Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium

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Etymology scriptorium

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

Etymology scriptorium archives edit


September 2015

chow mein[edit]

Is "chow mein" from Mandarin or from Taishanese? According to the Wikipedia article chow mein, it's from Taishanese. Justinrleung (talk) 01:41, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

I think that version of the etymology dates to when we split Chinese into all the dialects, and changed Chinese to Mandarin as the default when we didn't have any dialect specified. It looks like the etymology originally said "Chinese", and pinyin was used as the romanization just because we did that for all the Chinese entries. I'll leave the question of which lect the English word came from to others who know more than I do. I will say that The Mandarin form doesn't fit all that well. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:57, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I replaced it with zh, which at least isn't inaccurate. The OED doesn't specify, and Wikipedia doesn't have a source for saying it's from Taishanese; from sound alone, I reckon Taishanese or Hakka would be good bets, but I don't know. As an added problem, yue-toi (for Taishanese) doesn't even seem to work as an etymology-only language. @WyangΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:28, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Taishanese seems right: [tsɔu55 mein32]. Wyang (talk) 04:00, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
You might have better luck with yue-tai instead of yue-toi. Either that or change the language name to Toishanese so they match... ;-p Chuck Entz (talk) 06:34, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
The langrev subpages were what had that error; I have now fixed them and updated the entry. Thanks, Wyang. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:08, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Illyrian entries[edit]

There are a few recent entries in the as yet uncreated Category:Illyrian lemmas, but I'm a bit leery of entries in a basically unattested language like this. Yes, there are mentions and other indirect means of reconstructing terms in the language, but I'm not so sure that the person who added these knows anything at all about the language, let alone can sift through the uncertainties associated with indirect attestation. Probably the most clear-cut example of what I'm concerned about is Dalmatae, which may be based on an Illyrian demonym, but which looks very Latin to me.

I should mention that this person has been adding a lot of etymologies to Albanian entries that seem to be somewhat indiscriminately pulled out of various references. Given that the question of whether Albanian is descended from Illyrian is rather emotionally loaded, I'm concerned: I don't know much about Albanian etymology, but the pattern makes me nervous.

I realize that it only takes a mention to verify one of these, but I would like to know if there's anything reliable that corroborates them as they're currently constituted. Thanks! Chuck Entz (talk) 03:28, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

The user who created these, 8mike, seems to be a problematic editor. @Etimo, Vahagn Petrosyan: What is the story behind his edits? Is he as relentlessly POV-pushing as he seems to be? If so, he should be warned that he will be blocked if he continues; I don't know the linguistic context well enough to judge.
As for the entries: I made Dalmatae into a perfectly good Latin entry, which is of course what it should have been. I'm not clear how the other two are sourced, so I'm going to RFV them and see what happens there. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:12, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I appreciate that he's added a lot of Albanian entries. I can't speak to the accuracy or inaccuracy of the etymologies in general (in the case of adur specifically, I'll comment on RFV), but hopefully we can resolve this in such a way that he gets to continue adding Albanian entries/translations. - -sche (discuss) 06:52, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I have interacted with the editor in question. I don't think he is a relentless POV-pusher but his (good-faith) etymologies are unreliable original research and should be removed. The Illyrian entries too are probably unreliable and hopefully will fail rfv. --Vahag (talk) 08:03, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
What is it with Albanian editors recently? —JohnC5 12:54, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Probably something in their water. --Vahag (talk) 14:06, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Not just recently. Albania is in a part of the world that's been through a lot of ethnic conflicts where they haven't fared too well, they're still recovering from an extremely harsh, isolationist dictatorship, and they belong to a very distinct branch of the Indo-European languages with no sources going back very far and relatively little attention from scholars. The latter factor means that there's an obvious void that it's tempting to fill with guesswork, and the rest means that there's an emotional vested interest in connecting to something grand and glorious in the ancient past. There have been problems with all of the more prolific adders of Albanian etymologies that I can think of Chuck Entz (talk) 14:26, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Very interesting. I wish I knew more about Albanian so that I could help. I just have a copy of Orel and this, which are useful from a PIE standpoint but not from an adding entries standpoint. —JohnC5 01:17, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

I honestly don't know. I went through this user's contributions, but I didn't find emotional writing (perhaps some unreferenced etymological explanations which smell of folkish), perhaps you could bring some examples that I have overlooked. Some of the entries and edits are not referenced (pishë, llohë, haromë, kursej, kërnalle), others are, some others seem quite arbitrary or dubious (brerore, katërshor, ish, ëzë), some even wrong (tokë, prrar, mpiks, vervele), while others look ok. As far as the toponym Dalmatia (or Delminum) goes, there are many scholars who have linked it with Albanian delme, as with other toponyms related to animals and vegetation throughout the Balkans which are better explained through Albanian (Ragusa, Ulqin, Dardania etc), BUT, considering the lack of Illyrian writings and the dearth of inscriptions, these are to be considered only as assumptions, not facts, and this should always be mentioned. Etimo (talk) 19:28, 1 September 2015 (UTC)


The etymology of 因特網 in Chinese is currently as follows:

However, 因特網 comes from the transliteration of "inter-" (not "Internet") + the translation of "net". Is there a special term for this type of translation? Justinrleung (talk) 02:06, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

A partial calque. DTLHS (talk) 02:59, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
We have a template {{calque}}, maybe we should have one for partial calques, or modify {{calque}} so it accommodates partial calques. A famous English example is liverwurst, where we translated the Leber part of Leberwurst but borrowed the Wurst part. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:26, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
And conversely, Germans might wash their Wurst down with a glass of Milchshake. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:33, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Old English þon[edit]

Campbell´s Old English, love it though I do, seems only to say of this form that its 'classification as instrumental is traditional, but reflects neither its origin nor prevailing use.' Perhaps he finishes his thought elsewhere in the book, but I have no patience to scour it. Am I correct in assuming the following: þon < earlier þan < *þáne (unaccented Indo-European final 'ĕ' lost in Germanic, cf. G οἶδε, Goth wait) < IE *to(i)ne (whence Sanskrit तॆन tēna, OBulgarian тѣмь tēmĭ)?

A trifling question, I know, but when I can't find it on this site I have no other recourse. —Colin

Puerto Rico[edit]

Why is "Puerto Rico" borrowed from Spanish and pronounced as if it were Portuguese or something? ばかFumikotalk 01:43, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Probably because monolingual English speakers recognize puerto as a cognate of port, and pronounce it like the latter. Besides, the normal US English way of sounding out spellings would probably produce something pronounced like pure + toe, which is kind of odd, and the original Spanish pronunciation doesn't fit very well with English phonotactics. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:20, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
It even used to be spelled Porto Rico; see note a at w:Puerto Rico#Notes. And it still is spelled that way in French, Italian, and Portuguese, of which it could be considered a translation only in Portuguese (to be a translation in French it would have to be "Port-Riche" and in Italian it would have to be "Porto Ricco" with a double c). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:25, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't buy the phonotactic explanation; it could easily have been pronounced p-ware-to. It must be a historical reason. Perhaps (I'm 100% speculating here) the dialect of Spanish that was first brought there pronounced the word more like puorto or porto. Do we have any experts here on historical Spanish dialects? --WikiTiki89 15:41, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Some Asturian dialects have puortu. — Ungoliant (falai) 15:44, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed that (some apparently even have puorto), but it would have to match up historically, and I'm not an expert on the history of the settling of Puerto Rico. Another theory I just thought of is that it was meant to be pronounced /pwɚ-/, which could much more easily have morphed into what we have now, but this does not explain the spellings in other languages that Angr mentioned. --WikiTiki89 15:57, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
  • FWIW, the island of Vieques (administered as a county of Puerto Rico) has a distinct accent where they drop a lot of "s" sounds, perhaps via a process similar to what happened in French. For instance, the island's name of Vieques is often pronounced (and has been written historically) as Bieke. The common Spanish verb form está comes out more as /e̥hta/. I've been told that this accent is a remnant of the Asturian accent of the island's Spanish settlers. I note too that the Puerto Rico WP article mentions that Asturians were a sizable proportion the Spanish migrants to the islands. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 08:55, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
For what's it worth, the few times I've heard the name said by British English speakers, they've pronounced it the Spanish way. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:31, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
If you pronounce the t in the British way, it is not difficult to say puerto like the Spanish. But if you use the American pronunciation of the t, it is difficult to pronounce that word in English. I speak Spanish (I have a degree in Spanish), and I have no problem saying Puerto in Spanish; it is difficult for me to say puerto in English, however, and I would never use that English pronunciation unless I was pretending to be pompous and pedantic. In English I say porto, regardless of the spelling. —Stephen (Talk) 16:40, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
In older books, other Puertos are (not always consistently within a work) also rendered Porto, including Porto Bello (Portobelo, Panama, but with older works giving Puerto... as the Spanish name), Porto Cabello (Puerto Cabello, Venezuela), and Porto Principe (Puerto Principe = Camagüey, Cuba). This suggests a general process may have been at work on Porto Rico, rather than one-off Asturian influence. That process might have been anglicization, or the 'levelling' of the Spanish Puertos and Portuguese Portos to one word.
- -sche (discuss) 19:23, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

arrop i talladetes[edit]

Can anyone reference or confirm this etymology? A direct borrowing from Catalan seems more likely. — Ungoliant (falai) 03:47, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

Icelandic klifa from *klibjaną?[edit]

I don't pretend to know much about Proto-Germanic, but looking at the descendants in other languages from *klibjaną ‎(to stick) one would expect an Old Norse/Icelandic form klifa. There is such a word in Icelandic which is nowadays only used in the set phrase klifa á ‎(to harp on about (something)). It doesn't seem too unlikely to me that a figurative meaning such as this could have arisen from an original meaning of "to stick". Opinions? BigDom 07:58, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

Icelanidic klifa comes from the Old Norse klifa ‎(to repeat, harp on"; also "to climb), which seems indeed to come from *klibjaną. Leasnam (talk) 20:39, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
added. Leasnam (talk) 20:44, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
FYI, "to climb" is klífa (from *klībaną), not klifa. BigDom 06:24, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't quite see how any of the attested forms could have come from *klibjaną. Where did the -j- go in Old Norse? Shouldn't it be klifja? And why no gemination in West Germanic? Shouldn't it be clibban in Old English? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:13, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
The reconstruction of class 3 weak verbs is not really settled. The forms we have are based on Ringe's reconstruction, which admittedly leaves a lot of question unanswered. But the most common alternative, to reconstruct -ēną as the ending, is equally puzzling as the long ē apparently fails to become ā in West Germanic. Also, some class 3 weak verbs do have a clear -j- in both Old Norse and West Germanic, such as *sagjaną. —CodeCat 23:38, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
This verb is iterative, meaning 'to repeat' as BigDom mentioned (from Vigfusson-Cleasby). It is, then, in all likelihood a class 2 weak, especially because it lacks the features pointed out by Angr. The Proto form would be *kliƀōjōn, and so by regular rules Norse would lack the -j- ("blocked" by the bimoric vowel) and, therefore also, the geminate -f-. If it really derives from the mentioned *kliƀjaną, it was perhaps removed early to this class in ON because of its meaning, as sometimes happens. —Colin
I have updated the entry to show that klifa may not be a direct descendant Leasnam (talk) 18:17, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Gerhard Koebler's Old Norse dictionary has this: klif-a, an., sw. V. (3): nhd. wiederholen. So the "repeat" sense dates to Old Norse, but it was also still a class 3 weak verb. It must be a direct descendant. —CodeCat 18:23, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Thats what I used in the first place...okay so the parentheses can come off (barring any objections, of course). Excellent. Leasnam (talk) 04:11, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

mee#Etymology 2[edit]

