we note it. @Stephen G. Brown, maybe? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:37, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, add pronunciations for all three etymologies. On Etymology 2, I think you only need to put /ˈa.kɯn/, because the tone is not phonemic, but occurs naturally due to the stress on the first syllable. —Stephen (Talk) 06:59, 21 August 2016 (UTC)


Etymology needs cleanup. OED says "modern < Latin forāmin-, foramen n. + -fer". DTLHS (talk) 23:26, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done, I think. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:30, 16 August 2016 (UTC)


Can we check this etymology, specifically the being derived via Arabic? It's unintuitive since the island was Romance-speaking before the Arabs came and has always remained Romance-speaking. The phonetics don't seem to point to it either. But who knows. Kolmiel (talk) 23:31, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

@Stephen G. Brown: Do you have a dictionary from which you drew the Phoenician form? I'm very curious about it. —JohnC5 02:47, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
No. I wish I did. I found the Phoenician written in the Hebrew alphabet here and changed each letter to Phoenician. —Stephen (Talk) 02:51, 16 August 2016 (UTC)


Could someone add the etymology of this word (in the weightlifting sense)? --Fsojic (talk) 14:08, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

Done. Leasnam (talk) 02:33, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

Freude etymology broken[edit]

From Old High German frewida, from Proto-Germanic *frawiþō; from Proto-Indo-European *prew- ‎(to jump, hop).
Cognate with Old Norse frygð ‎(magnificence, splendour) ( > Danish and Norwegian fryd), Old English friþ.

If it comes from what frogs do, rather than freedom, frith shouldn't be there. Lysdexia (talk) 03:07, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

I removed the Old English word. The Danish and Norwegian (from ON frygð) derive from a different PGmc term: *fruwiþō ‎(prosperity; gladness) Leasnam (talk) 03:21, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
It's from a root meaning "to jump" and thus indeed remotely related with Frosch ("frog"). Another cognate is Dutch vreugde with a dialectal development (Middle Dutch regular vroude). Kolmiel (talk) 17:43, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

bree (Scottish word)[edit]

This should be compared to German Brühe < MHG brüeje, a perfect synonym and at first glance a perfect formal match. The underlying verb German brühen (Dutch broeien) seems unattested in both Old English and Old Norse, however. But at least the PIE root *bʰrewh₁- should be safe. Kolmiel (talk) 12:08, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

The reason I put this here is to see whether anybody knows anything else. Otherwise I'll write a (guarded) etymology. Kolmiel (talk) 13:35, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Done. Kolmiel (talk) 18:46, 20 August 2016 (UTC)


Would appreciate it if a Latin speaker would give the etymology of exponent a once-over. The OED indicated that it was derived from expōnent-em; I wasn't sure why there should be a hyphen so I omitted it but I could have been wrong. — SMUconlaw (talk) 19:35, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

You're not gonna find a Latin "speaker", but I fixed up the etymology to fit our normal practices. --WikiTiki89 19:55, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. (The Pope?) — SMUconlaw (talk) 20:03, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Yeah I guess we could have waited for the Pope to fix the entry. --WikiTiki89 20:07, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
I hear Ratzinger has time on his hands these days... - -sche (discuss) 09:14, 20 August 2016 (UTC)


An Aramaic speaker is needed to provide the missing script in the etymology of Mammon. Thanks. — SMUconlaw (talk) 19:40, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

You're not gonna find an Aramaic "speaker", but I fixed up the etymology. --WikiTiki89 19:56, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Ah, OK. :D Thanks! — SMUconlaw (talk) 19:59, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
The part about māmōnā being an emphatic form of māmōn was from the OED – you don't think we should mention that? — SMUconlaw (talk) 20:02, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
"Emphatic" in Aramaic grammar doesn't mean what you think it means. The emphatic state is basically just the definite state ("the money/wealth"), but in Eastern Aramaic it completely replaced the absolute state (which is the indefinite state). Our Aramaic lemmas are all in the emphatic state, so there is no need to mention the absolute state in this etymology. --WikiTiki89 20:05, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Ah, thanks for clarifying. — SMUconlaw (talk) 20:29, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

