Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium

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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

January 2016

paradis fiscal[edit]

Is the etymology straightforward, or is it calqued from somewhere? A bit odd to use a religious word when naming a financial concept. Also, several other languages' words for "tax haven" consist of the word for paradise in it, plus some word meaning "fiscal" or "tax". The structure for most of the translations look calqued from each other. English doesn't put into use a similarly-structured word. Hillcrest98 (talk) 03:11, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

According to Wiktionnaire, the etymology is pretty straightforward. Since "paradis" is not a strictly religious word, and can be used in the way "paradise" is in English nowadays, I don't find anything particularly unusual about the construction. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:45, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Still this question remains: the other IE words for tax haven look awfully calqued. Are they calques or convergent construction? Hillcrest98 (talk) 20:41, 9 January 2016 (UTC)


for another etymology and meaning of "head-ache", see κραιπάλη for links substantiating a compound word.--Diligent (talk) 13:31, 3 January 2016 (UTC)


Just wondering, why is this spelled Waise as opposed to Weise? Are there other native Germanic words with -ai-? --WikiTiki89 19:07, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

I believe it was a failed attempt at an earlier spelling reform, the same one that turned ou into au. But unlike au, ai was largely rejected in favour of the old spelling ei, even though the pronunciation had changed. Kaiser is one word I can think of off the top of my head. There aren't many though Leasnam (talk) 20:40, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Laich, Mai, Mais, Saite, Maisch are others Leasnam (talk) 20:42, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Laib is another one. Many of them serve to distinguish homophones, e.g. Laib ‎(loaf) vs. Leib ‎(body), Waise ‎(orphan) vs. Weise ‎(method), Laiche ‎(spawns) vs. Leiche ‎(corpse), Saite ‎(string) vs. Seite ‎(side). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:46, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Good point ! I hadn't realised that, but it's true ;) Leasnam (talk) 21:58, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Aha, so it just happened by accident. This reminds me of the English flourflower distinction. --WikiTiki89 21:53, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Germany has two areas: One which historically pronounces this word as /vaɪsə/, spells it ⟨Waise⟩, and contrasts it with /vɛɪsə/ (⟨Weise⟩, manner). And then there is one which historically pronounces both words as /vaɪsə/ and spelled them ⟨Weise⟩ or ⟨Waise⟩, depending on writer's whim. So you had two different spellings for both words around. The ones which got picked in the end for official spelling were picked somewhat randomly too, really. I assume they also used the chance to differentiate the words consciously, as Angr said. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 01:57, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

And here I was thinking that only Yiddish preserved this distinction in High German... Is there anywhere I can lookup which words are pronounced which way in the dialects that make the distinction? --WikiTiki89 16:59, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
I just found this and it seems that in fact the distinction is opposite from that of Yiddish, with German ai generally corresponding to Yiddish ey and German ei generally corresponding to Yiddish ay. I take it that whenever there was no homophone, the spelling ei was usually chosen regardless of the historical/dialectal pronunciation? --WikiTiki89 20:16, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Sometimes, but sometimes the homophones are both spelled with ei, e.g. weiß ‎(white) (= Yiddish ווײַס ‎(vays), from PGmc *hwītaz) vs. weiß ‎((I) know, (s/he) knows) (= Yiddish ווייס ‎(veys), from PGmc *wait). And sometimes the spelling contrast doesn't correspond to an etymological difference, e.g. Rain ‎(balk) and rein ‎(clean, pure) both come from PGmc forms with ai. Hain ‎(grove) has a different etymology (it started as a dialectal variant of what would normally have become Standard High German Hagen, which survived only as a name), and there isn't a German word hein or Hein as far as I know. So while there may be a slight tendency to use ai for words that come from PGmc ai and ei for words that come from PGmc ī, it's far from being a hard and fast rule, even when restricted to homphonous pairs. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:40, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
To be clear: There is no such distinction in German Standard High German whatsoever. The Austrian/Viennese form, which seems to consider a distinction weiß /waːs/ and weiß /wɛɪs/ to be formally acceptable, might be a different case, I'm no Austrian, I wouldn't know. But in the German dialects, where applicable, there is a hard rule that PGM *ai > /ai/ and PGM *î > /ɛi/ and a parallel PGM *au > /au/ and PGM *û > /ɔu/. Randomness in spelling would come from transdialectal diffusion since the official modern standard is a bastard of several very different variants which were not always aware that the other region's spelling actually is based on phonemic distinction. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 15:02, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
The reflexes in the German dialects are far more diverse than you describe. For example, PGmc *ai has become Bavarian [ɔɐ] (monophthongised to [aː] in Viennese; Northern Bavarian has [ɔɐ] only in monosyllables, while it otherwise retains the older form [ɔɪ]), Swabian [ɔɪ] ~ [ɔɐ], High Alemannic [æɪ] and (in most dialects) Central German [eː], while PGmc has become Bavarian [aɪ] (monophthongised to [ɛː] in Viennese), Swabian [əɪ] ([ɔɪ] in front of nasals), High Alemannic [iː] (shortened to [ɪ] in some environments, diphthongised to [æɪ] in hiatus), and (in most dialects) Central German [aɪ] (some dialects retain [iː]). The reflex [ɛɪ] is not found in the Viennese basilect, only in Standard German as pronounced by Viennese (for both PGmc *ai and , hence basilectal [tsvaː drɛː] but Viennese Standard German [tsvɛɪ drɛɪ]). I'm not well-versed in Yiddish dialectology, but I believe the reflexes also differ from dialect to dialect, although Standard East Yiddish has [ɛɪ] for PGmc *ai and [aɪ] for PGmc , I believe.
In the former Upper German standard language, which was mainly based on Bavarian, and traces of which are still found in the spelling of place-names and personal names (surnames) in Bavaria and Austria, ai was used for the continuation of OHG/MHG ei (PGmc *ai) and ei for the continuation of OHG/MHG ī, as basically all traditional German dialects (even East Central German, as well as Yiddish) distinguish the reflexes. Only in Standard German the reflexes have merged for some unclear reason. (In fact, the Upper German spellings ai and ei seem to reflect the Bavarian pronunciations that can be reconstructed for the Late OHG period – ca. the 11th century – straightforwardly.) It is possible that the Upper German distinction has influenced Standard German in some ways (consider Baiern/Bayern), though as pointed out above, the correspondence is not exact. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:27, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Although considering the word pairs listed by Angr – Laib vs. Leib, Waise vs. Weise, Laiche vs. Leiche, Saite vs. Seite –, it is striking that in these cases at least the ai word consistently goes back to an OHG/MHG word with ei and the ei word to an OHG/MHG word with ī, so it is quite possible that the ai-spellings were imported from Upper German. The same is possible for Hain (compare MHG -age- > -ei- in words such as MHG geseit "said", a change still preserved in Alemannic dialects), Rain, Maische, Mai (also spelt as Mei in older German, though the ai spelling may also have been reintroduced from Latin), and Kaiser (although [kʰɔɐsɐ] is not found in modern Bavarian dialects, I think, just like "clerical" words such as Geist "spirit" are only pronounced with [aɪ] and never with [ɔɐ], which points to Central German influence). Mais, of course, is a relatively recent loanword. There are numerous other Standard German lexemes whose spellings betray the influence of Upper German spelling conventions, so this explanation is quite possible. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:26, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
I meant to give him a general idea of the process, not map him two thirds of German dialects. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 23:52, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

PIE origin of Finnish puu?![edit]

https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=puu&diff=32826308&oldid=32530509 --Espoo (talk) 23:40, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, this has been proposed, though I don't think it's widely accepted. (For one, most other Uralic languages instead suggest something like *pawe or *powe.) I plan on moving the discussion to *puxe once that entry is more rounded out. --Tropylium (talk) 05:32, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
I recall reading about this proposal, is it by Koivulehto? I mean, he's the guy who basically started the business of finding early Indo-European borrowings in Uralic on a large scale. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:07, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Him indeed, esp. as comes to words reflected in Finnish. --Tropylium (talk) 20:51, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Telugu ఒకటి ‎(okaṭi)[edit]

