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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

April 2022

The etymology of Genus-name Heliopais.[edit]

The Genus-name Heliopais comes from Greek ‘Ήλιος (Helios)’, meaning ‘sun’ and ‘παις (pais)’, meaning ‘child’, to mention a bird which is believed as the child of the Sun. H. personatus (Masked Finfoot) had been considered congeneric with the African Finfoot, Podica, but Sharpe (1893) believed its soft tail, and bill and wing-shapes reflected a truer affinity to the Sungrebe, Heliornis [[1]] —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 04:50, 1 April 2022.


The etymology is circular, with the English term claiming a borrowing from French and vice versa. It's clear that it ultimately comes from Baudot's name, but which language had baud first? 06:35, 3 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

The 1926 recommendations of the International Consultative Committee on Telegraphic Communications of the International Telecommunication Union were published in 1927 in French. So the first appearance in print of the name of the new unit was in a French-language document.[2] I’m fairly convinced the members of the international committee themselves would have considered the name translingual or at least multilingual.  --Lambiam 14:12, 3 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hindi सन्नाटा 'silence' from Sanskrit संनादः 'noise'?[edit]

The page for Hindi सन्नाटा "silence" says that it is "ultimately from Sanskrit संनादयति (saṃnādayati, to cause to respond)." I found this quite puzzling seeing as that Sanskrit verb (which is the causative of संनद् saṃnad, "to cry aloud, sound, roar") in fact means "to cause to resound, fill with noise or cries." (From Monier-Williams, p. 1146, col. 1). The closest we get to the Hindi word in Sanskrit is संनादः sannādaḥ, which again means the opposite of "silence": the word means "uproar, din, clamour" (from Apte). If this etymology is accurate, are there any explanations for this reversal of meaning, and maybe any intermediary Middle Indic words that can attest? --Vivaksha (talk) 10:00, 3 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

adesso in romance languages[edit]

The Italian word adesso ("now") and its cognates all link their etymology to Latin ad ipsum. This is unlikely since the word with all its cognates clearly descend from */aˈdɛsso/, while the proposed etymology would lead to */aˈdesso/. Treccani flags its etymology as uncertain (see here). Garzanti and Nuovo de Mauro mention this etymology as probable (see here and here). Should we add a "perhaps" to the etymologies of these pages? Catonif (talk) 13:53, 4 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, we should. BandiniRaffaele2 (talk) 12:51, 5 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think that the open è is enough evidence to dismiss this etymology. Incidentally, there was also an Old Spanish adiesso, which, together with the Italian word, appears to reflect a Proto-Italo-Western Romance */adɛssu/. It would not be the only example of /e/ ( < Latin /ĭ, ē/) lowering to /ɛ/ at that stage; cf. *nevis < Latin nĭx, nĭvis. Alternately, per the FEW, /ɛ/ was likely taken from *adpressum (> Italian appresso), meaning 'near'. Nicodene (talk) 01:17, 10 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It's true that the front mid vowels /e/ and /ɛ/ often fluctuate, though usually when it happens the original value is maintained somewhere (cf. Latin nĭx, nĭvis also has descendants that reflect the original */e/) while as for this word, I couldn't find any reference of the */e/. It's even weirder since it doesn't evolve parallel to ĭpsum, which instead maintains the */e/ (it. /ˈesso/, sp. /ˈeso/). On the other hand, the influence by adpressum seems reasonable. I suggest the creation of the Reconstruction:Latin page exposing the theory. I'm still a newbie here so I'm not really sure how to make it work. Catonif (talk) 17:46, 11 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I've made the page at ad epsum, I'll wait for some sort of verification before linking it from the descendants. Catonif (talk) 16:21, 12 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for doing so. I've made some edits to bring it in-line with other reconstructed Romance entries. Nicodene (talk) 02:31, 15 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

French sot -- do not rely on Mozeson's garbage[edit]

The entry in Wiktionary for French sot says, inter alia, "of uncertain origin, possibly a Semitic borrowing: Aramaic [script needed] (s(h)ote, “fool”), Hebrew שטן‎ (sat, “transgressor, rebel”) or [script needed] (s(h)atooy, “drunk”), [script needed] (s(h)atyan, “drunkard”)" and it references:

Mozeson, Isaac (2000): The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Source of Englis.

Mozeson is a religious fanatic, without the slightest training in linguistics, who believes that Hebrew was the original language of the human race and that all other languages, therefore, derive from Hebrew.

He was debunked twenty-five and thirty years ago:

Gold, David L. 1990. "Fiction or Medieval Philology (on Isaac E. Mozeson's The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Source of English)." Jewish Linguistic Studies. Vol. 2. Pp. 105-133.

Gold, David L. 1995. "When Religion Intrudes into Etymology (On The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals The Hebrew Source of English)." In Kachru and Kahane 1995:369-380.

Kachru, Braj B., and Henry Kahane, eds. 1995. Cultures, Ideologies, and the Dictionary: Studies in Honor of Ladislav Zgusta [= Lexicographica: Series Maior, vol. 64]. Tübingen. Max Niemeyer Verlag.

Mozeson's name should not be mentioned anywhere in Wiktionary or in Wikipedia except to note the worthlessness of his book.S. Valkemirer (talk) 10:05, 5 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I've updated the entry. DJ K-Çel (contribs ~ talk) 15:48, 5 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
So much for WT:NPOV and not being proscriptive. This isn't Wikipedia, lol. ApisAzuli (talk) 04:24, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Etymologies are different from the rest of the entry: like content on Wikipedia, they should be referenced using reliable sources. As for NPOV: it applies to how we present information, not whether we present it. There's no reason to include utter hogwash, whether it's someone who says everything is from Greek or it's all from Hebrew or it's all from a Nigerian language or it's all from an imaginary language called "Low Saxon" or it's all from Turkish or it's all from Celtic. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:16, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Why is it proscriptive to exclude garbage when it is just garbage? Wiktionary shouldn't be an echo chamber for stuff that's even beyond fringe. –Austronesier (talk) 19:13, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Because prescriptivists or proscriptivists are all other than myself that I don’t like. No, but ApisAzuli was ironically referencing our manners of editing in that we have to evaluate the material by rational criteria, to preserve consistency and reliability. There is little room for value judgements in the first place, over linguistic material as opposed to people which Wikipedia biographizes, thus a “neutrality” expectation cannot have the same meaning, it is more like we have to do, sometimes convoluted and experience-dependent, probability judgements—even if some references have been bad at it. As for that particular book, @Mahmudmasri is pinged for having referenced it this year, having overestimated references for quality content. In this field, one absolutely can create bad content strictly supported by even good references, if one wants to. Even further against the typical standpoint of Wikipedia, the references are only as good as their users 🤫 Fay Freak (talk) 23:45, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The point is exactly that rejecting accidently correct results is correlate to tolerating poor results because of argument from authority, which is a kind of ad hominem. And it's simply not true that etymologies absolutely have to be referenced until they are rfe'd in practice. Eg. the equivalent interjection sod is currently deriving it from sodomia in analogy to bugger, without any reference. More over, after the etymology was edited with sources, one does not give the page number, which isn't too bad iff it has an index verborum, and the other is unreliable per se because there is no reliable theory of expressives whatsoever. This is besides the point though because the tone is irrational to begin with. You can't really have a person debunked, and it's not clear if you all mean the book or the individual comparison when you say "hogwash", "garbage", or whatever, as if it wouldn't make a difference. So much for NPOV. ApisAzuli (talk) 06:25, 7 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Fay, please don't ping me in irrelevant talks and publicly defame me for something I didn't do. Thanks! --Mahmudmasri (talk) 03:24, 7 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Mahmudmasri: diff. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:46, 7 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Public! Only a few dozens of Wiktionary fiends are reading these sections anyhow, and a year later about nobody. Obviously I ping you not to miss anything instructive! But now I recall that you have barely read or assessed the relevance of that which you have cited either. Which must be contemplated as a common occurrence on Wikipedia in general, too. Fay Freak (talk) 05:26, 7 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
See also *xȗjь, which I'm pretty sure I have seen surface as "chud" on the internet. A Yiddish tangent wouldn't be so unlikely from Poland, would it with regards to dating? ApisAzuli (talk) 13:54, 10 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thinking of choad, am I. ApisAzuli (talk) 01:40, 11 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


I strongly suggest removing the second of three possible etymologies offered under Etymology for Tiberis, i.e. from Celtic *dubros “water”. This “etymology” is fanciful and quite impossible. I believe any expert etymologist would readily agree, also because there are no Celtic etymologies for hydronyms or place names in general that are this ancient in the Italian peninsula. The other two etymologies can stay, even if tentative. Pasquale (talk) 10:52, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I tweaked it a bit and added a source supporting the Celtic borrowing for the second etymology, though I agree that more sources supporting this are wanting. At any rate also added the PIE parent of the supposed the Celtic borrowing (*dʰewbʰ-), which is supported. DJ K-Çel (contribs ~ talk) 15:06, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
This has mitigated the pressing need for somehow expressing the doubts concerning that etymology, at least. Fay Freak (talk) 23:49, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hungarian gally[edit]

I'm pretty sure the Slavic cognates I added are what was intended. This book snippet shows that there is a Russian word gol' meaning "stick" (French "bâton"), but I'm not sure if anyone knows more. голь appears to have a different meaning.

I gather that all of these are related to Proto-Slavic *golъ in the sense of being leafless. 20:10, 8 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, literally “nudity” primarily, with a well-known suffix *-ь, hence the Russian word is related. Trubachyov, Oleg, editor (1980), “*golь”, in Этимологический словарь славянских языков [Etymological Dictionary of Slavic Languages] (in Russian), volume 7: (*golvačь – *gyžati), Moscow: Nauka, page 16; they mention Old Russian голь (golĭ, twig). Fay Freak (talk) 20:20, 8 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, I've added it to the entry. 23:55, 8 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hindi -वाला '-doer' suffix[edit]

The etymology section of the agentive suffix -वाला (as in चाय-वाला, 'chai-maker', or बोलने-वाली 'speaker') indicates that it's from "Sanskrit पाल (pāla) or पालक (pālaka)", the latter meaning 'protector' or 'guard'. McGregor's Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary seems to agree with this. But does this mean pāla was used similarly as an agentive suffix in Sanskrit as well? I can't seem to find any attestations that this was the case; I can only find uses that have the more literal sense of 'protector', eg. kṣetra-pāla "a guard of the field", or go-pāla, "protector of cows, cowherd". Or does the agentive usage come from Middle Indic / Prakrit usage? --Vivaksha (talk) 04:34, 9 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

The track of a tracked vehicle[edit]

The noun track in the sense of the continuous belt of a tracked vehicle is defined as “(automotive) Short for caterpillar track”, where the origin of the latter term is explained in a usage note (why not an etymology section?) as “The name came originally from the Caterpillar Tractor Company, but is now common in uncapitalised form.” However, the term track occurs in a patent issued for an “endless self-laying track for vehicles” issued in 1893,[3] while the earliest use in print I can find of caterpillar (in uncapitalised form!) in reference to this type of traction is from early 1910.[4] (The Holt Caterpillar Company was founded in 1909.[5]) Wouldn’t it be better to explain this term as “(vehicles) Short for self-laying track”?  --Lambiam 10:26, 9 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Yes. To me it seems quite likely that the Caterpillar Company would have appropriated pre-existing use of track. It would be interesting to know whether there was any other use of track before it came to be used with caterpillar or Caterpillar. It could be that the patent was a nonce use of the word in this sense. This is the kind of thing that the American Dialect Society loves and which members may even have investigated. DCDuring (talk) 14:00, 9 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The earliest relevant patent by Holt, filed for in 1907 before the Holt Caterpillar Company was founded, uses the terms “endless traveling platform” and “endless traveling belt”.[6] The term “track” does not occur. It does occur, especially in the combinations “track laying (mechanism)” and “endless track”, in a patent filed by another inventor in 1905.[7] The earliest use of “track” by the Caterpillar Company that I found is in an ad from 1911,[8] in which the secret of the Caterpillar success is said to be that it “lays a track and travels on it”.  --Lambiam 21:43, 9 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Looking at the Wikipedia article for w:continuous track shows that early forms were much like railroad tracks except tied to the wheels. And that the farmers had it before the military did ... what i think of as "tank wheels" when i see mudplows working outside is actually a farmer's invention first and foremost. It may be that the definition of "track" here cannot be untangled from that of the railroad track, and that the meaning changed gradually. Caterpillar would not have used their own brand name in such a manner, so I agree self-laying track is the original phrase, even if it is today just called a caterpillar track. in fact, our definition for tank even uses "caterpillar track" so we may want to change that. Soap 10:48, 12 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Even if it's a generic trademark, I don't think there are any reccomended usage against it, as long as the term is established. Wakuran (talk) 11:07, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


