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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

May 2015

Regarding the etymology of Kibosh[edit]

A source was asked for a Hebrew word Kbsh. It is found in Genesis 1:28, where God tells Mankind to "fill the earth and subdue it" Kbsh is translated there "subdue it."

We are not looking for a source for the Hebrew word כָּבַשׁ (kavásh, kāḇaš) itself, since we already know it exists. We need a source for the connection between this Hebrew word and the English word kibosh. --WikiTiki89 20:01, 4 May 2015 (UTC)


Since these are among the most important words in Kartvelian languages (i.e.: huge number of derivatives, etc.), a Proto-entry seems necessary here. Strangely, there are five main reconstructions of the Proto-Kartvelian stem and none of them are in agreement:

  • *ɣarmat- by Marr in 1911 ("Еще о слове «Челеби»", p. 110)
  • *ɣermat- by Klimov in 1964 (see here)
  • *ɣrmat- by Klimov in 1998 (see here)
  • *ɣmart- by Fähnrich and Sarjveladze in 2000 (see here)
  • *ɣamort- by Fähnrich in 2007 (see here)

As you can see, this seems to be an area of contention for these guys. Sometimes they don't even trust their own reconstructions (Klimov & Fahnrich). Which one of these do you think is more credible? Simboyd (talk) 19:36, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

We don't know. Just pick one randomly and list the others under Alternative reconstructions with redirects, as in Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/h₂eHs- or Appendix:Proto-Turkic/Kāŕ. --Vahag (talk) 20:36, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Alright. I'll just go with the newest one then. Simboyd (talk) 20:52, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
I would add the qualification that one shouldn't use an older one by an author who has subsequently offered a newer one, but other than that — yeah, just pick one and create redirects. - -sche (discuss) 20:27, 6 May 2015 (UTC)


Is this word, if broken into pieces, equivalent to "plaque" + "-ard" (the nounal suffix)? Tharthan (talk) 20:22, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Looks like it, but it was put together in Middle French, not in English. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:31, 5 May 2015 (UTC)


New user changing the etymology in their first edit; what do you think? This, that and the other (talk) 10:17, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Very weird. Removed some information, added other, didn't actually change the content. _Korn (talk) 12:33, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
The OED lists nig + -ard as a possibility. Etymonline lists both etymologies. I believe both should be listed as neither is certain. —JohnC5 23:43, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
The real problem is that the nig that niggard might have come from is a Middle English term for miser, not the offensive Modern English term. The new editor tried to solve this by using a gloss to distinguish the two. I've always found User:Leasnam's practice of saying "equivalent to X + Y" annoying, since it categorizes the entry as if the compounding/affixation happened in Modern English, rather than in another language centuries before. In this case, it's simply wrong, because the Modern English and Middle English nig are two completely different words. What's worse, this gives support to the idiots that want to ban niggard as a version of the racist n-word, when it's nothing of the sort. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:53, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, the current etymology is simply inaccurate in that it doesn't mention the Middle English word. The etymology as it stands now implies that the word was formed in Modern English. I see no improvement Leasnam (talk) 01:51, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
I've had a go at combining the previous version's mention of the direct Middle English etyma with the new user's additions. Side note, the related term niggardise highlights an issue which we have discussed (without effect) from time to time, namely that the "words suffixed with -foo" categories sometimes conflate unrelated suffixes, like the Latinate suffix of niggardise (noun) and the Grecian suffix of realise (verb). - -sche (discuss) 00:55, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you ! It's perfect. Leasnam (talk) 21:38, 13 May 2015 (UTC)


Discussion moved from WT:RFV#elative.

Please verify the etymology. The masculine gender (in other languaes) implies that it comes from gradus elativus, elativus [substantivated participle; gender: sc. gradus] or elativus (-a, -um) [participle]. -08:36, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Surely the noun and the adjective are from the same source. The Gaffiot gives elativus. Is it really from elatus directly, not via elativus? Renard Migrant (talk) 14:10, 9 May 2015 (UTC)


Is vantage really from an unattested Old French (or seemingly unattested Old French) *vantage or just a Middle English (or modern English) clipping of avantage? Renard Migrant (talk) 21:22, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Apparently this said from Middle English vantage from 2008 to 2015 and was just changed in February to say from Anglo-Norman. Changed without a source and contradicting the evidence. Never mind, I will change back. Renard Migrant (talk) 21:28, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Is the Persian قاپیدن (qapidan) a cognate of the Latin capiō?[edit]

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Tea room#Is the Persian قاپیدن (qapidan) a cognate of the Latin capiō?.

Is the purported Persian قاپیدن (qapidan, snap”, “snatch) a cognate of the Latin capiō (I seize), as claimed in this edit? Or, even less plausibly, is the same Persian verb the etymon of the Proto-Indo-European *keh₂p- as claimed in User talk:I'm so meta even this acronym#Capio - qapi? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 00:21, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

The answer to second question is obviously "no", but I'm not sure they actually meant that. I'm skeptical about the first, but I don't know enough about the history of the Persian word, or about the history of the Persian "q" consonant, to be sure about the answer to the first. At best, it's just another cognate to add to the list. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:32, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
The revision in question is: diff. Note that they misspelled "Persian". I don't know much about transformation of Arabic borrowings, but قَبَضَ (qabaḍa) looks like it possibly might be the source (though the Persian term with the same consonants argues against that), and it's from a Proto-Semitic root (see here. I suspect that Persian "q" is an Arabic borrowing, but what do I know?). The Germanic cognate *habjaną and Latin habeō are oddly similar to each other, in spite of being unrelated, so what's one more strange coincidence?... Chuck Entz (talk) 03:00, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: So that's a "no" on both counts, then. I figured as much. Thanks for the confirmation. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 13:57, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: Well in many Persian words, "g" or "k" consonants have turned to Arabic consonant "q" such as in قهرمان (qahramân, hero”, “champion) which was "kahramân" or چاقو (čâqu, knife”, “champion) which was "čaku" and earlier "čagug" or "čaguk", or also مرغ (morq, hen”, “chicken) which was "murg", so I bleive it is not odd to have "q" consonant in words with Persian origin. However, as I have read, it also relates to کف (kaf, hand palm”), which comes from the root "kap" itself, where the verb may actually come from. So if the PIE root has nothing to do with hand palm or hands at all, I believe it is indeed a coincidence and the book probably was mistaken, because I think both the meanings and the pronunciations are pretty close and I don't understand why it would not be plausible or "obviously" wrong. This would probably be the last thing I have to say, Thanks for the effort.
Ok, that was a mistake too. کف (kaf, hand palm”) comes from Arabic كَفّ (kaff, hand palm”, “floor). But there is a very small chance of an Arabic word changing while being used in Persian, and that with two changed consonants and one being changed to "p". Arabic loanwords in Persian doesn't usually change that much if barely at all (Even though because of the lack of consonants many of them are pronounced in another way, they are still written the same as Arabic.) Now even though I am sure that the verb has nothing to do with the Arabic word or hand palm, I still think there is a fair chance of it still being related to the PIE root (based on the argument before "kaf"). I must say, I'm fine with this not being on Wiktionary but I'm still interested in further information and research, to me, this still would be the best explanation. Thanks again.
Johnny Cheung's Etymological Dictionary of the Iranian Verb lists two roots with the shape √kap-, one glossed as 'to (be)fall, to strike (down)' (from PIE *kop- (to chop), cf. Albanian kep, Greek κόπτω (kóptō)); the other meaning 'to split, cut, scrape, dig' (from, oddly enough, PIE *skobʰ- (to scrape, shave), cf. shave etc.) Neither of these mentions Persian qapidan. --Tropylium (talk) 14:20, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

According to {{R:ira:ESIJa}}, vol. IV, page 237, Persian qap zadan, qapīdan, kapīdan is either inherited from PIE *keh₂p- and thus cognate with capio or it is borrowed. The dictionary does not say borrowed from what, but I assume from Turkic *qap- (to seize by teeth; to bite), whence Turkish kapmak and the Kurdish borrowing qap (bite). --Vahag (talk) 14:49, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

I think you have to be careful with PIE not to go to far. To say that قاپیدن and capio are cognates makes it sound like a fact. It isn't, it's a hypothesis. And one I'd argue is not provable to a very high standard. Renard Migrant (talk) 15:06, 13 May 2015 (UTC)


Ismael rex, sophy of Persia.