How exactly did this develop from Proto-Dravidian *oru? — Ivadon (talk) 11:37, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Dravidian Etymological Dictionary lists a parallel word-group reflecting something like #okka (Tamil okka 'together', Telugu attributive oka '1'). This might be a contraction from something similar to Tamil orukka 'together'; or just a parallel derivative from a pre-Dravidian #o- (note also the entries for oṉṟu 'one', oṇṭi 'lone'). At any rate, there's definitely a suffix or two in there. --Tropylium (talk) 21:19, 10 January 2016 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology:

A Turkish IP replaced this and the Arabic etymology that borrows from it with "From Arabic". I reverted the edit, but figured it would be a good idea to check this. It does look like it could be a folk etymology. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:25, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes. I found a common Aramaic form here. --Z 20:19, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
The existence of the Aramaic form does not technically disprove anything, but it still seems like that is a folk etymology. After all, Arabic زَنْبُور ‎(zanbūr) and Aramaic זִבּוּרָא ‎(zibbūrā) are fairly typical Semitic noun patterns. --WikiTiki89 21:23, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I didn't wrote that properly. Of course that is obviously a folk etymology, I mentioned Aramaic as a side note. --Z 21:20, 14 January 2016 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

It may not be obvious at first glance, but the PIE term links to *óynos while displaying *(H)óykos ‎(one, single). The unexplained "k" is more than a trivial spelling variation, and should be addressed in the etymology. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:46, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

I think we should split the PIE page by form; lumping them together like this only makes sense if there is no clear distinction, but there is. —CodeCat 22:12, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
What's the code for Old Latin again? Renard Migrant (talk) 23:33, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
itc-ola. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:35, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

I have an idea for a project: "A visual representation of the etymology of words using trees"[edit]

Hi everyone, I am new here. I am developing a project - "etytree" (click here) - to visualize the etymological tree of a word using an interactive tool. Basically I have built a graphical interactive web page using d3.js - a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data - where you search a word and then you visualize the etymological tree of the word (ancestors, cognates, on the same tree). Right now I have only developed a demo for 10 words and my next step will be to build an extractor of etymological relationships from Wiktionary. It won't be easy but definitely interesting.

A screenshot of the etymological tree of the English word 'butter' as produced by 'etytree'

I have some ideas on how to do it but I would like to get some feedback from people that are experts in the field / interested in the topic + I'm writing a grant proposal (click here) because I need funds.

Do you think this is the right place to describe my project and ask for feedback?

Can you recommend a mailing list/wiki?

Thanks! --Epantaleo (talk) 14:53, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

I like it ! My only concern is how easy it will be to use here on Wiktionary. It seems like it would work great for clear cut, linear etymologies; but many etymologies are mergers or conflations of words; others are blends to two or more words, still others are disputed and can have more than one possible origin...can your tool handle these types of representations ? Leasnam (talk) 15:36, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
A compound word in 'etytree' (demo)
Thanks Leasnam for your feedback! I see your point. I have thought about compound words (I'm attaching a picture of the representation in etytree of word caffelatte) and I believe the cases you mentioned can be tackled similarly, possibly exploiting the fact that 'etytree' is interactive, i.e., the user can mouse over nodes and links and learn more about the represented words. Also, 'etytree' could have special links between nodes or special notes attached to links.
I believe disputes can be addressed by attaching "notes" to links between nodes: if a link is disputed (i.e. there is an alternative link) the user can click on the dispute and visualize alternative models - this is ongoing work. Also some etymologies have an interesting story behind them and I would probably add a note "under" the tree, some text, to qualitatively describe how the word evolved, or I would add notes to link/nodes when the user mouses over them.\
Hopefully I answered to your questions, although I might be missing some technical details about etymology - please let me know if that is the case, I would be very happy to learn more about it.
--Epantaleo (talk) 15:53, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, you did, Thank you ! Leasnam (talk) 16:40, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Would it be possible to have an option that would allow you to see the tree graphic instead of a text etymology, when available, or a gadget that could convert etymologies? I really like the tree, though. If we started adding more dates, like the French Wiktionary does, a visual representation of etymologies would be even more appreciated by anyone who likes charts and graphs as much as I do. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:28, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I guess it won't be tree always. When there is more then one probable parent language it becomes a graph.--Giorgi Eufshi (talk) 17:35, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks User:Giorgi Eufshi! That's technically correct. I'm using the word 'tree' in the context of etymology because of similarities with the 'family tree', which is not a tree in the sense of graph theory. Citing Wikipedia: 'While family trees are depicted as trees, family relations do not in general form a tree in the sense of graph theory, since distant relatives can mate, so a person can have a common ancestor on their mother's and father's side. However, because a parent must be born before their child is born, a person cannot be their own ancestor, and thus there are no loops, so ancestry forms a directed acyclic graph.'
I'm happy to discuss alternatives to the word 'tree' in the context of etymology.

Any recommendations on where else to post the project and get some feedback? mailing lists? Thanks! --Epantaleo

I can recommend some groups where you might get useful feedback. If you're interested, send me an email. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:05, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Sounds great but I don't think it should be in the main namespace. Maybe not even on Wiktionary, its scope is so big maybe it needs its own WikiProject. Renard Migrant (talk) 23:32, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't see the issue. If it can be implemented properly, it will just be one more "show"-button on the page, uncollapsing one more image. If it uses an external wiki-database, it will basically parallel commons. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 13:35, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
But it should only be loaded once the show button is clicked, to avoid further page-load slowdown. I would like it if this could be done for some of the other collapsible content too, like translation tables. —CodeCat 14:28, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Maybe this could even be a separate tab, like Citations are. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:52, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

French écharde akin to English shard?[edit]

The article for shard says it's from OE sceard, the article for which further traces to Proto-Germanic *skardą. And per Larousse, écharde comes from Frankish *skarda. Is it safe, then, to assume that the two modern words, French écharde and English shard, are akin?

It sure seems likely to me, but I didn't want to trust that semblance, so before I added an etymological entry in the article for écharde and also asserted the kinship I figured I should check here.

FEW also links French écharde back to Frankish *skarda. Yeah I totally agree. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:19, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Closeness of English and Frisian[edit]

(Not sure where this ought to go.)

This covers many words, not just lone words, but here's the question:

In terms of closeness, have English and Frisian become less close as time has gone on? I know that this seems like an obvious "Yes", but my question is more along the lines of when and why.

Was it immediately after the Old English period? Was it some time after the Middle English period? Was it during the Early Modern English period? Was it relatively recently?

The closest relative to English aside from Scots, West Frisian, has undergone some sound changes in the past several hundred years. Namely, the loss of its th-sounds due to influence from surrounding West Germanic languages.