I believe this should be Min Nan, not Cantonese. (see 麵#Pronunciation)—suzukaze (tc) 06:50, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

This seems possible, since it is pronounced as in Min Nan. Justinrleung (talk) 22:46, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
I agree. In Cantonese the word is pronounced "meen". Smuconlaw (talk) 20:41, 10 October 2015 (UTC)


The etymology section (English) is confusing and reads like it was written by several arguing people (who have nothing but contempt for each other). WurdSnatcher (talk)

Pretty dreadful - and also most of the "information" pertains to Niger, not Nigeria. I've shorn it down to a barebones "From Medieval Latin" etymology, and directed people to Niger#Etymology for further information. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:40, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! WurdSnatcher (talk)

Proto-Germanic *ēlaz[edit]

Why do we reconstruct an e-vowel when all the descendants seemingly have a reflex of an a-vowel? --WikiTiki89 22:02, 11 September 2015 (UTC)

If this is a general rule, then let's say this question is about Germanic phonology in general. --WikiTiki89 22:08, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
I believe the derives from PIE / *eh₁ and is continued in Gothic as ē; though not for this etymon (See *dēdiz). —JohnC5 22:51, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Also, more information here. —JohnC5 23:00, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
In all the descendants, the vowel is long. That points to an original long ē. There was no long ā in Proto-Germanic. —CodeCat 23:08, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
If this word were attested in Gothic it would be els (e is always long in Gothic). The vowel that shows up in Gothic as e and in North and West Germanic as ā (but ǣ in Old English and ē in Old Frisian) is usually reconstructed as *ē, sometimes written *ē₁ or *ǣ. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:18, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
For words like this where there are clear differences, it might be useful to list the reconstructible Northwest Germanic form (*ālaz) somewhere, perhaps in the list of descendants, or under a ===Reconstruction=== header.
(Also, PGmc did have *ā, from earlier *aja, in e.g. *stāną ‎(to stand).) --Tropylium (talk) 15:05, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
Is there a case of this *ā that has a Gothic descendant? We don't seem to have one listed at *stāną. --WikiTiki89 19:33, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
It's an invention particular to Ringe, used to explain these verbs along with class 3 weak. So the only descendant of ā would be in the class 3 weak verbs in Gothic, if this explanation is valid. Other than that, the only source of Gothic ā is the sequence -anh-. —CodeCat 19:39, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
So you're saying that the Gothic reflex of this hypothetical *ā is ā? --WikiTiki89 19:55, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes. —CodeCat 21:07, 12 September 2015 (UTC)


RFV of the Latin etymology.

This shows signs of too much rearranging by people who didn't understand what they were rearranging. As User:Dave crowley pointed out on the talk page, the un-metathesized hypothetical Latin equivalent isn't compatible with the metathesized Proto-Italic form, and the current wording is very confused about what changes happened when and why. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:54, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Besides the incorrect *volquus, I don't see much that's wrong. I cleaned it up a bit and added a reference for what I changed. (The putative form that should have come about would be *luquus/*lucus, but I don't see much point in mentioning it. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:40, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Terms with both known and unknown etymology[edit]

We normally categorize words in multiple etymological categories if their history can be traced thru multiple languages (e.g. Category:Spanish terms derived from Latin has, or at least should have, substantial overlap with Category:Spanish terms derived from Proto-Indo-European).

However, this practice might not work very well when it comes to "non-source" etymology categories, e.g. Category:Spanish terms with unknown etymologies. Consider matar: the page presents several possible etymologies, two from Latin and one from Arabic. Yet it is also classified together with words like lacha, with no known origin. But clearly we're dealing with two different things here: actually unetymologized words, and words with competing etymological proposals. (We do have e.g. Category:Spanish terms with multiple etymologies, but this appears to be actually for etymologically distinct homonyms, not for cases of disputed etymologies.) — Another type of example: Finnish hiili, which derives from a Proto-Finnic root; but it is also categorized as being of unknown origin (since the PF root is as well).

I suggest that the use of {{unk.}} should be restricted for terms whose origin is actually non-trivially unknown:

  • if a single term has multiple etymologies, we could bring in a category like "LANG terms with disputed etymologies" (or, I guess, leave the conflict only in the text).
  • if a term in a parent language is of unknown origin, only that entry should be categorized as being of unknown origin, not the descendants in the daughter languages.

("Non-trivially" in that we do not know the "ultimate" etymology of most words; all non-neologisms can at best only be traced back to oldest known proto-languages like Proto-Indo-European.)

I'm not sure if any editors are actively following either of the usages I'm questioning, but I'll raise this here for the record, before editing the template documentation and/or WT:ETYM. --Tropylium (talk) 15:05, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

I definitely agree on point 2. All words can only be traced so far, so there is always a point where we don't know anymore. As for point 1, I think "uncertain" or "unclear" is better than "disputed". —CodeCat 15:09, 13 September 2015 (UTC)


This is so obvious it discredits professional etymologists for not figuring it out. It is related to Latin digitus "finger" and Greek deiknumi "show." So dog originally meant "pointer." —This unsigned comment was added by The Sage of Main Street (talkcontribs).

  • Ho ho. We have a place for these but I've forgotten what it's called. Anyway, since most etymology is makebelieve I might as well leave it. SemperBlotto (talk) 14:09, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Funnily enough, these words do appear to have common relatives in modern English... but these are teach (*taikijaną), token (*taikną) and toe (*taihwǭ). There was a strong tendency for the d sound to become t – hence why we say two when the Romans said duo. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:21, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
    • Not so much a strong tendency as a law. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:59, 15 September 2015 (UTC)


(see this rather hasty example of Australian politics)

Noun sense 8 is:

(Australia, politics) A declaration that the leadership of a parliamentary party is vacant, and open for re-election. Short form of leadership spill

Which sense of spill does this derive from? I've found this memo from February 2015, which talks about "a motion to spill the leadership positions [of the party]", which sounds like it's a reference to throwing away the current leadership. But that still doesn't really explain why the word "spill" is used, rather than, I don't know, "election"? Any Aussies know where this jargon comes from? Keith the Koala (talk) 15:58, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Could it have something to do with take a spill? Chuck Entz (talk) 01:51, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
My guess would be noun-sense-2: "A fall or stumble." (same sense as take a spill). If it was called an "election" that would imply a public election, but the election was internal (voted on by elected members of the party), so it's a spill. A public election is not a spill. No idea where it originates. Didn't realise it was an Australian thing, and really I'm not even sure any more which part of the process gets called a spill or how broadly the term can apply. Also I notice there's also an obsolete sense of "spill" meaning "to overthrow a person" listed in OED which might be related, but might be a coincidence. —Pengo (talk) 15:26, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
Our definition probably needs some work. Neither OED nor Macquarie definitions even mention re-election or leadership. OED: "A vacating of other posts after one important change of office." Macquarie: "the declaring vacant of a number of positions when one above them falls vacant" These definitions make it sound like "spill" refers to the change "spilling over" to the less senior positions, though I don't feel like any of the news coverage was really referring specifically to this. It was more about the contest ("Turnbull wins spill"), and treating the spill as the overall event rather than just the declaration ("Tony Abbott's love of onions recalled on social media during leadership spill") and to refer to the subsequent change of leadership ("the spill changes nothing"). But overall I'm more confused now than when I started looking into it. —Pengo (talk) 15:55, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

source in Appendix:Proto-Slavic/sinjь[edit]

I find most interesting and credible the explanation for the meaning of Ἄξεινος as "Black sea" and I am quoting it on French wiktionnaire, Ἄξεινος, but it lacks a source... --Diligent (talk) 13:37, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

The source is Max Vasmer, but his explanation is possibly wrong. Read The Name of the Black Sea, an article by De Blois. --Vahag (talk) 17:13, 18 September 2015 (UTC)


A lot of craziness was going on in the etymology, so I notched it all down, but it would be nice to have something that could be referenced. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:46, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic entries of[edit]

This IP obviously knows a thing or two about the sound changes between Proto-Germanic and Old English, but a significant number of their Proto-Germanic entries have exactly one descendant, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I hope they're not going through an Old English word list and running the sound changes backwards to arrive at a "Proto-Germanic" reconstruction- but that's exactly what it looks like. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:37, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Having only a single descendant doesn't automatically invalidate an entry — if there's a higher-level i.e. 'parent' i.e. PIE root with other descendants, then the Proto-Germanic step probably existed, unless loaning happened — but if there's no 'parent' root and only one descendant, it is suspicious, and it becomes downright implausible when there's ae process that would have created the form within the 'descendant' language. The scattered references I looked at analyse botettan as a compound formed in Old English, suggesting the Proto-Germanic page bōtatjaną should go. The situation is similar for Grīmaz (Köbler's etymological note on Grímr is to see gríma), and I can't find evidence of aikulaz either, nor ballukaz, baswaz, bōkōną, hampijaną or snigilaz (though I can find references for snagilaz), only some of which assert (without citing references) descent from PIE. þrawwaz is interesting (not necessarily invalid) in that it doesn't list regular descendants, only loans. - -sche (discuss) 17:44, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *velťi or *velkti?[edit]

See Russian воло́чь ‎(volóčʹ) (source: Vasmer) and влечь ‎(vlečʹ), Polish wlec (source: Derksen). Pls fix appropriately. (I used *velkti from the Polish entry in влечь). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:25, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

ť and kt are essentially equivalent in Proto-Slavic. We used to use kt, but a while ago we switched to using ť. --WikiTiki89 14:49, 21 September 2015 (UTC)


Discussion moved from WT:FB.

Where did you find fokka? I’m having trouble finding it anywhere. -- 05:30, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

I sometimes wonder about etymologies marked "dialectal Swedish" (it sometimes seems to be a way for the linguist to give an otherwise obscure Germanic term a root), but in this case it's in Merriam-Webster, and I did find a couple of books that make the same claim: 1, 2. I don't know enough Swedish to verify whether it existed (if a dialectal word for "fuck" would be recorded hundreds of years ago), but it seems plausible - the closely related language of Danish has the cognate fokken. Smurrayinchester (talk) 20:54, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
Verifiable from Svenskt dialektlexikon (1862-1867), p. 188 ("Bhl." = Bohuslän). --Tropylium (talk) 15:34, 23 September 2015 (UTC)
Good find! Smurrayinchester (talk) 17:25, 23 September 2015 (UTC)

I made the Swedish section for it recently. fokka#Swedish --Romanophile (talk) 11:51, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

"Bahusia"? Can we use common terms please? I've never heard of this one. —CodeCat 18:31, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Indeed, that context label bordered on the useless. After poking around Wikipedia a bit, I think I've fixed the label. Or, I've completely screwed it up. Someone more familiar with Swedish should please have a look. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:58, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

*vesti vs. *vezti[edit]

(Notifying CodeCat, Ivan Štambuk, Atitarev):

A while ago CodeCat decided that the infinitive of Proto-Slavic *vezǫ should be spelled *vesti rather than *vezti claiming in this discussion that "z automatically devoiced to s before t in Proto-Slavic". Only now I realize, how do we know that this is true and that devoicing didn't occur at later stages? Old East Slavic spelled this word as везти ‎(vezti), unlike Old Church Slavonic, which spelled it вести ‎(vesti) (at least based on our entries that was the case), indicating that it may have been pronounced with a [z], and Ukrainian still pronounces it with a [z]. So why are we so sure that it was devoiced in Proto-Slavic? --WikiTiki89 19:22, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