How did Middle English stelen become steal? --Espoo (talk) 05:12, 10 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Do you mean in reference to the phonetics ? Leasnam (talk) 14:23, 10 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Both phonetics and spelling. --Espoo (talk) 05:02, 17 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I would almost have expected the reverse position of the spellings "steel" and "steal", considering the Germanic cognates. Wakuran (talk) 12:20, 11 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Your expectations are probably out of line because steel doesn't quite correspond to Dutch staal, German Stahl, Swedish stål, etc; it's a extended form originally meaning "steel weapon"; c.f. Old Saxon stehli (axe). The English cognate to those forms would probably be *steal; c.f. English tear, Swedish tår*tahrą (German Zähre is a fossilised plural of *Zahr). Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 08:30, 13 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
My answer may not exactly be what you're looking for, but the exact tenor of your question is unclear. To beginwith, inal /n/ was often lost in Middle English, so stelen /ˈstɛːlən/ frequently became stele /ˈstɛːlə/; when and where final schwa was lost, this became just /ˈstɛːl/; by the Late Middle English period, the losses of /n/ and schwa had both progressed pretty far, making this the usual pronunciation. Then the Great Vowel Shift successively raised /ɛː/ to /eː/, then /iː/, yielding modern steal /ˈstiːl/ by c. 1750. However, due to insertion of a epenthetic schwa, many speakers will pronounce steal as disyllabic /ˈstiː.əl/; this appears to be a relatively recent development. All these changes are entirely regular; compare the development of Middle English swelen /ˈswɛːlən/ > sweal /ˈswiːl/, /ˈswiː.əl/. Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 08:13, 13 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
"Then the Great Vowel Shift successively raised /ɛː/ to /eː/, then /iː/, yielding modern steal /ˈstiːl/ by c. 1750." -- I understand the process or at least the concept of the great vowel shift, but how and why did the complicated and weird spelling "ea" arise and how/why did it come to represent the sound /i:/ ? --Espoo (talk) 05:11, 17 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
If there was a distinction between /ɛː/ and /eː/ when the spelling originated, then it makes sense to use ea for the former and ee for the latter, similar to an æ (although the glyphs are in reversed position). Wakuran (talk) 11:43, 17 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The spelling "ea" existed in Old English; it was used there used for a diphthong that evolved in Middle English into /a/ when short and /ɛː/ when long. Middle English on Wikipedia says "ea" occurs in Middle English as a "rare" spelling of /ɛː/ (more commonly, Middle English /ɛː/ is spelled "e" or "ee", the same way as /eː/).--Urszag (talk) 07:49, 20 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Ah, so it seems to have been an archaism already in Middle English spelling. Could it have been picked to differentiate between 'steal' and 'steel', perhaps? Wakuran (talk) 10:09, 20 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
No. Middle English had both the vowels /eː/ and /ɛː/ however, both were usually spelled ⟨ee⟩, but as Urszag mentions, ⟨ea⟩ was a rarer varient of the latter vowel. Later on, as part of the great vowel shift, /eː/ shifted to /iː/, replacing original /iː/ which was broken to /aɪ/, while /ɛː/ was raised to /eː/ to replace it. In short /ɛː/ -> /eː/ -> /iː/ -> /aɪ/. At this point (I believe around the Elizabethan era), they started regularly spelling the new /eː/ sound with the distinctive ⟨ea⟩. However, eventually that sound merged with the new /iː/, which is how we got our modern pronunciation. In the (late) Middle English period, steal would have been /stɛːl/, while steel was /steːl/, but both were spelled stele. Later on, steal became /steːl/ while steel turned into /stiːl/. Ido66667 (talk) 10:08, 24 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hebrew kns, Aramaic knš[edit]

Based on the following source (for the Persian-derived Hebrew root gnz), am I to understand that the root kns/knš related to 'collecting, assembling' is ultimately from Persian گنج(ganj, treasure) as well?

  • Klein, Ernest (1987), “גנז”, in A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English[9], Jerusalem: Carta, →ISBN, page 105a: “Related to כנס [kns].”

None of the current pages like كنس, ܟܢܫ, כינס, Knesset make this connection. 09:28, 10 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Possibly g-n-z, if you find the Iranian influence in Southwestern Arabia and Ethiopia relevant, see جَنَازَة(janāza), but hardly ك ن س(k-n-s), for which I in fact long have written a distinct meaning ladder. Fay Freak (talk) 13:42, 10 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


RFV of the etymology.

As @Geographyinitiative noted a while back, this predates the Postal Code romanization system, which is what we used to say was the source. That was removed from the etymology, but not from the Usage notes. Today an IP, who seems to be the same as the new account @Fairnesscounts. replaced the entire etymology with a statement that Martino Martini used this spelling in Latin works such as this one in the mid 1500's. While a true statement, it obliterated any mention of Chinese, let alone 北京 (Běijīng), the obvious original source. Can we make a real etymology out of this? There's some good information on the talk page, but we need to make a coherent statement about how this started out in Chinese (which lect?) and the steps along the way (Portuguese?) to its ending up in English. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:54, 11 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Comment: Exciting! After a look at Google Books and archive.org, I think the Martini explanation is at least plausible on some level, but keep in mind that in all my efforts on Wiktionary, I really have not ever determined the actual origin of any specific romanization/loan word from Chinese characters into the English language from before Wade-Giles (1860s). All I've been able to say so far is "it's older than postal, Wade and etc". I just presume that Portuguese churchmen and saliors casually made the original words in a non-systematic fashion (like Bashi Channel) and then those words were loaned into English. But I think Ricci had some kind of romanization scheme; perhaps there were others. I hope to learn what the actual origins of words like Peking, Nanchang, Hainan, Yunnan, Yellow River, Xansi, Xensi and similar are. You could give a bland "From Mandarin XX". But that's not anything like a full answer: I'm talking dates of origin, names of persons who first used or generated certain special romanizations, and/or the names of romanization schemes. It is so sad that these origins are so obscure and occluded in 2022. I am fascinated to perhaps realize that 'Peking' may not have been used in English contemporaneously with the Ming Dynasty- the older variants must have been used at that time. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 08:08, 11 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Ricci's transliteration system was based on Portuguese. He gave Beijing in Latin as "Pechinum". Martini was writing in Latin and had a Dutch publisher. The "k" isn't regular in Portuguese or Latin. Perhaps it was geared toward a Dutch audience. Fairnesscounts (talk) 14:02, 12 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
This might conceivably be the result of Martini misinterpreting Portuguese orthography. The sound represented as "k" is actually an unaspirated palatal affricate in modern Mandarin. Portuguese doesn't have the aspirated/non-aspirated contrast which is also basic to English, so they might well represent it as a voiceless affricate or even a shibilant (I don't know Portuguese very well, so I'm not sure how their orthography handles affricates). I'm not too clear on the distinction between "ç","ch" and "x" in Portuguese, but I believe that "chi" would sound like English "she". In Martini's native Italian, "chi" is the equivalent of "ki" in English, with "ch" being use to avoid the English "ch" sound before front vowels like "i", in the same way that "qu" is used in Portuguese. When it comes to palatalization and non-palatalization before vowels, European languages use quite a variety of different strategies in their orthographies, so confusion would be quite understandable. I really don't have time right now to work it all out, but there are plenty of people here who know all the languages in question better than I do, so I'll leave to them. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:10, 12 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Is it possible that the Mandarin pronunciation has also changed? That's what I'd always assumed .... they had a proper /k/ in the name back then, and they don't (and can't) today because Mandarin Chinese has palatalized all /k/ before front vowels. Soap 20:13, 12 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Chinese still has a /k/. It can no longer appear at the end of a syllable as it did in Middle Chinese. The problem with the "k" in "Peking" is not the sound, but that the letter is irregular in Latin. In Latin, a "k" indicates a loanword. Fairnesscounts (talk) 11:58, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Mandarin pronunciation did change. Here's a quote from the Wikipedia article on Standard Chinese pronunciation touching upon this issue: "The alveolo-palatals arose historically from a merger of the dentals [t͡s, t͡sʰ, s] and velars [k, kʰ, x] before high front vowels and glides. Previously, some instances of modern [t͡ɕ(ʰ)i] were instead [k(ʰ)i], and others were [t͡s(ʰ)i]. The change took place in the last two or three centuries at different times in different areas. This explains why some European transcriptions of Chinese names (especially in postal romanization) contain ⟨ki-⟩, ⟨hi-⟩, ⟨tsi-⟩, ⟨si-⟩ where an alveolo-palatal might be expected in modern Chinese. Examples are Peking for Beijing, Chungking for Chongqing, Fukien for Fujian (cf. Hokkien), Tientsin for Tianjin; Sinkiang for Xinjiang, and Sian for Xi'an." Ido66667 (talk) 10:41, 24 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


The full word is "Mosammat". I think this is from Arabic, from something like the feminine of the passive participle of the verb سَمَّى(sammā, to name). But I can't find the right form, despite trying. 14:48, 11 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

The right form is مُسَمَّاةٌ(musammātun), the feminine of the passive participle. Fay Freak (talk) 16:39, 13 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Are the "choice" and "youth" senses related? Klein at least doesn't seem to think so, treating them as two distinct roots ב־ח־ר(b-ḥ-r) and relating the latter sense to Akkadian baḥūlāti (warriors):

Strong on the other hand does treat them as identical:

Strong doesn't seem to know much about Semitic languages other than Hebrew and Aramaic though. (My own random idea is whether there's any possible connection to ב־כ־ר(b-k-r) with a slight change in the second consonant, but that probably doesn't work for some reason.) 23:22, 11 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

/k, χ/ to /ħ/ isn't a change that historically happened in Hebrew. As far as I know, they were always distinguished except liturgical varieties that couldn't pronounce /ħ/ and of course Modern Hebrew. Ido66667 (talk) 10:46, 24 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Didn't Proto-Semitic * (i.e. /x/) and * merge as ח in Hebrew? But still, that wouldn't be a merger of Hebrew ח with כ, which AFAIK is always from *k regardless of whether it's pronounced /k/ or /x/. —Mahāgaja · talk 12:59, 24 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Does the Arabic word بَكَار(bakār, bachelor) exist? This user on Twitter claims no: [11]. 15:30, 12 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

It doesn’t, and the word (and its spelling, after all) is the expected outcome of Persian بیکار(bi-kâr, literally without occupation). Fay Freak (talk) 15:45, 12 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Re the question as to what semantic development could have given rise to the “prostitute” sense in Latin. In Irish too, craiceann ‘skin, hide’ can mean ‘sexual intercourse’. Sense 4 here: https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fgb/craiceann --Caoimhin (talk) 18:10, 12 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

In the Swedish cant Månsing there's the word "fjälla" for girl, which is hypothetized to have been derived from the verb "fjälla" (chap, chafe), and refer to a prostitute with chapped skin due to a venereal disease. If so, the reasoning is pretty similar. Wakuran (talk) 00:35, 13 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
So the meaning “skin, hide” is attested, where is the problem? The development is directly, as in Arabic شَرْمُوطَة(šarmūṭa), Russian шма́ра (šmára)→ru or very recent Russian тря́пка (trjápka), which shows that the idea is nothing else than that of a cumrag—an idea consistent for millennia. Fay Freak (talk) 16:37, 13 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The meaning "skin, hide" is post-classical according to Varro and rare whereas the frequent, older attested sense is the one in question [...] meretrices, quia ut pelliculae subiguntur. Omnia namque ex pellibus facta scortea appellantur, [...] (J&S w.f.r.). They note that anything made of pelt may be called scortum to justify the transfer of semantics, if I understand correctly. I just don't understand the first half of it and I think it's possibly a folk etymology anyway, or coincidence at best, because euphemisms. The precedent with the root "to cut" is tolerable without pelts e.g. in skirt (viz. UK woman, intercourse) as well as Ger. Schürzenjäger, perhaps shorty (AAVE, I reckon). ApisAzuli (talk) 20:16, 13 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
This sounds like non-sense, since Varro himself is pre-classical. Fay Freak (talk) 20:59, 13 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Not a romanicist myself I was uncertain, but it's really saying that [12], [13] ApisAzuli (talk) 04:55, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Upon closer investigation, I could not confirm this from the Roland G Kent edition (1938, [14]), meaning the quote has to go to G. Goetz & F. Schoell (1910), which I cannot access at the moment. BTW, "subigur" "Quia ut pelliculae subiguntur" appears in a footnote from Kent with another reference to Festus. I still don't see how pellis is relevant. ApisAzuli (talk) 08:46, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Polish kulczyba[edit]

Doroszewski's and Brückner's dictionaries both claim the word is derived from an unspecified Tatar word, with Brückner "specifying" that the word means "crow's eye." I assume there's some truth in there, because Strychnos nux-vomica is called "kulczyba wronie oko" in Polish ("wronie oko" meaning "crow's eye"), but I'm not sure what the Tatar word could be. Any ideas? Hythonia (talk) 13:31, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

See here, pages 55–56 for a detailed discussion. Vahag (talk) 13:48, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I can add Armeno-Kipchak küčälä to the comparison. And note that when the ancients say "Tatar", they mean "Kipchak" (code qwm), not the modern language on the Volga (code tt). Vahag (talk) 14:17, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

What's the etymology of холих?[edit]

I couldn't find it in the database. I wonder what its etymology is and could it be related to холбох ("to couple")? Any etymological data would help. BurakD53 (talk) 21:17, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Latin sapo - via Frankish?[edit]

Was sāpō (soap) really loaned from Frankish rather than directly from Proto-Germanic? — Ungoliant (falai) 23:25, 14 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Considering the fact that sāpō is attested as early as Pliny (per L&S), 'Frankish' is clearly wrong. Nicodene (talk) 01:09, 15 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
We have "Frankish" go to PWG, cf. blank (any others?), roughly in line with Pliny if North and East-Germanic are to have separated by the turn of the millenium, and well in line with Roman occupation in Nijmegen for example, the isles not to mention. Incidently, soap and blankets go well together, if you'll excuse the pun. Conversely, as a matter of sheer coincidence, I've come to wonder if soda has anything black about it (discussed last month, indeed rejecting {{m|ar|سَوْدَاء||black bile) but concluding in */sawda/ nevertheless, if I understand correctly), also in Black snake (firework). For example Ossetian са́у (sáu, black) (not chai "black tea"), श्याव (śyāva, dark, brown) is cognate with hue (dye), {{m|sa|छवि||cuticle, skin, hide; beauty, splendour); I am obviously in no place to judge the dozens(!) of unrelated languages which present with similar morphemes under black, eg. Georgian, Chamicuro, Permic, or Georgian. Greek μέλας (could of course betray *s(w)~, cp. μέλδομαι and Schmalz, equivalently sebum ("tallow, fat, grease"), the latter akin to soap. ApisAzuli (talk) 08:48, 15 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The word was used in a writing by Pliny the Elder, in the year 77 AD, but soap did not become commonplace in their culture until after the fall of Rome and so it is possible that the existence of the word in Pliny's Naturalis Historia does not mean it was part of the Latin language at the time. This may be the reason we've been assuming a late date of borrowing. However, an earlier loan might better explain why the /ai/ ended up as /ā/, and perhaps also why the Latin speakers adopting the word recognized it as an n-stem. Indeed, looking into it some more, it seems vowel length was already gone by the maturation date of proto-Romance, so it is difficult to explain unless we assume it was a "bookish" loanword into early Medieval Latin and that the vowel length was not really there in common speech. Soap 02:25, 16 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I had some other thoughts ....