I heard that during the Middle English period, there were some playwrights who were familiar with Frisian or something like that, hence why I ask this (perhaps somewhat complicated) question. Tharthan (talk) 18:11, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Of course they've grown less similar over time. That's what usually happens when two languages descended from a common ancestor diverge. That would happen even without the influence of neighboring languages, but it's probably more pronounced because of the influence Dutch and Low German have had on Frisian, compared to English which was more influenced by Norse and French. The divergence began as soon as English speakers left the mainland for Britain, if not sooner. Old English and Old Frisian were probably mutually intelligible, but even then they weren't the same language. It's probably almost impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when they stopped being mutually intelligible, but I suspect it would be shortly after the Norman Invasion, when the thoroughly Germanic Old English evolved into the highly frenchified Middle English. If there were playwrights familiar with Frisian during the Middle English period, it was probably more a matter of learning it as a foreign language than understanding it as a close relative of one's own. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:48, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
They were diverging right from the beginning, like all West Germanic languages, and it seems to be mainly caused by English going funky. It rapidly underwent the West Saxon breakings and following vowel shifts, which then lead to massive simplifications in morphology. On the other hand: When Old Frisian finally was dead, it was almost the time of Shakespeare and even Middle Frisian was still quite archaic. E.g., as far as I remember, Early Middle Frisian in Germany (~1700 give or take) still contrasted two vowels ⟨a⟩ - ⟨e⟩ in unstressed syllables when English had already deleted all of them in spoken language around 400 years earlier. In terms of morphology Frisian is your average West Germanic and hasn't moved all that much beyond losing it's signature plural ending -ar and, at least in North Frisia, the peculiar development of two sets of definite articles. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 00:07, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I would say there's another very unusual feature: the preservation of a distinction between the first and second weak classes of verbs. English lost this distinction during the Middle English period, where the second weak class became the only productive class and the 1st became a class of irregular relics. In the other continental West Germanic languages, the two fell together. I believe only a few remote Upper German dialects maintain the distinction. —CodeCat 01:09, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Also, not all Frisian languages lost the -ar plural. They are still quite common in Sölring Frisian. —CodeCat 01:22, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I would say that during the Old English period it is safe to assume that Old English and (early) Old Frisian were basically just dialects of the same Anglo-Frisian language (I say this because Old Frisian doesn't seem any more or less different from West Saxon as Anglian seems from West Saxon, just the geography is different...a bulk of Old Frisian speakers were in fact Anglo-Saxons who had moved back to the continent and mixed with the original Frisii; and had Old Frisian been in Britain it too would have been lumped together as "Old English"). That said, after the Norman Conquest we still have Old English, but it was the oral Old English, which was likely already well on its way to being Middle English. Written Old English at this time was somewhat artificial, like Latin of the time. I would like to point out that it was not the Norman Conquest that caused Old English to turn into Middle English. It would have occurred anyway, just as other Old languages (Old High German, Old Dutch, etc) were becoming Middle versions of themselves. We just use the Norman event because it happened round about that time. Incessantly making reference to this event and tying it to the onset of the Middle English period tends to give learners a false impression: it tends to make one think that Middle English is Middle English because of French, as if had there been no Norman Conquest, then the language would still be Old English, in which case it wouldn't. It would have regardlessly progressed to Middle English, and would still be recognisable to us today as Middle English, albeit sans the odd Norman/French lexeme here and there (or fewer of them). Anyway, But I would assume that even afterwards the languages would have remained close. It is particularly noted that East Anglian fishermen were able to understand Frisians without learning each others' languages, and vice versa. Also (and I don't remember offhand) but I read that in early modern English plays, lines written in Dutch or Frisian were perfectly understood by English speakers without prior study (it might have been Shakespeare?). But the Norse and later Anglo-self-induced French influence is what set English apart; as well as the Dutch/German/(Danish?) influence over West and East/North Frisian. Today hearing West Frisian to me it sounds like Dutch, because of the accent; and Saterland Frisian sounds like German (but strangely Saterland Frisian sounds like the English that many royals like Queen Elizabeth still speak). Leasnam (talk) 13:00, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
The Norman Conquest didn't cause Old English to turn into Middle English, no; you're right that it would have happened anyway. But it did have a lot to do with what Middle English looked like. If it hadn't been for the Norman Conquest, the opening 18 lines of The Canterbury Tales almost certainly would not have included most if any of the words "perced", "veyne", "licour", "vertu", "engendred", "flour", "inspired", "tendre", "cours", "melodye", "nature", "corages", "pilgrimages", "palmeres", "straunge", and "specially". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:58, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
True. And yes, the Canterbury Tales are very late Middle English (only about 100 years away from being Early Modern English) and in the dialect directly ancestral to today's English. The bad thing about this is is that when students are presented with Beowulf (in West Saxon dialect) as an example of Old English, then Canterbury Tales (as an example of Middle English in East Midland dialect), it gives an unbalanced impression that Middle English is much closer to Modern English, when in fact it really isn't (but per those selected writings, it is). If the two examples were, for instance, the later entries of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Ayenbyte of Inwit, the conclusion would be a much different one. Leasnam (talk) 19:28, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I'd even go as far as to say that spoken English was already Middle English before the Norman conquest. The Norman conquest just forced the situation to be visible by respelling everything phonetically in French orthography. Do you really think those borrowed words you mention from the Canterbury Tales prologue really changed the nature of English? Different words would have been used in their place, but so what? --WikiTiki89 17:59, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree. And even the words above clearly show Middle English (not French) inflection: perced, engendred, inspired, tendre, corages, pilgrimages, palmeres, straunge, specially. The stem was copied from French, but the words are used like native Middle English words would have been Leasnam (talk) 19:45, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm just glad that, thanks to the Chancery Standard, we have a consistent and functional spelling system that in most cases aids in the understanding of each word's etymology. French does something similar, although I think they set up their spelling system after their sounds had already gone wonky. In any case, English's fantastic spelling system is one of the best out there, in my opinion. Tharthan (talk) 18:27, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Wikitiki, I guess it depends on what you mean by "the nature of English". The huge influx of French loanwords certainly changed the face of the English lexicon and resulted in the phonemicization of /v z dʒ/, which had hitherto been allophones of /f s j/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:26, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
@Angr, are you saying when I say "one house" "two houses" that that couldn't have occurred without French ??? (pardon me if I am off) Leasnam (talk) 19:31, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
The -s plural marker isn't from French, although its increased usage (and extreme reduction of other plural suffixes) may have been influenced by the unrelated -s plural marker in French. Also, I think that the change in plurals of house/housen, name/namen eye/eyen, cow/kine, knee/kneen etc. was just because people were too lazy to remember how to properly pluralise those nouns, as ox/oxen child/children (or "childer"), sow/swine aurochs/aurochsen, brother/brethren sister/sistren still exist.Tharthan (talk) 19:40, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I am not so sure about that...that is almost an oversimplification of what occurred when one really studies it. The area of England most heavy influenced by French (where French language contact was greatest) was in the South and Southeast. These areas traditionally used plural -en. Our -(e)s plural first arose in the Northern dialects of Old and Middle English, long before and far away from the centre of French influences. Like many aspects of English grammar, it tended to filter down from the north, so French really had nothing to do with it. Leasnam (talk) 19:48, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Leasnam, are you asking about the alternation between hou[s]e and hou[z]es? If so, then no, that alternation is not due to French influence: that's the Old English distribution of /s/ at the end of a word and /z/ between vowels. But when you contrast sip and zip or rice and rise, that phonemic distinction probably wouldn't have happened without French. (But it's possible that the contrast would have arisen at least word-finally without French, cf. the noun hou[s]e < OE [s] vs. the verb to hou[z]e < OE [z]ian.) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:31, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Don't forget that in some native Germanic words, [s] arose from a former geminate [ss] word-medially. —CodeCat 21:13, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
@Angr, but the alternation between s/z, f/v is the same one which affected þ/ð (cf. [ð]e [þ]ing ("the thing")), yet French does not have these sounds... (?) Leasnam (talk) 21:50, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I thought that /ð/ existed in Middle French, at least in dialects. Was that not the case? Tharthan (talk) 22:27, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
In what words did you think it existed in? --WikiTiki89 22:29, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I can't recall any specific words, but I thought that I remembered /ð/ having been a medial allophone of /d/ in Middle French (or in some Middle French dialects). I could be wrong, though. Tharthan (talk) 22:39, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
In Old French, for a brief time, between vowels Leasnam (talk) 22:47, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Then who's to say that that isn't an answer to this "@Angr, but the alternation between s/z, f/v is the same one which affected þ/ð (cf. [ð]e [þ]ing ("the thing")), yet French does not have these sounds... (?) "? Tharthan (talk) 23:00, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Old French didn't have þ, so alternation cannot occur between one phoneme (i.e. ð), and it was just a pronunciation of -d- (so if it alternated, it alternated between d/ð, not þ/ð). Not tied in any way to the English "bath/bathe" (but it does remind me of Modern Spanish -d-) Leasnam (talk) 23:00, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, French isn't responsible for the differentiation of /θ/ and /ð/, which is probably why the functional load of that distinction is so much smaller than the functional loads of the /s ~ z/ and /f ~ v/ distinctions. Minimal pairs are rare; there's thy/thigh (caused by the change of /θ/ to /ð/ word-initially in function words, which has parallels in other languages), and ether/either (with a Greek loanword), and not much else. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:15, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
There's also teeth/teethe and probably other noun/verb pairs like that. --WikiTiki89 21:35, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
That's true; there's wreath/wreathe and mouth (n.)/mouth (v.). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:51, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
And there's with 'er and wither, although some would pronounce those the same way. --WikiTiki89 22:36, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Chiming in with a different topic here, because just coïncidentally I busied myself with an Old Frisian short grammar from my vault today: Are there any developments in vowel phonemes that all four to five dialects of Old English and both dialects of Old Frisian share but none of the continental languages have? I.e. is there any purely Anglo-Frisian merger or split? Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 02:25, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Good question. Offhand I cannot think of any that are universal solely to all Anglo-Frisian dialects (development of PGmc ai was not consistent, it was ā or ē [ē being a shared development also in Old Saxon], same with PGmc au: OEng breaks to ēa while OFris doesn't, ā; palatisation of k and g is unique, but not uniform between OEng and OFris; Ingvaeonic nasal rule also can be found in some Old Saxon dialects)...perhaps the development of Pgmc ɣ to j ? Otherwise, it just seems like Anglo-Saxon was the more radical and really pushed all the limits, like Old Frisian on steroids :) Leasnam (talk) 12:12, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
My impression as well. It seems difficult to me to actually define Anglo-Frisian on a vowel-phonemic basis, while Old High German, Dutch and Saxon are easily demarkable by a single feature of that nature. What confuses me on the Spriant Nasal law: Does it include the denasalisation as well or just the consonant deletion. Because if it's /VnC/> /̃ṼːC/, then Old Saxon has it, but if it's /VnC/ > /VːC/, then Old Saxon doesn't and we'd sort of have an Anglo-Frisian thing, even if the denasalisation only happened in a very late phase. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 15:36, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I believe it includes nasalisation, which is hard to see based on words where the consonant dropped out (e.g. uns > ūs [i.e. ū̃s]), but it apparently was still present in other words which had variant spellings (e.g. band vs. bond, etc.) Leasnam (talk) 17:22, 15 January 2016 (UTC)