(Notifying CodeCat, Ivan Štambuk, Atitarev): Re-pinging people, since no one responded. --WikiTiki89 18:12, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
You're right. Vezti and vesti are two related but different verbs with different senses, inflections, descendants and pronunciations, including the infinitive. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 21:53, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
That wasn't the point. The question was only about the infinitive and only about how it should be spelled, which for a reconstruction reflects how we think it would have been pronounced. For example, if we were reconstructing Russian, we would spell both infinitives as vesti, because вести and везти are pronounced exactly the same. --WikiTiki89 22:28, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Then the modern Ukrainian pronunciation should be taken into account. Why the two inflection paradigms shouldn't matter? The two verbs should be split in any case. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:36, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
The two verbs are split (see the entry), and if you read my original post, I already did mention Ukrainian. --WikiTiki89 02:47, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
  • You can't pronounce [zt] without some kind of (glottal) break, which either Ukrainian inserted (by analogy to present stem or under the influence of written forms) or the reconstruction of Proto-Slavic is wrong with respect to voiced-unvoiced sequences (which are unassimilated in uk in general). Another possibility is that uk (or perhaps OEsl.) recreated the form везти after that kind of assimilation ceased to be functional). Historical grammars of uk should be consulted if anyone has access to one. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 08:53, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
    • No, it's phonetically quite pronouncable, especially if you admit a degree of variation in where the voicing switches exactly (ranging from [z͡st] to [zd͡t]). --Tropylium (talk) 09:50, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
    • I agree that it is very possible that OES used везти as an etymological spelling, rather than a phonetic one, and that Ukrainian may have extended this to the pronunciation as well. Strong evidence of voicing in PS would be if we found a word with root-internal [zt] in OES or Ukrainian. If no such word is found, we are left to speculate. Do we know what respective infinitives of *wedʰ- and *weǵʰ- would have looked like in PIE? --WikiTiki89 14:59, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
      • PIE possess no infinitive form. Many descendant, including PS, take their infinitives from the PIE nominal suffix *-tis. This is, however, misleading because the descendants of original *-tis-stems all have the stressed zero-grade root in all of their descendants (e.g. *méntis > *mń̥tis > PS *pamętь, *wéh₁itis > *uh₁ítis > PS *vitь). If we found the PS descendant of *wédʰ-tis (which does give PG *gawissiz, we would expect to see *wédʰ-tis > *wét-tis > *wétstis > *útstis > PS ?*ъsti. In this situation we would not only see a different root grade in the stem but also dental assimilation and assibilation in PIE. Similarly *wéǵʰ-tis should probably produce PS ?*ъzti, though I do not know whether the *z should assimilate in this case. As such, either form *vesti or *vezti should be a PS formation. —JohnC5 15:43, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
        • @JohnC5: The intent of my question was to determine whether voicing assimilation occurred before PS in each case. You seem to be saying that with *wédʰ-tis it occurred early on, before the frication of the *-dʰ-, while for *wéǵʰ-tis, it may be that no voicing assimilation occurred at all before PS. Is that correct? Also, why do you suggest *weC- > *uC- > *ъC-? There is no word-initial ъ in PS. --WikiTiki89 15:59, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
        • (edit conflict) There was voicing assimilation already in PIE. Anything spelled -ǵʰt- for morphological reasons would have been pronounced -ḱt- in PIE and would (barring analogical re-formation) have developed exactly like any other -ḱt-. If any Slavic language truly has phonetic [zt] in this (or any other) word, it can't be very old, but must be a relatively new case of analogy/paradigm leveling. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:02, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
        • P.S.: word-initial ъ got prothetic v in PS, so *ъsti and *ъzti would be *vъsti and *vъzti respectively. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:04, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
          • @Wikitiki89: Sorry for the confusion on my part. My guess of word-initial stemmed from a lack of knowledge of how word initial PIE *u descended into PS. My long-winded and tangential answer was to say that the full-grade stem form prevented either infinitive from being a direct PIE descendant regardless of PIE assimilation rules. Also, Aɴɢʀ is absolutely correct that *-ǵʰt- would become *-ḱt- in PIE. —JohnC5 16:15, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
            • There is no evidence that assimilation occurred in PIE already. In fact, w:Bartholomae's law requires its absence. —CodeCat 16:47, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
              • …yes. Regardless, the point about the root grade still stands. —JohnC5 16:57, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
                • But *vъsti / *vъzti > *vesti / *vezti through leveling is also possible. Anyway, the change *ved-ti > *vesti could not have occurred within PS. --WikiTiki89 17:30, 30 September 2015 (UTC)


Claims that it came from PIE, but it did not name a specific root. Hillcrest98 (talk) 21:52, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

According to zolfo (Italian), it's from *swelplos, from the root *swel- ‎(to burn, smoulder). Sounds plausible (it would correlate with Proto-Germanic *sweblaz) - any PIE experts able to back that up? Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:39, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
According to Kroonen[1], we are dealing with a pre-IE Wanderwort reflected in Latin, Germanic, Armenian, Hebrew, Mongolian, Turkish. --Vahag (talk) 14:36, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
So De Vaan[2] would like to derive the original form sulpur from an unattested ablaut r/n-stem *sólp-r from *selp- ‎(fat) and compares it to ὄλπη ‎(ólpē). This root does have an s-stem *sélpos that gives AG ἔλπος ‎(élpos, olive oil)/ἔλφος ‎(élphos, butter)[3], Albanian gjalpë ‎(butter)[4][5], and Tocharian A/B ṣälyp/ṣalype[6]. Also *solpéh₂ > PG *salbō, a secondary -ís formation > Sanskrit सर्पिस् ‎(sarpís), and *sl̥prós > सृप्र ‎(sṛprá).[7] Beekes, however, does not believe that ὄλπη and ἔλπος are related, though the LIN[8] derives ὄλπη from *solpéh₂. None of the sources discussing *selp- derived sulpur from it except De Vaan, though the semantics of fat, oil, ointment > sulfur do not seem plausible to me. With this information, I am more inclined to trust Kroonen's claim that it is a non-IE Wanderwort. —JohnC5 16:18, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Let's try to map this out. So far, this is mostly guesswork, so feel free to add to it or modify it:
Still not sure where to put Slavic forms *sěra and OES цѣрь ‎(cěrĭ) (and whether they belong here at all). --WikiTiki89 17:30, 1 October 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Guus Kroonen (2013), Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, page 497
  2. ^ “sulpur” in Michiel de Vaan (2008), Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, page 598
  3. ^ “ἔλπος” in Robert S. P. Beekes (2010) Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, volume I, pages 415-516
  4. ^ “gjalpë” in Bardhyl Demiraj (1997) Albanische Etymologien: Untersuchungen zum albanischen Erbwortschatz, Leiden Studies in Indo-European, volume 7, Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, page 182
  5. ^ “gjalpë” in Vladimir Orel (1998), Albanian Etymological Dictionary, Ledien, Boston, Köln: Brill Academic Publishers, page 129
  6. ^ “ṣalype-” in Douglas Q. Adams's “A Dictionary of Tocharian B.” Leiden Studies in Indo-European 10 (1999).
  7. ^ Guus Kroonen (2013), Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, page 424
  8. ^ Dagmar S. Wodtko, Britta Irslinger, Carolin Schneider (2008), Lexikon der indogermanischen Nomina, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, pages 612-613

October 2015

Is Crimean Gothic descended from Gothic?[edit]

Regarding diff, is Crimean Gothic descended from Wulfilan Gothic? I thought it was a separate East Germanic language. Pinging @Ivadon as the one who made the edit in question. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:13, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

It is currently described in Wikipedia as a Gothic dialect, although this had been changed a couple of times. At least my source supports that claim. --Ivadon (talk) 20:31, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

φέρω - suppletive forms[edit]

Can the source of the 2-3 suppleted roots of this word can be found? I ran into this on WP while searching for suppleted words in IE languages. I haven't really studied ancient/proto- languages unlike many of you (I use pure lookup to get etymologies), but this sort of word origin stuff interests me. Hillcrest98 (talk) 23:42, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

camera obscura[edit]

I tried to use the proper formatting for the etymology here but stuffed up, could someone fix it please? Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:39, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Angr fixed it (see his edit for how to do it). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:47, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
But make sure that my change is really what you want. I wasn't sure what fix you were going for. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:56, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Pretty much, yes. Does the term originate from Latin or New Latin? ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:42, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
As a phrase meaning "dark room", I'm sure it goes back to Classical Rome. As a device for seeing an image projected on a surface, I believe it only goes back to the Renaissance (the concept behind the device goes much farther- but apparently not with that name). Chuck Entz (talk) 02:41, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

rob Peter to pay Paul[edit]

RFV of the etymology.

Tagged mistakenly as an {{rfe}} by an IP, who posted an explanation on the talk page. It does, indeed, look like a folk etymology/guess of the type that tends to float around from one general interest book to another and here and there on the web without much grounding in actual etymological research. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:40, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

It seems that etymology has been floating around for some 350 years, but the phrase existed before then. See www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/rob-peter-to-pay-paul.html. —Pengo (talk) 23:02, 14 October 2015 (UTC)


Would someone kindly check the etymology? I'm not sure if I got it right, or why the category "English twice-borrowed terms" is appearing. Thanks. Smuconlaw (talk) 20:37, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

Fixed (after a couple of absent-minded missteps). You missed out on some of the details in the Ancient Greek, which is understandable if you're not familiar with the language or with the references available.
The categorization problem is due to using {{etyl|en}}: although it does display Wiktionary's name for the language referred to by a given code, the main purpose for {{etyl}} is to add the right derivational categories, based on the language codes given.
Simply leaving out the second parameter leads it to assume a second parameter of "en", since English is the default at English Wiktionary There's no good reason to categorize an English entry as derived from English unless it's a borrowing of a non-English term that has an English term in its history, so it calls it a "twice-borrowed term"- borrowed into another language, and later borrowed back. To avoid categorization, you just use "-" for the second parameter. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:56, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
Hi, @Chuck Entz and @Angr. I know nothing about Latin or Greek, and had just copied the etymology from other entries in the dictionary, so thanks for fixing it. Just wondering, though: does ádoxos mean only "unexpected, unlikely", or does it also have the sense of "dishonourable, ignoble"? I noticed that one of the senses of dóxa is "honour, glory", and World Wide Words suggests that this is the relevant meaning of ádoxos, that is, writing about ignoble (rather than unexpected) things. (See also the 2008 quotation.) Smuconlaw (talk) 08:03, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
It can also mean 'disreputable; ignoble'. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:06, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. Can I leave it to one of you to update the entry? Also (although this isn't etymology related), is the pronunciation of the word likely to be "ay-dock-SAW-gruh-fee" or "uh-DOCK-so-GRUH-fee"? Smuconlaw (talk) 09:23, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
I've never heard the word pronounced, but my instinct says it should have same stress pattern as photography, i.e. main stress on the "sog". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:26, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
That's what I figured too. Smuconlaw (talk) 11:06, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure any of the existing entries needed to be updated, though an ἄδοξος ‎(ádoxos) entry should definitely reflect the "ignoble" sense, since it seems to be the primary one. δόξα ‎(dóxa) shows a common semantic progression: from opinion to good opinion to outstanding opinion/glory. You can see traces of this kind of progression in fame/defame and esteem/estimate. The other meaning of δόξα ‎(dóxa) can been seen in paradox, from παράδοξος ‎(parádoxos), which Liddle & Scott consider ἄδοξος ‎(ádoxos) to be a synonym of, in this sense. There may be a better way to show it in the etymology, but this term definitely descended from the rare "unexpected" sense, not from the more common "ignoble" one. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:14, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
You're the expert, so I've adjusted the etymology as you suggest. Thanks! Smuconlaw (talk) 18:49, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Actually, Angr's the expert, if anyone here, but I figured he just didn't have the time to get up to speed on the issues I had been looking at for a while. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:29, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Well, thanks very much to both of you. By the way, ἄδοξος is red-linked but I notice that άδοξος ("inglorious, without fame, without glory, without pride") exists. Is this the same word? Smuconlaw (talk) 22:28, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Sort of. It's the (modern) Greek descendant of the Ancient Greek word. Ancient Greek has a diacritic that modern Greek doesn't use, otherwise they would have been spelled the same and ended up on the same page. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:46, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying. How does one tell whether a word is derived from Ancient or modern Greek, actually? Smuconlaw (talk) 10:30, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
It's very rare for anything not specific to modern Greece to be derived from modern Greek. Scientific, technical, religious and similar terms are all from Ancient Greek. I've seen a couple of phobia names that were derived from modern Greek, but that's about it. The reason is that Ancient Greek is part of the history of European civilization and, until recently, was among the subjects an educated person was often taught, but modern Greek is just one of the many languages spoken in Europe, so most non-Greeks don't speak it. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:09, 12 October 2015 (UTC)