I've worked on the French wiktionary on the etymology of this word. It seems to me that Arabic sufyy ("man of wool") is not the "ultimate" etymology but it goes back to Farsi and Arabic is most probably a popular etymology. Sufist movement and Safavid dynasty were founded by Safi al-Din Ardabili and Sufi and Safavid have the same etymon. In French (now obsolete) we have sofi ("Safavid ruler") borrowed from Persian صفوی, safawi which would(?) have been pronounced safwi. --Diligent (talk) 15:06, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

@Diligent: see etymology 2 of Sophy (title of a Safavid dynasty shah), I looked at this relationship and think that Sophi is not related to Sufi. You can look to my older revision with detailed parsing into references. fr:sophy is listed also a variant in the French wiktionnaire of fr:sofi. —BoBoMisiu (talk) 12:35, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

@BoBoMisiu: Thank you very much! Great work. I'll update the French page accordingly.

ἀθάνατος alpha primativum length[edit]

I fully believe that the first alpha in ἀθάνατος is long based on the accounts of LSJ and DGE, but my question is why. Is there pretonic lengthening occurring here or some other chicanery? Or is this just unknown? —JohnC5 00:58, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

The LSG entry for the prefix ἀ- says that the alpha privativum is often long in adjectives starting with three short syllables, so presumably it's lengthened for metrical reasons (since most forms of Greek poetry don't allow three short syllables in a row) rather than for etymological reasons. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:20, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Thanks! —JohnC5 12:58, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

PS *melko and PG *meluks[edit]

The etymology section at *melko presents the problem of the lack of *-u-, and states "This would require an intermediary language that would drop the medial *-u- from Proto-Germanic". The etymology section at *meluks presents the problem of the *-u- that magically appeared. It seems to me that the solution is simple. Either PS borrowed the word from PG before the *-u- was added, or a form of the word without *-u- coexisted in PG for a while before it disappeared and that was the form borrowed by PS. Any thoughts? --WikiTiki89 20:24, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

@CodeCat Perhaps you have an opinion? --WikiTiki89 15:45, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Nothing that isn't already in the entries themselves. If it's Germanic in origin, then it must have been derived from the verb rather than the noun because of the lack of the -u-. What is the Slavic verb? —CodeCat 16:27, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure there is one from this source (there is *dojiti (to milk) instead). I can't really see a noun being borrowed from a verb. And if the Proto-Proto-Germanic[sic] noun had no -u-, why could the Slavic noun not have come from that form? --WikiTiki89 17:10, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
At first glance that seems possible, yes. But do we know that Slavs and Germans had contact that far back? We're talking at least 2000-2500 years ago here, long before Slavic was recognisably "Slavic". —CodeCat 17:14, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
But could the form with -u- and the one without not have coexisted for a while in PG? --WikiTiki89 18:08, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
In theory. But certainly the one without must have disappeared early enough for it to have left no traces, which is the time frame I gave. —CodeCat 18:42, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
The Old Slavonic verb for the word in question would be *mlēsti, but that is for the most part unavailing. The *-u- is almost certainly, in my opinion, anaptyxis in conjunction with a velar umlaut attested in a handful of the Germanic languages. Consider also that the Germanic noun, being reclassified from a historical neuter to a feminine, is subject to become either a u-stem or an i-stem (and it has become the latter). While it is entirely possible that, as you say, two separate forms existed simultaneously in PG, I do not believe Proto-Slavic would have borrowed either one, whatever time period the two were in contact. --User:Colin Clout 4:30, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
In that case, where did the Proto-Slavic term come from? Also, it would be *melsti, which we even have an entry for apparently. --WikiTiki89 14:21, 11 June 2015 (UTC)


Can we just drop the first two paragraphs? --WikiTiki89 15:45, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

No. The purpose of the etymology sections is to discuss all scholarly opinions on the subject, highlighting their strong and weak sides. But you can rearrange the paragraphs. --Vahag (talk) 12:34, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
What about putting them in a collapsible box? --WikiTiki89 13:03, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
The purpose of the etymology section is to summarize the etymology of the term, not to discuss it. This is a dictionary, after all, not a journal. The part that's relevant to the etymology could be condensed into a single sentence, though I'm not sure if any of it is relevant: it could be summarized further as "Scholar A said blah blah blah, Scholar B said no, bla-bla-bla, but you just wasted your time reading these two paragraphs because they're both completely wrong". Chuck Entz (talk) 13:33, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
You are wrong. A lot of it was relevant. I have moved those parts to the main section. --Vahag (talk) 19:05, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
There is no such thing as "correct" or "wrong" in historical linguistics when dealing with prehistoric loanwords. It's all shades of grey since theories of origin are probabilistic and not reducible to a set of verifiable assertions. The only thing left to argue is whether the authors are fringe or not. Dunno about this Asatryan guy, but Ačaṙyan is a well-known figure. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 22:33, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Asatryan is the author of Leiden's Etymological Dictionary of Persian (work in progress) and the editor of Iran and the Caucasus. --Vahag (talk) 18:27, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I think the arrangement Wikitiki just implemented, with the two paragraphs moved to the end and collapsed, is satisfactory. - -sche (discuss) 17:55, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I find it satisfactory as well. --Vahag (talk) 19:05, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Finnish etymologies by User:[edit]

@Tropylium This user has been adding Germanic origins to a lot of words, but they often seem quite questionable or even downright impossible. I found one page, for example, where they claimed that a Proto-Germanic word was loaned into Proto-Uralic, even though Proto-Uralic is 2000+ years older than Proto-Germanic. —CodeCat 17:51, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