  1. is it possible we're just guessing about the vowel /ā/ being long? e.g. if Germanic /ai/ was known to be loaned as /ā/, this could be just circular reasoning. The Romans didnt write the accents down all the time.
  2. I also wonder why the /-n/ is there, even in Italian and Romanian, which did not preserve the /-n/ in words like uomo which were also /n/-stems. In fact, Romanian has săpun, which doesnt match the expected development if the suffix were perceived as an augmentative suffix (like Spanish -ón), and so far as I know it doesnt represent the expected development of Latin /n/-stems either.
  3. And Spanish has an irregular development of /s/ > /š/ > /x/, as brought up below.

All of this makes me think that maybe it was a Wanderwort for hundreds of years, and not a direct inheritance from Latin. Again, just because one writer in Rome was familiar with soap doesnt mean the common people were. Soap 22:24, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


The etymology of the entry valiantly begins with a year: "1955", and Lexico says "1950s". Merriam-Webster tells us: "Many people think [my emphasis] "disinformation" is a literal translation of the Russian "dezinformatsiya," which means "misinformation," a term the KGB allegedly used in the 1950s to name a department created to dispense propaganda." Yet: Citations:disinformation has excellent, non-bs citations from 1887, 1892, 1907, 1917, and 1941. Wiktionary is an absolutely wonderful forum to determine the true origin of this word, or, at least, to come up with some explanation for this situation. The closest analogy I can think of is Citations:hobbit, Talk:Scientology (but those early ones are clearly(?) a different meaning) or the necessity to avoid anachronism by some means [15] (the word existed in 1797 but the original etymology could not happen until the 1860s). Whenever an etymology does not fit the facts, it is absurd to leave it as is unexplained. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 16:33, 15 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

None of the pre-WWII quotes seems to have the modern sense. Just because they are morphologically dis- + information doesn't mean they're really the same word. On the other hand, 1955 and the 1950's in general are clearly too late- I have fixed the entry accordingly. Nicodene (talk) 05:13, 23 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


We have Latin sittybus (title sheet attached to a manuscript), sillybus (thistle), Ancient Greek σίττυβος (síttubos, cauldron), σίλλυβον (síllubon, thistle).

I don't see how sittybus would be connected to any of those, but I might be missing something. Latin syllabus might be connected, though. 18:26, 15 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

It occurs as sittybis in the 1919 Loeb edition of Cicero’s Letters to Atticus, e.g. in the last sentence of IV.5,[16] but some editions have sillybis.[17] Elsewhere, in IV.8, the Loeb edition has sillybis,[18] and there is even a code-switch to Greek σιλλύβους in IV.4a,[19] where it is clear that Cicero is not entirely sure (“quos vos Graeci, ut opinor, σιλλύβους appellatis”). See also about the code-switching here, and for etymological considerations this blog posting and the entry σίλλυβος in LSJ. Many places (including the Wiktionary entry for syllabus) claim that the term syllabus arose as a misprint syllabos appearing in place of sittybas in a 1470s edition of Cicero's Letters IV.5 and IV.8, where sittybas is said to be the Romanization of σιττύβας, the accusative plural of σιττύβα meaning parchment label or title-slip on a book, and LSJ writes “σιττύβαι (q.,v.)”, while complaining this has “an inappropriate meaning”. There is no such entry, though, and I can find no other independent evidence of the existence of such an Ancient Greek term.  --Lambiam 09:36, 16 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Here, however, I see that σιττύβαι is glossed by Hesychius of Alexandria as δερματίναι στολαί· τὰ μικρὰ ἱμαντάρια, meaning “leather garments; small lanyards”. Combining the material of the first sense with the form factor of the second sense gives us leather straps. Note that ἱμαντάριον (himantárion) itself is already a diminutive of ἱμάς (himás, leather strap).  --Lambiam 10:10, 16 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


What can explain "semantic shift" from Old Norse Old Norse ladd (hose, woolen stocking; sock) to Middle English ladde (foot soldier, servant; male commoner; boy)?

The fact that there's ladde "foot soldier" is matching my prior since latrones in Varro is "mercenaries", and later "highwaymen" (Wolfgang D. C. de Melo, A Typology of Errors in Varro and his Editors). The Old Norse tangent sounds like a desparate take, or is there more to it and the "sock" translation misleading? ApisAzuli (talk) 03:59, 16 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

All descendents seem to agree that "thief" could be synonym with "highwayman", the Romanian entry indicates. In particular, OFr. lerre vel sim. (Fr. larron) looks like a reasonable comparison for German Larry, cf. redensarten-index: den Larry machen, "sich aufspielen", "ein billiger Diener sein" etc. [20]) reports that allegedly English *Larry* may mean as much as "Trottel" anyway. From my limited experience I rather thought it means to be lazy.

Derivations from personal names like Lawrence, Dick, Peter, Jack, Ace, whatever won't have much to recommend themselves, I'm afraid. However, where Low German renders au as af(f)e and thus Lafferenz for Laurentius [21] (thus perhaps TV cook Johann Lafer, I imagine), the fact that f occasionally represents former θ may be appreciable, IIRC regularly so in Gothic . ApisAzuli (talk) 04:56, 16 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

That's literally sockpuppets, init? ApisAzuli (talk) 05:40, 16 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

There is the Norwegian ladd, which means "boy, fellow, guy", especially in compound words like Askeladd/Askeladden (a name), tusseladd ("nincompoop"), which actually is the same Norwegian word ladd meaning a "rough sock", "woolen slipper", so this points to the likelihood that the semantic shift had already occurred in Old Norse, and was inherited by Norwegian, and also entered Old English as a proper name (Ladda) and possibly Old English *ladda (boy, fellow) into Middle English as a term for a "fellow" that simply wasn't recorded till Middle English times. Leasnam (talk) 19:23, 16 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Curiously, the word "fellow" is an Old Norse borrowing, as well. Wakuran (talk) 20:03, 16 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

du willt instead of du willst[edit]

How common was the German form "du willt"? It's missing here despite being quite common in examples on Wikipedia and also for example in the famous aria "Ach, mein Sinn, wo willt du endlich hin?" in the Johannespassion.

I wasn't able to find any discussion online on this very surprising ending of wollen or any info on its possible use with any other verb. --Espoo (talk) 15:41, 17 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

This is an early Modern High German relic form from Middle High German. In Middle High German, all preterite-present verbs used the ending -t for 2.sg, while Modern High German "regularized" them to -st. With wollen, wilt/willt persisted into the 17th century. It is used in the original version of the Lutherbibel which is why it also appears in Bach's works that directly quote from the New Testament. Note that your Wikipedia search also has a few false positives from Low German (un wenn ji dat nich glöben willt; Wi willt läwen). –Austronesier (talk) 16:55, 17 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Wow, that's very interesting! Since this ending persisted only into the 17th century and only with wollen, it must have sounded very archaic a century later when Bach wrote this work in 1724.
Considering he revised it several times until 1740, it's extra weird and interesting that the form willt wasn't updated. I'll have to see if i can find info on whether willt was still used in the Bible text in use in Leipzig at that time.
When did use of this ending with the other modal verbs die out?
Where is there info on this online or in what books commonly available in large libraries? I'm guessing those sources also explain why wissen is partly used like preterite-present verbs and has weiß instead of weißt. --Espoo (talk) 21:06, 17 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Online, there is some info in the German Wikipedia: de:w:Modalverb#Zur_Umgestaltung_der_Flexion_der_Modalverben. A good academic source about Frühneuhochdeutsch is this chapter (see pp. 1584 and 1722 for the preterite-presents) which is accessible via the Wikipedia Library[22]. –Austronesier (talk) 10:20, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Danke! (1548) --Espoo (talk) 20:25, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'm guessing the ‹t› would have been /ts s/ for a while someplace earlier than others, the extra -t from analogical repair. jetzʼ, isʼ etc. are very common, and Köllsch sounded something like that to me, too. On second thought it actually sounds like mere ellision, willsʼ, and the stop is maybe epenthetic when I retrieve it. The example that I checked only has 2Sg küst(?), 3Sg kütt, which is odd because the idiom et kütt wie et kütt clearly proves *t not a spirant. ApisAzuli (talk) 19:05, 19 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The /t/ in "du wilt, solt" is an old irregular ending that has to do with the Germanic inflection type of these modal verbs (cf. English thou wilt, shalt). At some point it was simply replaced with the regular ending by analogy with the rest of verbs. -- It's true that the /st/-ending may be pronounced /s/, especially in western Germany, but I don't see how that's relevant here. -- Colognian "kütt" is, as you already say, a 3rd person singular and as such its /t/ is entirely normal. The 2nd person is "du küss". 19:34, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


@Inqilābī has some query about the etymology of this English word. He added {{rfe}} without indicating the query. --RichardW57 (talk) 12:56, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

That's the name Anicha? Wakuran (talk) 14:39, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • The question is, in which language is this used? It could be some Southeast Asian language probably, but I don’t know if the English term is attested. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 15:16, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

The etymology of the Albanian word çfarë[edit]

The page for çfarë has no etymology and it says to go here.

In the South, they use the words çë/ç' and çfarë interchangeably to mean "what" or "what kind of". In the North, çka/ça (or in some dialects, especially in the Northeast, shka, which doesn't have a page) is used to mean "what", but çfarë is only used to mean "what kind of" and the word after is typically ablative. çë and ç' can be abbreviations of both though. I don't know if it's worth mentioning any of this since I don't have any secondary sources; I'm going off of what I've heard and read used by native speakers. Anyway, the word farë means seed but it is also used to mean "kind" (although this definition isn't included in the page). In Northern Albania (maybe also in the South; I don't know too much about the Southern dialect even though it's the literary standard), a common greeting between men is "a jé burrë?" which means "are you a man?", but once, a stranger in Koplik greeted me with "A jé farë burrit", which means, word for word, "[interrogative particle] are(2nd person singular present indicative) kind man-of(indefinite ablative singular)?". (Using "-it" instead of "-i" for indefinite singular ablative for masculine nouns is considered improper since usually that form is used only for the definite but whatever). It basically means the same thing as "a jé burrë?", kinda like "Are you a kind of man?". Anyway, the reason I'm talking about the word farë is because I'm pretty sure it is the origin of the word çfarë. It seems to me that it is a combination of çë and farë to mean "what kind of". This is supported by two things: First, in the North (maybe also the South; again, I don't know too much about that dialect), çfarë takes the ablative. e.g., "çfarë kombsije jé?", which means "what nationality(indefinite ablative singular) are you?" This is significant because it implies that çfarë is not an adjective but a noun; the indefinite ablative is often used to modify nouns that come before it (e.g., "pýll ahash", beech forest. pýll means forest and ahash is indefinite ablative plural for beech tree). Second, in old books written in Gheg (which is the Northern dialect's name), çfarë is written with an apostrophe: "ç'farë", implying that it's an abbreviation or elision of something. Here's an example:

Po Zo'! shka jeni me gjith ket dritë? (note the use of "shka" for "what")

-- Zâna jemi, Mujo, tuj shetitë,

Tuj u sjellë na njerzvet me u ndimue,

Ti, ç'farë ndere, Mujo, po na lypë? ("ndere", which means honor or here favor, is indefinite ablative singular)

From Visaret e Kombit, Vllimi i Dytë, Kângë Kreshnikësh dhe Legjenda (the Treasures of the Nation, Second Volume, Songs of Frontier Warriors and Legends) by Father Donat Kurti and Father Bernadin Palaj, song 7, verses 35-38. Here's a translation.