Late medieval Scandinavian[edit]

Should borrowings made by Danish/Norwegian/Swedish between 1200 and 1500 count as derived (because borrowed into Old Danish etc.) or borrowed? I handle them as {{bor}} so far. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 12:08, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

YMMV; by my understanding has been that (morphological puzzles etc. absent) {{bor}} is used whenever a word was borrowed into that particular language lineage, while we'd use {{der}} if it was borrowed into a node that's also the ancestor of other languages entirely. The logic being that branch nodes are a good bit more unambiguous than non-branching ones: we need Middle English because Scots clearly does not descend from Modern English, but deciding on a boundary between Old Danish and Danish, or Old English and Middle English is only a question of convention.
Of course, this is itself conditioned on how finely we separate language varieties into "languages" rather than "dialects"… --Tropylium (talk) 12:23, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
In the last discussion on this, the majority was of the opinion that words borrowed into Middle English do not count as borrowings into English, however. And the line between Middle and Modern is much much blurrier than between Modern and Old. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 10:17, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

fox words[edit]

I just reverted an IP who was trying to conflate Old Norse refr ‎(fox) and Old Norse rafr ‎(amber). In the cursory research I did to make sure I was correct, I ran into a few loose (odds and) ends.

  1. Our etymologies that point to Old Norse refr ‎(fox) derive it from Proto-Germanic *rebaz, which is a redlink. I can't seem to find cognates outside of North Germanic to support a Proto-Germanic root, but my resources are limited.
  2. I notice that there's something in Finnic and related languages (see the etymology at Finnish repo, for instance), that could conceivably be related (I'm not sure about the sound correspondences, though). This is traced to a possible Indo-Iranian borrowing.
  3. Spanish, Portuguese and neighboring languages have some variant of raposa, which our etymologies trace to Latin rapum ‎(turnip). This makes no sense at all without the information that there's a noun in between meaning "tail" (see Portuguese and Spanish rabo, for instance). There's also the matter of Latin rapio ‎(snatch, carry off) and the derived noun rapo ‎(robber), which are semantically plausible as sources.

Chuck Entz (talk) 18:16, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

I found that there are related words in Icelandic, namely rebba ‎(vixen) and rebbi ‎(fox) Leasnam (talk) 18:44, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
It's indeed a long-known case of an Uralic loan in Scandinavian, perhaps through Proto-Samic (approx. ? *reapējēš; dialectal Northern Sami rebiš). The canonical reference is apparently Knut Bergsland 1965, "Finno-Scandinavian rebas 'fox'", Norsk Tidsskrift for Språkvitenskap 20. The proto-form for refr &co. should probably instead be Proto-Norse *rebaʀ ‎(*rebaʀ).
Indo-Iranian *laupāća (Persian روباه ‎(rubâh), Ossetian рувас ‎(ruvas) etc.) is, yes, in turn also the generally accepted etymology for western Uralic *repäś. --Tropylium (talk) 19:28, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
Regarding the Romance words, you must keep in mind that intervocalic p in these languages must originate from a Latin geminate pp. It's therefore not straightforward to assign rabo as a cognate. —CodeCat 19:41, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
I know, but it seems to be supported by the RAE Dictionary here and here. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be an option that makes sense phonetically- whether it's tail or turnip or robber, there doesn't seem to be a Latin *rapp- involved. Accepting the turnip etymology we have now doesn't solve that, and it has the added problem of being semantically unlikely- there's nothing obviously turnip-like about a fox, and the use of -osus implies that there has to be. I don't know what it is, but some critical piece of information is missing here. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:26, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
More data: there's a Catalan word, rabosa, which is interesting both for being outside of core Ibero-Romance, and for having "b" instead of "p". The Spanish word rapaz seems to be an exception to the voicing rule- perhaps Latin rapax is involved due to moral or legal context? Also, Spanish rapar (said to be a loanword from Gothic) has a colloquial sense "to rob, steal". Chuck Entz (talk) 00:27, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
I created the Catalan entry. —CodeCat 01:50, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

bree (etymology 1, this time)[edit]