"even though Proto-Uralic is 2000+ years older than Proto-Germanic" … Has it ever occurred to anyone that the Germanic folks could have borrowed words from the Ugric folks? Why should a similarity between Uralic and German languages always be explained unidirectionally? The Ugric peoples have been the underdogs for at least 2000 years by now but that doesn't mean that it has always been so. --Hekaheka (talk) 21:42, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
On first glance it looks like the comparisons are mostly legit (in the sense of coming from released research), but the formatting and presentation seems to need cleanup. --Tropylium (talk) 19:23, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
User: seems to be doing this as well. Perhaps they're the same anon under two different IPs.
Here is a checklist of pages edited by the two of them (entries that I've cleaned up struck over)
ahdas, ahjo, aho, ankea, arina, arpa, asia, autio, hakea, halpa, hartia, hauta, heimo, heittää, helppo, hieman, hirvi, hoitaa, häiritä, into, juoda, kaarna, kaataa, kalpea, kari, karsia, katsoa, kelvata, kesä, kokea, kylmä, kypsä, kärsiä, käydä, laho, laita, lattia, mahtaa, myydä, nainen, nauttia, nukkua, nöyrä, osa, pilkka, pullea, puu, pyrkiä, raaja, rasia, ratsastaa, runko, ruoho, ruoste, räkä, saada, satama, sauna, sietää, sija, suku, suola, suoli, suoni, susi, syntyä, syödä, vara, vartoa, viedä, vitsa, väsyä
There's only some 2–3 words here that I do not recall seeing proposed to be loanwords, so clearly they know what they're doing. Almost all of them would need corresponding Proto-Finnic entries, though. --Tropylium (talk) 21:35, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I have proposed to this (or these) person that he should add references, but ha hasn't reacted. --Hekaheka (talk) 21:44, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Our new Finnish etymologist appears to have now registered as User:DeHanjas. --Tropylium (talk) 23:50, 22 May 2015 (UTC)


I seem to have gotten the etymology wrong here, can someone fix this? ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:08, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Fixed (by JohnC5). - -sche (discuss) 14:52, 22 May 2015 (UTC)


No consensus about the etymology Hirabutor (talk) 16:27, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

This page shouldn't exist in the first place since the word is generally not believed to have existed in PIE, but rather to have arisen somehow (presumably a loanword) in Celtic and Germanic alone. (And if the page is kept, it should be called Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/marḱos or /markos or /márḱos or /markos in accordance with our naming conventions.) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:52, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I read Mikhailova's article. I find her arguments weak and not convincing. Still, I am in favour of mentioning Hirubator's fringe theories in the etymologies as long as they are sourced, properly formatted and come with a warning that those are tentative speculations. I don't trust Hirubator to do that, so I am also in favour of reverting him. Mikhailova uses a much more cautious language in her speculations than Hirubator has presented. --Vahag (talk) 13:30, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
In order to avoid putting too much emphasis on them, I'd only put them in the etymology section of *marhaz (and *markos if and when that gets created) rather than in the etymology sections of the attested words. And I still see no reason to have an entry for a PIE word that apparently no one believes to have existed in PIE. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:45, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Two points:

  • Whether or not a reconstruction is generally considered to belong to "PIE proper" should not be a criteria for inclusion. The majority of reconstructed forms do not satisfy any stringent criteria for inclusion since they are based on reflexes of too few branches. (Similarly the shape of forms themselves is variable and dependent on subjective criteria not shared among authors.) Wikipedia has a criterion of notability not truth. The Wiktionary equivalent would be "Is this reconstruction sufficiently present in the literature". That the reconstruction itself is not strong enough and is disputed on various ground should be mentioned on its page. But its lack of wide acceptance is not a prerequisite for its dismissal.
  • EIEC:274 discusses various Altaic connections so it's obviously a mainstream opinion that should be mentioned in the entry. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 21:23, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
If reflexes come from geographically and phylogenetically widely separate branches, and alternative explanations such as borrowing can be excluded (regular reflexes, no foreign-appearing phonological, phonotactic or morphological structure), even two (primary) branches can be enough. For example, if a primary verb is only attested in Anatolian and Germanic, that probably suffices. Ultimately it's all a matter of probabilities and possibilities. If there is no reason to think that the etymon is not inherited and there are reasons to think that it is, even evidence from a single branch can be taken as pointing to a Proto-Indo-European form with a significant probability!
In this case, we only have reflexes in two neighbouring branches known to have borrowed lexical material like this among each other very early, even before the Germanic sound shift – usually from Celtic to Germanic –, so this isn't anything like Italic/Indo-Iranian or Balto-Slavic/Greek pairs. In fact, it appears extremely likely that Celtic *markos was borrowed into Germanic too (or perhaps the inverse, but the Celts are more likely to have had early contact with steppe peoples such as Scythians), and the presence of /a/ is indeed somewhat suggestive of a loanword (there being no obvious etymological derivation and *-arT- not even being a regular reflex of anything PIE in Proto-Celtic). This word would have reached Central Europe by the Iron Age – but the source remains completely obscure. East Asia is simply too far away and there are no known or plausible intermediates – which would have to account for the velar stop, too, which has, after all, no other explanation. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:32, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
If there are reliable sources that explicitly deny a PIE status for this root, that should be good enough to not have a PIE entry for it — unless someone has up their sleeves sources that on the contrary explicitly challenge the former sources and argue for PIE status. (On the other hand, mass lexical sources like Pokorny do not count as "explicit arguments" at all, if you ask me.) --Tropylium (talk) 13:24, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I was only commenting on the methodical point Ivan made. Ultimately it's the quality of the evidence that counts, not the quantity; there is no need for reflexes to appear throughout the Indo-European languages (as Ivan seemed to suggest) for a PIE reconstruction to be justified. Our picture of PIE would be very poor if our standards for inclusion were that high, as it is extraordinarily rare for cognates to be preserved in all or virtually all (primary) branches.
I was speaking for the science here. As for Wiktionary, Ivan seems to suggest that the old policy on OR, which was in former years pretty liberal compared to Wikipedia (as has been pointed out explicitly sometimes), should be made more stringent. In this case, it's not our judgment call to make anyway whether the evidence for a PIE reconstruction is solid enough. If the reliable sources do make PIE reconstructions, we should too, if they explicitly deny PIE status, I agree we should follow suit.
I also completely agree that Pokorny is a poor source – his compilation was outdated even when it appeared, and now the laryngeal theory has been fully accepted by almost everyone in the field, usually in the trilaryngeal form, the only remaining value is as a database or quarry for inspiration, for use by an experienced researcher, who knows better than to trust any of the interpretations and reconstructions; even the raw material profits from cross-checking with more specialised sources because it is not always correct in my experience and some of the cited forms appear to be spurious. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:55, 23 June 2015 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

If this actually existed in Ancient Greek (as far as I can tell, it didn't), the first ρ would surely have been the final consonant of the previous morpheme (generally -ς) assimilated to the initial ρ of (also non-existent) -ραφία.

It looks to me like this is from the application of Ancient Greek morphological rules to some kind of stem based on ῥάπτω (rháptō, I sew) (words such as ῥαφεύς (rhapheús, one who stitches) show the underlying form), and the suffix -y tacked on at the end. I'm not sure how to represent that in the etymologies for the terms in Category:English words suffixed with -rrhaphy, though.