It may be asked, "if you don't have any secondary sources, is there any point in writing any of this?" and the answer is yes, I have a project in English due yesterday that's 10% of my grade and I'm procrastinating. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 23:19, 19 April 2022 (UTC).[reply]

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but procrastination does more than its share ... Chuck Entz (talk) 02:12, 20 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Unlike Wikipedia, we do not require etymologies to be sourced, but it may be best to hedge a proposed etymology with weasel words like probably, as in, “Probably a univerbation of ç' (what) +‎ farë (kind).” The Albanian Wiktionary gives the sense “kind” as the 11th sense (out of 16) for the entry farë.  --Lambiam 05:23, 20 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I am slightly confused about the gloss ("polite") in the usage example's translations. Most obviously it refers to the pronoun , whose entry does not yet say so, but it got me thinking. If farë ("kind") is from *sper-, as our entry and primary definitions indicate, I could see an parallel to Sprössling and offspring for an appellative, pressuming that *sperǵʰ- was an extension of *sper-; see e.g. Roman gens, or kindly for that matter. The fact that barn (child) etc. are phonetically so similar is of course a problem in view of s-mobile, shatemization, etc. Anyway, if I understand correctly, "old books written in Gheg" might as well be relatively early in the attested history of Albanian, and the reconstructruction of it's prehistory is all the more difficult for it, so there should be room for doubt. And indeed, ç' "(interrogative pronoun) Is used as vocative replacing çfarë", so the entries are a little contradictory in this view.
By the way, probably should per haps mean probe-ably, so it would be useful to restrict the claim to what can be probed with some degree of reliability. The spelling clearly indicates that it was understood as contraction. Beyond that, as messy and difficult as pronouns and inflections are (quoth Ringe), it might be less than clear. ApisAzuli (talk) 11:26, 21 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure if I ever really have understood any of your posts, but I guess barn is simply just something born or borne. Wakuran (talk) 19:26, 21 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Compare sfârc, Ger. Knospen (Spross, bud; nipple), uncertain perky, pokey, piksen and so on, Lat. perforate, pungus pugnos etc. p. p., bristly, breast, Bürste, and so forth. ApisAzuli (talk) 15:20, 23 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Why? There's no reason to believe these are all related to each other, let alone to the Albanian. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:02, 23 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Ick mach mich doch hier nicht zum Gaspar. ApisAzuli (talk) 06:49, 24 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Mistake among descendants of Latin cremō?[edit]

Why does it include French crémer?—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 04:21, 21 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

crémer is a descendant, just not an inherited one. It should be listed as a learned borrowing to make that clearer. —Mahāgaja · talk 05:59, 21 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I've discovered that my question reflected (at least a bit of) user error. My bafflement arose because I was understanding crémer in the sense of "to cream," and when I checked its entry I failed to notice that it includes two senses. The addition by Mahāgaja of the "learned" labels should help others avoid making my error and, to further reduce the likelihood, I've also augmented the reference to crémer among the descendants with the gloss “cremate, consume, burn.”―PaulTanenbaum (talk) 16:49, 21 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
And no sooner had I done that then I discovered the right way to prevent my bafflement, which is {{senseid}}. So I've made that change and I think I'm now done.—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 17:10, 21 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Originally the entry claimed OIr. **timáinid, I changed it to derive from do·immaig (see do-immaig in DIL). But since it is back-formed from the verbal noun timmáin, this is not ideal. Also it seems to me that do·immaig in a deuterotonic form isn’t directly attested in Old or Middle Irish even though it has an entry in DIL (or at least I can’t find any example in DIL). There is also an entry for timáinid in DIL which obviously isn’t an Old Irish form and it smells of Early Modern/Classical tiomáinidh in conservative spelling to me (but I have no idea how old are two of the examples quoted in DIL, might be a late Middle Irish form too?; the other examples are post-14th century) – anyway, I don’t understand why DIL authors decided to have two separate entries, especially when they refer IGT Verbs forms (tiomáinfead, ní thiomáineabh ⁊c.) in do-immaig, not timáinid.

So probably the etymology should say something like back formation from timmáin (driving (about, around)), the verbal noun of [unattested?] Old Irish [*]do·immaig (…)? But if so, I’m not sure how to word it properly, and whether do·immaig should be said to be unattested or not. What do ye think? // Silmeth @talk 14:06, 21 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Silmethule: I wouldn't call it a back-formation, since it doesn't involve the deletion of a morpheme. I'd just say it's denominal from the verbal noun. And although do·immaig isn't directly attested in the deuterotonic, it does have attested finite forms that aren't denominal from the verbal noun (because they don't have -áin-), so do·immaig is a reasonable lemma to put them under (but as Middle Irish, not Old, since the forms that are attested all seem to be of Middle Irish provenance). So, I'd say the etymology should say "Denominal from {{der|ga|mga|timmáin}}, verbal noun of {{m|mga|do·immaig}}, from {{m|mga|to-}} + {{der|ga|sga|imm·aig}}. —Mahāgaja · talk 14:24, 21 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Descendants of Latin bassus[edit]

I have stumbled across the descendant list of Latin bassus and noticed that most of the descendants obviously cannot derive from the (Late) Latin word itself (e.g. Spanish bajo with -j- which cannot not originate from -ss-). Regardless of the deeper etymology of bassus, I wonder if is it possible to reconstruct a Vulgar Latin form bottom-up from the modern descendants? The Late Latin form itself looks like a Latinization from one of the daughter languages, most likely an Italo-Romance lect, as can be seen from the medial -ss-. –Austronesier (talk) 10:00, 22 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Developments like ajenjo < absinthium, flojo < fluxus  and empujar < impulsare  show that [x] < [Cs] is possible.  --Lambiam 17:32, 22 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, the outcome is very similar e.g. to that of capsa. Can we triangulate the *C based on reflexes in the other languages? I find Tuscan basso next to Sicilian vasciu very challenging, but I admittedly don't know much about Romance languages beyond my good old Lausberg booklets ("Sammlung Göschen"). ‑Austronesier (talk) 19:05, 22 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think all the Romance forms can come from the same VL form. Some seem to come from bassus, others from *bassius (or *bascius?). —Mahāgaja · talk 21:00, 22 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Apparent derivatives of *bassius can also be explained as simple deverbals of *bassiare and its descendants, which explains the palatal element.
I disagree with the premise of this thread, though, as Spanish has no shortage of examples of /s/ (> /ʃ/) > /x/, as in Latin saponem, sepia > Spanish jabón, jibia. Nicodene (talk) 04:53, 23 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Spanish rojo being from Latin russus is also a pretty telling exact parallel to bassus > bajo. — Ceso femmuin mbolgaig mbung, mellohi! (投稿) 03:24, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Romagnol macal[edit]

This term appears in the Catti's Sonetto romagnolo (1502) with the meaning of “Pantano” (given there; in Italian: “muddy land”). In one book it appears as “porcile” (in Italian: “pigsty”) and in a review made by Gaetano Gasperon and Luigi Orsini (1910) it is said that it is still used at their times (note 1: «macal è ancor vivo», “macal is still alive”). In a Lessichetto ravennate (“Ravennate lexicon”), uploaded by the dialettoromagnolo site, that belongs to the Schürr institute, of the 17th century, the term appears with the meaning of “a pool of mud”. In the Du Cange appears one lemma machale that can be connected with the term in question. In Spelman's Glossarium Archaiologicum machale appears as “A Gallico Machu” (“From Gaulish Machu) and in Bullet's Mémoires sur la langue celtique it appears as derived from “mach, the same as bach”. What do you think?--BandiniRaffaele2 (talk) 16:25, 23 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Here is the page in Mémoires (vol. 1) dealing with "bach" (there are several entries with the same headword). It's not clear which one is being referred to. Of the definitions for Mach, on the other hand, the one that pops out to me is "plaine, champ, campagne, terre". I can see how those other terms (swampland, earthen pigsty) could derive from a word meaning "earth". This could be the same as the entry *magos- ‘plain, field’ in {{R:EDPC}}. But if the Medieval Latin granary term is actually the origin, that root seems more dubious, and the only root in EDPC I can see as relating is *mak-o- ‘increase, raise, feed’, and I'm not sure how plausible that connection even is. Do we know anything else about the origin of the Latin word?
Any Celtic experts? 06:18, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Couldn't it derive from mach (“outside”), that also comes from “magos-” (“field”)? Or this is the Etymological dictionary of Gaelic and not Celtic? BandiniRaffaele2 (talk) 07:09, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
MacBain is a (hopelessly outdated and now nearly useless) etymological dictionary of Scottish Gaelic only. The sense "outside" developed from "into the field" within Goidelic; I don't think it had that sense in Brythonic or in Continental Celtic. —Mahāgaja · talk 07:15, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
What about the entry machair, which has cognates in Breton and Welsh meaning "enclosure" (naively promising for the granary/pigsty senses)? But then it lists Latin maceria as the source of both of those words, confusingly, while also analyzing the word as magh + tìr. 07:20, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
At this point I don't know how to continue with the etymology. I have no more ideas. Maybe we need an etymological dictionary of Medieval Latin, but where can we find it?-BandiniRaffaele2 (talk) 07:44, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Greek Ἀνδώματις, Sanskrit "Andhalámati"[edit]

In researching the etymology of the Latin river name Andōmatis, which refers to a tributary of the Ganges, I came upon the linked entry in William Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) which says Andomatis corresponds to Sanskrit "Andhalámati or Tamasá". The first looks like it could be a source of the Greek, and therefore eventually the Latin form. But I cannot find any other Latin-alphabet source that mentions "Andhalámati", and I don't know enough to infer a plausible Sanskrit spelling for the form (e.g. I'm not sure whether all the vowels are supposed to be short). I did discover that the Sanskrit word अन्ध andhá which usually means "dark", "blind" can have the sense of "turbid water" which seems appropriate (also "dark" matches the sense of tamasa), but if that is the first element of the name Andhalámati, I'm still stumped about what the second element would be. Is anyone with greater knowledge of Sanskrit or better research skills able to help me find out what the Sanskrit spelling is of the name "Andhalámati" that Smith mentions?

Furthermore, India as Described by Megasthenes, by Narain Singh Kalota (1978), appears to give an alternative etymology, saying Greek Ἀνδώματις is "thought by Lassen to be connected with the Sanskrit Andhmati, which he would identify, therefore, with the Tamsa (now the Tonsa), the two names being identical in meaning, but as the river came from the country of the Madyandivi (Sanskrit Madhyandina, meriodionalis)--that is, the people of the south--Wilford's conjecture that the Andomati is the Dammuda, the river which flows by Bardwan, is more likely to be correct. The Sanskrit name of the Danrda is Dhanmadava" (page 41).

And in addition, I found an article on "Hindu Pronunciation of Greek, and Greek Pronunciation of Hindu Words", by A. Weber (translated by E. Rehatsek) appearing in the Indian Antiquary, Volumes 1-2 (1872) which says "ω stands for o in Ἀνδωματις" (page 149).

So I'm left quite confused about whether the Sanskrit form synonymous to Tam(a)sa that I should be looking for will correspond to Andhalamati, Andh(a)mati, or Andhomati (even setting aside the question of whether this or the Dhanmadava is the river in question).--Urszag (talk) 18:45, 24 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I don't know the reliability of the source but I've found this where the river is mentioned with the Sanskrit name: तमसा, but this is the spelling of the Tamasā toponym. BandiniRaffaele2 (talk) 06:01, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


RFV of the etymology, which seems to be mostly pan-Turkic hogwash. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:06, 24 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Chuck Entz, the greek word @LOGEION ὁ Ταργίταος (Targítaos), genitive τοῦ Ταργιτάου. ‑‑Sarri.greek  I 19:09, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
For the etymology, this paper has a nice overview of Iranian-based interpretations of the names of Targitaos and his sons (p. 20).
Also the lemma itself is problematic. The documented name as transmitted through Herodotus is Ταργιτάος, and mostly appears unchanged as "Targitaos" in books written in English. I've looked for "Targitai" in Google books and only found a few marginal attestations. Most apparent attestations are from the Latin text in a 19th century edition of Herodotus where "Targitai" is just the genitive of Latinized "Targitaus". The common Turkish spelling seems to be "Targitay", and for Russian "Таргитай" (found in lots of Soviet era scholarly books). –Austronesier (talk) 19:36, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


As above. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:25, 24 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Chuck Entz, the greek word @LOGEION ὁ Ἀρπόξαϊς (Arpóxaïs), genitive τοῦ Ἀρποξάϊος. ‑‑Sarri.greek  I 19:08, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


De l'arabe ad-duffa

Translation: From Arabic ad-duffa. Wakuran (talk) 17:28, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Anyone have an idea what Arabic word that is? The closest things I can find that might come to mean 'sluice gate' are الدَفْق(ad-dafq, the pouring out, the overflowing) and الضِفَّة(aḍ-ḍiffa, the bank, the shore). —Mahāgaja · talk 18:47, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
This is exactly what it is but your dictionaries are gappy. It is دَفَّة(daffa, side, face, panel, cover, surface etc.; helm, rudder), by-form of دَفّ(daff). These words were دُفَّة(duffa) and دُفّ(duff) in al-Andalus, and دُفَّة(duffa) meant the leaf of a door or batwing etc. More references are found in Corriente, Federico; Pereira, Christophe; Vicente, Angeles, editors (2017) Dictionnaire du faisceau dialectal arabe andalou. Perspectives phraséologiques et étymologiques (in French), Berlin: De Gruyter, →ISBN, page 470. Fay Freak (talk) 20:10, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks. "My dictionaries" were just Wiktionary itself, nothing else. I've added the etymology based on Fay Freak's statement. —Mahāgaja · talk 20:45, 25 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Alongside the suggested etymology, Peter Baker recently advanced a suggestion that serif could derive from late Latin cerificus (waxen), after the ruled baselines used when writing on wax tablets. This squares better phonologically, but semantically it's not ideal – but personally I like it. Is it worth adding to the entry?