The German and Dutch words (Braue, brauw) are from Proto-Germanic *brēwō, not from *brūwō. They have to be removed from the latter entry. My question concerns the claim (under bree) that the two Germanic words are not related. I think they are. Right? Kolmiel (talk) 18:45, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

Widsith added the comment that they are probably not related. I think it was a misunderstanding of the German explanation in Duden concerning the word Braue, which says "mittelhochdeutsch brā = Braue, Wimper, althochdeutsch brā(wa) = Braue, Wimper, Lid, wahrscheinlich ursprünglich = Zwinkerndes, Blinzelndes (als Bezeichnung für das Lid)". —Stephen (Talk) 06:43, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Okay, maybe. I've found additional information saying they are related. We even already list them as alternative forms (although that might actually be too much). So I've made the appropriate changes. Kolmiel (talk) 18:46, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
I've added to it. It looks that the Scottish word may come from *brīwaz > OHG brio > German Brei. Leasnam (talk) 19:02, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, my comment above is pertaining to etym 2 Leasnam (talk) 20:14, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
@Leasnam: Thanks a lot. I've edited it again since you mentioned the same PIE root twice. PS: Why don't we mention this root at *brīwaz? My sources do say that there's a certain rest of doubt whether the word really belongs to the root, but they all consider it most likely. Kolmiel (talk) 00:22, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
It was at *brīwaz, but another editor updated it Leasnam (talk) 05:18, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Danish skat[edit]

As long as I've learned the Danish language, I've always been so curious as to why in the world the Danish word for tax is "skat". Why is it funny? It's basically "tax" switched backwards phonetically. Why did this happen? I know that it's from Old Norse according to the current entry, but comparing the English tax's etymology, it looks like a lot of stuff that came before it was related to the root of "t-a-x" or "t-a-k-s" at least. So is it a mere coincidence that skat seems to be backwards from tax, or did the Old Norse do that on purpose? User:Gamren maybe? (The Danish is also related to Old English "sceatt" according to DDO, so could English tax and Old English sceatt be somehow related?) Philmonte101 (talk) 00:15, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

It's a mere coincidence. The Danish word is from Germanic *skattaz with descendants in most Germanic languages. Even in English (scat). The original senses of the two words are completely different: the Germanic word meant “livestock” and then “wealth”, while tax is derived from a Latin verb meaning “to touch” and then “to examine, valuate”. Such coincidences are nothing surprising when you consider how few sounds there are in a language, and how many words any language has. Kolmiel (talk) 00:54, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
What Kolmiel said exactly.__Gamren (talk) 08:32, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Spelling words backwards is a classic source of patently accidental word similarities; for one other example, take Ancient Greek ἀκρίς ‎(akrís) ~ Finnish sirkka (weak stem sirka-), both 'cricket, locust'.
… I've sometimes wondered if we should start an appendix for demonstrably accidental similarities like these. Wikipedia's w:False cognate article used to have a fair-sized but mostly unsourced list (culled down sometime ago). Perhaps the data would have a better home around here. --Tropylium (talk) 13:25, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Yeah. It's a pity; I had a lot of fun adding finds to that list. There should be a list like that somewhere, not least because the fallacy is so widespread (there's a whole cottage industry, w:Pseudoscientific language comparison, based on it, after all, essentially refined and fancified by Greenberg as mass comparison). I just had to educate a friend that heute, hodie and heddiw are really not cognate. It drives people absolutely crazy when I expect them to accept that words so similar can even exist in related languages and still the similarity can be completely accidental! (Only Latin dies and Welsh -ddiw ~ dydd are ultimately related here.)
The backwards thing reminds me of that old chestnut, a favourite in new-age circles, pointing out that the Hopi word for "sun", tawa, brings to mind the Tibetan word for "moon", dawa. Pure chance? IMPOSSIBRU! --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:25, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
The best example will always be English bad and Persian بد. Their senses are exactly the same. Their pronunciations are exactly the same. The two languages are indeed related. And yet, the words have nothing to do with each other at all. Kolmiel (talk) 00:52, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
My favorite example of backwards synonyms comes from Welsh, where the word for "now" is nawr in the south and rŵan in the north, completely coincidentally of course. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:52, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Gothic *𐍆𐍂𐌹𐌺𐍃 ‎(*friks) in 𐍆𐌰𐌹𐌷𐌿𐍆𐍂𐌹𐌺𐍃 ‎(faihufriks)[edit]