Ideas? Chuck Entz (talk) 23:48, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

The only words on Perseus are:
For whatever that is worth. —JohnC5 00:22, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I did that very search and found nothing. I wonder what I did wrong? I just checked again, and got what you got.
That certainly complicates things. I still doubt that -ρραφία (-rrhaphía) is the best analysis- one could just as easily say it was -ορραφία (-orrhaphía)- but δικορραφία) (dikorrhaphía)) and γαστρορραφία (gastrorrhaphía) don't seem to have any final consonant on the first morpheme (one could argue that γαστρορραφία (gastrorrhaphía) is based on the genitive, but that would exclude δολορραφία (dolorrhaphía) and κακορραφία (kakorrhaphía). It sort of looks like there's an underlying -ος- (-os-) combining-form affix. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:32, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Sorry I wasn't paying attention. The rough breathing on a rho (rh) is represented word medially as -ρρ- (-rrh-), thus the second rho merely represents the rough breathing (I believe). A similar situation occurs with διάρροια (diárrhoia) and ῥέω (rhéō). —JohnC5 02:06, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I thought medial -ρρ- was always represented as -ῤῥ-. Shouldn't all these words be spelled with -ῤῥαφία, and διάῤῥοια (diárrhoia) instead of διάρροια (diárrhoia)? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:14, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Since -ῤῥ- (-rrh-) is identical to -ρρ- (-rrh-), WT:AGRC says we don't use the breathing marks on double rhos. —JohnC5 18:08, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I've started a thread at Wiktionary talk:About Ancient Greek#Double rhos about the possibility of hard-redirecting such forms. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:41, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

From which language are Bavarian and Alemannic descended?[edit]

Most of the appendices that I looked at (e.g. Appendix:Proto-Germanic/manniskaz, Appendix:Proto-Germanic/mōraz) sort Bavarian below Middle High German, but Appendix:Proto-Germanic/walhaz sorts it alongside MHG below Old High German, and Appendix:Proto-Germanic/ek sorts it below German. In my opinion, sorting Bavarian and Alemannic (and for that matter Silesian and Cimbrian) below MHG makes the most sense, but WT:AGEM suggests sorting them below modern German. - -sche (discuss) 15:49, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

They were clearly distinct already in OHG times. But OHG and MHG are still generally treated as one language, albeit with significant dialectal differences. —CodeCat 16:07, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Also see w:Upper German. —Stephen (Talk) 16:11, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

Nocke, nokedli[edit]

Are Nockerl/Nocke (dumpling) and nokedli (dumpling) related? - -sche (discuss) 16:48, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

{{R:Zaicz 2006}} and {{R:TotfalusiEty 2005}} say nokedli comes from German (Bavarian-Austrian) Nockerl (“dumpling”), the diminutive of Upper German Nock (“dense, rugged rock, reef”). Einstein2 (talk) 18:08, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I've updated the entry accordingly. - -sche (discuss) 21:32, 31 May 2015 (UTC)


For the general meaning of note, can someone find an Old English attestation of the word in the meaning of mark, symbol, sign or note (spelt as "not" or nōt?

I don't doubt that the word was attested in Old English, since there is silent attribution to it being used a little after 1000 AD. However, I cannot find any citations for this nor any other direct mention of Old English on any other site that is not mirroring Wiktionary.

Can anyone find attestations of Old English "not" or "nōt" in the meaning of mark, symbol, sign or note?

The note I refer to is listed under etymology three on our note page. Tharthan (talk) 17:14, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Köbler's (German) dictionary of Old English has nōt as strong masculine noun meaning "Note, Zeichen", without an asterisk, indicating that it is attested according to him. Bosworth and Toller's dictionary has not as a masucline noun meaning "a mark, sign" with this citation: Mē þingþ wynsumlīc ðæt ic ðæra preósta notas ðām bōcerum gekȳðe [...], Anglia viii. 333, 17-19. (Another edition of the cited text has me þingð wynsumlic þæt ic þæra preosta notas þam bocerum gekyðe.) - -sche (discuss) 17:54, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Semi-off topic: Is Köbler trustworthy? His outputs are incredibly rich, but I never could figure out what his qualifications or sources are. (Or what his annotational marks are supposed to mean.) Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 18:47, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Maybe see note, n.(3) in MED as "an abstract token or indication of essential form" and note, n.2 in OED as various senses. —BoBoMisiu (talk) 20:30, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Bosworth & Toller have it as well: Mé þingþ wynsumlíc ðæt is ðæra preósta notas ðám bócerum gekýðe ðé læs ðe hig witan ðæt ða rímcræftige weras sýn bútan cræftigum getácnungum, Anglia viii. 333, 17-19. I see that someone has already beaten me to it :-) Leasnam (talk) 22:29, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

June 2015

Proto-Slavic *tědьnъ[edit]

Maybe it should be *tъdьnь? Judging by descendants the word is probably made up of *tъ, *dьnь and *že. Unfortunately i didn't find etymology in Russian dictionaries so i had to guess. —Игорь Тълкачь 00:07, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it is unfortunate that this word does not exist in Russian and thus is not in Vasmer. Here is the entry in Aleksander Brückner's Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego, but it does not seem to say much other than ten + dzień. This Croatian dictionary says "prasl. *tědьnъ", but this may just be a naive interpretation of the Serbo-Croatian phonemes. --WikiTiki89 16:03, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Reconstructed as *ty(jь)žьdьnь by {{R:uk:ESUM}}, vol. 5, page 565a. No comment on the correctness, Slavic isn't my strong suit. --Vahag (talk) 16:25, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
It seems the *-žь- part was optional. But how did the South Slavic form develop? It seems clear that it was not from *tě-, because seemingly even Ekavian and optionally Slovene has -j-. --WikiTiki89 17:43, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps vowel assimilation as in редрый (ъдьръ > ьдьръ). I hope @Ivan Štambuk could clarify it. Anyway thanks for the links, now protoform is pretty clear. —Игорь Тълкачь 23:03, 6 June 2015 (UTC)


Any evidence that the etymology "Contraction of 'get you gone'" is correct? 01:58, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Regular sound changes suggest that get yougertcha is not entirely unreasonable: see gotcha for a similar related shift. The gone part is presumably elided in this contracted form, and just left implied. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:40, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

Hawaiian Language[edit]

It would be good to treat _ha_, _ole_, and _haole_. I don't know offhand what references are good to consult on Hawaiian etymology. I understand (source amnesia) that _ha_ means 'without', and _ole_ means 'soul' (no doubt ignoring subtle differences between 'soul'-like concepts). Jack Waugh (talk) 05:39, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

Not exactly. Before I get into details, there are a couple of things you need to understand: first of all, Hawaiian has a very small set of sounds, and very simple syllable structure. Syllables in native words can only start with h,k,l,m,n,p,w and ʻ, and end with a,ā,e,ē,i,ī,o,ō,u,ū, or a diphthong of those vowels. That means there are a lot of meanings squeezed into a fairly small number of words. Second, the writing system was devised fairly recently, so there hasn't been time for pronunciation to change much. Unlike English, where you can't really predict with certain what a letter will sound like, spelling is very accurate: there are no minor variations- if something is spelled differently, it almost always is different. Some older sources don't make distinctions between long and short vowels, or show the glottal stop/ʻokina (ʻ), but if a source has those features, it's very precise about their presence or absence in a given word.
There are quite a few meanings in the Combined Hawaiian Dictionary entries for hā: 'four', 'breathe', hoarse, leaf stalk, trough/ditch,a fruit tree (Syzygium sandwicense), an affirmative interjection, a sinker used in fishing, and the musical tone fa. None of them means anything remotely like 'without'
As for the second part, there are several similar words: 'ole means either 'fang/eyetooth' or 'twist/turn/fidget/etc'. ʻole means 'not/without' or 'certain nights of the month', ʻolē means 'conch/trumpet' or 'talk indistinctly or garrulously' or 'tapa beater', and ʻōlē mean (car or bicycle) horn. Again, nothing like 'soul'. The closest I can find is ola, which means 'life/health'- but the final vowel is wrong.
The only remotely-plausible way I can even come close to your derivation is if I assume you got things backwards: hā meaning 'breathe' and ʻole meaning 'without'. There again, though haole is definitely not the same as *hāʻole. I suppose vowel shortening and loss of a glottal stop aren't impossible, but there are plenty of examples where that doesn't happen in similar environments. 'Without breath' isn't that far, semantically speaking, from 'without a soul', but the Hawaiian term for soul is ʻuhane and the term for 'without a soul is ʻuhane ʻole. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:32, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

tangata tiriti[edit]

RFV of the etymology. A NZ IP changed the etymology from:

  • "The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 can be said to have added this new class in New Zealand."
  • "A modern term used by revisionists. The term is thought to have first appeared in mainstream new Zealand around about 2006 as part of a human rights commission document that makes some extraordinary claims about treaty matters. It's unknown who invented the term exactly."