Also, does anyone actually pronounce it /sɛˈɹif/? I've never heard it said that way, and all historical spellings point to an unstressed 2nd syllable. If anything, it should be moved to the second pronunciation. airy—zero (talk) 13:52, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

If the German and Portuguese etc. are stressed this way and borrowed from English, probably it is pronounced this way? But I also count myself as one who knows this English word only from writing.
It is probably worth to add it if you don’t discern anything squarely unreasonable. Was it really wax tablets though and not perhaps e.g. slate tablets? I think the former were relatively rare at least in Germany/the Netherlands, though both are reported for the same purposes; bee products were expensive. Mmmh, guess I have found the problematic part, as it is supposed cerificus … Fay Freak (talk) 14:17, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
For me, accenting the last syllable sounds mistakenly hypercorrect, like pronouncing the English noun cache as if it were French caché. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:29, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
By the way, would the term schreef that's mentioned be related to schrijven or schrappen, as stated in different articles. Wakuran (talk) 17:59, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I checked one hundred and thirty recordings of 'serif' on YouGlish, ignoring repeat speakers and recordings where the wrong word was said.
- Two Brits and four Americans said /səˈri(ː)f/
- One Brit and one American said /səˈrɪf/
- 122 speakers, with various accents, said /ˈsɛrɪf/
/ˈsɛrɪf/ is also the only pronunciation that I can find in any dictionary of English. Nicodene (talk) 08:04, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The San Serriffe pun only works with the pronunciation /səˈɹiːf/. —Mahāgaja · talk 08:27, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It can work either way; puns don't need to be based on two pronunciations being exactly the same, just similar enough.--Urszag (talk) 10:46, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I think Dutch schreef fits well, both in sense and phonetically (before ⟨ee⟩ became diphthongized), but who ordered the candidate precursor schrafferen, a totally obscure verb that accords neither in sense nor in sound?  --Lambiam 10:41, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Would schrafferen be such an obscure term in Middle Dutch? Although Dutch uses arceren for cross-hatch currently, German and the continental Scandinavian languages all use akin words for cross-hatch, today. Wakuran (talk) 11:15, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The term cannot have jumped immediately from Middle Dutch to the late 19th-century English use. The sense “to cross-hatch” is rather distant from the sense “small terminal cross-stroke added to letter strokes”. Even if we can fill the temporal and semantic gaps, /sɛˈɹif/ < /sxrɑˈfeːr/ is not easily explained. The main problem with considering schreef the etymom is that its use for a stroke specifically found at the ends of letter strokes has no early attestations, thus not ruling out a phonosemantically matched borrowing in the other direction.  --Lambiam 13:51, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


I remember reading once that Yiddish טאָמער comes from Hebrew תאמר‎, written in Yiddish orthography. Does anybody have a source confirming it? --Cymelo (talk) 08:49, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I have comparison. Let’s say it is just say “adverb”. Fay Freak (talk) 16:57, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
This etymology is in the Jiddisch-Nederlands Woordenboek. 04:02, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, I've added it to the entry now. —Mahāgaja · talk 07:58, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for providing this source! Cymelo (talk) 08:50, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


A Cocconeis is a diatom whose name derives from "cocc-", "related to a seed, berry or a fruit" but what does the suffix "neis" mean? Thanks for help. Gerardgiraud (talk) 18:56, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

An initial guess was that it was derived from augmentative or scientiic -one + -eis (which seems to be a plural form of -eus, so it might not make that much sense...) Wakuran (talk) 21:46, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Possibly a compound, not a word derived by suffixation. I wonder whether the second element might be from νῆις (nêis, unpracticed in, unknowing of) or Νηίς (Nēís, a Naiad (Ionic spelling)). DCDuring (talk) 23:15, 26 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The second part is from ναῦς (naûs, ship) + the suffix -ις/-ιδος. Compare ἐχενηΐς (ekhenēḯs, remora, suckerfish). Further similar examples can be found in this Wikisource article (even though it doesn't give the etymology of the second part for Cocconeis itself, it can be inferred from the notes on Gomphoneis, Trachyneis, Anomœoneis etc.): https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Diatomaceae_of_Philadelphia/Naviculoideae --Urszag (talk) 03:55, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
For reference, here is the actual description. You'll notice that it refers to both "Navicula" and "Coccus". Off the top of my head, I'm not sure whether he's talking about shapes or specific taxa, but then, I'm not exactly fluent in German nor in the nomenclature of microbes- especially when we're talking about the state of it two centuries ago. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:46, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
There are 50 genera with the suffix "neis", from Actinoneis to Tropidoneis, 45 are Diatoms. I don't know if this has anything to do with "neis". However the etymology Νηίς (Nēís) a Naiad seems credible, but this does not give us the origin ie who first had the idea; Cocconeis described by Ehrenberg in 1832, seems to be the first genus to carry this suffix. Ehrenberg did'nt explain his choise. Gerardgiraud (talk) 17:23, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The Naiads are fresh-water nymphs, specifically of running fresh water, which makes them less likely as eponyms of diatoms that thrive in sea water. As Cocconeis were already reported by Ehrenburg as habitual clingers on sea Ceramium and marsh Lemna roots, he may have been inspired by the clinging ἐχενηΐς (ekhenēḯs), although the clinging is represented in that word by ἐχε- and not by -νηΐς.  --Lambiam 08:48, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

At last I've got it! in Paul C. Silva. Names of classes and families of living algae. Univ. Calif., Berkeley, 1980 read on line. On page 18 it says:
... neis is derived from νηυς / nèys, the Ionic and Epic form of ναῦς / nays (Latin navis: ship) , and has been given the stem -neid (as in Cocconeidaceae). Gerardgiraud (talk) 18:59, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for this! I had the same question, as I had made an observation of a Stauroneis during a recent City Nature Challenge event, and was wondering about the pronunciation, which got me into the etymology. "Stauros" (cross, crucifix) was easy enough and a common term in diatom anatomy, but I was having trouble with the suffix. I dug up Ehrenberg's 1843 publication of the name, but he gives no explanation of the Greek roots there. Peter G Werner (talk) 12:35, 5 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


The etymology for Turkish gölevez is given as, “From Ottoman Turkish قلقاس(kulkas)”. This is quite implausible. Turkish terms inherited from Ottoman Turkish generally differ only in the alphabet used, and anly differences in pronunciation are minor.  --Lambiam 16:55, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Then they are not inherited from it but Vulgar Ottoman Turkish by-forms that were unmentioned because of not being written either. I agree there is something missing, but it has not been concerning for me for the exact reason you formulated.
In {{R:tr:Eren|page=160a}} this is instead spelt göleğez, visibly etymologically more legitimately, like “sloe” is now güvem but should be, as it is sometimes, göğem regularly), and the variant golağaz is mentioned, so you see where we are.
Actually I should admit that Turkish forms are reborrowed from Greek dialects; κολοκάσι (kolokási) also needs variants, @Sarri.greek, the question is also if this κολοκάσι (kolokási) is kind of educated. Oddly in Ottoman, comparably I suspect, they used a more Arabic formation as a kind of logogram while the Ottoman usage has been supplanted by Greek borrowings. Fay Freak (talk) 19:33, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
See now gölevez with references. Greek κολοκάσι (kolokási) is alive in Cyprus and Crete. Cypriot Turkish has the closest forms (kolokas, kolokaz, kolakas, kologas). The other Turkish forms are from southern Anatolia, taken from Cyprus and distorted inside Turkish mouths either by some folk-etymological association or through barbarity. By the way, there are interesting dialectal Arabic forms that can be added to comparison: Borg, Alexander (2004) A Comparative Glossary of Cypriot Maronite Arabic (Arabic–English) (Handbook of Oriental Studies; I.70), Leiden and Boston: Brill, page 394 Vahag (talk) 21:23, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for the nice links @Vahagn Petrosyan at κολοκάσι!! I added one more Cypriot dictionary (viewable): but these are for el‑cyp lemma κολοκάσιν (kolokásin).
@Fay Freak, my guess is: κολοκάσι (not in mainstream dictionaries, not learned) is a synchronic internal borrowing from Cypriot κολοκάσιν. I.e. it entered Standard because it is in fashion these last years at TV-chef-programmes as a superfood. Demotic (rare) κολοκάτσι (kolokátsi), inherited from Mediaeval as at {{R:Andriotis 1983}}. The modern κολοκασία (kolokasía), a cross borrowing: morphologically a diachronic internal borrowing from Koine Greek plus semantically a {{lbor}} from the Neolatin taxonomic term.
For a parallel Vulgar Turkish during Ottoman Turkish period, I do not know anything. Perhaps @BassHelal how does so many ota etymologies, would be interested. Thank you. ‑‑Sarri.greek  I 21:38, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Lambiam, is there a connection with κολοκύνθη (kolokúnthē)? Thank you. ‑‑Sarri.greek  I 21:50, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for the mention, this one is a fun challenge but unfortunately after some searching I don't have much to add.
Ottoman Dictionaries don't have the Modern Turkish form, not even as a common misspelling or vulgarization, leading me to believe it may have been dialectal or novel at the time, possibly even a post Ottoman innovation.
Redhouse claims it is from Greek but in the from χολοχασια [23] which looks wrong, all dictionaries use the Arabic spelling قُلْقَاس(qulqās) and, except for Redhouse, say that it is Arabic in origin.
@Lambiam form my experience, there are a great number of Ottoman Turkish words that do not become the same in Modern Turkish. Modern Turkish takes from a lot of the vulgarities once spoken by the common folk (usually of Istanbul) rather than the original Arabic and Persian forms spoken by the well educated. The more extreme vulgarities are often early Persian borrowings relating to daily-life but Arabic and Armenian vulgarities exist as well.
My conservative guess is that it is a heavy (possibly regional) vulgarization of the original form (Arabic or Greek) kolokas that popularized after the creation of Modern Turkish. Had it been popular (enough) during the Ottoman times, we would have seen this as a misspelling in the Ottoman dictionaries, but we don't see this, which means it wasn't popular enough or non-existent. Which form did the Turkish borrow from though is the big question. My bet would be on the Arabic but I can't say it with confidence. BassHelal (talk) 22:55, 27 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


OIr. móu and other variants thereof: McCone in Stair na Gaeilge (§II.20.3, p. 125) gives as the regular classical Old Irish outcome of early OIr. *máu /maːu̯/ from PC. *māyūs (which then explains the early analogical mármór shift), which then got variant form moä (written móa in Wb.) by analogy with (older) and moü (spelt mou in Ml.) on analogy with regular adjectives (McCone gives the proportion X, moäm ~ córu, córam resulting in X = moü). Those forms having a hiatus also nicely explain Sc. Gaelic motha. Is there a better explanation for them suggested elsewhere or are there good arguments against McCone’s version?

If not, I suggest we list as the first comparative form of mór and move móu to moü with pronunciation given as /mo.u/ (and maybe also move móo to moo and list it as a spelling variant of , doubling vowels AFAIK was an option to mark length in early mss.).

I know Stifter gives /moːu̯/ for móu in Sengoídelc (and /mo.o/ for moo), but he himself doubts he’s right here in the book. // Silmeth @talk 12:59, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


We currently simply describe the English word shingle as being a Middle English borrowing from Vulgar Latin. But our entry for Proto-West-Germanic *skindulā claims that it is inherited from Proto-West-Germanic.

Which is it? Tharthan (talk) 17:36, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

It's the latter. Our entry for 'shingle' just left out the intermediate steps. Nicodene (talk) 20:02, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


from the god Dio-nysos, or vice-versa.

It looks like Διόνῡσος (Diónūsos) is from Νῦσα (Nûsa), or at least from the same source as it; see Διόνυσος#Etymology. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:37, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Linnaeus and Linnean: Finnish eponym[edit]

Hi, Can you offer the Finnish eponym for the botanist Linnaeus (also known as Carl von Linné), to go in the Translations drop-down for the Wiktionary term 'Linnaean'? I prefer not to put in a bad guess. There is also no translation/declension for 'Linnaeus' himself, so I don't know if his inflectional stem is Linnaeus-, Linnaeuks- ... Perhaps the version Linné is now the more common, as for example in the principal Finnish Wikipedia entry. And perhaps you will know whether back- or front-vowel declension would therefore apply.