Not entirely sure what Proto-Germanic word this derives from, but it certainly seems related to *frekaz; maybe from an alternative form? Thoughts? — Kleio (t · c) 19:27, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

It seems pretty clear to me, yes. —CodeCat 19:51, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
But would it be from *frekaz then, or some other form, like *frikaz maybe? I'm just not certain as to how one would determine that. — Kleio (t · c) 19:57, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
You can't in theory, but in practice, since *frekaz exists and is well attested by its descendants, and it's a good fit for the Gothic adjective, Occam's razor says that this must be it. —CodeCat 20:00, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Hmm, fair enough. Added it to *frekaz, then. Thanks! — Kleio (t · c) 20:04, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

Barak, Barack[edit]

These seem to be partly wrong and partly contradictory. President Obama says in the quote given at Barack that his name is Arabic and means "blessed". Now that doesn't mean it's necessarily true. Questions to be asked:

  • Is there an Arabic name بارك (Bārak) as claimed under Barak? I'm not at all sure there is. Obama's name is commonly transcribed باراك (Bārāk).
  • If there is such a name, does it mean “he who is blessed” and how? The straightforward sense would be “he blessed” as an active (!) verb form.
  • If the name is not at all Arabic but indeed Biblical, is it from the root b-r-q or b-r-k? If it's the former it has nothing to do with Baruch or “blessing”. Kolmiel (talk) 00:36, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
    • The last point is easily disposed of: Why would an African Muslim choose a Hebrew name for his son? And if he did, why would he choose the name of a minor figure in one book of the Bible, a name most Americans had never heard of? As for the rest, I believe مبارك ‎(Mubarak) is a fairly common given name, and Barak is a variant of that. I'm just guessing at the motivation, but the anglicized spelling with "-ck" suggests that his parents were trying to make the name seem less foreign, and someone named Barack could go by Barry, while there's no English nickname remotely like Mubarak. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:36, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
      • Re "Why would an African Muslim choose a Hebrew name": on Talk:Barack, Robert Ullmann (a former administrator here who lived in Kenya) notes that at the time of his birth, the British were requiring all babies to have Christian names, so his father tricked the system, giving him an Arabic name that happened to also be found in the Bible. - -sche (discuss) 01:59, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
This would be one, very convincing way of explaining it. Apart from that, who knows? You can't just say: a Muslim wouldn't do this or that, and that's it. I know a Christian Arab, born a Christian Arab, whose name is Muhammad. He finds it very annoying, but his parents may have done it to spare him from discrimination or whatever... Now, I'm not saying the name is from the Old Testament, our entry did.
If Barak is a short form of Mubarak, that's a good possibility. But is it actually used in Kenya? It's not used in the Arab world, at least. Kolmiel (talk) 13:05, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
And PS: We don't seem to have a clue where the name actually comes from. We're just guessing. Making comparisons based on overt similarities and folk etymologies, such as that given by Mr Obama himeself. The name similar to an actual Muslim name (Mubarak). It's similar to two Old Testament names. It might be an African name that means “shooting star” or whatever in some native language. Let's find out. Kolmiel (talk) 13:16, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Wasn't there also a president or prime minister in the area called Barak at some point? Early-mid 1990s? —CodeCat 19:18, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
The Israeli w:Ehud Barak, but his name is ברק in Hebrew, from the root b-r-q. Kolmiel (talk) 21:06, 22 August 2016 (UTC)


