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Etymology scriptorium

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

Etymology scriptorium archives edit

January 2017

puree, purée[edit]

These entries should be merged, but they have different etymologies- which is preferred? DTLHS (talk) 23:33, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

It looks to me like it was the noun that was borrowed, not the verb, so I think French purée would make more sense. If the noun was just nominal use of a participle, I suppose we could link to the infinitive, but it goes way, way back as a noun, and etymonline even expresses doubt as to whether it really came from the verb at all. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:13, 1 January 2017 (UTC)

Turkish bayram and its cognates[edit]

Could someone versed in Iranistics help out with this? Clauson gives Persian baḏrām and Nişanyan derives it from Middle Persian paδrām or Sogdian patrām with an Indo-Aryan etymology which I'm unable to judge.

However there are some problems. For one, Gharib glosses the Sogdian word (ptrʾm) as "calm, peace" which doesn't correspond that well semantically with "feast, celebration" of Turkic cognates and connects it with "MP padrām". The second problem is that I'm unable to find the Middle Persian word in dictionaries, neither Durkin-Meisterernst nor Mackenzie seem to have it.

Interestingly there is another Iranic root that is similar phonologically and has a closer semantic, "*badra" with a cognate in Sanskrit भद्र(bhadra, blessed, happy), but other than Avestan, all languages have changed -dr- to -hr- and diverged in semantics to "share, portion".

There is an alternative etymology more popular in Russia, that relates the word with Mongolian баяр(bajar) and its cognates. this would require the ð of Karakhanid بَذْرَمْ(baḏram) to be secondary, which I found doubtful at first, but considering that Khakas material suggests *y instead of *ð and that Karakhanid form could have easily been corrupted by the Persian word I'm starting to see some of its merit. Crom daba (talk) 03:44, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

See this page from Eren, Hasan (1999), “bayram”, in Türk Dilinin Etimolojik Sözlüğü [Etymological Dictionary of the Turkish Language] (in Turkish), 2nd edition, Ankara: Bizim Büro Basım Evi.
I don't speak Turkish, but judging from a Google translation, the origin is disputed. --Vahag (talk) 09:44, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Might you have it typed out (so I can google translate it), I don't have a Turkish keyboard and pasting that together would last forever. Crom daba (talk) 19:31, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Here you go. OCR mistakes are possible.
bayram ‘dinî veya ulusal bakımdan kutlanan gün veya günler’ ~ Tkm bayram. - TatK bayram. Tatarlar beyrem biçimini de kullanırlar. - Nog bayram. - KKlp bayram. - Kzk meyram. - Krg mayram. - Özb bayram. - Şart mayram. - Alt, Tel, Kuğ, Şor, Sag, Koy, Kaça, Küer payram. - Bar, Küer peyrem. Eski Türkçeden başlayarak kullanılır. Orta Türkçede baöram olarak geçer. Kâşgarlı Mahmud’a göre, Oğuzlar bayram biçimini kullanırlar. Bu örnekte Oğuzlar -δ- sesini kurala uyarak -y- ’ye çevirmişlerdir. Kâşgarlı Mahmut, bu anlamda öz Türkçe bir söz olduğunu seslendirmiştir. Kökeni karışıktır. Doerfer’e göre (TMEN 823), Kâşgarlı Mahmud’a borçlu olduğumuz baöram biçimi bayram’ın Türklüğüne tanıktır. Buna karşılık Clauson (ED 308 a), İran kökenli bir alıntı olduğunu kesin olarak dile getirmiş, Farsça badrâm ‘a delightsome place’ biçimini vermiştir. Onun Farsça bayram ‘a Muhammadan solemn festival’ biçimini göz ardı ettiği anlaşılıyor. Sevortyan’a göre (ESTJa 1978, 35-36), Orta Türkçe baöram biçimi, Farsçadan geldiği yolundaki görüşü çürütmüştür. Türkçeden belli başlı komşu dillere de geçmiştir. Doerfer (TMEN 823) bu dillerdeki alıntıları saymıştır. Onun topladığı verilere Arapça (Suriye) beyrâm ‘fete’ biçimi de eklenebilir. Tacikçe bayram, mayram biçimi Özbekçeden geçmiştir (Doerfer : TLT 34). Tuvalar bayır biçimini ‘bayram, tören’ olarak kullanırlar. İlk bakışta bu biçim ile Türkçe bayram arasında açık bir benzerlik olduğu göz ardı edilemez. Ancak bayram ile bayır arasında etimolojik bir bağdan söz edilemez. Räsänen’e göre (V 57 a), Sevortyan’ın bayram'ı ‘şölen’ anlamına gelen bay biçiminden yola çıkarak *bayır ’dan getirmesi ve bayrak ile bayram arasında olası bir bağdan söz etmesi yanlıştır. Tuvaca bayır büyük bir olasılıkla Moğolca bir alıntıdır : Moğ bayar ‘Freude, Fröhlichkeit’ Bk. Rassadin : FLTJa 158. Ancak Rassadin (Zaimstvovanija) Tuvaca bayır’ı vermemiştir. Räsänen : LTS 230 ; V 54 b; Clauson : ED 308 a ; Sevortyan : ESTJa 1978, 35-36; Bazin : Lazard Arm 31.
Sevortyan in ESTJa denies the Iranian etymology and argues for a native origin.
The Middle Persian word that you couldn't find is Manichaean Middle Persian pdrʾm(padrām, in peace). See Boyce, Mary (1977), “pdrʾm”, in A word-list of Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian (Acta Iranica 9a, Série 3 – “Textes et mémoires”, vol. 2-supplément), with a reverse index by Ronald Zwanziger, Leiden, Tehran-Liège: E.J. Brill, Biliothèque Pahlavi, page 68. --Vahag (talk) 09:50, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