I was going to add this to the etymology, but I just want to make sure that this is correct first:

From Scots "cauldrife", from Old Scots "cauldrife", a compound of "cauld" and the (Scots) suffix -rife (compare "auldrife" "warkrife" "spendrife" etc.), from the adjective rife. Tharthan (talk) 23:00, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Why wouldn't it be from Scots cauld + rife ? Leasnam (talk) 23:10, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
IF -rife is a suffix, then yes, it looks correct :) Leasnam (talk) 23:12, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, from what I can tell -rife seems to be a suffix in itself in Scots, with many derivatives. Tharthan (talk) 23:14, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

anion and cation[edit]

Does anyone know how to spell the Ancient Greek words on these pages? I can only see romanizations. Hillcrest98 (talk) 03:10, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Unless I'm mistaken, the Ancient Greek part of the etymology is utter nonsense: I think anion is ana- + ion and cation is cata- + ion, but someone assumed that the compounding happened in Ancient Greek and tried to reconstruct Ancient Greek verbs made up of the Ancient Greek ancestors of the parts. Such compounds do exist, but they're quite different from what you might expect because they're not the sum of their parts. The verb ἀνίημι ‎(aníēmi) doesn't mean "go up". It's transitive rather than intransitive, and means "send up or cause to go up", but mostly "give up, stop doing, abandon, loosen, release, etc." The other verb isn't even spelled like you would expect: it's καθίημι ‎(kathíēmi), and is mostly transitive. Instead of "go down", it usually means "drop/let fall, lower, let down", though it does have an intransitive sense or two. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:46, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
@ChuckEntz I thought the same thing initially too. At first I thought it was sticking the ana- and cata- prefixes onto ion. Though the "Ancient Greek borrowing" etymology has been there for more than a century - it's even in Century Dictionary! Hillcrest98 (talk) 03:43, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I think they're supposed to be the participles of ἄνειμι ‎(áneimi, go up) and κάτειμι ‎(káteimi, go down), which really do have the neuter present participles ἀνιόν ‎(anión) and κατιόν ‎(katión). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:56, 14 January 2016 (UTC)



This word is a word common to West Germanic.

It is naturally attested in Old Frisian as krâm, in Middle Low Saxon as kräm ("tent, booth, stall, stock of wares"), in Middle Dutch as craam ("tent in which merchandise is offered"), and in Old High Deutsch as chram/cram ("tent thatch, awning").

It was borrowed from Middle Low Saxon into Old Norse, as kram, and from that came the word as it is used in the Scandinavian languages. It was also borrowed into Scots as crame, where it means "market stall".

There is no attestation of the word in Old English, nor in Gothic.

Does anyone have any idea where this word comes from? Tharthan (talk) 19:45, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

I believe that all of these were borrowings of Old High German kram, which itself is a loan from a Slavic word meaning "tavern, inn, tent". Leasnam (talk) 20:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
(post edit conflict) Yes, Philippa supports Kluge’s suggestion that is was borrowed from Slavic, citing Serbian Church Slavonic грамъ ‎(gramŭ, inn, pub), чрӗмъ ‎(črӗmŭ, tent) (< N.B. I am not sure how to transliterate the ӗ character in Cyrs. This may be wrong.). I do not know from there. —JohnC5 20:40, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
@JohnC5: чрѣмъ ‎(črěmŭ). --WikiTiki89 20:58, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: duly noted! —JohnC5 20:59, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Zika virus[edit]

From the Zika Forest in Uganda- can we say anything further about the etymology? DTLHS (talk) 03:05, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

This very brief article says zika means "overgrown" in Luganda, which is the language spoken in southern Uganda where the Zika Forest is located, near Entebbe. DCDuring TALK 04:35, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Luganda doesn't have adjectives in the way that you may be used to; zika is best treated as a verbal stem meaning "to become overgrown" or (as Crabtree glossed it in his classic dictionary) "to go out of cultivation". In any case, it does appear that it is the etymon of the forest. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:10, 15 January 2016 (UTC)


According to the Wiktionary entry, the verb "welsh", meaning to swindle, is from the country adjective "Welsh". I cannot find any other dictionary that says this. The ones that mention the origin all say "Origin unknown". Is the Wiktionary information correct? 21:25, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

I can't find firm evidence that it's derived from Welsh, and several other dictionaries can't either; I've toned down our etymology and added a reference. - -sche (discuss) 22:11, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for looking at it. 18:18, 18 January 2016 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

The contributor of this entry apparently went through the "Beyond the Jordan" reference and created entries for all the Etruscan names in it, without having a clue about any of the languages involved, or about their history. It's hard to be sure what their motivation is, but the result certainly looks like something a Pan-Turkist revisionist might cook up to imply that the Etruscans, who contributed a great deal to the Roman civilization, the Hurrians, in the ancient Near East, and the "Altaic" peoples are all the same thing.

The "Beyond the Jordan" reference is an essay that attempts to use a reference to a particular people in a Bible verse to support a particular interpretation of the historical background of biblical events. Its justification for the connections it makes are mostly variations of "If X is the same as Y, which it almost certainly is...". I don't think it should be allowed as a reference in etymologies because the author doesn't seem to know or care about historical linguistics, and is mostly interested in connecting the dots in his theories based on superficial similarities in names.

The "Critical History of Ancient Rome" reference, not linked to directly but available here, indeed says that Tarquinius comes from the toponym mentioned, but leaves open whether it was derived directly in Latin in parallel to the Etruscan clan name or via the Etruscan clan name itself.

The other reference is a single article about a Byzantine name in a collection of articles on Byzantinian topics, and it mentions assertions by English scholars in the early 20th century that Tarquin and Tarkhan are related without actually endorsing them (those date to the period when Isaac Taylor's theory that the Etruscan language was related to the "Turanian" languages, as seen here, for instance, was still taken seriously).