A bunch of etymological dictionaries I've found (Dutch, German) seem to suggest the apparent descendants of this word are from Latin lavare instead of Proto-Germanic. The lack of North and East Germanic descendants of the reconstructed Proto-Germanic term might support the idea. However, I have no idea why this word specifically would be borrowed from Latin in the early middle ages (as claimed by the German source) by Germanic peoples, as the notion of washing oneself was hardly unknown to Germanic peoples of this era AFAIK, but I still wonder if there's any merit in the idea that I'm not seeing, seeing as it is so widespread. — Kleio (t · c) 18:24, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Not taking a stand on the etymologies in question, but I do want to point out the fact that a particular word is a loanword does not imply that the concept for which it stands was unknown before the loanword was borrowed. Languages replace existing native words with loanwords all the time; and anyway, this word didn't replace the Germanic wash word and (to judge from the modern descendants in English, Dutch, and German) wasn't a perfect synonym of wash anyway. The Online Etymology Dictionary also assumes a Latin loanword, incidentally. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:57, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
I realize that, but the early middle ages is still a very strange time for a Latin word like this to replace a native one, considering the fact that Christianity was hardly universally adopted yet among the peoples that would've borrowed this, and there was no linguistic influence from a big Latin-speaking state anymore that I know of. — Kleio (t · c) 19:05, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't know what "early middle ages" refers to here. But the Christianisation of the West Germanic peoples was pretty much done by 800~850, not to the point that there were no heathens left, but well to the point that Christianity was the ruling religion and culture, whose words could've replaced and did replace native ones. Kolmiel (talk) 21:25, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Another point to consider is that the outcomes perfectly match with regard to Germanic b. Could we expect the same outcomes if it had come from a Latin source? —CodeCat 19:16, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
I agree. pāvo has a totally different outcome as far as the v is concerned. Would vowel length have anything to do with this ? Leasnam (talk) 21:13, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Probably not, but pavo may be an earlier borrowing than lavare. Moreover, it also matters where a word was borrowed, that is from which Romance dialect it came and from which Germanic dialect it spread. A Frankish v could easily have become an Upper German b, because people were aware of the consonantal correspondencies. None of the standard sources seem to disagree that it's Latin. Kolmiel (talk) 21:46, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Do any variants of OHG show forms in v or f ? That would help me to swallow it Leasnam (talk) 22:18, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
I couldn't find any. Of all of the OHG forms, none of them means "to wash"--they all mean either to "refresh" or "strengthen/revitalise/quicken", a sense (if not mistaken) is not in the Latin ? Leasnam (talk) 22:23, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
b is clearly the normal form; if there were forms with v, they could be Central German. I don't think this problematic, however. And it's understood that the verb didn't mean "wash" in the sense of "to remove dirt". Some early attestations do refer to the external use of water for refreshment, which is within the scope of German "waschen" and probably English "wash": Rôswazzer sol man balde haben, dâ mit sol man mîn houbet laben, daz ziucht ûz bœse hitze. (MHG, "They shall get rose water quickly and wash my head with it, so that the evil heat may leave.") Otherwise, the earlier attestations also very often refer to water as a drink rather than food other forms of refreshment. Kolmiel (talk) 22:46, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, and this is in keeping with the word being influenced by lavare in later times. No such sense, or anything close to it, is present in Old High German Leasnam (talk) 13:53, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't have an OHG dictionary at my disposal, so I can't say what senses and contexts are attested in OHG. But the "wash" sense may easily have been the original one without having been the predominant one. It may not have been reflected in the earliest attestations, which are without doubt less numerous than the MHG ones. The oldest Dutch attestations all refer to water, usually as a drink it is true, but still. And Philippa glosses the Old English lafian "wassen door het gieten van water" ("to wash by pouring water"). Is she mistaken? Kolmiel (talk) 22:21, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
      • Middle Dutch laven ‎(verkwikken; laten drinken) and Middle High German, Middle English, etc. are already contaminated by lavare "wash". We have to look at the earlier meanings. The earliest meanings of Old High German labōn are: labōn ‎(laben; erquicken; erfrischen; beleben; stärken; Unterhalt gewähren); gilabōn ‎(laben; erquicken; erfrischen; stärken; beleben; stärken; jemandem zu essen geben; abhelfen); bilabōn ‎(erfrischen); none of which at their core imply "water" or "bathing". "refresh (by water)" appears later in response to misassociation with lavō (i.e. contamination). It could only run like this: "strengthen/remedy/support" > "resupply/restore/refresh" > (influence from lavō) "refresh by water"/"pouring/give drink to"; not the other way round. Leasnam (talk) 23:42, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