Are there any possibly related words in Latin, or in other Romance languages? DTLHS (talk) 23:16, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

The obvious one is Latin pingue, which has a noun sense meaning"fat, grease" (not covered in our entry, but it can be seen in the Lewis & Short entry for pinguis). For instance, the plant genus Pingicula got its name because the leaves look oily or greasy. Of course, that would require an explanation for that "r", and why it didn't come out more like pingüe. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:57, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
The adjective pringoso is from the noun pringue ‎(grease), itself probably deverbative from pringar ‎(to dip in grease). Beyond that the etymology is unclear. Latin pendō ‎(to hang) has been suggested as the etymon, via Vulgar Latin *pendicāre. --Vahag (talk) 08:50, 11 October 2015 (UTC)


Anybody know the etymology of this Italian surname? This says "one who made sausage and cut up meat. but has no source. This looks more authoritative but I'm not sure I get what it's saying, it seems to say its original form, Tuccio, is a use of the diminutive -ito but of course it doesn't have -ito in it. Does it mean to imply it was originally Tuccito? So it was the diminutive of a hypothetical given name Tucc? WurdSnatcher (talk)

Tucci is "patronymic or plural form of Tuccio" and Tuccio is "from a short form of any of various personal names ending with the hypocoristic suffix -(t)uccio, for example Albertuccio, Robertuccio". Source: “Tucci” in Patrick Hanks, ed., (2003), Dictionary of American Family Names (Oxford University Press). --Vahag (talk) 06:06, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Ah, interesting, thanks! WurdSnatcher (talk)

Sinograph interpretations redivivus[edit]

Hello all. Etymology Scriptorium readers who frequented the Beer Parlour back in 2013 may recall two threads that year dealing with Sinograph etymologies, here and at much greater length here.

I had visited the parlour with the intent of creating uniformity for and expanding the breadth of material of mine that was being used in Wiktionary's Sinograph etymologies. Several editors were welcoming and offered constructive suggestions, but they were outnumbered by others who revealed themselves as unaware of important relevant research, assumed bad faith, treated the newbie as a suspect on trial, pressed arguments tainted with rhetorical artifice and logical fallacies, and conjured policy out of thin air to suit the purpose at hand. It was not, I daresay, the Beer Parlour's finest moment.

Now, two years on, I find that the state of the etymology section of the Sinograph entries makes a mockery of the stated objections to my contributions. Interested parties may wish to peruse the earlier discussion and familiarize themselves with these objections in the editors' own words and to review the pertinent section of Wiktionary: References.

Many of the interpretations in the etymology section of Sinograph entries are, as it happens, unattributed. That does not necessarily make the interpretations inadmissible, for as stated in W:R above: "When there is a single source for etymology, or the etymology is widely accepted (so that author's name doesn't matter) it is not necessary to mention the author of the etymology."

However, neither of these exemptions apply to the interpretations in question because 1) There are multiple sources of etymology for Sinographs and 2) No compelling case can be made that interpretations such as those for 真 染 or 因 (as retrieved in mid-October 2015) qualify as widely accepted.

Moreover, even in cases when attributions are provided, these are often to sites that are of contestable value as reliable sources. To take but several examples, 炭 goes to yellowbridge.com, 且 報 辛 不 可 亡 乙 to hanziyuan.com (in Mandarin to begin with, and all in any case currently redirecting to a "This domain may be for sale" page), and 失 異 民 岡 玉 者 奇 不 夕 眔 身 犬 幸 to Richard Sears' Chinese Etymology. (The sources upon which Sears relies for his reproductions of ancient forms make him an acceptable handy online reference for the graphic aspects of the characters, but nothing about his academic background qualifies him as an authority on interpretations of Sinographs.)

In short, I find that the Sinograph entries are riddled with interpretations that fail to meet Wiktionary's standards for inclusion, and I call this situation to the attention of scriptorium readers for consideration and input. Also, I urge those editors who went on the record against inclusion of my contributions to square that opposition with the silence they afford the problematic interpretations noted above. Thank you. Lawrence J. Howell (talk) 03:30, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Maybe there are problems with our current etymologies (I'm not qualified to say), but that's an argument for improving our etymologies, not for giving up and letting you do them. Whatever may be said about their current state, the very clear consensus was that your approach would be worse. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:57, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Hello again, Chuck, and thank you for your reply.
Please reread my post. Nowhere did I propose that Wiktionary give up on the etymologies and allow me to do them. What I did was to alert the community to a certain issue: The etymology sections of many of the Sinograph entries contain interpretations that fail the requirements set forth in Wiktionary: References. That should be a matter of general concern for the community and of particular concern for the contributors who edit the Sinograph entries, and I am urging input here from all parties. Simultaneously, I am asking to be apprised of the rationale according to which certain interpretations judged not to conform to Wiktionary standards (namely, mine) are excluded while other non-conforming interpretations gain inclusion.
As for the consensus you mention, I have a very different take on what ultimately was demonstrated by the earlier debate. For the moment, however, let's focus on the issue at hand. Lawrence J. Howell (talk) 00:58, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
"rationale ": Simple: the other ones haven't been judged and scrutinized. Yours have. Is this a good thing? In my opinion, no. But at the moment that's how it is. —suzukaze (tc) 01:08, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
A week later. Nobody has attempted to rationalize continued inclusion of interpretations failing to conform to Wiktionary standards. Nobody has argued in favor of loosening the standards. Nobody has moved to bring those interpretations into conformity with standards or, alternately, to excise them. The Herculean efforts of Editor Nobody in this connection are duly noted.
My initial foray into Wiktionary provoked a number of editors tone deaf to the phonesthemic tendencies in Old Chinese identified by Axel Schuessler, Marjorie Chan and Gilbert Roy into making intemperate comments. This followup visit has produced silence and inaction. Tin ears and inertia certainly create a daunting environment for editors keen on improving the dictionary.
I'll swing by again in a few years and, providing the editorial climate has changed enough to permit it, make two types of improvements, outlined below. I heartily encourage contributors who perceive the merits of the blueprint to get started without me.
The first improvement is with respect to the Sinographs that are now categorized as 會意文字 ("ideogrammic compounds," "compound ideographs" inter alia).
For decades, informed students of the Sinographs have known of major analytical weaknesses in the traditional 六書 liùshū categories, one category of which is the alleged 會意 characters. However, it wasn't until two years ago that this knowledge began percolating into general awareness. The sea change was launched on 22 June 2013, with this landmark edit. Ever since, en.wikipedia has been enlightening those interested in Sinographs that, "Many characters formerly classed as compound ideographs are now believed to have been mistakenly identified."
Unfortunately, Wiktionary's treatment of these alleged 會意 characters suggests that word has yet to reach editors working on Sinograph entries. Contributors miscategorize obvious phono-semantic compounds (導 便 形 健 房 港 字 客 ...), merrily continue decomposing compound ideographs as though their present-day forms actually correspond to the thought processes according to which the characters were originally devised (設 "Ideogrammic compound (會意): 言 + 殳 – speech and acts"), and are nescient of the palaeography that enables us to identify the now-disappeared phono-semantic elements in these supposed 會意 characters.
I will improve the entries for these characters by properly categorizing them as phono-semantic compounds and interpreting them according to the particular ancient form(s) bearing most directly on the meanings the characters convey at present.
The second improvement will be to add meaningful interpretative data to the etymology sections of entries already correctly categorized as phono-semantic compounds (at present, the totality of the etymology section of the entry for 暮 is "莫 + 日").
This situation can, should and will be ameliorated by presenting exegetical material drawn from reliable and accessible English-language references sources such as Chinese Writing (the Mattos/Norman translation of Qiu Xigui's 文字學概要) and Schuessler's ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese.
The utility of Wiktionary for its users will increase exponentially, as can be illustrated by the following scenario. Users learn that Schuessler, in his entry for 莫暮, suggests a relation to the notions "dark, cover." Then they wonder about the function of 莫 in other derivative characters (募 墓 模 幕 寞 摸 漠 獏 慕 膜 蟇 謨 鏌 驀). The more astute among them ponder then conclude, "Meanings of the derivative characters tell me the conceptual influence isn't 'dark, cover': It's 'concealed.' Now it all makes sense. Man, I remember back when all Wiktionary gave us for 暮 was 莫 + 日. The dictionary is so much better now." Arrivederci. Lawrence J. Howell (talk) 02:07, 19 October 2015 (UTC)

stap (Crimean Gothic)[edit]

I have a source that claims it to be a loanword from “magyar. czáp”, which I guess should mean csáp, but the listed definition is not appropriate. Is there maybe something missing?

In search for other possible etymons I found Slovak cap, Romanian țap and notably Albanian cjap, which gave me the hint to a possible Scythian origin and to sheep.

While that is my personal research, since there are quite a few Crimean Gothic words of ultimately Iranian origin, a link to Scythian *čapi would be strikingly accurate except for the sex of the animal—unless we can find more information about czáp or csáp and its own etymology.