The first version isn't exactly an etymology, but the second is rather POV, and I was able to find more Google Books hits from before 2006 than after (though only the earliest, dating to 1963, actually used it in running Maori text). I don't doubt that it's had some usage as a politically-correct buzzword in recent times, but this is the etymology we're talking about, not a critique on its use in recent times. The Google Books hits leave a lot to be desired- the 1963 one may just be the chance juxtaposition of the two words in the same sentence. Does anyone have actual (non-political) references to clear this up? Chuck Entz (talk) 04:08, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

On page 228 of An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi, it says that tangata tiriti gained currency during the late 1980s. As for the comment about revisionists, tangata tiriti was used by Edward Taihakurei Durie, Justice of the High Court of New Zealand . —Stephen (Talk) 04:57, 12 June 2015 (UTC)


Runnel, shovel, chisel (etymology 1), cradle and the like contain a presumed diminutive suffix -el, but I have my doubts that this is from Old French.

Old English had something like this itself, but I can't recall the exact form it had.

Can anyone with more knowledge on the subject confirm that Old English had a similar or near-identical diminutive suffix itself?

If this is the case, then the page we have on -el should mention that the modern use might be due to (or influenced by) conflation with the native suffix. Tharthan (talk) 16:26, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

In all the words you've mention above, none of those suffixes come from Old French. They are native. Yet I am not positive that all mentioned are diminutives. It appears some may be agent suffixes (like shovel). The Old English diminutive you speak of is usually spelt -le (see Etymology_4), where a few forms in -el are alternative spellings. Leasnam (talk) 08:03, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough, but when a word in question says in its etymology that it is ____ + -el, it often does not specify (or cannot even specify) which -el is meant.
However, I don't think this is odd, as I am fairly certain that, when the suffix was still generally productive, both -els had been largely conflated. Now, with that said, there were still some who likelily differentiated the two, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. The fact that some words descended from Old English -el are spelt with -el and others are spelt with -le does not seem to be a preservation of the different Old English -el suffixes as much as it is different writers having different comprehension levels (and, perhaps more simply, different spelling styles). Look at grapple (the verb), guzzle, and scuttle#Etymology_2 for examples of why I think that these suffixes had been conflated.
Nowadays, the suffix isn't used much if even at all (I say that because it is possible that some Northern English or Scottish dialects still use it). So all we have to judge whether the two -els conflated or not are the relics of its use in the modern language. Tharthan (talk) 23:22, 20 June 2015 (UTC)


There was a claim that ti was derived from a Latin word (as other solfege names except Do were). It was originally si (abbreviation of Sancte Iohannes), then changed to ti in English later. Removed the claim and put how to describe the etymology into discussion. Hillcrest98 (talk) 21:21, 24 June 2015 (UTC)


Old English flǣsc cannot come directly from Proto-Germanic *flaiską, because that would have given ×flāsc. The Old English word has to come from something like *flaiskją (or maybe *flaiski, but neuter i-stems are very rare). What about the other old Germanic words? Do any of them prove it has to have been *flaiską and not *flaiskją, or are they ambiguous? The Old Norse byform fleski also looks suggestive. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:31, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

@Angr: The OED states:
“Common West Germanic and Scandinavian: Old English flǽsc strong neuter corresponds to Old Frisian flâsk, Old Saxon flêsk (Dutch vleesch), Old High German fleisc (Middle High German vleisch, modern German fleisch), of the same meaning, Old Norse flesk with shortened vowel (Swedish fläsk, Danish flesk), swine's flesh, pork, bacon < Old Germanic *flaiskoz-, -iz- (or possibly þl-).
No satisfactory cognates have been discovered either in Germanic or in the related languages. Some have supposed that the specific Scandinavian sense, which exists in some English dialects where Old Norse influence is out of the question (see, e.g., the West Cornwall Glossary), is the original meaning of the word, and that the occasional Old English form flǽc represents the primary word elsewhere replaced by a derivative with suffix -sk-. On this hypothesis the word might be related to Old English flicce, flitch n.1 But general analogy rather indicates the priority of the wider sense found in English and German; and it is most likely that the Old English flǽc is an inaccurate spelling, or at most a dialectal phonetic alteration, of the ordinary flǽsc. The shortening of the Old English long vowel before s followed by another cons. is normal.[1]
Philippa seems to agree with *flaiska- and *flaiski-; though my Dutch reading is mostly approximation.
Apparently Watkins proposed *flaiskjan; though in what work I know not. Hope these help?
    JohnC5 19:24, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
    Thanks, John. Maybe the entry should indicate the other possible reconstructions. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:08, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
    The Low German word has e² < *ai and thus is definitely not coming from an ending with either *j or *i-, which would lead to e³. Same is true for standard Dutch. Standard German merged *ai and its umlaut, so I can't help you out in that direction. Bavarian shows /aɪ/, which is not its reflex of *ai, but there are theories that the word is a loan from a non-regional standard due to usage in christian contexts. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 21:56, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
    Could Old English flǣsc really come from a ja-stem *flaiskiją? I know that Old English preserves the ending as -e but I don't know if it does so in all contexts. —CodeCat 22:07, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
    There is (a single) attestation of genitive flǣscea in Bosworth-Toller, which suggests the -j- suffix. At least in earlier Old English. Anglom (talk) 02:28, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
    Does the fact that Yiddish has פֿלייש (fleysh) rather than *פֿלײַש (*flaysh) say anything about the High German branch? --WikiTiki89 14:03, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
    I've no idea about Yiddish, but if you have the vocabulary, you can check yourself: If Yiddish has /ej/ where Dutch has /eː/ and /aj/ where Dutch has /ɛɪ/, that means that /flejʃ/ does not have an umlaut. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 11:01, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
    Do these help: שטיין (shteyn) - steen, צווײַג (tsvayg) - twijg, הייליק (heylik) - heilig? --WikiTiki89 14:53, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
    It depends on the dialect; see w:Yiddish dialects. In standard written Yiddish, apparently, ey is from OHG ei (< Proto-Germanic *ai) and ay from OHG ī, as in Litvish. So fleysh does point to Proto-Germanic *flaisk-, but the Yiddish evidence isn't normally considered important since you have OHG and MHG (usually); I've never seen it cited as evidence for Proto-Germanic reconstructions. Unfortunately, Kroonen does not have this etymon. For some reason, I always assumed the Proto-Germanic reconstruction was *flaiskiz. One possible solution I can think of (and which I think is suggested in the literature, from a quick web search) is that it was originally a neuter s-stem. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 04:55, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
    If it helps (either to reconstruct the Proto-Germanic word or just to expand our entry haaska), the 1991 Lexikon der älteren germanischen Lehnwörter in den ostseefinnischen Sprachen (ISBN 90-5183-300-8), volume 1, says Finnish haaska is ultimately a borrowing of Proto-Germanic flaiska-. Specifically, it says:
    HAASKA, haiska, hauska ‘Aas, Kadaver; Schurke; Sperrmüll’; karel. haiska; estn. (SKES) haiska ‘kindischer Mensch, Schwätzer, Gaukler’.
    [– urgerm. *flaiska-, urn. *flaiska; vgl. an. flesk n. ‘Speck’, aschwed. flæsk' n. ‘Fleisch, Fett, Speck’.]
    - -sche (discuss) 23:36, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
    That explanation seems very unlikely. IE word-initial clusters are normally simplified by removing all but the last consonant, so you would expect initial l-. Moreover, the replacement of f with š > h makes no sense either, the normal replacement is p. —CodeCat 00:11, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
    LÄGLOS indexes all proposed older Germanic loanwords in Finnic, whether plausible or not. You'd have to additionally check if the etymology is judged to be reasonable or not in it. At least Häkkinen in {{R:fi:NSES}} reports this one being considered improbable. (Normally haaska, haiska et co. are derived from earlier *hajaska, as derivatives based on haja.)
    FWIW the substitution f → h is attested in Germanic loanwords though, e.g. *fōdrąhuotra or offeruhri.--Tropylium (talk) 12:41, 29 June 2015 (UTC)