It would seem from all of this that the references are either not credible or don't support the implausible parts of the etymology. Someone needs to go through this and their other edits and prune out the nonsense. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Wiped the etymology as unsatisfactory. Hillcrest98 (talk) 00:33, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Tergenenes seems to suffer from the same malady. Could someone have a look? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 01:12, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
    • I've rfved the entry- it's an English entry and all the English-language hits are mentions, as far as I can see. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:27, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Quotes from the mentioned sources:

  1. "Tirigan and Tergenenes are almost certainly the same name, and both names are to be identified with the name Tarquinius. The names Tarquinius, Tergenenes, and Tirigan are all theophoric names based on that of an ancient god named "Tarhu"."
  2. "And I do not suppose that there can be any doubt that the names Tarchon, Tarquin and Tarkhan are identical." (-> even Cambridge published this nonsense lol :P

What's so wrong with them? are they outdated? are they no scholarly enough?

I can quote other sources, too:

  1. "..der etruskische Titel Tarquin (das türkische tarkhan)..."
  2. "Mr. Beveridge suggested that Tarkhan might be the Etruscan Tarquin..."
  3. "...Tarquin, still bearing his Mongolian name of Tar Khan,..."
  4. "Tarcon (Tarchon) ve Etrüsk'lerde özel ad olarak zikredilen «Tarquin»in Tarkan'la"
  5. "Etruscan, Tarchu, Tarchi (Tarquin) ; Siberian, Tarkhan ; Buriat, dargo ; Tschuwash, torgan, ; Uigur, tar- khan, "chief.""
  6. "En rejetant la terminaison latine, les Français en ont fait TARQUIN. Comme ... et "Tarkhon", si étroitement liés à l'histoire de Etrusques, soient aussi à rencontrer, à chaque pas (sous forme de "Tourkhan" et "Tarkhan") dans l'histoire des Turcs."

At least I think it should be mentioned. This would actually be in good agreement this title being originated in the ancient middle east transported by Iranian ruling classes among Scythians and very likely Indo-Iranian Mittani-Rasenna Etruscans. --Toskalonea (talk) 18:57, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

As I discussed above, the "Beyond the Jordan" reference refers to, and includes in its footnotes, real scholarly work, but is itself not scholarly at all. All of your references from the first part of the 20th century are outdated and their theories have long since been refuted and abandoned. There are also revisionist pseudo-scholars in places like Turkey and Hungary who are trying to gloss over the overwhelming evidence against any links between the Etruscans and anyone else (with a couple of obscure exceptions) as part of their campaign to make "Altaic" peoples the source of everything, but no actual scholars take them seriously.
The fact that you can use Indo-Iranian and Etruscan in the same sentence shows you know nothing about the linguistic details at all. Etruscan is very poorly known, but everything we do know is incompatible in all kinds of ways with Indo-Iranian- grammatical structure, vocabulary, everything. Also, the Mitanni substratum is Indo-Aryan, and the Scythians were Iranian- two completely separate branches of the Indo-Iranian languages.
As an agglutinative language, Etruscan does have superficial similarities to other agglutinative languages such as the Uralic, Turkic and Hurro-Urartian families, but agglutinative languages are found all over the planet, and merely being agglutinative doesn't mean they're related.
It's very easy to make unequivocal and emphatic statements about the relationship between names in Etruscan and in other languages if you don't know or don't care about the murky and difficult details regarding the actual Etruscan people and language, but no responsible scholar would say such things nowadays. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:00, 23 January 2016 (UTC)


Kroonen reconstructs *nista- n. here. Given that the noun is neuter in Old English, Dutch, Old High German and Modern German, the reconstruction *nestaz would seem to be incorrect in any case, despite the Indo-European cognates – not all of which are even masculine: Slavic has a neuter, and Sanskrit nīḍá- can be both masculine and neuter. If the lowering *i > *e before *a in the following syllable is regular in West Germanic, Kroonen's reconstruction would definitely be preferrable, but the a-umlaut of *i is irregular even in Old High German, where it is relatively frequent; it is only in wer "man" and nest that the lowering is also found in Old English (and Old Saxon, in the case of wer). I have to wonder if the a-umlaut of *i may once have been regular in West Germanic but subject to restrictive conditions, and later partly reduced (outside Old High German especially) and partly even extended (within Old High German) through analogy. I observe that the lowering of *i is mostly found before velars, b and s(s), as well as r, so perhaps it originally occurred only there. The failure of lowering in (say) *skipa- may therefore be regular, and in *fiska- it might be due to analogy, as the word is not paradigmatically isolated – or it might have been an i-stem originally, as in Latin. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:49, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Appendages to Etymologies in Main Entry Pages[edit]

Etymology of town[edit]

Sorry to have to advise, but all the dictionary's additions after that of the Hittite form, are completely unrelated, and about the most irrelevant that I have seen in the main entries. However, they are very good up until the Latin and Greek additions that are derived from entirely different roots. Etymology and dictionary comparisons have been a field of interest for one for over 45 years. Andrew H. Gray 18:20, 21 January 2016 (UTC)Andrew

Many of the comparisons smell semantically impossible. Pretty much all of the picked comparisons were to words relating to death and such. How does that relate to a hill fortress? Hillcrest98 (talk) 19:15, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
We treat *dʰewh₂- ‎(close, finish, come full circle) and *dʰew- ‎(die) as two separate roots, but I think some sources, noticing the semantic similarity of "finish" and "die", treat them as the same root. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:54, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
If that be the case the etymologists for Latin FUNIS and Greek THANATOS did not know what they were writing about! Kind Regards, Andrew H. Gray 12:53, 26 January 2016 (UTC)Andrew
Which etymologists? I assume you mean Latin fūnus ‎(funeral, death) rather than fūnis ‎(rope, cord); our entry for fūnus says it comes from *dʰew- ‎(die), which makes sense, but our entry for θνῄσκω ‎(thnēískō) (same root as θάνατος ‎(thánatos)) indicates uncertainty as to which root it comes from, but doesn't even suggest *dʰew- as a possibility. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:28, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, thank you - it was (funeral, death), but I am rather convinced by Liddle & Scott's etymology, relating Latin fūnus ‎(funeral, death) to FOCUS (hearth), ultimately from another PIE root (to burn). Thank you anyway. Kind Regards. Andrew H. Gray 13:47, 26 January 2016 (UTC)Andrew
@Werdna Yrneh Yarg: Liddell & Scott were fine lexicographers, but their etymological hypotheses are, sadly, about eighty years out of date. focus (like θνῄσκω) is hard to explain from an IE perspective, as it cannot be from a root of the shape *DʰeT-, and no root with *-ew- would yield short /o/. —ObsequiousNewt (εἴρηκα|πεποίηκα) 14:37, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
@ ObsequiousNewt Thank you for your informative message. My main concern was that the last stage of town's etymology hardly fits in with "readers" to "run through the etymology" in an intelligible manner. Andrew H. Gray 16:37, 2 February 2016 (UTC)Andrew


Could we take a look at all of the contributions of Horsesongrassland? I'm not in the mood to sort through all this stuff. —JohnC5 05:45, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

This editor likes to stuff mostly-irrelevant dissertations about their pet Pan-Turkist theories into etymology sections, along with lengthy cites of dubious journal articles. Their main cite here is one they've attempted to use before: it basically starts from the assumption that a set of words are borrowed from "Altaic" sources, and discusses at length why the author thinks everyone who disagrees with that premise keeps getting it wrong. It's all blatant POV revisionism, and I have no qualms about shooting it on sight. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:35, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I take that back- this is a new article, and it wasn't this editor that used the other article by this same author. Still, the additions make no sense in the context of the entries- they were obviously grafted on to sell the editor's POV. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:53, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I smell amateur Altaicist again. Just dispose of the crap and call it another day. Hillcrest98 (talk) 19:28, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Could we check out хомут too? Still just not sure. —JohnC5 06:24, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