He spent some time in Finland so I am sure he would appreciate a Finnish eponym of his own! Blueclear (talk) 11:21, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I added the translations to the page :) Jnovikov (talk) 12:00, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks so much, really quick.Blueclear (talk) 12:17, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

German Pfeil and peilen[edit]

Are Pfeil and peilen, related? Also Dutch for Arrow is Peil. ADDSamuels (talk) 15:17, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Apparently not, Pfeil is an early borrowing from Latin, while peilen is related to pail, apparently derived from the sense of measuring the depth in a vessel, as far as I can make out. Btw, the Dutch word is spelled pijl. Wakuran (talk) 17:44, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I am surprised to see Pegel not connected to pail on its page. Even more questionable is that the source of the derivation from Latin pagella, the semantical sense of which I see not, is @Mahagaja 2020. It appears more parsimonious to assume, like in Pfeifer, that it is a technical term borrowed from Low German in the 18th century, ultimately Proto-West Germanic *pagil (we still have at Proto-Germanic *pagilaz). The source of peilen is Low German peilen in the same time, from Middle Low German peilen, pēgelen obviously denominal from the same noun. Fay Freak (talk) 18:49, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Kay, there is more than one measure pagella in Medieval Latin. I bet at least one is in not from pagina, though it look like its diminutive, but actually borrowed from Germanic, possibly via French. Who wants to add them tings? Fay Freak (talk) 19:00, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Without any careful consideration I would put it besides Polier to parler, to wit: "Wir peilen uns später". As Fay Freak recently observed, the approximant back trill can come from a retracted jer like quality. 19:09, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
No, @ApisAzuli, I don’t see anyone using peilen in the sense of parler, and also I think I was rather considering that the German vocalized /r/ could come from a yat. Nobody was speaking any yers by 1200, and that was in farthest Russia, elsewhere they degenerated a quarter of a millennium earlier. Fay Freak (talk) 21:17, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
By the way, although it isn't mentioned on Wikipedia, Swedish also has pejla meaning something like "take bearing / location / sounding". An initial guess is that it's another of all the Middle Low German borrowings, although I haven't checked it up, yet. Wakuran (talk) 12:19, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Both the Swedish and the Danish appear from around 1700, in as far as I can read their dictionaries, like the Modern High German, so are even borrowed from Modern Low German, as in my experience the chronolectal language shift is at 1650. Fay Freak (talk) 17:42, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, Elof Hellquist basically states the same, when I look it up, from Low German or Dutch. Wakuran (talk) 20:54, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I am not aware of anyone either using peilen in the strict sense of parler, or Polier in that sense. I hardly doubt that Medieval Latin parabolo (I make clear by metaphors) fairs much better against παραβολή. We have "rod" frequently glossed, and variants in b are pertinent, so I'd like to point out that Bollerwagen is illustrated with a stereotype that shows a handy pully which I couldn't describe any better than "rod", if axle isn't the right word. Bollern being onomatopoeic poltern is notwithstanding, unless you want to admit that parola is also kind of ideophone with diminutive -ola. 23:42, 2 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Did orc actually mean "demon" in Old English, as our English and Old English entries say, or is that a modern misunderstanding? Various articles about Tolkien, e.g. [24] and [25], argue that the (only?) use of the term, in a compound word orcneas in Beowulf, is the other sense, "hell" — an orcné (hell-corpse) is a (corpse) [as in dryhtné] from orc (hell), from Latin orcus (underworld) — and that while one period glossary has Latin O rcus glossed as "orc. þyrs [oþþe] hel deofol", Bosworth-Toller lists only the sense "underworld", not "demon", and interprets the glossary entry as "orcþyrs [oþþe] heldeófol" i.e. a (correct) statement that Orcus is the god/þyrs/deofol of orc (hell), not an attestation of *orc (demon). (The Tolkien Gateway article alternatively suggests the glossary has conflated two entries, Old English orc (hell) from Latin orcus (underworld) and the better-attested Old English orc (drinking vessel) cf Latin orca (tun, vessel), urceus, either way disputing that it means "demon".) - -sche (discuss) 11:34, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Leasnam, Hazarasp (who else edits Old English?), what do you think? - -sche (discuss) 09:19, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The OED (in both the second and third editions) seems to accept the Tolkienian supposition that the orc of orcnēas and the Corpus glosses means "demon". This could be as they trust blindly in Tolkien, but that might be giving them too little credit, as the case for sidelining the "demon" sense doesn't actually seem that strong. After all, a orcnē could be a "demon corpse", not a "hell corpse", and the exact reading of the relevant Corpus gloss appears to be indeterminable without appealing to outside evidence. Furthermore, the existence of a Old English orc (demon) would be unsurprising given some of the Romance reflexes of Latin Orcus, such as Italian orco, Sardinian orcu, and Spanish huerco (all roughly "demon"). I don't wholeheartedly endorse this theory, as it lacks parsimony compared to the alternative of lumping the relevant instances of Old English orc under the "hell" sense, but the evidence I laid out is enough to make me feel trepidatious about removing the relevant senses. As a final thought,@Hundwine may also have something to add. Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 11:24, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Hazarasp: I think you mean Sardinian, not Sanskrit. —Mahāgaja · talk 17:54, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks; my brain isn't exactly functioning properly at the moment, so it can be quite exhausting writing this out (I haven't been formally diagnosed with anything yet, so I have no idea what the long-term prognosis is. However, I've been affected by it for some time, so it's unlikely to quickly evanesce). Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 07:53, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Hazarasp: I'm sorry to hear about your neurological issues and I hope they're resolved soon! In the meantime, I fixed the code for you: sar is Saraveca, "an extinct Arawakan language once spoken in Bolivia" per WP. The code for Sardinian is sc for some reason (no idea where they got the "c" from). —Mahāgaja · talk 08:23, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
(@Mahagaja) Maybe they confused Sardinia with Sicily?? (@Hazarasp) I'm also sorry to hear that; neurological issues are scary; I hope you get a good prognosis. - -sche (discuss) 08:41, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@-sche: Maybe they were thinking of sardu campidanesu or sarda comuna? —Mahāgaja · talk 10:07, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

If the word orc is not attested on its own, only in a compound, shouldn't it be listed as a reconstruction? Compare *rocc, attested in stānrocc. Also, {{uncertain}} can be used if the meaning is unclear. 18:13, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I'm not sure it will quite work here; as it is currently set up, {{uncertain}} is designed for cases where a sense's meaning is disputed, not when a sense's very existence is disputed. Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 07:53, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Re the OED, it could even be that Tolkien wrote the entry! He did work on the OED. I suppose a conservative approach might be to leave the sense and add a usage note explaining the case for and against it. - -sche (discuss) 08:41, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry to be coming so late to the discussion, but I don't see orc as meaning "demon" either on its own, only in orcþyrs. Regarding orcneas, I believe there is a theory that this is a misspelling for orcenas, plural of orcen (monster, sea-monster) (cf. Old Norse orkn (a type of seal). I see difficulties with orcnēas being the plural of orcnē "demon corpse" since orcnē would be neuter, not masculine. Leasnam (talk) 15:51, 14 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

May 2022

Deverbal Adjectives[edit]

I would hope that more information is given to the recognition of deverbal adjectives (even if technically, they might only be defined as such, that is that only through folk or a rough etymology (understandable to a fluent speaker of a language). This is because in some German Wiktionary entries, the use of the label, deverbal adjective, helps greatly to reduce the total initial axioms or important lexemes, that the language branches from. Further links like denominal nouns are often shown in the etymology, at least for German words. ADDSamuels (talk) 09:45, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I'm specifically referring to past participles, used as adjectives, in German ADDSamuels (talk) 09:46, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Can you explain in more detail in what way it will be helpful to label (for example) the adjective verschwunden as deverbal? Which axioms (?) or lexemes might thereby become unnecessary?  --Lambiam 13:11, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
That's a really great example, but often I don't find them, perhaps there need to be a bot, like compare gelöst or gewesen. ADDSamuels (talk) 14:51, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It's helpful, since if I just need to remember verschwinden, it's irregularities, and then the adjective is almost free. ADDSamuels (talk) 14:52, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
If you can remember verschwinden, you can use Wiktionary to find its past participle. Is that made easier by labelling verschwunden as a deverbal adjective? I don’t understand where the supposed advantage comes from.  --Lambiam 15:40, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry, I'm an awful explainer. On the pp (past participle) page,if the pp is an deverbal adjective, then it should explain its link to the main verb (like verschwinde does to verschwinden) ADDSamuels (talk) 18:01, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah I think it makes it somewhat easier, because when I was learning German for the first time, I was a little confused by it. ADDSamuels (talk) 18:02, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It now says for the adjective: “Etymology / Derived from the verb verschwinden”, and for the past participle: “Verb / verschwunden / 1. past participle of verschwinden”. What more is there to wish?  --Lambiam 08:02, 2 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Nothing but this should be the norm methinks ADDSamuels (talk) 10:02, 2 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Somebody knows what is the source for the etymology? I tried to look some sources, but I was unable to find it. Thanks! Cymelo (talk) 11:39, 3 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Don't know a source, but it does look plausible. The phrase "enweiz wer" is common in MHG, and there are also attested contractions like "neiz wer". The development -nw- > -m- in Yiddish is well-founded as it's also the source for mir ("we"). The only little problem I can see is that it has /ts/ instead of expected /s/ (apparently invariably so). 02:00, 4 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Interesting. My knowledge of MHG is really scarce, so I can't judge this etymology. Regarding the origin of מיר I'm a bit skeptical - from what I know, mir already existed as a doublet of wir in MHG, so we don't see the need to posit a sound shift here (I'm not aware of other words with such correspondence, and mir is used for the 2pl pronoun also in Alemmanic dialects). Thank you very much for your reply! Cymelo (talk) 06:59, 4 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, mir is found not just in Alemannic, but in most German dialects. However, it stems from the verb ending -en wir > -e mir. That's what I meant. 07:08, 4 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, the sound change -nw- > -m- happened, but it happened before Yiddish. Likewise the parallel change of -tw- to -p-/-b- seen in etwas vs. עפּעס(epes) as well as Luxembourgish eppes and Pennsylvania German/Rhine Franconian/Swabian ebbes. —Mahāgaja · talk 07:54, 4 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you both! I edited the the etymology to include your remarks. I was also able to find a source that indeed lists "neiz wer" as an indefiniteness expression. Cymelo (talk) 13:10, 4 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
PS: A possible explanation has come to my mind regarding the /ts/, too. In MHG the fricative "z" /s/ never preceded "w", but the affricate "z" /ts/ commonly did. So it could be that enweizwer ~ neizwer ~ *emezwer developed the /ts/-sound by analogy and the "w" was lost at a later stage. 08:02, 5 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

γύρος calque from Ottoman or Modern Turkish?[edit]

The Etymology 2 section of γύρος (gýros, gyro, döner kebab) states:

“The calque origin is likely to be from Ottoman Turkish rather than Modern Turkish as the dish was likely known to Greece (under its earlier Turkish name name ντονέρ (donér)) before the formation of the Modern Turkish language.”

If the dish was known in Greece under the name ντονέρ before the formation of Modern Turkish, this appears to me to imply the (semantic) calquing, replacing a non-native word, occurred later, not earlier. Pinging BassHelal.  --Lambiam 13:07, 5 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

So the Greeks definitely knew this dish from the Ottomans and called it ντονέρ (donér) but according to the Wikipedia page the name change happened in the 1970s (Wikipedia page here), long after the death of the Ottoman Turkish language and nation. The ultimate source for the word doner in Greek and Modern Turkish is the Ottoman Turkish word, but the calque in the 1970s may have at least partially been influenced in some way by the Modern Turkish word since technically Ottoman Turkish was no longer a language at the time and anyone who criticized the word for being Turkish would have done so under the assumption or view of the Modern lens or viewpoint rather than the Ottoman.
I do believe that the source labelled should be (ultimately) Ottoman Turkish but one cannot ignore or dismiss the influence of the Modern Turkish variant in this regard, whether politically or otherwise, hence why the Modern Turkish variant needs to exist in the etymology.
I hate when politics gets into language like this, makes things complicated and very ugly and removes any shared history these two languages may have had in this one dish.
Thanks for the ping! BassHelal (talk) 13:24, 5 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

ISO 639-3 code uun split into uon an pzh[edit]

I received a talk that uun is split into uon (Kulon) and pzh (Pazeh), but I need more comments to take TongcyDai's request, please.--Jusjih (talk) 16:41, 5 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Jusjih This was also brought up at WT:RFM#Formosan_Kulon-Pazeh_(uun)_split_to_Kulon_(uon)_and_Pazeh_(pzh); apparently there's some energy/enthusiasm behind the push to split them! And it seems like a valid split; apparently it's the not-so-reliable Blust who linked Kulon to Pazeh, while earlier and more recent scholars than Blust have linked it to Saisiyat instead. (Other 2021 ISO code changes are discussed here.) Austronesier said at RFM that "all (uun)-lemmas are actually Pazeh lemmas", so I guess the thing to do is add uon and pzh, have a bot switch all uun to pzh (and change the headers, categories, etc), and then drop uun, if someone has the time... - -sche (discuss) 17:55, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@TongcyDai, Jusjih, Kangtw, Austronesier I have added the codes uon Kulon and pzh Pazeh. Once all instances of uun / Kulon-Pazeh have been updated, the code uun can be removed. - -sche (discuss) 20:37, 8 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Yellow Sea[edit]

Hey, I was considering the etymology of Yellow Sea as it is currently written, and I was wondering: how would you know if 'Yellow Sea' came from Mandarin or came from Korean? And not knowing that, is it a bias against Korean culture to say that the word came from "Chinese"? --Geographyinitiative (talk) 02:20, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Isn't the Korean term derived from Chinese in any case? It says "Sino-Korean", and the transliteration of 황해 (hwanghae) looks very similar to the Mandarin pinyin of 黃海黄海 (Huáng Hǎi).
As for the proximate source, I do think English historically had greater trade contacts with Chinese. Also, the constituent parts may not translate directly as "Yellow Sea" in Korean. For example, (hwang) does not list a meaning of "yellow" except in a collapsed-by-default box, but it does list a sense of "sulfur" which seems connected. But if it is unclear you could also just list both languages. 02:34, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Whereas 黃海 literally means “yellow sea”, the literal translation of 황해 (hwanghae) appears to be “sulfur sun”. So the English name is not calqued from the Korean. The Korean name matches the phonetics but not the literal semantics of the Chinese name.  --Lambiam 14:31, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
There's a Sino-Korean reading of 황해 as "yellow sea", though, if you're scrolling through all homonyms. Wakuran (talk) 18:23, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Wakuran: That's what Lambi said, but tacitly avoided determining that 황 and 해 don't mean "yellow" and "sea" individually. However, I don't think that this would properly disqualify a Korean matrix language participating in the process. The earliest attestation for words related to yellow or golden yellow are incident with the inception of Hanguel. It would be Sino-Korean upto then and the closer to China the more likely allowing alternative readings, in particular if "sulfur" works like "gold", "ocher", "orange" (not to say Mandarine) or "clay" as I will argue. 17:43, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

As another angle of attack on the matter, we can consider the earliest attested uses of the term in English. Here are all uses from Google Books prior to the year 1800. The first search result page is basically a collection of various editions of George Staunton's An Authentic Account [] , and there are some different works on subsequent pages. I'm not claiming that Staunton is the very earliest source to use the term in English, but these works seem to focus more on China than on Korea, which leads me to think it's more likely to be from Chinese. Someone with greater knowledge in East Asian languages and history could double-check though. 19:50, 6 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

The earliest I saw is from 1739. It is given as the name of a province of the Kingdom of Corea: “the Weſtern [Province] is call’d Hoang hai, or yellow Sea”.[26]  --Lambiam 10:28, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The text uses the term chersonesus with the meaning of peninsula, I see. I had never seen it before, so I had to look it up. Wakuran (talk) 11:17, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Imberciadori notates *(s)lig-u̯és- / *(s) lig-us-́. I couldn't find the last diacrit in the graphical editor and no indication in about:PIE. Is it significant? 17:34, 7 May 2022 (UTC) Wait, is that Ayin in place of a Laryngeal to account for Room? 17:53, 7 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Tibetan-Chinese cognates[edit]

Dear Wiktionary contributors, here are some Tibetan words related to Chinese sinograms in old Chinese pronunciation that I wanted to share with you so as someone could add them into the appropriate entries and make it easier to trace the etymology:

འགྲན་སྡུར (to compete) related to (競 + 揣)

དགེ་རྒན (teacher) related to (佳 + 舊 / 昆 / 舅)

དེ་རིང and ད་ལྟ་ (now; nowadays) related to (是 / 之 + 今 (?)) (睹 + 是 / 之)

Kindest regards

an (Danish)[edit]

RFV of the etymology:

Borrowed from {{bor|da|gml|an}} and {{bor|da|da|an}}, from {{der|da|gem-pro|*ana||on, at}}, cognate with {{cog|en|on}} and {{cog|da|å}}, {{cog|da|på}}.