    RFV of the etymology.

    While going through Special:WantedCategories, I ran into this entry, which has Category:Abkhaz terms derived from Circassian added by hand- a category which can't be created at the moment, since we don't have a language code for Circassian.

    To give you some background, Circassian is a branch of the Northwest Caucasian languages, and consists of a dialect continuum with two independent written standards, which we and the ISO treat as separate languages: Adyghe (ady) and Kabardian (kbd).

    The problem is that, aside from referring (ambiguously) to Circassian as the source of the borrowing, the etymology links to a Kabardian entry using the language code for Adyghe.

    Can someone with access to the appropriate references please sort this out? Thanks! Chuck Entz (talk) 21:31, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

    I added what I could. We do have a custom code for Circassian languages: cau-cir. --Vahag (talk) 22:38, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
    Can anyone say if the Abkhaz initial "а-" is a prefix or something else? It's added to all nouns in dictionaries and it's always hyphenated for etymological reasons? I read somewhere that it works as a definite article, so should there be forms without "а-" (indefinite)? There is an online Abkhaz-Russian dictionary [1]]. Have a look at this article а-милициа where амилициа (āmiliciā, police) is written with the initial "а" with a hyphen - "а-милициа", it's obviously from the Russian мили́ция (milícija). @Vahagn Petrosyan, can you comment on this? I am curious if the lemmas should be without "а-". It would also be good for the etymology of English adjika and Russian аджи́ка (adžíka), derived from Abkhaz. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 04:22, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
    а- is the generic/definite article. See here, page 22. The pure stem is rare. All serious dictionaries include а- in the lemma, but separate it with a hyphen. We should do the same. --Vahag (talk) 15:11, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
    @Vahagn Petrosyan, thanks, ажакьа seems to follow this, so "а-" changes to other forms, why does the example sentence use "и" in "ижакьа ауишьҭит"? Is it the indefinite form (if you know)?@Hippietrail, I don't remember where we talked about this but I was right about the definite article and you were right about including it in lemmas. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:48, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
    I don't know what's going on in the usage example. I simply copied it from the dictionary. PS We talked about this in Talk:абанан. --Vahag (talk) 07:32, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
    Yep I remember discussing this before. Good that things are getting worked out. Thanks for the ping. — hippietrail (talk) 15:35, 30 June 2015 (UTC)


    The etymology is clear (derived from hoofdstad), but I'm not sure how to describe the process exactly. The change in the vowel (a > e) is irregular and unique to the noun stad, and is clearly based on the adjective stedelijk. So how would I indicate this in the etymology? {{affix|nl|hoofdstad|-lijk}} would neglect the irregularity of the umlaut, while {{affix|nl|hoofd-|stedelijk}} would not make any sense. But {{blend|hoofdstad|stedelijk|lang=nl}} is going a bit too far I think. —CodeCat 17:26, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

    How about "{{affix|nl|hoofdstad|-lijk}} with vowel alteration taken over from {{m|nl|stedelijk}}"? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:54, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
    Or "{{affix|nl|hoofdstad|-lijk}} with a vowel change due to influence from {{m|nl|stedelijk}}" or "{{affix|nl|hoofdstad|-lijk}} with the vowel changed by analogy with {{m|nl|stedelijk}}"? Chuck Entz (talk) 01:26, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
    How about {{suffix|hoofstad|alt1=hoofdstede|lijk|lang=nl}}? Leasnam (talk) 05:50, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

    July 2015


    A user tagged the etymology with {{fact}}, writing "absolutely not what OED says". - -sche (discuss) 06:26, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

    So what does the OED say? --WikiTiki89 20:14, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
    Merriam-Webster says it's from Middle English "crocarde", from Middle French "crocard", which is "perhaps from croc hook (of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse krōkr hook) + -ard". This Middle English Dictionary says "AF; ?cp. croquier break in pieces." - -sche (discuss) 19:54, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    The OED says it's "from Anglo-French crokard, of uncertain origin". I've updated the entry to note the various suggestions. - -sche (discuss) 20:44, 15 July 2015 (UTC)


    Does the sense of "private room" come from Italian studiolo? Someone tagged the entry but never listed it here. - -sche (discuss) 06:34, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

    I've removed the claim. - -sche (discuss) 22:08, 22 July 2015 (UTC)


    I don't get the derivation from PIE *diwoh₁. After all, this would give †divō (or something else in ) in Latin, wouldn't it? A more obvious and regular derivation would be from PIE *dyow or *dyew.

    In fact, in his Lateinisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, Walde says that diū in the sense of "during the day" could either come from the locative *dyéwi > *dyowi > *dyow (but in view of Iove, this appears questionable; after *w, *-i is usually preserved) or the endingless locative with lengthened grade *dyēw; however, diū in the sense of "a long time" is probably originally a different word *dū (as in dūdum), which was transformed into diū under the influence of diū "during the day".