sdg#fhl*äa#'s? Turkic is not allowed in appendices? Nice job! what daa hell happened to wiktionary --Horsesongrassland (talk) 17:38, 29 January 2016 (UTC) waiting for your answers: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Talk:хомут#Schenker_&_Alinei_still_say_its_Turkic --Horsesongrassland (talk) 17:52, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
  • The Schenker reference was from 1996, which is now 20 years old. So saying they "still say it's Turkic" doesn't mean much unless you're talking about some recent (but as yet not supplied) other reference. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:15, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Don't be so funny, this was not the matter. 1996 is modern time btw., nothing outdated. This source is currently misused. --Horsesongrassland (talk) 18:50, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No humor intended. Research advances over time. A source from twenty years ago is not the state of the art. Again, saying someone "still says XX", when the reference given is twenty years old, comes across as disingenuous. If you are aware of any sources by Schenker that are more recent, wherein Schenker does "still say XX", then please add this reference to the entry. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:55, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
And what about Alinei, is he outdated too? --Horsesongrassland (talk) 06:12, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
No, just trying too hard to sell theories with basically no support from mainstream linguists. Not necessarily wrong on any given detail, but not credible enough to be used as a reference here. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:26, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Fist of all Alinei is hardcore reliable. Trubačóv volume 8 is at least 2 decades older than Schenker, this type of argumentation is just subliminal. Kroupová 2010 and Картина мира, too, agree with Schenker and Alinei, so where is your "mainstream" now? looks like a phantom, isn't it? --Horsesongrassland (talk) 03:57, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • For Kroupová, I cannot find other works by her other than the degree thesis linked above. A track record of one work, produced in graduate school, does not portray Kroupová as an established mainstream academic in linguistics.
For Картина мира, my Russian is very limited, but this looks like it might be an introductory undergrad college text. Anatoli, could you have a quick look?
And in general, your current combative and caustic approach is not doing anything to advance your cause. You might want to work on your people skills some. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:40, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Kroupová: Charles University in Prague - Faculty of Arts - Department of Slavonic and East European Studies - Diploma Thesis. supervisor: doc. Dr.. Mira Nábělková, PhD. You classify this thesis wich developed independently and exclusively used quoted sources, literature and other expert sources as "graduate school"?? aare youu aactually freeakin seeriouus?
  • Картина мира: same here. Tomsk State University - Proceedings of an interdisciplinary school of young scientists "picture of the world; language, philosophy, science. Editor in chief: Z.I. Rezanovna, who just by the way is a linguist, doctor of philology, professor at the Faculty of philology at the Tomsk State University. You call this a "undergrad college text". again: aare youu aactually freeakin seeriouus?--Horsesongrassland (talk) 21:49, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Re: Kroupová, I think your English might not be very good: graduate school includes studying for one's doctorate. My underlying point is that, if this is her only publication, she is not an established author of academic writings.
Re: the Russian source, I pointedly noted that my Russian is very limited. That said, your mention of the identity of the editor says nothing about the intended audience of the text, nor of its content.
Re: your conduct, it has been arrogant and insulting from the start, and it has been getting progressively worse.
I have blocked Horsesongrassland for one month. Other admins, please feel free to review this action and adjust as you see fit. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:15, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I've not been involved in this at all, but I have been following this discussion and I think a block was necessary. They didn't appear to have any desire to work with the community, and their attitude was completely nonconstructive. —CodeCat 22:22, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Hey Johnny and all the other Johnnies out there! still waiting for your reaction on this voting: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Votes/2013-11/Proto-Altaic Decision "Only option 2 is supported, and it has consensus. "Proto-Altaic is allowed in appendices and entries can only link to it." DAVilla 09:18, 31 December 2013 (UTC)" ||| --Horsesongrassland (talk) 17:41, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't particularly appreciate your disrespectful tone. —JohnC5 19:03, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
You mean you don't "particularly appreciate" the voting-decision and disrespect the consensus? Is this what you wanted to say? Or am I wrong? If yes, don't answer to me. --Horsesongrassland (talk) 06:10, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Since there's no Proto-Altaic involved, nor is the entry an appendix, you might as well be talking about the weather. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:39, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
So, basically 2 possibilities exist: either...
1. you have a source in which Proto-Altaic is involved, and an appendix for this exist...
2. or (with regards to Renard Migrant) you have a source in which only Altaic proper (with all its postulated sub-languages) is involved, so that you can use it simply everywhere.
Did I summed up everything allright, or is there missing something? Correct me if I am wrong. --Horsesongrassland (talk) 04:30, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
(post edit conflict) ...I'm honestly baffled what you think you will achieve with this behavior. You are correct that we allow Altaic etymologies (though our coverage of them is grudging at best), but the etymologies you have provided represent an agglomeration of unrelated terms, many of which are not at all phonologically or semantically related.
The real context you should observe here is the lack of support you are receiving. Both this page and my talk page are highly visible conversational fora. Rest assured that if I had done something wrong, a seasoned editor would have both reverted me and told me explicitly that I made a mistake. I rely heavily on the watchful eyes of my peers to guide my editing. So when you allege that I don't understand how the policies of this project work, you misapprehend the situation. —JohnC5 06:43, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, Turkic isn't allowed in appendices because it isn't a language, it's a family or languages. Proto-Turkic is, but of course any pages that link to such appendices have to be accurate. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:53, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

@Horsesongrassland, I have reverted your fringe etymology in bʾg and replaced it with a scientific one. A quick look at your source reveals that it is written by an illiterate charlatan. The moronic phrase "Turko-Medean relationship" alone is enough disqualify him.

You are one step away from being permanently blocked on Wiktionary because of pushing fringe theories, unacceptable tone and sloppy formatting. --Vahag (talk) 11:58, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

boshe moj, I just fell off my chair right know, couln't stop laughing. You and all your biased Indo-European monopoly accomplices should be banned for denying the academic ranks of non-Indo-European-conform authors and your cheeky insults to them.--Horsesongrassland (talk) 21:19, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, permablock is merited. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 22:16, 2 February 2016 (UTC)


The etymology of this seems rather messy. Kroonen gives *kowh₂- as the origin, but then happily gives other cognates for which he reconstructs *keh₂w- instead. He calls this simply "laryngeal metathesis". Philippa gives instead *kh₂ew-. Any idea what's going on? —CodeCat 22:46, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Out of curiosity, where does the ⟨gg⟩ come from in the Norse derivative hǫggva?
And is there any relationship with English hack? (The current etymology there is most unsatisfactory...) ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:10, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
-ggv- is the regular North Germanic reflex of Germanic -ww-. There's no relation. —CodeCat 23:19, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
I've fleshed out the etymology at hack, and created *hakkōną as well. Hope this helps. Leasnam (talk) 15:31, 2 February 2016 (UTC)


@Zezen and anyone else interested in Proto-Slavic: What's the evidence that this is *molditi and not *modliti? Only the cognates from outside Slavic? Because the Slavic words listed have to go back to a *modliti (l in East and South Slavic; dl in West Slavic). They cannot possibly go back to a *molditi, which would give *molod- in East Slavic, *mlad- in South Slavic, and either *mlad- or *mlod- in West Slavic. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:51, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

@Aɴɢʀ  : Thank you for asking. It is Mr Max Vasmer who claimed so, not only me. If you read Russian, that is what he wrote about *mold directly in Proto-Slavic, pacem our Russian wiki colleagues: Происходит от праслав. *molditi..., etc. Do you have sources that claim otherwise? Zezen (talk) 19:24, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't read Russian; does he say anything about metathesis? Because only a very early metathesis of *molditi to *modliti could have resulted in the attested forms. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:26, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

1. Oh. There may be a German version of his dico, I guess.

2. Another valid question. Not only he mentions metathesis by name, but explains why it happened, taboo and such: Слав. метатеза *modliti < *molditi объясняется, возм., табуистическими побуждениями...

It is possible that the common *mold harks back to the earlier pra-Baltic-Slav period, though, and all pra-Slav had *modl already - simply I could not find published etymology dicos that would claim so Zezen (talk) 19:40, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Now that I think of it, it'd be more elegant to say in each entry

From Praslav *moDliti

, and then in the chaged Praslav *moDliti entry write

*moDliti from Praslav *moLditi, from *meld etc. 