The question is now whether the Crimean Gothic term might be directly derived from one of the mentioned languages or if it is inherited from Proto-Germanic *skēpą, and if we should make mention of one of these theories. — Ivadon (talk) 13:31, 13 October 2015 (UTC)


Need someone who knows Greek to check the Greek part of the etymology. Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:48, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

While you're at it, please check zoetrope as well. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:54, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

I've fixed them. Neither are from Greek, but instead from Ancient Greek, but the suffixes are not used with their strict original meaning, but instead as English suffixes. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:37, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Many thanks! ---> Tooironic (talk) 16:03, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic second palatalization[edit]

Anyone know why we reconstruct *cěsarjь, *cьrky but simultaneously *gvězda, *květъ? Surely these have to be from two different stages of Proto-Slavic, with the second regressive palatalization changing *kěsarjь > *cěsarjь and *kьrky > *cьrky but (except in West Slavic) *gvězda > *dzvězda and *květъ > *cvětъ. I note that Dirksen does the same as us in his etymological dictionary but gives no rationale; is this simply a convention of some kind, or is the second palatalization theorized to have occurred separately (later) before v? Kortlandt has it applying universally but simply being later reversed before v in West Slavic, which seems to indicate the former. —Vorziblix (talk) 12:18, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia, the Old Novgorod dialect lacks the second palatalization even in root-initial position (where it's unlikely to have been undone by analogy), suggesting that the second palatalization was not complete in Proto-Slavic. If that's so, we should move *cěsarjь to *kěsarjь and *cьrky to *kьrky (apparently attested as кьркы ‎(kĭrky) in Old Novgorodian), and keep *gvězda and *květъ where they are. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:26, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
The real solution would be to move *cěsarjь to *ḱěsarjь, *cьrky to *ḱьrky, *gvězda to *ǵvězda, and *květъ to *ḱvětъ. That is the only solution that does justice to every descendant of Proto-Slavic. --WikiTiki89 15:13, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's necessary to put palatalisation marks on those letters as the palatalization was implied by the following front vowel anyway. That said, since we've now voted to become pedantic about sourcing reconstructions, it's going to be hard to source these alternative forms. It appears that our new-fangled policy disallows us from renaming these pages. Yay. —CodeCat 15:34, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
There is nothing preventing us from changing spelling conventions if we source a different spelling. We need the palatalisation marks because of the progressive palatalization, which was not completely predictable as far as I can tell, but since its result merged with the result of the second palatalization, we should treat them the same way. --WikiTiki89 19:36, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, and we already use palatalization marks for the result of the progressive and second regressive palatalizations acting on h > ś: thus we have *vьśь vs. *vьsь. With our current notation the progressive palatalization is indeed unpredictable; see e.g. *-ikъ, where in the inflected forms -ikomъ, -ikoma, -ikomь, -iku, and -ika the k might be expected to palatalize but does not. This is apparently because the progressive palatalization failed to take place after old diphthongal ei > > i but did take place after i derived from other sources. Since we reconstruct a later stage of Proto-Slavic when had already merged with i, we can’t predict the palatalization from the forms we give.
The new reconstruction sourcing policy isn’t a problem, as it states: »Allowing appendix pages on reconstructed protoforms (e.g., *h₂ŕ̥tḱos) only if they have references to sources (scholarly work) that... b. provide evidence that supports the form (e.g., sound changes that would create it)«, and references for the sound changes involved are plentiful. —Vorziblix (talk) 22:54, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but we do not indicate the result of the progressive and second regressive palatalization on k and g, which seems like it would be a good idea. Anyway, , ǵ, and make more sense to me than ć, , and ś. --WikiTiki89 00:44, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
If the issue is merely notational, then can't we just keep things as they are? *c merely denotes the archiphoneme that appears as k in Old Novgorod and c in the rest of Slavic. Just like we use *ť to denote the archiphoneme that becomes c in West Slavic, č in East Slavic, and variously č, ć, ḱ or št in South Slavic. —CodeCat 23:04, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Do *c and *dz ever come from anywhere other than the progressive and second regressive palatalizations? If not, then indeed there is no problem, but then *gvězda should be moved to *dzvězda and *květъ to *cvětъ with the simple rules *cv > *kv and *dzv > *gv in West Slavic. I also wish there was a single letter we could use for *dz... --WikiTiki89 00:44, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
A later *c and *dz arise from , and other sources as PSl disintegrates, but we needn’t be concerned with them, as our reconstructed forms are earlier; just using *c, *dz, would work well as far as I know. Actually, looking over Wiktionary:About Proto-Slavic, that seems to have been Ivan’s intention: *c and *dz are listed as »palatal alveolar«. For *dz, the literature traditionally uses as a single letter. —Vorziblix (talk) 01:02, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
Ok, so you agree with moving *gvězda to *dzvězda and *květъ to *cvětъ? --WikiTiki89 15:13, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't know about anyone else, but I don't agree with it. It's highly improbable that the West Slavic forms are derived from forms with alveolar affricates that turned into velar stops in West Slavic; rather, they stayed velar stops in West Slavic and never got affricated in the first place. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:48, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what they were, the question is just how should we write them. It is entirely possible that they were [kʲ], [gʲ], and [xʲ], or [c], [ɟ], and [ç]. --WikiTiki89 15:59, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure where you are getting the idea from that these are alveolar affricates. We've been discussing the very point of how to represent phonemes. —CodeCat 15:52, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
WT:ASLA calls them "palatal alveolar consonants", and it's disingenuous to pretend we can use the symbols c dz for a Slavic language and have readers interpret them any way other than [t͡s d͡z]. If the problem with using k g is that there's no progressive palatalization after the i that comes from an older diphthong, then we can write that vowel as i₂ (as some authors already do, so that's not an invention of ours) to distinguish it from the i < ī that does trigger progressive palatalization. Or, if absolutely necessary, ḱ ǵ (as well as rather than ś, cf. Old Novgorodian вьхо ‎(vĭxo, all)), but using c dz is simply misleading, no matter how much we tell ourselves that they're purely algebraic symbols with no phonological interpretation. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:25, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
There are other issues with ignoring the progressive palatalization as well. The consonants that were affected by it in turn fronted the vowels that followed them. So there's a three-stage process: *vĭxo > *vĭśo > *vĭśe. Since there is no progressive palatalization in Old Novgorod, there can't be any fronting either. Does Old Novgorod display fronting after *j? That is, is there a distinction between hard and soft inflections? —CodeCat 16:31, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't know. All I know about Old Novgorodian is what's in the Wikipedia article. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:43, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
On the other hand, c and dz are the accepted symbols used by most lexicographers of Proto-Slavic. --WikiTiki89 17:44, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
Except before v, where most lexicographers of Proto-Slavic use k g. Following most lexicographers means keeping the status quo. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:17, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
You're right, but then we're back to square one. --WikiTiki89 02:43, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
Precisely. So if we feel we do have to deviate from the majority of lexicographers in order to make correct predictions, then in my opinion we should follow the principle of least astonishment and use the symbols k g x (or at least ḱ ǵ x́) to indicate sounds that uncontroversially come from PBSl. k g x and that remain k g x in Old Novgorodian and, before v, in West Slavic. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:01, 17 October 2015 (UTC)


The exact definition of civilocity is literally, behaving in the dwelling. Civilocity is derived from the Latin term civilis and the Medieval Latin term civitat in the early of the 21st century AD to improve the political systems existing in some American city-states, notably Washington, DC


How is this written in Dari Persian? And what exactly does that etymon mean? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:10, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

Compare Persian قاچاقچی ‎(qâčâqči) DTLHS (talk) 23:14, 15 October 2015 (UTC)


The RAE calls this a calque from English isolationist. Is it still a calque if just the pronunciation is copied? DTLHS (talk) 16:07, 16 October 2015 (UTC)

It’s not a case of the pronunciation being copied, it’s aislar + -ción + -ista. — Ungoliant (falai) 16:09, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
Right, thanks. DTLHS (talk) 16:13, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
It's not unusual for a language to pick a calque that's phonologically reminiscent of the source word. Irish has several examples; the one that stands out in my mind most is teilifíseán, which is morphologically teili- ‎(tele-) + fís ‎(vision) + -án ‎(diminutive), but it was clearly picked for the similarity of sound (it sounds roughly like "telly-fee-shawn") to English television; there would be no other reason to use such a rare and archaic word as fís for the "vision" part instead of one of the usual words like radharc or amharc, nor for using teili- instead of the native fad-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:36, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
That would fall under w:Phono-semantic matching. —CodeCat 16:40, 16 October 2015 (UTC)


I made the assumption that, like Confucius, Mencius orginates from Latin, but someone schooled in the language might want to run a check on this. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:01, 19 October 2015 (UTC)


Can we reference the first part of the Albanian etymology? Given that the second part is referenced and plausible, the second part seems like a folk etymology. - -sche (discuss) 00:15, 20 October 2015 (UTC)


Requirement for Urgent Corrections on some edits on Talk Pages, to correspond with *Dr. Ken George KESVA Breton orientated Unified Cornish Dictionary.

My due apologies for presenting some Cornish synonyms without tracing their etymologies first. This message is urgent for both Users and Administrators, hence this edit here. I shall correct them as quickly as I can; since the more changes made even on the Talk Pages, the more the Users' confidence is undermined! However, am determined that all my etymologies on the Talk Pages shall present true and reliable origins; or where this is not possible, due to uncertainty - to downgrade such connections by code accordingly. Andrew H. Gray 12:47, 20 October 2015 (UTC)Andrew

To all Administrator Etymologists[edit]

Please be free to add any comments or corrections to the contributions on the Talk Pages; and comments on my Talk Page as to any misgivings you may have regarding the need for any unbiased number code that you might feel needs to be changed! Andrew H. Gray 10:22, 29 October 2015 (UTC)Andrew


A PGM *krīgaz as added by @Leasnam would not produce a southern/MHG /kriəg/, nor an Old High German chrēg that Duden mentions, nor a modern northern /kriːg/. But I don't remember where I got *krē²gaz and whether that source was trustworthy. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 13:11, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

Dutch does have ī though: krijgen. —CodeCat 13:16, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
A loanword from Low German, perhaps? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:37, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
The only Proto-Germanic forms I've found mentioned or hinted at so far are:
  • 1979, Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur (edited by Helmut de Boor, ‎Ingeborg Schröbler), page 20:
    [...] Lüdtke (1957, 171) notes that OHG ia often corresponds to ī in the more northerly dialects: he compares Goth. skeirs, OE scīr, OS skīr ›clear‹ with OHG skēri, skiaro, OE wīr with OHG wiara ›(gold) wire‹, and Dutch krijg ›war‹ < *krīg with OHG chrēg ›obstinance‹, NHG Krieg ›war‹. Thus ē2 is apparently primarily a southern development of ēXi, while ī is dominant in the North. This accords perfectly with the fact that Xi only occasionally appears as e in the North, while in Old High German, e is more common than i before low vowels (see Connolly 1977, s 51).
  • Edgar Charles Polomé, Diachronic stratification of the Germanic vocabulary, in Methodology in Transition:
    The terms of the Frankish administrative nomenclature do not spread over the whole Germanic territory, [...]. This does not apply to words like Old Franconian *werra 'war' [...] which spread far and wide into the western Romance languages [...] whereas the same concept is expressed by new coinages elsewhere in Germanic: [...] *krē2g- (OHG krieg) — originally 'obduracy, stubbornness, stress, strain'.
- -sche (discuss) 14:48, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
What's ēXi? Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 13:17, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
The -ī- in Dutch krijgen is not from Low German. There are two forms of this word in continental West Germanic: one with -ī- and one with -ia-. In Central Franconian, Ripuarian has forms going back to -ī-, while Moselle Franconian has forms going back to -ie-. Kolmiel (talk) 22:40, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Rheme, rhematic[edit]

Would someone knowledgeable please create the etymologies for rheme and rhematic? They appear to be related to ῥῆμα (see "Talk:rheme"), and may be modelled upon theme and thematic: see the 2007 quotation in rhematic. Smuconlaw (talk) 18:43, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

Done. They're from two full-fledged Ancient Greek words, though the meanings are different. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:00, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! Smuconlaw (talk) 19:05, 20 October 2015 (UTC)


I tried to ask this on another discussion forum but deriving it as is right now is a piece of trouble.


Right now Wiktionary derives it from *h₁ésh₂r̥.

OED suggests either *h₁ésh₂r̥, *ish₂ros, or *áyos; but it states all of them pose unexplained phonological problems, and that some people resolve it as by calling it a non-IE borrowing.

Etymonline supports *ish₂ros.