I stumbled on this just now, and I have no clue how to fix it. Not only does it recursively borrow itself from its own language, but it lists another term in its own language as a cognate. This has all the hallmarks of an absent-minded cross-language copypaste gone wrong, but I can't figure out where it came from. The borrowings from Middle Low German and Danish certainly suggest another North Germanic language, or perhaps something else on the Baltic. Pinging @Enkyklios, who added this. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:08, 8 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Basically, all of [27], [28] of [29] states that it's a Middle Low German borrowing in the Continental Scandinavian languages, although it could in some cases also have been influenced by modern High German or English. Wakuran (talk) 00:54, 8 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Chuck Entz, Wakuran: I suspect that {{bor|da|da|an}} is supposed to say {{bor|da|de|an}}. —Mahāgaja · talk 07:11, 8 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Ah, that makes sense, now when you mention it. My initial thought was that someone would have made a mix-up with the Danish distinction of i (in, preposition) and in (in, adverb), assuming å and an was a similar native pair, but a typo feels more logical. Wakuran (talk) 08:25, 8 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It's a doublet of Danish å. That's what it should be listed as. ᛙᛆᚱᛐᛁᚿᛌᛆᛌProto-NorsingAsk me anything 10:36, 8 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The German word an is a cognate of Danish å, på, but it is indeed better to call the Danish loanword an a doublet of these words. Enkyklion (talk) 05:39, 9 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
This is not an etymology-related question, but while we're at it: is there a way to indicate that an only occurs in phrasal verbs? This is at least what I gather from its entry in the DDO. –Austronesier (talk) 19:45, 9 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
We could edit the (only used in lexicalized expressions) description, I guess... Wakuran (talk) 22:30, 9 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Austronesier: There is {{used in phrasal verbs}}, like rare enough that I have it found only this year; and an often label is “obsolete outside …”. Fay Freak (talk) 14:29, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Opposed to what I said earlier, Schabefleisch is obviously akin to (shish) kebap, cevapi. How? ApisAzuli (talk) 08:37, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Not at all. The Schabe- element of Schabefleisch is related to English shave. —Mahāgaja · talk 08:57, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Right. And heroin is a loan from general German, not at all related to heroine, and the secondary stress is strictly observed and not counterintuitive to the spelling, and that's in recent times!
It is not at all obvious from the dictionary that Schabefleisch refers chiefly to Gyros and Döner, which is ideally made helal from lamb chop, you know, sheep and Ziege, certainly not pork, except that there's not at all as a strict a reason to observe the distinction that superstition to which superstition would hold it. You see, kaban is "hog, boar, pig" and I honestly doubt that could be from Semitic. 05:10, 11 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
DWDS [30] has recent quotations that don't really let on the meaning, nevertheless defined as raw meat from the meat grinder. And just as they, like any joe shmoe, will with an infailable sense of certainty etymologize Fleischwolf from Wolf (Canis Lupus) instead of the suffix present in threshold, viz. "alteration of *walþuz", they also fail to distinguish Schabefleisch from Hackfleisch, Hack, Hackepeter, Mett, Tartar, etc., as if its all just yuck. I have not in my live seen Bulette described as Schabefleisch, or as made from the same. Although this may be due to regional differences, I have certainly seen and heared Gyros described as such. I'm not sure if the same holds for (frozen, convenience) kebap. It's reasonable that the variation would be greater near the source, especially if ćevapćići is just a different kind of minced meat roll. The center innovates, the peripherie remains conservative (Pisani, IIRC), as a rule of thumb. ApisAzuli (talk) 07:55, 11 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Latin stō (to steal)[edit]

What is the etymology? J3133 (talk) 13:29, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I've added the origin DJ K-Çel (contribs ~ talk) 14:27, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Is this a hapax legomenon only attested from the one inscription written in Old Latin? Does that mean it might not have been used in classical Latin at all? I dont mean to repay hard work with negative comments, ... I just want to be sure we're doing the right thing. Thanks, Soap 16:42, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Soap: We no longer use Old Latin entries, which were moved to Latin (see Category talk:Old Latin language); stō is in Category:Pre-classical Latin. J3133 (talk) 17:02, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Etymology of (bhasūRī) ਭਸੂੜੀ | بھسوڑی[edit]

Any ideas to the etymology of this بَھسُوڑی(bhasūṛī) word. I assume it's related to the term भसड़ (bhasaṛ)? نعم البدل (talk) 18:38, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

This is a total shot in the dark, but could it be related to the Sanskrit root भष् (bhaṣ, bark, growl)? Semantic development from "growl" to "quarrel" seems possible. Less likely is a relation to भस् (bhas, devour). 18:46, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@ I would agree with the first part of the root (bha), but I'm not knowledgeable enough on Sanskrit to comment on (ṣa). The meanings do also correlate. نعم البدل (talk) 20:58, 10 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Etymology of Spanish "macho/macha" in sense "blond(e)"[edit]

The entry for macho currently duplicates the Costa Rican sense "blond(e)" across two etymology sections. Presumably, if the adjective is etymologically derived from the "male" etymon, so is the noun, so the noun would in that case belong under Etymology 1, not Etymology 3. However, it is not obvious how the sense "blond(e)" would have developed from the other senses of the adjective. Does anyone know of a reliable source that either explains the development or proposes an alternative etymological source of for the word in this sense?--Urszag (talk) 07:48, 12 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

For reference, Mandinka for example derives "blonde" from a word for "European". So drift to a person's hair color ← a person should be plausible. Any creolization should require commentary nevertheless. ApisAzuli (talk) 16:59, 15 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Hello, It might be interesting to relate the three following words in Tibetan, Chinese, and Vietnamese: nghe (to listen) from *ŋɛː and 認 (old Chinese pronunciation) ཉན (to listen) both from *r/g-na where 耳 and རྣ་བ (ear) come.


RFV of the etymology. (1) Is "circa 1975" appropriate? (2) Is the rest of the wording in harmony with the way big cities are handled on Wiktionary?

I found a mention of "Beijing" in a 1975 book by communists/socialists living in the USA (see Citations:Beijing), and I do wonder if there might be earlier "usage"-level (more than a mention) examples of that same type of origin. If there are earlier "mentions" out there, I'd love to see those too. But in the meantime, is "circa 1975" justified? Also, all the new wording for the etymology is interesting; I'd like to see it checked over if possible and compared to Peking's etymology. This request comes after major revisions to the page that I mostly reverted (in the usage notes) due to insufficient evidentiary basis for claims made. I'm not an expert on some of the claims in the current version of the etymology. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 21:13, 12 May 2022 (UTC) (modified)[reply]

Why 1975, I wonder? Seems odd. Hanyu Pinyin was rolled out in the 1950s. ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:06, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
After about ten minutes of searching, I was not able to find anything earlier than 1975 that clearly uses Beijing to refer to the city. An honorable mention goes to this 1910 magazine, which mentioned it as one possible pronunciation of the city's name: [31]. There were several other hits but all of them turned out to be misdated, or were not fully readable (and probably misdated, but I can't check). 09:23, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I added a quotation from 1975: “Beijing Duck? / Combined News Service / Tokyo—Peking will become “Beijing” and Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s name “Mao Zedong” in standard Roman spellings to be adopted by China. The new system, aimed at spelling Chinese ideographs as they are pronounced, will be inaugurated Sept. 1, Japan’s Kyodo news service reported from Peking. China will use the spellings for people and place names when it issues passports and other documents for use abroad, and in printing travel tickets, magazines for foreign circulation and news distributed in English.” I could also find “its editorial Beijing Zhoubao (The Peiping Review)” (1958), “Beijing beer” (1971), “Baiyun beer, brewed in the Pearl River Brewery at Canton, Tsingtao beer and Beijing lager” (1973) as romanizations of an editorial and a beer name. J3133 (talk) 09:56, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Great finds! The 1958 one in particular would be quite impressive if valid, although it's questionable whether it counts as English, since the two-word phrase was transliterated wholesale and rendered in translation as "Peiping Review". Anyway, 1958 is the year that Pinyin was introduced, so it would be unlikely to find anything earlier. The other pre-1975 quotations seem more admissible, although not ideal. 10:02, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Hanyu Pinyin may have been rolled in the 1950s in China, but it didn't start penetrating the English-speaking consciousness until the mid to late '70s, which was when English-language broadcasters and cartographers and politicians and so on (at least in the US, not sure about the UK) started speaking of Beijing and Guangzhou and Chongqing instead of Peking and Canton and Chungking. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:08, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Changing from 1975 to 1966- see Citations:Beijing. It is embarrassing that I dated the word to 1975; it may still be more embarrassing that I'm dating it to 1966. Please help me embarrass myself with any cites you all see from 1958 to 1966, including non-English cites. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 10:33, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Okay, now I have a more refined version of the original question I posed here. Seeing that I did find what can only be described as "mentions" of "Beijing" in 1958 (see Citations:Beijing), mentions that I would describe as "English adjacent", should those mentions change the date of origination of 'Beijing' to "circa 1958"? Also, still hoping you all will find some 1958-1968 usages of "Beijing"-- I have a few mentions of various quality. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 16:02, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Romance *ad poenam[edit]

The romance cognates meaning "barely" Italian appena and French à peine are reconstructible back to Proto-Romance */apˈpena/, in Ibearian-Romance Spanish apenas, Portuguese apenas and Catalan a penes back to */apˈpenas/.

Here we see their etymologies reference back to Latin Latin ad paene, explicitly denying the folk etymology from Latin ad poenam (though inconsistently, crf. Catalan pena referencing a penes in derived terms). The direct etymology from ad paene doesn't account for several unexpected traits in the descendants:

  1. the -ae- would develope into */-ɛ-/, where we actually find */-e-/;
  2. the last vowel would have been */-e/, where we actually find */-a/;
  3. in the Iberian-Romance words, the word-ending */-s/ would be unexplainable, since it would be attached to an adverb, while as for poenam it could be just the plural poenas.

A more plausible etymology would seems to be deriving from Vulgar Latin *ad poenam/ad poenas, and semantically from paene, originated as a confusion between the two similar sounding words.

I haven't been accounting Balkan Romance terms Romanian până and Aromanian pãnã, since I'm quite confused by the use of ad as a post-position, pretty unfamiliar with these languages (though I know the -â- in the Romanian term must derive from */-e-/ and not */-ɛ-/), and also because of their semantical difference (they mean "until", and not "barely").

This is a similar situation to the one about *ad ipsum, so I suggest it to be dealt in the same way (see Wiktionary:Etymology_scriptorium/2022/April#adesso_in_romance_languages).