If you think so too, feel free to fix it everywhere in the descendants where I standardized this link. Zezen (talk) 19:46, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Vasmer does not say that the Proto-Slavic form is *molditi. He only says that there was a Slavic metathesis *modliti < *molditi, implying that *modliti should be the Proto-Slavic form. Features that are universal among Slavic languages, should be assumed to have been part of Proto-Slavic. --WikiTiki89 19:02, 3 February 2016 (UTC)


I've found two different sources (one French, one in French and German) that link Old French caboce ‎(head) to boce ‎(hump; bump). What's the source for the caput theory? Note I'm not disputing it, but I just notice that right now our 'mostly likely' hypothesis is not sourced while our least-likely one is. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:50, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Etymonline readily coughs the caput theory up. Can someone check its sources? Hillcrest98 (talk) 04:06, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Derivation by caput was apparently favoured by old dictionaries. Walter Skeat (died 1912) 's Concise Dictionary of English Etymology derives it from Old French caboche, a dialectal variant of (chou[x]) cabus, from Latin caput. The Century Dictionary, which offers the same etymology, incidentally gives a range of obsolete spellings: cabage, cabige, cabidge, cabbidge, cabbish, cabbysshe. A number of dictionaries (starting in the 1700s) consider the "steal" sense to have a different etymology, but don't agree on what it is. Century and some other old dictionaries derive it from Dutch kabbassen or a cognate, from Old French cabasser "put into a basket", from cabas. Dictionary.com, on the other hand, derives the plant from ca- ("expressive" prefix) + boche, and the "steal" and "cloth" senses from "earlier carbage shred, piece of cloth, apparently variant of garbage [meaning] wheat straw chopped small". - -sche (discuss) 22:46, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Isn;t it typical for Latin c before a to become ch in Old French ? How then the form caboce rather than chevoce ? Leasnam (talk) 00:00, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
There are about 20 terms in Category:Old French terms derived from Latin that start with ca and are said to derive from Latin words starting with ca, compared to about 40 starting with cha or che, so it's not unheard of. That said, I'm just responding to the request for a source for the caput theory. Perhaps it's an outdated theory; then again, the American Heritage Dictionary fifth edition, from 2015, favours it. - -sche (discuss) 00:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
In some cases, at least, there's regional variation: Old Northern French camp, canter, castel vs. champ, chanter, chastel. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:06, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, ca > cha didn't happen in Old Northern French, while the "soft c" was ch rather than c/ç/ss. This accounts for the doublets catch and chase: both are from the same Latin word, but catch is from Northern French while chase is from a more southerly variety corresponding to modern standard French chasser. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:58, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
What of the medial p. Since this is northern French, does the shift from p to b also fit true for the region ? Leasnam (talk) 19:43, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I assume so; I think the voicing of intervocalic singleton stops happened everywhere in Western Romance. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:09, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

February 2016

high languages[edit]

German has 'Hochdeutsch', high German, a name originally applied to the dialects spoken outside the flatlands. Since the standard international language over time became a High German amalgam, the term became used as a synonym for 'standard', so that even High German dialects are now opposed to 'High German' i.e. standard German. This extends into English at least in phantasy literature where 'high' is used as a term for more refined, archaic or formal variants of speech, e.g. High Elvish, High Gothic. Should this development get its own etymology section or stay under the regular etymology of English 'high'? I tend towards giving it an extra header. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 12:55, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Well, though it has a unique history, is it really anything but simply high ("lofty, elevated, positioned above or superior to others") ? If we do this for high, where does it end ? Leasnam (talk) 17:40, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I would be interested to see when phrases like “High Renaissance” and “High Middle Ages” came about. I'm not convinced that their usage has anything to do with Hochdeutsch. —JohnC5 18:59, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Hmm, maybe expressing "the Height of" (--the most quintessential or most flourishing aspects of) those eras perhaps ? Leasnam (talk) 19:02, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
That would make a great deal of sense. Given that, I would expect that High Elvish and High Valyrian refer to “the language during the height of the cultural and literary history of Valinor and Valyria (respectively)” and not to a mistaken understanding of Hochdeutch. —JohnC5 19:14, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
John, kindly be less sassy in tone and kindly do not skip to topics other than languages when I am talking specifically about languages, where for one have for example an explicit statement by the coining man of 'Høgnorsk' telling us it was analogous to Hochdeutsch and where Warhammer's 'High Gothic' is the language of the period considered most uncultured. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 20:14, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Um... At no point was I remotely sassy. Perhaps you were referring to the word “mistaken” in my last post, which was referring to you proposed reänalysis of “hoch” (from “high in altitude” to “standard”), which would have been a mistaken understanding of the meaning of Hochdeutsch by speakers. I was not accusing you of being mistaken. Also, I feel that designations like “High Renaissance” to be the origin of this meaning, since they are far more commonly used in English than “High German”. I'll admit that “High Gothic” may have been influenced by your analysis, but “High Elvish” and “High Valyrian” do not seem to fit the mold at all. I find your implication that my intentions were at all flippant or in bad faith unfounded. I do not mean to speak so sternly here, but I was blindsided by your accusations. —JohnC5 21:09, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
That's not quite how I understood you. I just, wrongly, had the impression you had left the businesslike politeness which is the oil keeping this project running. I apologise for misunderstanding you. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 09:15, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate that, and I apologize for not wording the offending post more carefully and for responding so forcefully thereafter. I've always enjoyed your contributions. —JohnC5 15:13, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
It's not quite what you asked about (“High Renaissance” and “High Middle Ages”), but The language of painting: an informal dictionary (1967), page 94, says: "HIGH. A descriptive term used in the history of art to indicate the flowering of a period, or when its style is most characteristic. For example, one speaks of the Early Gothic period, the High Gothic period, and the Late Gothic period." - -sche (discuss) 19:27, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
"High" in "High Elvish" (like "High Valyrian") seems to have similar meaning (and thus presumably etymological origin) to "high" in "High Middle Ages". Indeed, "High Elvish" is the language of the "High Elves", apparently so called because of their greater status and power relative to other elves; compare "high magic". I'm having trouble finding examples of "High Gothic" as the name of a stage of a language rather than a stage of architecture or literature; one of the few examples I find seems to hit the same note of "greater status" as "High Elvish" does (and indeed as the architectural and literary-period "High Gothic"s seem to do): "if language degenerates through time — Grimm thought the High Gothic of the Middle Ages the pinnacle of German expression — then [...]" (from Pop Pagans).
There is a connection between "Høgnorsk" and "Hochdeutsch", but Wikipedia says it's one of elevation: the term's coiner "point[ed] out that Ivar Aasen, the creator of Nynorsk orthography, had especially valued the dialects of the mountainous areas of middle and western Norway, as opposed to the dialects of the lowlands of eastern Norway, which Hannaas called Flatnorsk (Flat Norwegian, like Plattdeutsch)." In English, some uses of "High Norwegian" and "High Norse" are calques of "Høgnorsk", others seem to be using "high" as the aforementioned status designation: one of the few hits for google books:"High German" "High Norwegian", a 1916 Modern Language Notes, volume 31, page 300, speaks of and criticizes "reference to the Riksmaal as 'High Norwegian'".
I think sense 8 needs to be written to be about status and not about "standard"-ness per se, unless there are good non-calque examples of "high" meaning "standard" rather than "high-status", which seems like a hard but not impossible distinction to make. Also, as you note, it often seems to denote purer and older / more archaic varieties, possibly only because these are the varieties that tend to be accorded higher status / prestige. The use of "high" to denote high status is surely native English, but if we could find references or clearer examples of it(s use) being influenced by German, I think it would be appropriate to describe that in the same etymology section.
- -sche (discuss) 18:52, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I'll keep that in mind if I come across calque-situations in the future. The High Gothic I mentioned meant a fictional language from the Warhammer universe, not Gothic, by the way.Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 19:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology "From Latin secum, the only form of cum + se. (The form cum se resonated with an obscene word and was therefore shunned).", added by on this edit. --kc_kennylau (talk) 19:27, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

I just removed that bit; it's nonsense. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:30, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
The only offensive word even close to this word is in the wrong language. Looks like a silly joke about English cum, meanwhile the English word is derived from come. Hillcrest98 (talk) 02:16, 3 February 2016 (UTC)