Hillcrest98 (talk) 16:42, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

Polish loch[edit]

I was under the impression that German Loch came from PGmc *luką, but what is currently there seems very plausible. Is there a different word Loch in German that I am missing, or is this the same one meaning "hole, cavity"? Leasnam (talk) 19:23, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

I don't think it's plausible at all. The semantics "site, situation, camp" > "hole" are not obvious, nor is the sound change g > h in High German. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:13, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
That's what I was thinking, the modern outcome of *lōgą is Lug, but I wanted to make sure there wasn't a different word. I'll fix it. Leasnam (talk) 00:45, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
All dialects of Central German pronounce word-final g as [x]. And so do even the Upper German ones of northern Bavaria. So phonetically it does indeed make perfect sense. -- But since phonetics isn't everything, you two are probably right to derive it from Loch. Kolmiel (talk) 22:55, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

한글, 조선글 - hangeul[edit]

Native Korean sources say that the first part is Sino-Korean - for the South Korean 한글 (han-geul) and 朝鮮 for the North Korean form 조선글 (joseon-geul) but the part is a native Korean word. So, both terms are a blend. Some users claim that is now written out using a hanja character (specifically designed for this purpose?). I don't see any reliable sources confirming that claim. Wikipedia's Hangul now uses made up 韓㐎 and 朝鮮㐎, which are only used, well in Wikipedia. Total Google hits for "韓㐎" is 236, no Google books hits at all, except for Wikipedia. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 21:25, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

It has since been deleted by Atitarev. Hillcrest98 (talk) 14:01, 26 October 2015 (UTC)


This page gives manus + stupro, while the page masturbate gives manus + turbo. --kc_kennylau (talk) 16:12, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Both are labeled as speculation, so they're not mutually exclusive. I don't have any decent references on Latin etymology, but, semantically, the stupro etymology looks much better, and the metathesis VprV -> VrpV with assimilation of voicing seems plausible. There's also turpo to throw into the mix- if nothing else, the semantic parallels with stupro suggest there's more here than meets the eye. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:02, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Etymology of Hungarian [edit]

@Martinus Poeta Juvenis and anyone else who knows their way around Hungarian etymology:  (U+F062) is not a valid Unicode character (I think it's in the user-defined range). What letter is it supposed to represent? It was added in this edit. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:29, 26 October 2015 (UTC)


The Old French form is identical but for the accent. Was this really borrowed from English rather than inherited? - -sche (discuss) 06:21, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

CNRTL http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/d%C3%A9priver doesn't even list this as a French word Leasnam (talk) 14:41, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Cognates of hall and Saal (German)/salle (French)[edit]

I was looking at etymologies of English hall and German Saal ‎(large room), thinking that they may be cognates. They seem to have diverging Proto-Indo-European roots: hall traces to *ḱel- ‎(to hide, conceal) whereas Saal goes back to *sel- ‎(human settlement, village, dwelling) (see also salle, which lists Saal as a cognate although the page for Saal doesn't list salle - maybe it should).

A curiosity to me is that Sanskrit शाला ‎(śā́lā, house, mansion, hall) is listed as a cognate of hall and not Saal, whereas its meaning seems closer to Proto-Indo-European *sel- ‎(human settlement, village, dwelling) than to Proto-Indo-European *ḱel- ‎(to hide, conceal). Is this correct? If so, how do we know? A.tikuisis (talk) 18:40, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Languages undergo changes following certain rules, like one sound always changes into another. It's not predictable what the rules are, but by comparing words you think are related, you can find out. In the case of Sanskrit, there is a rule that a Proto-Indo-European *ḱ (not *k) becomes ś, while *s stays as it is (at least at the start of a word). This means that the Sanskrit word, starting with ś, can't have its origin in a word that started with *s, it must be *ḱ. For the Germanic languages, both *k and *ḱ become *h at the beginning of a word, while *s again stays as it is. —CodeCat 18:58, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

November 2015


RFV of the etymology:

From Middle Low German kweke

Given the wide variation in the modern English descendants (couch, quitch, quack grass, scutch grass, twitch, etc.), I can see how there might be more than one source- but I've always thought of Middle Low German as contemporaneous with Middle English, not Old English. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:15, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

There is a relevant footnote on page 199 of Brian Cooper's Of Cabbages — and Kings: Lexicological and Etymological Studies on Russian Plant Nomenclature (which I painstakingly reconstructed from the fragmented Google Books snippet view):
5. One might mention here quitch/couch/quack/quick (grass), also known as wheat-grass (Russ. пырей, see section 3 under the heading пыро, пырей) which is generally assumed to be of the same root (OEng. cwice, MLGer. kweke, Dut. kweek, Ger. Quecke) with reference to its vitality; compare Dan. kvik, kæk in the ‘lively’ sense with kvik, kvæk (græs) in the grass sense, and similarly Nor. kvikk, kjekk with kvikke.
Here is the part of the page that references the footnote (which is regarding the Russian word жито ‎(žito, grain)), in case it is relevant:
Etymologically the word is generally derived from the same root as Russ. жить ‘live’ with the ‘object/implement’ suffix -то seen in золото ‘gold’, сито ‘sieve’ (Preobraženskij 1951, Šanskij 1963–, Cyganenko 1970: s.v. жито), and thus ultimately from the Indo-European root *gʷei-/*gʷi- ‘live’ (OCSlav. жити/живу < IE *gʷeiti/*gʷiwo), as seen in OPruss. geits, accusative geitan ‘bread’ (Vasmer 1964–73, Preobraženskij 1951: s.v. жито) i.e. the staff of life, giwei ‘life’, gaydis ‘wheat’ and in many other cognate words (Cyganenko 1970: s.v. жито; Miklosich 1886: s.v. živ-), such as these words for ‘lively’, ‘alive’: Lith. gaivus, Latv. dzīvs, Sanskrit jivas, Lat. vivus (< gvivus), Gothic *qius, found in the plural qiwai (< kwiwo-z < IE *gʷiwo-), ONorse kvikr (< *kwikwo-z), Swed. qvick, Eng. quick, Dut. kwik, Ger. keck (dialectically queck),5 and OIrish bui/beo (cf. Grk. bíos ‘life’, also with b < ). The original meaning of жито would therefore appear to have been a foodstuff, and indeed in Old Church Slavonic the word was evidently used to mean fruit (Miklosich 1862–65: s.v. жито; Brückner 1927: s.v. žyto) as well as cereals (Holub and Kopečný 1952: s.v. žito).
So it seems that while Middle Low German kweke is related, it is not the source of Old English cwice. --WikiTiki89 07:11, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Yeah that etym was all wrong. I have changed it. Leasnam (talk) 12:55, 1 November 2015 (UTC)


We currently list this French word for "slug" as "From Vulgar Latin *limacea, ultimately from Latin limax ‎('slug, snail')". We don't list the Old French etymon. Does anyone know it? (I'm curious because w:Rashi uses it in his commentary to the w:Babylonian Talmud, w:tractate Shabbat 77, but in transliteration, so I don't know how it's spelled.)​—msh210 (talk) 05:39, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

It appears that it was limaz. How did Rashi spell it? I suppose it would count as Zarphatic. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:10, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, I suppose it would count as Zarphatic. I didn't even know that that was (considered) a language: I'd always thought of those thingies as transliterations. (They're all over his commentary to the Talmud.)

It says לימצ״א in modern editions. However, I wouldn't trust that that's an accurate transcription of mss., since (presumably) later transcribers had little knowledge of Old French / Zarphatic and may have copied it wrong. (Also, I suspect the gershayim indicates a foreign word in running Hebrew text rather than is a part of the foreign word.)​—msh210 (talk) 18:14, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

What I can tell you is that צ was the usual letter Rashi used to transcribe soft c, and א was the usual letter Rashi used for final schwa, so very likely the Latin spelling of Rashi's word was in fact limace. @Metaknowledge: Maybe limaz was the nominative? I don't think Rashi used nominatives. --WikiTiki89 18:27, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Or there might have been variation in gender, since the schwa was the remnant of the Latin -a/ first declension ending, and other vowels after the stressed syllable tended to disappear. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:20, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
  • @Renard Migrant would know. But yeah, limaz was the nominative (note that it was pronounced /limats/). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:59, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
    If it's anything like fornaz, then limaz is both nominative and oblique. Perhaps some dialects had a schwa, but the standard one did not? After all, the modern forms of both do have the silent e. --WikiTiki89 03:22, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Sound change name[edit]

Is there a name for the change of an /n/ sound to /m/? The etymology of bommie (slang for bonfire) could really do with it. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:28, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

The process at work here is assimilation (specifically regressive assimilation, since it's the preceding sound that changes), followed by clipping: bonfire --> *bomfire --> *bom (+ie) --> bommie. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:22, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:29, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Etymology of the very good sense for English smashing[edit]

Semantically, the shift from violently strike together to very good leaves me scratching my head. I've bumped into mentions in various places that the very good sense actually derives from roughly-homophonic Irish phrase is maith sin or Scots Gaelic phrase 's math sin, literally meaning that's good. However, Doric Loon (talkcontribs) states on Talk:smashing that any Gaelic origin is only an urban legend, but without providing any evidence or alternate origins.

Can anyone find evidence for the etymology of this very good sense, one way or the other? I've poked around in my own meager resources for English etymologies, and only drawn a blank. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:25, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

I don't know, but plenty of words for "excellent" seem to have violent overtones: stunning, cracking, a thumping good time... Things that are good "kick arse"; a good thing "beats" an inferior thing... Equinox 20:31, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I think these senses stem from being good at defeating an oponent. --WikiTiki89 20:58, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
    • Since I was quoted a little further up, I should answer. I once read a comment on this by an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. She had been asked why they didn't record the Gaelic etymology here, and she answered by going through the evidence and showing why she did not think it was plausible. Unfortunately I have no idea where to find that, so for the moment you have to decide whether to believe me as a source or not. But I have studied language history myself, and I recognized her arguments as being exactly the way you would expect a linguist to think. She started by showing that the development of "smashing" as a part of "smash" to "smashing" = "good" is linguistically easy. There is no formal change at all, and the semantic change is an example of a very wide-spread phenonomenon where "bad" means "good". Think of "to spank" > "a spanking new car". On the other hand, a development from "Is math sin" > "smashing" has all kinds of problems, not least that you are using a whole sentence as an adjective, which could only be done by someone who didn't understand the Gaelic. I suppose one person could say "Is math sin!", someone else who doesn't know the language could pick it up and say "Smashing!" and later it could become an adjective, but that is semantically and grammatically far more complicated. The second main argument is that English has borrowed very few words from Gaelic, and when it does, you can always trace the cultural origins. The word "Tory" comes from Irish, and the first use of the word in English can be shown to be in Ireland. But tracing back the history of "smashing" in English does not show evidence that it started in Ireland or Scotland, or among expats of those countries. So while it is not utterly impossible, some actual evidence would be required. Otherwise, any linguist is going to accept the easier explanation. --Doric Loon (talk) 14:23, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree that misinformation should not be presented as the scholarly view. However, when misinformation is all any of us can find, then I think that misinformation should be included, with clear indication of how and why it is misinformation. Simply leaving a blank suggests that we just haven't bothered to put anything there. The purported Gaelic origin for smashing appears to be commonly mentioned enough, even in educational contexts like a BBC audio curriculum for Ulster Irish, to warrant mention here as well -- with notes about the caveats, and that this is not a linguistically-backed etymology.
Doric Loon, it would be great if you could find that OED editor's quote, especially if it's online and we could link to it in the ===References=== section. Even if you can't find it, I think the smashing entry would be better served by having something under the ===Etymology=== header that describes the current state of knowledge about the origins of the term with regard to the very good sense. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:34, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Suspicious contributions from User:Ivadon[edit]