    (Just in case you are wondering, the usual explanation for the iou- vs. diou- difference is that iou- is from PIE *dyow- and diou- is from the PIE Lindeman variant *diyow-, which is thought to have originally been a sandhi variant used when the previous word in the sentence ended in a consonant.) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:44, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

    PIE root grades[edit]

    Would it be a good idea to add an option to {{ine-root}} (and thus the module it invokes) for zero grade, o-grade, and lengthened grade on the headword line of the root? For example, the headword line of *leykʷ-, instead of just saying:


    could say:

    *leykʷ- (zero grade *likʷ-, o-grade *loykʷ-, lengthened grade *lēykʷ-)

    In addition, the other grades could have their own entries as nonlemmas, with definition lines that say things like

    1. zero grade of *leykʷ-

    Do other people like this idea, and if so, would someone be willing to implement it? That would be way beyond my module-editing capabilities. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:14, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

    What do we currently do with the other grades? --WikiTiki89 19:17, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    As far as I know, nothing. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:37, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    Is it really necessary? All grades other than zero are trivially easy to figure out, and even the zero grade is not that hard once you know the syllabification rules. Making entries that direct the user to the main page aren't really all that helpful in the long run; the real problem is entries that cite nonstandard grades in the first place. Roots should always, and exclusively, be cited and linked in the full grade. —CodeCat 19:46, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    How is this different from any other inflectional information we have for other languages? --WikiTiki89 20:26, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    Root grades alone are not inflectional information though. Rather, different inflectional or derivational formations induce certain grades. So the grades are a consequence of the inflection rather than inflection being derived from grades. —CodeCat 20:31, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    So how is this different from having, for example, под- and подо- or in- and im- and ir-? --WikiTiki89 20:37, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    Let's look at it another way. Would we want different grades for Semitic roots? —CodeCat 20:44, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    What would different grades even be in Semitic roots? --WikiTiki89 21:02, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    i, a, u and zero, plus lengthened of each? —CodeCat 21:06, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    Those are just vowels, can you apply them to a root as an example of what you are talking about (let's go with k-t-b)? --WikiTiki89 21:11, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
    The other ablaut grades may be easily derivable from the full grade, but the reverse isn't always true. If I encounter a zero grade *ḱun-, for example, I don't know if the full grade is *ḱwen- or *ḱewn-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:15, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
    Ablaut grades seem like an odd an unsatisfactory compromise, and it's not clear what their purpose would me. Root grades are morphological units after all, not lexical ones; and root entries seem to me like they mainly exist to group together related forms. If this is to introduce non-lemma forms, why not go all the way down to specific inflected forms, as we do with all other languages? --Tropylium (talk) 16:31, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

    *jьzkonь or *jьskonь[edit]

    Etymology of Russian искони?

    Latin phrase underlying Portuguese ontem[edit]

    On Portuguese ontem "yesterday" (likewise Spanish anoche) it claims the underlying Latin is ad noctem "at night" but I think it rather should be hāc nocte "on this night". Compare Spanish hogaño which is clearly hōc annō "in this year" and hoje/hoy from Latin hodie from hōc diē "on this day". Benwing (talk) 08:16, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

    @Benwing: At first glance, this seems somewhat unlikely to me. Looking at w:History of Portuguese#Historical sound changes (which specifically mentions this change) it appears that Latin words ending in -e tend to become -∅, whereas words ending in -Vm tend to go to -V (though the reäppearance of the -m in Modern Portuguese is odd. Perhaps etymological hypercorrection?). But taking the Old Portuguese onte, oonte, the etymology ad noctem > *anoite > *aõite > *oõte > oonte > onte seems very nice; whereas hāc nocte might give something like *anoit > *aõi > *oõ > .
    Also L&S nox shows that hāc noctu was more common than hāc nocte; though, by Vulgar Latin such a distinction may certainly have disappeared. Just a thought. —JohnC5 14:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
    Re “the reäppearance of the -m in Modern Portuguese is odd”: Portuguese is chock full of spontaneous nasalisation. The pattern /ˈV.Ce/ → /ˈV.Cẽ/ is an uncommon but well attested case (nuvem, pajem, -agem, outrem). — Ungoliant (falai) 14:27, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
    This could be a case of progressive nasalization assimilation rather than spontaneous nasalization, c.f. mim < *mi and minha < *mia. Benwing (talk) 08:51, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
    That pattern of minha and mim is NV → NṼ (where N is a nasal consonant). — Ungoliant (falai) 16:23, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
    1932, Antenor Nascentes, Dicionário etimológico da língua portuguesa. lists both theories. — Ungoliant (falai) 14:22, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
    @JohnC5 I don't think there's any difference in outcome of final -e vs -em. The loss of both occurs after certain consonants but not after stops. Benwing (talk) 08:48, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
    @Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV Thanks. Benwing (talk) 08:48, 11 July 2015 (UTC)


    Vasmer says this is an early borrowing from Ancient Greek καράβιον (karábion), κάραβος (kárabos). The earliness is evidenced by the /b/ rather than /v/. Would it be reasonable to say it was borrowed into Proto-Slavic? I compiled the following list of descendants based on Vasmer and want to put it at *korabjь:

    --WikiTiki89 13:35, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

    @CodeCat --WikiTiki89 14:25, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
    @Wikitiki89, see “*korabjь / *korabъ / *korabь” in Oleg Trubačóv (ed.) (1974–), Etimologičeskij slovarʹ slavjanskix jazykov [Etymological dictionary of Slavic languages], Moscow: Nauka, volume 11.--Cinemantique (talk) 17:32, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
    Thanks! That's enough for me to create the entry (which I just did). There is an overwhelming amount of information in that dictionary, such as dialectal forms in various languages, that I do not have time to go through and add. I would also like CodeCat's opinion from the point of view of timing and language contact between Ancient Greek and Proto-Slavic. --WikiTiki89 17:48, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
    Old Church Slavonic certainly had lots of loanwords from Greek, so having a few in Proto-Slavic really isn't that big of a deal. —CodeCat 17:57, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
    But that's because of the Greek missionaries and because OCS was used to translate Bible from Greek. This word was before all that, but I don't know how long before and whether it would have been part of Proto-Slavic or entered later into each branch. --WikiTiki89 18:09, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
    There definitely were ships in the mutual history of the Slavs and the early Byzantine Empire, for instance, in the constant trade between the two or in the innumerable sieges of Constantinople and other Greek cities by Avars and Bulgars. So my guess would be that the word should have already been known to Slavs by the end of VII century, when the first states with Slavic population were made, but the dialectal changes between the corresponding dialects have not yet shown themselves, so that the word could have been properly transmitted even to the northern boundaries of the people. - Myndfrea (talk) 18:51, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
    @Myndfrea: Right. So how do you explain the /b/ sound rather than /v/? At the end of the 7th century, the pronunciation of the Greek beta was already somewhere in between /β/ and /v/ (based on our entry for κάραβος). --WikiTiki89 19:05, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
    I think you have to look at Slavic rather than Greek for that. Proto-Slavic had no /v/ itself, and some Slavic languages still don't. The closest was /w/ ~ /ʋ/. We know that by the time Cyrillic was created, Greek /v/ matched with Slavic /ʋ/, but it didn't have to be that way in the past. Older Greek /β/ was still matched more closely by Slavic /b/ than by /w/. —CodeCat 19:10, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
    That, and the fact that the loan could come through some obscure Balkan language (Gothic or Gepidic, for instance) or dialect of Greek, or even Latin, which was prevalent in the territories of early Slavic settlement. Ultimately, logic implies that the loan couldn't happen earlier than the times of Heraclius - early VII century, that is. - Myndfrea (talk) 19:23, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

    Bécs, Beč, Beç etymology?[edit]

    What would be etymology of Bécs, Beč, Beç? any thoughts? 13:47, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

    According to Wikipedia: "The name of the city in Hungarian (Bécs), Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian (Beč) and Ottoman Turkish (Beç) appears to have a different, Slavonic origin, and originally referred to an Avar fort in the area." That should give a place to start looking. --WikiTiki89 14:22, 20 July 2015 (UTC)


    The Latin verb campsō is given as the etymology for the Catalan, Italian, Occitan, Portugese, and Spanish verb cansar/cansare. Cansar in these languages means to tire, whereas the Latin campsō means I turn or sail around a place. How did turning/sailing around become to tire?