The Old English words meant: lafian ‎(to pour water on; wash; lave; bathe; ladle out) and ġelafian ‎(to wash; lave; refresh). Clearly, the OE word was influenced by the Latin; however, it still shows the original meanings of "ladle out" and "refresh". "Ladle out" is difficult to derive from "wash/bathe", so it must be the more original, older meaning. Leasnam (talk) 23:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
Oh come on... That’s just your newest claim! A claim that is contrary to the accepted opinion in the literature. What do we even discuss for? You can’t be bothered by any evidence. You’ve simply decided for yourself that it's inherited, and that’s it for you. You just follow your general tendency to derive everything from PG and even PIE, and much of that has been doubtful to say the least. But go ahead if they let you. I don’t care. Kolmiel (talk) 00:19, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Tell me how you really feel. You haven't provided me any evidence. All you've done is relay what someone else said, who relayed what another told them :/ . There are uncertainties with this word yes. Just simplifiying it and say "Oh well, it must be from lavare is a cop out (by them, not you personally). Anyone can do that ! The word's origin is disputed (by some). It has a possible cognate in Greek, with correct form and correct meaning. Can you speak at all to that ? Leasnam (talk) 00:43, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
@@Kolmiel, Don't think that I am dismissing what you're saying in any way. I'm not. I'm not trying to be stubborn or set in my ways. The points you make are good, and they are public and show up in a the literature. Many of them are the things I considered while making the entry. It's just that there is evidence to the contrary of what the Establishment says that just doesn't make sense to me. Much of it is already here, like the OHG b and the fact that all early descendants are Class 2 (not one variant in say, *lafan or laban). Plus the apparent common theme of "refresh" that is present in all...All I'm saying is that I put this forth. It's a reconstruction. That's all. Leasnam (talk) 01:17, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
@Leasnam: I'm sorry that I gave this a bit of an agressive tone. I actually think you're a friendly and knowledgeable contributer. I also think, however, that many of your etymologies are problematic and that you very often tend towards inheritedness where borrowing is more likely and more accepted. This is one example, in my opinion. Kolmiel (talk) 17:43, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Actually, there is one MHG attestations where the verb does seem to mean "remove dirt": Er viel ûf die erden, dô muoster gelabet werden. ("He fell on the ground, so he had to be washed.") Unless this should refer to falling due to fainting. Lexer gives the following senses: 1) "waschen, mit wasser od. einer andern feuchtigkeit benetzen", 2) "tränken", 3) "erquicken, erfrischen". This may in fact be the actual semantic development (1 > 2 > 3). Kolmiel (talk) 23:07, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Saxon had 3-4 Germanic words for washing, seems indeed unlikely that they'd borrow another one if it didn't have a specific other meaning. Did the word ever mean anything but washing in Latin? The Germanic cognates are all pretty uniform in their meaning and all focused around consumption. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 19:21, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
But it did have a specific other meaning, namely the outward use of water for "revitalisation", i.e. physical refreshment, and -- possibly, though I don't know if it's attested -- spiritual refreshment (holy water, etc.). Borrowed terms often take on new specified senses which may be uncommon in the source language or even unknown. That's nothing abnormal. Kolmiel (talk) 22:55, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
A borrowed term usually doesnt boast so many prefixed derivations so early on as OHG. I cant help thinking we're dealing with a much older word here that merged or got associated with lavare. Leasnam (talk) 23:05, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure if that claim is true. On the other hand, I do understand your feeling. But the Latin theory is clearly predominant in the literature. I don't see any substantial argument against it either. So IMO we should treat it as theory A, without concealing theories B, C, etc. Kolmiel (talk) 23:14, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't think Christianity has to be a factor: more than a few of the Germanic peoples admired and imitated the Romans in many ways, even as they fought them and sacked their cities. Baths were a notable part of Roman culture, so they might have picked up vocabulary associated with them in their attempts to be more sophisticated and civilized like the Romans were. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:52, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I agree that it isn't a factor. My point above, poorly expressed I think, was just that the Germanics had long been in contact with Christianity even before their peoples became almost exclusively Christian. Even the peoples during the migrations were at least partly Christianized. Kolmiel (talk) 22:30, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