Is it possible to verify his Proto-Afro-Asiatic entries [1], they seem to me like fakes or speculations. His etymology trees don't make sense. Thank you -- 12:46, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Just speedy delete them, they're pure BS. -- 13:18, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
The reconstructions are grounded on an intricate system of sound shifts that I've elaborated in a couple weeks of most intensive study. I understand they look highly speculative and alien if not BS to anyone! And there's also much potential for evaluation re. orthography and the nomenclature “Afro-Asiatic”. I will soon follow with some explanations, so, a little more patience, please! — Ivadon (talk) 16:19, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
PS: If there's any policy on far-fetched reconstructions that I've missed please tell me. But can't we discuss this first? — Ivadon (talk) 16:23, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
@Ivadon: Yes: Wiktionary:Votes/2013-10/Reconstructions need references. --WikiTiki89 16:31, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
Wow, as I see the decision is very recent. Did'nt notice it yet. Thanks. — Ivadon (talk) 18:24, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
It was always an unofficial rule that we only include widely-accepted reconstructions. --WikiTiki89 04:14, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Too late- they're gone. The IP was too kind. Any Afro-Asiatic reconstruction that includes languages such as Greenlandic or Nahuatl but no actual Afro-Asiatic languages is beyond awful. Any reconstruction that has all of the following senses is random nonsense, not really a reconstruction in any valid linguistic sense:
  1. rock, mountain
  2. heaven, cloud
  3. life, bread
  4. lord, leader
There are many more points I could make, but that should suffice. Yes, we have some Proto-Altaic, and yes, some of our Proto-Indo-European reconstructions aren't found in the literature, but those are based on bodies of work done by linguists. Your reconstructions show enough fatal methodological flaws that they're meaningless- you could reconstruct connections between almost any words in almost any language if given enough time. They're so bad, they don't belong anywhere on Wiktionary. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:59, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
(Semitic languages were not yet there because that's not the “new thing”). Afro-Asiatic is IMHO a debatable concept just as Nostratic, Borean and “proto-World” are. They may or may not be synonymous to each other.
Sorry, it was not yet denotated that the senses exclude each other; they were successive and changing according to the religious beliefs of the people which the language was imposed upon.
We might too want to calibrate our positions on the w:Paleolithic Continuity Theory and Greenberg's and w:Christopher Ehret's works first, but it's true I can never be too sure about my methodology because I really am just another amateur (a passionate one anyway). But what it has shown to me so far is that the reconstructs are not at all meaningless and arbitrary, and they too exhibit tight phonosemantical paradigms that have interesting parallels with the world's early literary-liturgical texts.
I do rather dare to say that some of my results cast serious doubt on the integrity of the current classification of Eurasian (esp. IE, Uralic and Altaic) languages. Yes, yes, yes, I know its Original Research, but some of them I'd nevertheless like to examinate independently, later on. --— Ivadon (talk) 18:02, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
Chuck, btw, your somewhat pedagogical response did irresistibly recall to me the reception of a 2012 study on Anatolian/PIE, which, notably, had mainly sparked my current ”studies”. — Ivadon (talk) 18:02, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
First of all, w:Afroasiatic necessarily involves Semitic (Asian) and various African language groups such as Egyptian, Berber and Chadic (some of the groups included by some are questionable, but the core isn't). Whatever it is you're reconstructing shouldn't be called by that name. Second, Afroasiatic has cognate sets using core vocabulary without nearly the level of semantic gymnastics you're talking about- things like numbers and pronouns (I also remember seeing a set for "bush"). There's uncertainty as to the extent of its membership and details of the reconstructions, but there's widespread acceptance among linguists that some form of it is valid. It's a very old language family, so it will probably never be as well-understood as Indo-European, for instance.
As to methodology: Semitic languages are very strongly consonant-based, so I have trouble seeing how you can connect إله and واسع, which are completely different as far as consonants go. Same with the English cognates: abode, agog, anger, eye, goad, hang, and high. And you see nothing wrong with connecting that to *qao, which is just a glottal stop and a diphthong. Everywhere I look I see problems like that. I'm sorry, but I don't see how you could come up with something that would overturn centuries of extensive work by hundreds of scholars in a couple of weeks- especially with no training in historical linguistics, and the randomness of your cognate sets just makes my doubts worse. Yes, some great scholars have been met with skepticism over the centuries, but so have the guys with the tinfoil hats. You have yet to demonstrate even a glimmer of anything that would show you to be the former rather than the latter. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:05, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
I admit that the two Arabic and other descendants may not be the best demonstration for an impatient child that wants to see clear, immediate results. But I will be so kind and explain this to you:
The first thing that these words have in common is their Aleph. Note that Aleph/Alif in Arabic is a consonant too. Then, both words end in an laryngeal sound, and begin with either a glottal stop or a bilabial approximant. I have analysed these sounds as being allophones of an archaic single guttural consonant “q” that contrasts only with a frontal consonant “p” or “t”.
In this early stage of the language, there were only plain stops, perhaps click sounds, and no affricates or approximates. All other consonants have gradually developed through a long-lasting cascading decay process—for example, some cases of [c] split into [s] or [š]—, and this explains the phonologically very homogenous reconstructions for common Afrasian vocabulary. —This unsigned comment was added by Ivadon (talkcontribs).
The letter aleph in واسع is not a consonant but simply a representation of the long-a vowel. --WikiTiki89 18:49, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: I don't know why you're even bothering to discuss the completely ridiculous reconstructions. Ivadon himself called them "far-fetched" above. --WikiTiki89 04:14, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
This comment reveals that you seem to have minimal interest in progressive, interdisciplinary anthropological research, although I have expected a bit more appreciation from a peek on your User page. What I find completely ridiculous, in turn, is that you and the handful other guys act on me as if I would commit a sacrilege, a shameful assault on the holy canon of Afro-Asiatic linguistics, or historiolinguistics in general, even though no one of you has ever made a single contribution in this category, which does contain no 3 entries. --— Ivadon (talk) 17:57, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
Reconstructing proto-languages is not simply a matter of finding a common denominator in a list of descendants. You must also find a set of rules that show how the reconstructed term evolved into each descendant, both phonologically and semantically; and this set of rules must work consistently for every reconstructed word in the proto-language. Since you have not done that, there is no reason to take your reconstruction seriously. Anyone can do what you did with any set of words selected at random from a dictionary. --WikiTiki89 18:49, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
Kids, now you get completely hysterical about me. I do this for a good purpose, one that goes far beyond academic wishy-washy consensus debates like this. --— Ivadon (talk) 17:57, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
Further evidence for the core points of this whole giant hoax is now being elaborated at this page: w:User:Ivadon/Thule. --— Ivadon (talk) 17:57, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
Take a look at this. This is a database of Afroasiatic etymologies by linguist Alexander Militarev, scholar of Afroasiatic languages and comparative-historical linguistics. The database is a source and should serve you as a model and guideline to true scientific comparative method. Note the essential and numerous differences between your approach and the one utilized by the linguist. This ought to alter your behavior of sticking to fringe theories and producing original research of zero linguistic value caused by a misapprehension of linguistic methods (a language with 4 phonemes?? etc. etc.). Wiktionary reconstructions are based on acknowledged sources documenting sound laws and/or specific reconstructions, not speculations. -- 21:19, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
Most part of historiolinguistics generally neglects the fact that spoken language, with whatever number of phonemes, has always been only one way to express oneself and communicate, to distinguish words and meanings, besides gestures, voice, etc. In a very noisy environment like the famous oriental bazars, the latter methods were often much more significant, and only a very small phoneme inventory could be maintained. — Ivadon (talk) 17:23, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Hmm, I am reminded of the venerable Zompist website's linguistic articles, particularly:
Fun reads, at any rate. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 01:53, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
You say it, but please remember, I am not reconstructing the single world language, the one that was presumably spoken 100,000—200,000 BCE or so (see Wiki) around African and Eurasian peoples, but the language of that small group of aristocrat families [also referred to as the “upper ten thousand”] that lived in the Horn of Africa region around 17,000 BCE, and brought some crucial technologies (eg., at least one of the known hieroglyphic scripts, including the yet undeciphered) and societal changes to the people of the Old World, and that has left a very thick stratum of vocabulary in almost all literary languages.
I do currently think that language was in the same category as the primary language groups of Africa—Khoisan, Nilo-Saharan, etc.
I think we need a better way to distinguish those words from the inherited lexicon of languages in Proto-language entries. There's a problem with Finnish “borrowings” from Proto-Germanic that I want to discuss sometime…
And okay, I am not completely sure as to whether this was something like Proto-Afro-Asiatic or not, but it seems akin to it.
There are many references to such a people in many of the old narratives of Eurasian oral tradition—This topic covers a vast area of humanities (and it's original research), thus its better to halt the debate in this place…
Finally, to be clear, I won't add anything of my material to the core dictionary (but, if you allow, some samples of it on my User pages)! — Ivadon (talk) 17:23, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm confused: what does the state of ancestor languages in 17,000 BCE have to do with writing? The oldest writing dates to ~3,500 BCE, last I read. That is far too much of a time gap. And what of human groups already in Eurasia from before 17,000 BCE? There is evidence of complex enough cultural activity to circumstantially indicate the presence of language outside of Africa well before this date. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:43, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Writing was invented only after the last great migration wave from Africa had finally settled. Your second point refers to an argument “there was no complex culture or language in Eurasia before that” that I have never made. — Ivadon (talk) 13:18, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Let's set aside the whole issue of writing for now, since it seems my point was wholly lost. Re: complex activity outside of Africa, my point was not that there wasn't any Eurasian culture or language prior to 17,000 BCE, but rather that since there was complex culture in Eurasia prior to 17,000 BCE, we can surmise that there was also language. If so, then any migration from Africa is not bringing language into a vacuum, and as such, attempting to reconstruct the ur-language of these African migrants of 17,000 BCE based on Eurasian languages, with no knowledge of the other contemporaneous languages of Eurasia or of how the African ur-language interacted with these other languages, is a fool's errand.
Your w:User:Ivadon/Thule page is even weirder, as you appear to be lumping in South America and Australia into this mix. There is scattered evidence, albeit still controversial, that South America may have had human migrants as early as 30,000 BCE. Less controversial is the theory that Australia was settled 40,000 BCE. Your list specifically mentions Tasmania, settled around the same time. How would either of these populations have been affected by an African exodus to Eurasia in 17,000 BCE? How could these other languages possibly have any relation to this African ur-language? Meanwhile, your list also includes Hawaii and New Zealand, only settled some 1,000-1,200 years ago, far too recent for these specific languages to be of much use in reconstructing the African ur-language of 17,000 BCE. To do any serious historical linguistic research, you would have to look at the reconstructed Polynesian proto-languages, which trace back to the area around Taiwan.
Your list also includes China and Japan...  ???
I'm also puzzled why you call this the “Thule civilisation”. Modern research does recognize a Thule culture, but that refers to the Thule people of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska, ancestors to today's Inuit. What is more, the Thule culture only dates back to roughly 200 BCE. The term Thule itself has variously referred to Norway, Iceland, and Greenland, with a general sense of “somewhere far away to the north”. This makes “Thule” an odd name to choose for some purported global cultural ancestor, especially when you're talking about east-west migration with origins in Africa.
If you are interested in reconstructing proto-Afroasiatic, the only part of Eurasia that might be relevant is the Mediterranean and the Middle East -- i.e. those areas speaking Afro-Asiatic languages, like Berber or Arabic or Hebrew. Not much else has anything to do with proto-Afroasiatic. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:50, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

"Lent Gascon" (Occitan? -> Basque)[edit]

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Tea room/2015/November#"Lent Gascon" (Occitan? -> Basque).