Catonif (talk) 09:09, 14 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Compare Polish ponad (eg. "beyond", *d < *tóm) vs. Latin pōne (e.g. "after"), Ladin pona ("then, later", no etymology but synonyms, "dò; dapò; dapodò") vs. Homeric ὑπό ("(of time) just after", accusative), Persian افدم‎‎ (afdom, "last, end", apparently cognate with the Polish, not to mention Latin ab and pōno, pōne², s. v. *h₂epó, *h₂pó). The *z could as well relate to Sl. *s < *kʷ.
As Bichlmeier relates (w.r.t. the Сава / Σάουος) "roman. /ǎ/ [...] in slav. /o/", eg. Parentium, pòreč. If this could lead to hypercorrections in strata close to the contact zone, while a folk etymology already shows that o was understood?
If /o/ was targeted because /ǎ/ was not available, it could not go back to that, but some other 'a'. For semantics I imagine a Goodbye and that post position indicate a change of PoS, "later", "laters", "until later, CU" (a pro pos CU, see the morphology of apuokas, give a hoot), or that word order is treated differently in Slavic, or Semitic for where ta- is a very frequent prefix and plosives are lax. ApisAzuli (talk) 14:08, 14 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
As regards barely, it used to mean something else, so that's at least not unexpected. ApisAzuli (talk) 14:08, 14 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sorry, I'm having some trouble following your message. From what I understand, you are hypotesizing a way more intricate theory involving Slavic languages? The mentioning of Homeric, Persian and PIE completely went over my head. The solution is with great probability way more straightforward. Catonif (talk) 19:58, 15 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Latin poena meaning "pain, hardships" prefixed with ad to make an adverb (cfr. Italian appieno 'fully' from pieno, 'full') would take the meaning of "painfully, with hardships, in a hard manner". The shift from this meaning to barely can also be found in the English word hardly. Latin paene is probably unrelated, it might or might not have influenced semantically this expression, but it surely isn't its direct etymon. And looking back at the Balkan Romance entries, they actually seem rather unrelated. Catonif (talk) 20:07, 15 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Catonif: and @Word dewd544:, who was involved in some of these entries:
Quite right that the Italo-Western outcomes reflect an older /ˈe/ (not /ˈɛ/ < Latin /ae̯/) as well as a final /-a/ (not /-e/). We are indeed forced to reconstruct */apˈpena/, a form which is, phonetically speaking, far more plausibly derived from *ad poena than *ad paene.
You are also right to doubt the assignment of Romanian până to *paen(e)-ad, since the expected result of the latter would have been *pină; cf. Latin bĕne > Romanian bine. On the other hand, poena is a phonetically impeccable etymology; cf. Latin vēna > Rom. vână. In that case, there isn't any need to assume a post-fixed ad either.
Are the Balkan Romance forms, which mean 'until', related to the western ones at the Proto-Romance level, or are they independent developments? It's worth noting that even the western forms can have temporal meanings; cf. Italian appena 'recently, as soon as' and Spanish apenas 'recently'. The overall semantic trajectory does seem to mirror that of English 'hardly', considering not only the comparable semantic starting points (harshness/pain > difficulty) but also the borderline-temporal usages of 'hardly' (cf. tens of thousands of search results for the phrase 'had hardly started', often accompanied by 'before' or 'when').
Incidentally, western Romance did experience a fad for non-etymological adverbial /-s/ (cf. Spanish mientras, Catalan donques), so I would not use that in particular as a reason to exclude *ad-paene.
On the whole, I think that Latin paene could have influenced or even inspired the Romance forms that we're discussing, but there is no need to assume it. The fact that paene did not leave any indisputable descendant in Romance is also suspicious. Nicodene (talk) 07:31, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The Balkan Romance question now seems more intricate and possibly unrelated. On the other hand the Italo-Western *appéna(s) terms can be dealt either by citing the etymology in each page, eg for the Italian appena:
Univerbation of a +‎ pena. Compare French à peine and Spanish apenas.
or by creating the page for the reconstruced Latin adverb, which to me seems tidier and more efficient (since it can group all these terms together easily and could have an extensive etymology section mentioning the possible relation with paene, the semantical evolution and the Western -s without having to deal with a dozen of different pages all containing the same etymology inevitably causing a mess between changes), but I don't know if it's an unusual procedure here and if it'd look confusing to casual users. Catonif (talk) 14:51, 20 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, considering the various Romanian variants mentioned below by Robbie SWE, I'm also starting to question whether până really comes from poena. (Curiously, the REW gives the etymon as Latin porro).
Now it's no longer clear whether we're really justified in reconstructing a Proto-Romance form at all. The problem is that all of the Italo-Western languages have descendants of Latin ad and poena, meaning that any one of them could have invented the combination at a fairly late date, only for it to then spread via calquing to the others.
Here are the results of a brief lexicographical search:
- The oldest example of French à peine mentioned by the TLFi is from the Song of Roland, written circa 1100.
- Per the TLIO (search 'appena'), Italian examples are found from Venice in the 12th century and then Cremona, Lucca, Florence, etc. in the 13th.
- I found an example of Spanish apenas in Gonzalo de Berceo's Vida de Santo Domingo de Silos, written in the early 13th century.
- The oldest example of Catalan a penes mentioned by the DCVB is from Ramon Llull's Blanquerna, written in the late 13th century.
In all cases, the term appears at or quite near the beginning of each language's literary period.
It could well date back to Proto-Italo-Western Romance, but how would we know? Nicodene (talk) 07:58, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for all this info, I wasn't aware of all these sources. Anyway, there are a couple of facts hinting to the expression dating back to Proto-Italo-Western. One is that, as you mentioned, the word appears as soon as people start writing in their vernacular. Another is the Western *-s, which means that the term was then treated as an adverb and not as a new expression, suggesting the long age of the expression. Catonif (talk) 10:22, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
True, it's interesting that the /-s/ appears from the very beginning in Spanish and Catalan. (I haven't been able to find an early medieval a pena, in the sense of 'with difficulty', in either.) I think it's reasonable enough to posit a Proto-Italo-Western form then. Nicodene (talk) 18:17, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Wrote the page at *ad poenam. I haven't updated the involved pages since I don't know whether it is appropriate for them to contain something like "surface analysis as à + peine."; though I removed them from the descendants of paene. Catonif (talk) 20:19, 22 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Just a side note regarding Romanian până - archaic and regional forms include pănă, pără, păr (apocope), pân (apocope), pană, păn (apocope), par (apocope), pânî, pâră, pene and pună. All these forms indicate, to me anyways, that the origin of this term is far more complex, but I'll leave it to Nicodene to add some insight. According to DEX, scholars have discussed the possibility of Latin *pro ad as being the true origin, but that theory has been rebuffed. --Robbie SWE (talk) 12:39, 19 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

A few more variants, from the DEX: Macedo-Romanian pînc(ă); Megleno-Romanian pon; Istro-Romanian pir, pire.
The variety of forms is remarkable. Not sure what to make of it all. Nicodene (talk) 09:23, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The rhotacism is present among some northern dialects (both in Moldavia and Transylvania), as are the "â"/"ă" variations, so this is not something unexpected. However, "pene" is interesting and it could indicate an archaic version. Bogdan (talk) 20:28, 25 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


any ideas of this Icelandic word? I know its meaning is "horizon", but by its length, I'd assume it's a compound word. --ChofisDan (talk) 00:12, 16 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Looks like sjón + deild + hringur. So "sight division ring", which makes sense to me. sjónvarp is another word that begins with the same morpheme. Soap 06:55, 16 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Actually it was in a hidden comment in the RFE template, but the person who put it there may have either thought that -ar was a word in itself or that we needed to explicitly list it in the etymology. But I think when we do this the inflections get in the way and so the tradition is to list the content morphemes. e.g. we dont list every -s- in our German compounds. Soap 06:57, 16 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Soap: actually, we do (at least for a lot of them). —Mahāgaja · talk 08:47, 16 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The genitive singular of deild is deildar. It is IMO simpler to analyze -ar as an inflectional suffix than as a compositional interfix. Compare e.g. hvítlaukspressa, in which hvítlauks is the genitive singular of hvítlaukur, and rafeindasmásjá, in which rafeinda is the genitive plural of rafeind.  --Lambiam 07:09, 17 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
To the contrary, hvit- is not inflected for gender in these, and the n from oblique case in the nominative of sunshine must have fossilized very early, too (see Norn sjin, by the way). In German, where the same pattern exists, empirical research has shown that speakers are ultimately uncertain about usage of Fugenelement. Here it is problematic in particular because, as deal (to distribute), Teil (share, piece) the second d of deildu looks like it was from "do" or other aorist on account of the reduplication in the exponent of the past tense (so, if your haircut goes wrong you could say that's a hair-doodoo? Cp. doodad?). ApisAzuli (talk) 04:52, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I made no reference to any inflection of hvit for any aspect, nor to gender. For the rest, I cannot make head or tail of your “contribution” to the discussion.  --Lambiam 11:33, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
You are not alone in that... Nicodene (talk) 14:22, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
My initial idea was that the -d of deild was related to English -th (no longer productive) Used to form nouns from verbs of action., but it'd seem Icelandic generally has ð in these cases. Wakuran (talk) 13:03, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It indeed is. expressing itself as /d/ after /l/ (and /n/ as well) is regular. ᛙᛆᚱᛐᛁᚿᛌᛆᛌProto-NorsingAsk me anything 20:04, 22 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It is the feminine form of the past participle of deila, so it is like English dealt, but nominalized.  --Lambiam 13:17, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Actually Icelandic might have /d/ after an /l/ because of a very early Germanic change (see for example kuldi "cold"), but that probably has no bearing on the entry here .... i just wanted to point it out for the sake of completeness. Soap 14:36, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


https://sanat.csc.fi/wiki/EVE:harmi claims a completely different etymology and doesn't even mention Häkkinen, whose etymology we have. --Espoo (talk) 14:24, 17 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

That EVE link has the etymology for an unrelated but homonymous dialectal harmi (gray animal (such as a horse)). — SURJECTION / T / C / L / 20:31, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


RFV of the etymology. This seems extremely dubious. 18:57, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

This is obviously the etymology for the missing French suffix entry, but I have no idea where @Malcolm77 got it from. I can't find anything like it in any French entry, which, given the French language code, "fr", would be the likely source. It's probably questionable even for French @Nicodene.
At any rate, it's blatantly, completely wrong as it stands: a Dardic language like Phalura doesn't borrow verb-inflection morphology from a Latin-based adjectival suffix. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:57, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I've just removed it as it's clearly the etymology of a different suffix in a different language. Even if an entry for the French suffix is made, the etymology would need to be rewritten more succinctly, so it's really not worth saving. —Mahāgaja · talk 20:03, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
For French it's there in words like coréen, lycéen, méditerranéen, adyguéen, etc. It seems to be a variant of -ien that applies to nouns ending in -é(e).
Edit: I now see that's exactly what Malcolm77 said. The information that he added is actually quite useful and well-researched, despite the (perhaps accidental) placement in a Phalura etymology. Nicodene (talk) 20:37, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
From the examples above, I'd say that the allomorph of -ien in these words is -en, not -éen. —Mahāgaja · talk 20:42, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
In general, yes. However, the ending occurs in some cases where the base noun doesn't have -é(e). Other than the examples provided by Malcolm77, there's also ghanéen < Ghana, augustéen < auguste, and cyclopéen < cyclope. Nicodene (talk) 21:28, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Since méditerranéen is actually from the proper noun Méditerranée and only indirectly from the adjective méditerrané, one might argue that in this adjective the suffix has allomorphed into -n :).  --Lambiam 06:24, 22 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Augustéen, cyclopéen, and guadeloupéen, goethéen, nietzschéen, etc are not very persuasive IMO because the suffix could still be -en (as in arachnéen from Greek arachné, etc) as Mahagaja says, + a change of the first e to é to prevent a sequence ee, which French otherwise seems to prevent by dropping the first e (as when adding -eau or -elet(te) to words ending in -e). In lycéen, coréen, etc it seems even less parsimonious to assume the é is from the suffix when it's already inside the base word. But ghanéen, kafkéen, ajaccéen, confucéen, and the accréen which fr:-éen mentions are more persuasive. - -sche (discuss) 21:17, 22 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Providence Plantations[edit]

Wikipedia has some uncited statements saying that there was a particular colony on the mainland called 'Providence Plantations', maybe sometime between 1636 and 1644. But the 1644 charter (Providence, in Encyclopædia Britannica), which I had taken to be the origin of the term 'Providence Plantations', specifically includes two areas not on the mainland (Portsmouth and Newport). Then, on top of this, Lexico says that 'Providence Plantations' means "The mainland portion of the state of Rhode Island." [32]
My issues:
1) There is a pluralization here, presumably not a mere dummy plural- what are the specific "plantations" referred to? I had assumed that there were three plantations (colonies): Providence, Newport, and Portsmouth, and that they were named for the oldest or most prominent among them.
2) When does this terminology arise? If it does not arise in 1644, it must arise between 1636 and 1644.
3) Anyway, how does this all square with Lexico's definition? I will try to find cites for it, but it may need RFV treatment if I can't. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 17:40, 23 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

[33] Supposedly, from the initial purchase of land in the Providence area, the place was to be known as Providence Plantations. There is a sentence and a long footnote that skirts around these questions. If that is true, then I still am wondering: what is the referent for the pluralized 'plantations'? Providence and what? Or what parts of Providence? Another: "it [Portsmouth] was one of the four colonies which merged to form the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the others being Providence, Newport, and Warwick." [34] --Geographyinitiative (talk) 18:04, 23 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Some older texts have the singular form Providence Plantation.[35][36][37]  --Lambiam 13:31, 24 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Category:Monguor language[edit]

Is Category:Monguor language and Category:Mongghul language the same language? If not, what is the difference between them? --TongcyDai (talk) 16:06, 25 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Crom daba. Thadh (talk) 16:13, 25 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Seems like Mongghul is considered a dialect of Monguor, from what I can make out. Wakuran (talk) 20:30, 25 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Just to complicate matters, we also have Mongghul (mjg-huz) as an etymology-only variant of Monguor (mjg). Is there any difference between Mongghul (mjg-huz) and Mongghul (xgn-mgl)? —Mahāgaja · talk 22:30, 25 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
According to WT:LT, only the subdivisions xgn-mgr (Mangghuer) and xgn-mgl (Mongghul) are treated as languages, the macrolanguage mjg (Monguor) is not, and the discussion at Wiktionary talk:Language treatment/Discussions#Splitting Monguor into Mangghuer and Mongghul is linked to, where a previous discussion at Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2016/December#Splitting Monguor is linked to. In practice, however, we do also have Monguor language as a recognized language with two etymology-only codes Mangghuer mjg-min and Mongghul mjg-huz. I'm working on cleaning this up now. —Mahāgaja · talk 08:47, 26 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
OK, I've sorted it out. I've made mjg into a family code instead of a language code, deleted the etymology-only codes, and sorted everything else into the language codes xgn-mgr and xgn-mgl. —Mahāgaja · talk 09:24, 26 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]