mezzo and raggio[edit]

The final part of these two words was identical in Latin: medius, radius. Yet in Italian there's two different outcomes for the middle consonants. What is the conditioning factor for this? Is it the preceding vowel? —CodeCat 19:22, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Most Romance languages seem to show no difference in treatment, so dialectal mixing is probably the most likely option. Venetian rajo versus mezo seems to have the same as well, though. --Tropylium (talk) 23:26, 24 August 2016 (UTC)


I am not quite sure where this particular word would fit in in Proto-Germanic and Old English. In Middle English, its form is ratten. In Modern English, there are many different forms for this word such as rawt, rote and rot and there are a few other forms, as well. It has the same meaning as a bunch of other West Germanic words that derive from the Proto-Germanic root *hrītaną. It is possibly related to rit. See how I derived the etymology for rit belowː

From {{etyl|enm|en}} {{m|enm|ritten||to cut, score, slit, tear}}, from {{etyl|ang|-}} {{m|ang|*rittan||to cut, score, slit, tear,}} (confer [[Old High German]] [[rizzen]]), from {{inh|en|gem-pro|*ritjaną||to cut, scratch}} (compare with [[Proto-Slavic]] {{m|sla-pro|*rězati||to cut, carve, engrave}}). Cognate with {{cog|de|ritzen||to scratch}}. See also [[rat]]. <!--Could the ME verb come rather from an unrecorded OE noun descending from {{m|gem-pro|*writiz||scoring, notch}} ? (by leasnam)
--  I do not think so. These two words, "rit" and "ritzen", would have to have been derived from a root like *rittaną (or as it is more conventionally written *ritjaną) for them to exist in the forms that they do today. "Ritzen" could not have been derived from *writiz which turned into "Riss" and from that into "reißen"; see also German "Biss" from Pro-Ger "*bitiz" into "beißen"; German "Nisse" from Pro-Ger "*hnits" and Old English "hnitu"; take also note of German "lass" from Pro-Ger "*lataz" and Old English "læt" (late); German "lassen" and Old English "lǣtan"; German "Netz" and Old English "nett"; German Zitze and Old English titt. Only Modern German verbs derived from Proto-Germanic roots that have double t's in them have "tz's" in them in Modern German as inː Old English "spryttan" and German "spritzen". In this example, we can see from Old English "spryttan" that the Proto-Germanic root for "spritzen" must have had doubled t's in it, because according to my best observations the doubled consonants in Old English are the best indication that there were doubled consonants in the original Proto-Germanic root. See also German "setzen" (Old German "sezzen") and Old English "settan"; German "stutzen" (Old German " ̽stuzzen") and Middle English "stutten" and "stotten" (to stop short, mumble, hesitate); German "nutzen" (Old German "nuzzen") and Old English "nyttian"; German "sitzen" (Old German sizzen) and Old English "sittan".  (by me)--> 

Mountebank1 (talk) 06:03, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

There is also the Middle High German ratzen ‎(to scratch; scrape; rasp; tear) Leasnam (talk) 03:16, 26 August 2016 (UTC)