In the Basque etymology of arrano, there is "Lent Gascon". Is it all right? I see from Wikipedia that w:Gascon language is a dialect of Occitan. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 22:51, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

I suspect someone is trying to say "borrowed from Gascon" and is confusing borrow and lend. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:52, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
No, this was Torvalu4- they do tend to overconfidence in rather tenuous etymologies at times, but they know their terminology. I'm guessing that they were working off of heavily abbreviated notes and forgot to completely expand them. Given that the etymology refers to Proto-Basque, I think the idea is that it was lent to Gascon. That may not be the best description though, since Gascon is well known to have a substantial Basque substrate- it could be retained/inherited. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:34, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I've moved to descendants, no sign of it on the Occitan Wikipedia but it's a small Wikipedia. Renard Migrant (talk) 10:38, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I might just delete it. I've found voltre for vulture but not arrian. No entry here for example. Maybe delete it and add it back of course if sourced. Renard Migrant (talk) 10:47, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

English terms replaced by Latin[edit]

I was doing some personal research about English term that have been replaced by a new Latin term (or French derivation of it), but I found it a bit difficult. I thought that it might be useful to have it as a new category. What do you people think? PS: sorry if this is the wrong section to discuss this

Seems like it might be a good idea. Were you thinking of a category of the native words that have been replaced or a category of the Latinate words that have done the replacing? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:57, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
The only thing I find you might have some difficulty with in this endeavour is finding Modern English words to fill it: this might be better titled "Old/Middle English words replaced by Latin/French", as the process of replacement of words from Latin/French has largely ceased :( Leasnam (talk) 21:07, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, perhaps, but a lot of technical and pseudo-technical terms are coined from Latin using formation rules that imitate the historical changes that occurred in the passage of real Latin terms into English. Resembling Latin can be a real plus if your goal is to impress someone rather than communicate with them: words such as affirmative and utilize really have no other purpose, not to mention partial cases such as demonstrate vs. show. And then there are Latinate terms used to avoid taboos, such as penis, vagina, pudenda, urinate/micturate, defecate, feces, copulate etc., not all of which go back to Old/Middle English. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:27, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Hi Aɴɢʀ, I was thinking of doing it for common words like "color", "question" and "magic", instead of the scientific/technical lexicon. (8mike (talk) 16:22, 20 November 2015 (UTC))
But do you want the category to list terms like color, question, and magic, or do you want it to list terms like blee, frain, and dwimmer? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:34, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
I like the idea, but I’d rather see it in an appendix instead of a category. — Ungoliant (falai) 16:43, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
I think the first group is what most users would find more helpful under a category, even though it would nt be called "English terms replaced by Latin" but more like "English innovative terms", or something like that. (8mike (talk) 16:49, 20 November 2015 (UTC))
A list of English terms derived from Latin (displacing a native Germanic term) will be larger than a list of English terms derived from Germanic (which have been displaced by a Latin loan), because a lot of displaced terms died out (possibly including frain, see RFV). So, categorizing or listing question seems more practical than listing frain, unless (as Leasnam notes) you make a list of Middle English. - -sche (discuss) 23:23, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
We could expand the Category to include English words that are no longer extant, because native vocabulary not only gave way to Latin, but in many cases also to a Norse term, and even other native terms through the natural process of attrition. We want to balance this out, as a great majority of Latinate terms that came into English are themselves obsolete (nobody uses expede or mundation anymore), or are being kept alive only on life support, or were eclipsed by other Latinate terms (e.g. face (from French) displaced vis ‎(face) (also from French)). We tend to forget this (or turn a blind eye to this) as well. Leasnam (talk) 17:10, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
Good point. That speaks in favour of an appendix: a category should be restricted to one language, while an appendix could have columns comparing the native term (whether it made it into English or died in Middle English) to the borrowed term (likewise). On the other hand, a category is more maintainable, since adding entries to it only entails updating entries themselves (which people think to do), whereas an appendix has to be updated separately (which people forget to do; cf Appendix:English terms of Native American origin which I have considered turning into a category-directory). But back on the first hand, an appendix is easier to look over (the info on the native term and the borrowed term is all in one place, whereas in a category you'd have to click on each page to find out what term replaced it or was replaced by it). - -sche (discuss) 18:53, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Nice. This reminds me of a few Wikipedia articles I read some time ago: w:Linguistic purism in English, w:List of Germanic and Latinate equivalents in English, w:Uncleftish Beholding. I'd really like to see these "real" English words more often, because even though they're opaque for Romance languages speakers like me, they're so much more interesting to learn. -Fsojic (talk) 14:38, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Other European languages have reinforced native word-stocks in order to get a grip on who they are. French re-Latinised itself during the Middle Ages under threat of being too "germanised", Romanian is currently borrowing heavily from French and Italian in an effort to move away from Slavic incursions, German and Dutch too went through phases of internal word formation. Only English and Italian seem to be the odd ones out. English continues to borrow from everyone else, and Italian borrows everything from English ;) Leasnam (talk) 16:43, 24 November 2015 (UTC)


Someone seems to have added their own theory on the etymology of this word, which is not conformant with our usual styles for etymologies. Anyone want to take a look? This, that and the other (talk) 05:50, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

I agree, what has written is folk etymology. etymonline give this etymology, and it is the one that I trust:
1762, hollo-ballo (with many variant spellings) "uproar, racket, noisy commotion," chiefly in northern England and Scottish, perhaps a rhyming reduplication of hollo (see hello). Bartlett ("Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848) has it as hellabaloo "riotous noise; confusion," and says it is provincial in England. —Stephen (Talk) 13:33, 20 November 2015 (UTC)


I tried to figure out the derivation of this word, but couldn't finish what I started; can anyone help? This, that and the other (talk) 10:27, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

Maybe the second part is βάλλω ‎(bállō, throw) (8mike (talk) 11:00, 22 November 2015 (UTC))
Yes, it is. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:09, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

French hanter[edit]

The etymology section says that it's "more likely" from Gothic than Old Norse. However, the Trésor Informatisé (see lemma) says specifically that it's Old Norse and that it spread from Normandy southward. Now, this source is not without fault. But what reason is there to derive it from Gothic? It's first attested in the 1120ies, so the reason can't be old age. Kolmiel (talk) 22:46, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

I think the reasoning behind it lies solely in the vowel: it's difficult to explain the Norse ei becoming a... Leasnam (talk) 23:14, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
It's even more difficult to explain how Old French came in contact with Gothic. The vowel could be from Old English, though Old French borrowings from Old English must be few and far between. The usual Germanic source for French words is Frankish, but I don't know what the PGmc. ai diphthong became in Frankish. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:32, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, the Germanic word is not attested in continental West Germanic (except for a word heimsen in German and late MHG that might be a cognate, but is unattested before the 14th century). Therefore Frankish can safely be ruled out, or at least it hasn't been considered by any of the sources at my disposal. French was of course in contact with Gothic, but that was in the south and significantly earlier. So if hanter became manifest in the north in the 12th century, it can hardly be Gothic. As to the vocalism: Yes, it may be Old English. But even if it's Old Norse, I see no problem whatsoever. The Old Norse -ei- might have been pronounced somewhat towards [æɪ̯] in some dialects. And French -en- and -an- have now merged, so they were probably not too distinct in the 12th century. But be that as it may: We can't just say: Oh, the vowel looks a bit like XY, let's say that's the source. We must look at from what region and what time it really is. That means we need sources. If there are no sources contradicting the Trésor, which clearly states that it spread from Normandy, then it can only be Old Norse or Old English, but not Gothic. Kolmiel (talk) 18:12, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the Gothic word isn't attested either. At least, nothing containing the stem haimat- can be found at oldwikisource:Bible, Gothic, Ulfila or at http://www.gotica.de/skeireins/text.html or at https://archive.org/stream/grammargothicla00wriggoog#page/n338/mode/2up. And even attested Gothic is the language of Wulfila, not the language of the Visigoths and Ostrogoths who were in France, about which we know nothing. So, all the more reason to believe it's from Norse. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:01, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
What about the meanings? Old Norse heimta meant "to bring to one's home; to fetch (a wife or bride); draw; pull" -- nothing there meaning "to dwell or inhabit". Old English hāmettan, on the other hand, meant both "to house; domicile" and "to bring home". How could the Old French word pick up its meaning of "to frequent, abide" from the Norse word? Could this word have been brought to France with the English Normans? Timewise, it makes sense. 12th c is rather late for it to be a direct Norse borrowing... To me, it's looking more and more like an English loan than an Old Norse one Leasnam (talk) 19:10, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that's perfectly plausible. Old English is a possibility alongside Old Norse. But this is already beyond my point. We can give both as a possible source: but we should get out the Gothic. There's no justification for it, seemingly. Kolmiel (talk) 22:37, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *osoba[edit]

Could I have more details about this word: *osoba (whence Russian особа ‎(osoba), etc.)? I didn't find it in Derksen's dictionary. Is it Indo-European? --Fsojic (talk) 13:22, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Here are the cognates from Vasmer:
He mentions that it is traditionally derived as *o + *sobě/*sebě, and lists external cognates such as Sanskrit [script needed] ‎(sabhā́, gathering of a rural community), Gothic sibja ‎(sibja) and OHG sippa/sippea ‎(family; kin), and potentially Latin Sabīnī ‎(Sabines) and Suēbī, and OHG Swābā ‎(Swabians). --WikiTiki89 15:51, 24 November 2015 (UTC)


Where did these come from? Online Etymology Dictionary gives a route via Latin Turcomannus, from the Persian Turkman, while Wikipedia gives an equally plausible route via the Turkish Türkmen, from Sodgian Turkmen/Turkmyn. I suppose nothing stops both roots from having been independently imported into English, but it's an odd coincidence that they happen to coincide with the Germanic man/men umlaut. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:31, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

It seems that Turkmen (as a singular) did not come directly from Turkish, but as a variant of Turkman (which came from the Persian, whether or not through Latin), whose spelling was affected by Russian Туркме́н ‎(Turkmén). Turkmen as a plural of Turkman, was probably directly influenced by English man and men, and has nothing to do with the Turkish or Russian spellings. --WikiTiki89 18:57, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Inherited or derived term?[edit]

I'm unsure about the official Wiktionary policy about this. When we trace a particular word's etymology to a parent language or languages, should we call it an inherited term or derived term in all instances.. or should these two categories coexist? I'm unaware which one is being replaced by which and what should I do when I work on etymology section of words. I noticed some bots changing etymologies from derived to inherited, though --ReordCræft (talk) 12:39, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

Derivation is more general and encompasses inheritance (= derivation from one of its parent languages, like Old Georgian for Georgian). So inheritance is more specific, therefore, contains more information, therefore, you should use that whenever possible.--DixtosaBOT (talk) 13:03, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I'd also argue that there's a further distinction between inheritance and derivation, in that inheritance is a natural process where a word remains in use having perhaps undergone standard sound changes and spelling changes, while derivation also covers the more artificial case where an obsolete word is dredged back up (dwimmer/dweomer completely died out until Tolkien revived them – the words are derived from Old English, but probably not inherited from it. A sillier example: Modern Greek τηλέφωνο ‎(tiléfono) is derived from Ancient Greek, but certainly not inherited!). Smurrayinchester (talk) 16:46, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
    • The modern Romance languages have borrowed a lot of words from Latin, in addition to the ones they inherited. Sometimes there are doublets, e.g. French légal, which is borrowed, and loyal, which is inherited. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:32, 25 November 2015 (UTC)