    *gʷreh₂- or *gʷerh₂-?[edit]

    The etymologies of gravis, βαρύς (barús) and *kuruz all say that the cluster was -re-. {{R:De Vaan 2008}} also has this form. But {{R:Philippa EWN 2009}} has the cluster as -er-. {{R:gem:Kroonen 2013}} has only the zero grade, so is noncommittal. Which is it? —CodeCat 18:38, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

    Is it knowable? It looks like all descendants (those you mention as well as गुरु (guru)) derive from the zero grade. Maybe this is one of those irregular roots like *bʰuH- that didn't have a full grade. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:06, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    But if there is no evidence either way, why do some sources nonetheless commit to one particular variety? What do they base it on? —CodeCat 19:08, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    Their preconceived expectations? Anyway, I just discovered *kwernuz, which looks like it has the full grade in the order -er-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:16, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    If it's related at all, that is. —CodeCat 19:27, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    Fair enough, but it could be the reason why some authors committed themselves to *gʷerh₂-. And if the full grade is *gʷreh₂-, it will be indistinguishable from the zero grade *gʷr̥h₂- in many languages (Indo-Iranian, Italic, Celtic), which makes the decision more difficult. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:31, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    Latin gravis has a short "a", does that give any distinguishing information? To tell the two possible root shapes apart, we'd need either an attestation with a long ā or ō (indicating -re-) or a Balto-Slavic -er- or -ar- with an acute register (indicating -er-). I don't know anything at all about how syllabic sonorants develop in Indo-Iranian, especially not with laryngeals. —CodeCat 20:31, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    I was mistaken about Indo-Iranian. I was thinking -r̥H- became -rā- before a consonant there, but it doesn't, it becomes (at least in Sanskrit) -īr- or -ūr-. But this root seems mostly to have -r̥H- before a vowel, which means H-loss doesn't trigger compensatory lengthening. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:01, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
    BTW, Sihler reconstructs it *gʷr̥ru- without a laryngeal and just says "the obvious inference is that *gʷr̥- before a vowel gives L gra-". He also thinks that prae < *pr̥h₂ey shows a parallel change of prevocalic *pr̥- to pra- and suggests that trāns might also show *tr̥- to tra-. As for the reason why he reconstructs *gʷr̥ru- without a laryngeal, he just says "Evidence bearing on *gʷr̥Hu- is meager by comparison [to tenuis from laryngealless *tn̥u- rather than *tn̥Hu-], but the evidence against a laryngeal is better than the evidence in favor of one." Unfortunately he doesn't say what that evidence is. With or without a laryngeal, the problem is that there are so few instances of a syllabic sonorant before a vowel that it's hard to figure out what the "normal" outcome would be. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:32, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
    Proto-Indo-European generally did not have geminates. And if there was a geminate, why is there no trace of it in any descendants? I think his hypothesis is too far fetched. And there are certainly plenty of possible examples of syllabic sonorants before vowels in Germanic: just look for a zero grade -u- + sonorant + vowel, with related forms having -e- or -a- (and not -eu- or -au-). —CodeCat 19:22, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
    I don't think he was actually proposing a geminate; at the same time he was writing *gʷr̥ru- he was referring to it as a syllabic sonorant followed by a vowel, so he was clearly thinking of it as *gʷr̥u-. Maybe he was thinking /gʷr̥u-/ phonemically and [gʷr̥ru-] phonetically, though he doesn't seem to come out and say that in so many words, or maybe it was a misprint. I don't know how old the Germanic -uRV- forms are; I can imagine many of them are analogical rather than inherited. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:26, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
    Back to the original question, ग्रावन् (grāvan) looks like it can only come from *gʷreh₂-, since *gʷr̥h₂u- gave guru- and *gʷr̥h₂w- would have given gūrv-. So maybe this is a case of Schwebeablaut, with *gʷreh₂- in Indic and *gʷerh₂- in Germanic (assuming the "millstone" word is from the same root as the "heavy" word). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:50, 23 July 2015 (UTC)


    Discussion moved from WT:RFV.

    Not sure if this is the right place to put a question of etymology, but it seems that satyr has been listed for over three years as being derived ultimately from Hebrew שעיר. I haven't found anything confirming such a derivation; I suspect this assumption was taken from the KJV rendering of Isaiah 13:21, which translates שעיר as "satyr." So do some Jewish Tanach translations. But the majority of modern translations have "goats" or some iteration thereof. In any event, it strikes me as incredibly unlikely that the Greek σάτυρος (sáturos), a mainstay of Hellenic paganism, was a Hebrew borrowing, given both the phonetic difficulties of going from שעיר (śa‘ír) to σάτυρος (sátyros) and the lack of suitable horse-men in Jewish mythology (as far as I'm aware) to justify this origin for the Greek myth. Does this etymology seem plausible to any of you, or are there reputable sources giving such an etymology? Aperiarcam (talk) 05:10, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

    Looks like bullshit to me. Incidentally, the Etymology scriptorium is the usual venue for questions like this. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:12, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
    Makes no sense to me. Someone probably misinterpreted "used to translate" as "derives from". I'll remove it. --WikiTiki89 17:50, 23 July 2015 (UTC)


    The term despedir is a Portuguese and Spanish word that comes from Latin de + expetere, from peto, according to some sources like the RAE. It can be confusing as it could come from Latin de + expedire, from pes, which gave out despir instead. So I'm looking for a clarification. :) Thanks. 2001:8A0:4300:B701:F482:A6EA:1705:BCF7 20:46, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

    /t/ became /d/ after a vowel in Vulgar Latin, so de+expetere > despedir is expected; /d/ disappeared after a vowel in early Iberian Romance, so de+expedire > despir (with no consonant between the p and the r) is also expected. The only way de+expedire could become despedir in Spanish and Portuguese is if it were a learnèd borrowing from Latin rather than an inherited word. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:32, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
    Appreciated. It's just I was reverted (as in other edits) when fixing the etymology of despedir so I wanted to make sure. I then have to return to counter-argue the reverts...


    {{R:De Vaan 2008}} and {{R:gem:Kroonen 2013}} both give a very different reconstruction for this, based on a root *h₃(e)rdʰ (De Vaan only gives the zero grade). I don't know what other sources say, or where this particular reconstruction came from. —CodeCat 13:28, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

    rapaz / rapariga[edit]

    Most sources point to Latin rapacem (one who robs, plunders) as the root of Portuguese rapaz (boy) / rapariga (girl), but I have also found one blog post linking the word to Phoenician ḥrph (youth) or rbh (procreate). Anyone familiar with this here who can comment? – Jberkel (talk) 10:58, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

    You can’t trust these types of blog. Nearly everything he posted is nothing more than wishful thinking. — Ungoliant (falai) 14:16, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

    *jьskati conjugation?[edit]

    Can someone more experienced look if this conjugation is good. 17:37, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

    What's wrong with using a regular template ({{sla-conj-j/a|jь|sk}}):
     ? --WikiTiki89 17:55, 31 July 2015 (UTC)