According to calare, it comes from Latin calāre, present active infinitive of calō, from Ancient Greek χαλάω ‎(khaláō). But according to calo, this comes from καλέω. --Espoo (talk) 21:17, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Connecting what we have on Wiktionary right now semantically does not make sense... maybe they're different words entirely? Hillcrest98 (talk) 02:10, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I’ll take a look at my Italian resources. calo says it’s a cognate of καλέω ‎(kaléō), not that it comes from it. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:18, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Treccani and Vocabolario Etimologico Italiano both say it’s from χαλάω. The former glosses it as allentare and the latter as distacco, scarico, allento, apro. Both mention chalare as an alternative form of the Latin etymon; I think it’s a different verb calo, one that we don’t have yet. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:30, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Latin-dictionary confirms the second meaning of "calare". --kc_kennylau (talk) 19:07, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

the word "ceol" meaning music, song[edit]

I am presently working on a genealogy project re: my surname, "Ceol". In researching the origin of "ceol", I was surprised to learn its meaning in Old Celtic (music, song) since we are a family of musicians. (I studied classical music and performed as an opera singer; my father and his siblings were jazz musicians; my grandfather, who emigrated in 1900 from the Sud Tirol of Italy was a music teacher.) Over the last few years, I found my Ceol relatives still living in northern Italy and visited the ancestoral village (Verena, in Trento, Vicenza). It was only then that I confirmed there was never a vowel on the end of "ceol", even though my relatives were Italian. I have since traced the unchanged name back to 1676 in the Tirolean area surrounding Trento. There are many Ceols in the Trento area, but through research, I'm learning that elsewhere the name is rare. Although there are Ceol families found in the Americas (and even a few families living in China and Australia) from my research I'm suspecting it likely they are descendents of those ancestors that emigrated from Varena. Because the Celts once inhabited central Europe, especially in Austria, it seems possible that the surname is native to the area, that my ancestors are descendents from Celtic people who settled in the remote mountain area for generations. Though the area was wrought with a history of barbaric invasions and Roman, French and Austrian conquest, do you believe its logical to believe that "Ceol" could be an unchanged surname dating to the beginning of surnames in the 13th or 14th century? Could it truly be "Celtic" and meant to identify the ancestor for his music ability? I would appreciate the expert opinion of an etymologist or linguist? Anything is possible, I know. I am waiting for the lab results of a Y-DNA test we submitted to get some insight on which haplogroup and possible migration route of our ancestors who shared the inherited "Ceol" gene. I would appreciate any imput on the subject from historians of the area or expert knowledge of the history of the Celtic migration in Europe. Thank you in advance for your interest in my project!


In the etymology it is claimed that the proto-Germanic root of the word, kaupōną, is from Latin caupo. Really? It's a bit of a stretch to claim that Proto-Germanic derives from Latin. Surely that should be "cognate with". SpinningSpark 12:32, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

I think it's for convenience to sort all Germanic cognates in one etymological entry. Also see Category:gem-pro:Days of the week . Etymonline does not mention Proto-Germanic when dealing with this word. Hillcrest98 (talk) 12:42, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Proto-Germanic (the language) doesn't derive from Latin, no, in that you are correct; but the root of this word was borrowed into PGmc from Latin. That is what the Etymology is saying Leasnam (talk) 15:19, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I've updated it. Hopefully it's a little clearer Leasnam (talk) 15:33, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
@Leasnam: I'm confused, is cauponari a nominative lemma form? It looks more like an inflected form or a stem. But I'm not an expert on Latin declensions. --WikiTiki89 15:41, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, I believe that is a VUlgar Latin un-attested form (??; I guess for what would properly be cauponarius). I've updated the etym to just use the attested one. Leasnam (talk) 17:00, 5 February 2016 (UTC)


Says "from Canaanite", which is a language family. Can we be more specific? Wikipedia has a nice list of cognates and a Proto- Semitic form we could copy. - -sche (discuss) 16:42, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Phonologically at least, it could only have come from Hebrew, since other Canaanite languages don't much surviving record of pronunciation, and the best guess would be "Il". However, the polytheistic meaning was certain influenced by the other Canaanite languages. The second definition is completely wrong, but I'm not sure how to fix it. --WikiTiki89 16:49, 5 February 2016 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. I highly doubt it comes from English, since 猶太 does not have any trace of the initial /dʒ/ in the English word Judah. It's more likely to be from Latin Iudaea, Greek Ἰουδαία ‎(Ioudaía) or Hebrew יהודה. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 21:15, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

  • If I'm reading it right, the relevant section of the Chinese Wikipedia article suggests it comes from Hebrew יְהוּדִי. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:23, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
    • When is it first attested? That would establish the likelihood of it having come directly from Hebrew. --WikiTiki89 22:51, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
      • I have a hunch it came from missionaries, pehaps via a Bible translation. Most of the earlier missionaries were educated in Latin and Greek, and sometimes used those instead of their native languages for Biblical names. As for the zh wikipedia: everything ultimately came from the Hebrew, so that wouldn't be mutually exclusive with Greek or Latin as the immediate source. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:21, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
        • I agree, @Chuck Entz. IMO, the Greek sounds closer to the Chinese than the Latin. @Wikitiki89 The earliest Chinese Bible I can find using 猶太 for Judea (just looking at Acts 1:8) is 救世主耶穌新遺詔書,郭實臘譯 (1839). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:57, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
          • (perhaps [1] and w:zh:中國猶太人 could be helpful —suzukaze (tc) 10:02, 6 February 2016 (UTC))
            • It turns out it was in use much earlier. Christian presence in China apparently goes back to the 7th century BCE (see w:Church of the East in China). Jews were present then, and probably centuries earlier (see w:History of the Jews in China), but known by other, more descriptive names. This seems to be the earliest, dating to after Jesuit missionaries reached China. In spite of a year of Mandarin at UCLA a quarter century ago, I don't have a prayer of reading it, but it does seem to contain the term. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:29, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
              • It does contain the two characters beside each other, but not meaning Jew or Judea at all. It says "此 猶 太陽 一照", which means "This is like the sun shining". — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 17:47, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
              • I've check all of the results from the Google search. Many of them are simply misreadings by OCR. Of the ones that actually have 猶太, they all (from my understanding) are not actually using it to mean Jew/Judea. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 18:03, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
                • How much has Mandarin phonology changed since 1839? Would this word have been pronounced differently, or pretty much the same as now? And I don't think the Greek sounds any closer to the Chinese than the Latin does, since the Greek and the Latin sound pretty much exactly the same. --WikiTiki89 02:28, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

I changed the etymology to a buffer one (יהודה) to be fixed later. Hillcrest98 (talk) 22:58, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

τέχνη and τίκτω[edit]

What's the semantical link between the two? The etymology makes no sense to me. --Fsojic (talk) 13:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

'To procreate' — 'to create' — 'to craft' seems pretty straightforward to me. --Tropylium (talk) 18:05, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Indeed. I was put off by the "plait" part. --Fsojic (talk) 22:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I wonder why the "plait" part is there, since it seems to be only Latin that has it. Also, I wonder if the "s" in *teḱs- vs. *teḱ- is significant. Finally, does tignum belong in the cognate lists? Chuck Entz (talk) 00:04, 7 February 2016 (UTC)


What's the etymology of this? Nothing to do with elite? --Fsojic (talk) 22:17, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

No, it looks like pretty straightforward social + -ite. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:18, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

testify = testicle?[edit]

See Latin testis. Is there any relation between testicle and testify? A friend said something to me that made my folk etymology-detector go off.

He said that testify came from testicle because only men could testify in a court of law when the word was originated. He probably saw this on the internet as there are some sites alluding to a relation between these words. [2][3] --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:56, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

You have it backwards: Latin testiculus ‎(testicle) is a diminutive of testis ‎(witness), presumably because testicles "serve as a witness" to a man's virility. Testify is from testificor, which is just testis ‎(witness) + a form of faciō ‎(to make, do). Chuck Entz (talk) 03:33, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

wisdom tooth[edit]

Can we get a reference for the Dutch "far-standing molar" theory? It had been tagged as needing verification. - -sche (discuss) 20:55, 7 February 2016 (UTC)