/n/ in Indo-European infinitives[edit]

Germanic, Greek, and Persian/Kurdish have the consonant /n/ in infinitives. (Maybe other languages, too, but I'm only aware of these.) Just for my information: Is there cognacy between (some of) these endings, or is it coincidental? Thanks a lot. Kolmiel (talk) 17:23, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Accroding to Ringe, Germanic infinitives come from a remodeling of the verbal adjectives in *-nós as pre-PG *-o-nom > PG -aną which is affixed to the present stem. This does not seem to be a formal match for Greek's infinitives in -ειν(-ein), -σαι(-sai), or -ναι(-nai), but I don't know their origin of the top of my head without consulting Sihler. —JohnC5 17:36, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Sihler says the -en element of the Greek infinitive is "an endingless n-stem loc.", see page 608 for details. Crom daba (talk) 18:22, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
If that is true, then those two are unrelated. Aren't Persian infinitives something like -dan / -tan? —JohnC5 18:49, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes. Although this -d-/-t- is present in all forms of the perfect stem, from which the infinitive is formed by adding -an. Kolmiel (talk) 18:56, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Historical grammar of the ancient Persian language by Edwin Lee Johnson derives the Persian infinitive from "the datives of n-stems" Crom daba (talk) 19:13, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
That would mean a certain relation between the Greek and Persian infinitives? Kolmiel (talk) 19:18, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
They would be related inasmuch as they are the same nominal ending, but they represent unrelated innovations since each are separately affixed to dissimilar, post-PIE verbal stems. —JohnC5 17:54, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, okay. Thanks again. Kolmiel (talk) 21:19, 5 January 2017 (UTC)


The etymology says that this, the Russian word for “genitive”, is a calque of Ancient Greek γενική(genikḗ), but the Greek word is an adjective derived from the word for “kind”, while the Russian word is an adjective from the word for “parent”, роди́тель(rodítelʹ). (It could also come from the verb “to beget”, роди́ть(rodítʹ), using a slightly different morphological analysis.) The Greek noun from which the adjective comes is related to the verb “to be born”, γίγνομαι(gígnomai), so there is a semantic relationship, but it is somewhat distant. It would be nice to have verification of the Russian etymology. I suppose it is likely that the word was intended as a calque, but it isn't a precise one. If it comes from the verb, it would be an exact calque of the Latin word genetīvus. — Eru·tuon 06:35, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

I think this is a translation but not a calque. Also compare Latin genetivus. Crom daba (talk) 11:32, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
I agree. It seems more likely that Russian case names were translated from Latin or a West European language. -- Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 11:45, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Huh, I thought the definition of a calque was that it's a translation. How can something be a translation and not a calque? — Eru·tuon 00:13, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
A calque is a translation of individual parts. I think this is a calque, but from Latin rather than Greek. Compare Slovene rodilnik, based on the same verbal base. Slovene would not be expected to have significant Greek influence. —CodeCat 00:18, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Well, I thought that a single-morpheme word could be a calque, such as words for “mouse” in various languages being used for the cursor-controlling computer tool due to the influence of English. Wikipedia indicates that this type of situation is called semantic calque. A new word is not created, but an additional meaning for an already existing word is imported from another language. Fortunately this definition is unnecessary in this case. I think you, @CodeCat and @Atitarev, are probably correct, and I changed the etymology. — Eru·tuon 01:34, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that russian "род" has the same stem and means roughly "kind". 16:40, 1 February 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 17:59, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

I have updated and expanded the entry. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 02:55, 6 January 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 18:13, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

RFV of etymology of Nordic smá[edit]

The articles on English small and Old Norse smár (> Modern Scandinavian små) claim that they are cognates, both being derived from Proto-Germanic *smalaz. However, both Kroonen and Orel reconstruct different PG proto-forms - *smala- and *smēha-, and none of the other reference works accessible to me assert common origin for both. Also, Old Norse smalr, Scandinavian smal ('thin, narrow') exist separately from Old Norse smár / Scandinavian små, and I'm not aware of any North Germanic sound change that would have elided the *l in *smalaz. I suspect the editor just went on intuition here.-- 18:43, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Fixed. Leasnam (talk) 19:37, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Fried Liver Attack[edit]

Could someone with knowledge of Italian verify this etymology? Does the Italian name really exit? Does it antedate the English terms (presumably so as Google books has no cites prior 20thC).

Partial translation of Italian Giuoco Fegatello(fried liver game).

Also, does the metaphor mean anything other than the opening "makes it hot" for Black?Sonofcawdrey (talk) 21:08, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

Fegatello Attack[edit]

Could someone with knowledge of Italian verify this etymology, likewise?Sonofcawdrey (talk) 21:09, 6 January 2017 (UTC)


Could this word be related to the following Dutch words: zwatsen(to move forth and back) (http://www.vlaamswoordenboek.be/definities/term/zwatsen), compare related zwachtel(bandage) (http://www.woorden.org/woord/zwachtel)? And English swathe(bandage). --Eliot (talk) 06:00, 7 January 2017 (UTC)


The etymology for Latin cattus says it is Afro-Asiatic and gives Berber, Nubian, and Egyptian as evidence. This is all well and good but Wikipedia says that Nubian is Eastern Sudanic and not Afro-Asiatic. I know nothing about the Nubian languages, so wanted to bring this up for anyone competent to resolve this contradiction. Jan sewi (talk) 22:03, 7 January 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the glyph origin/etymology. Sounds like a folk etymology. —suzukaze (tc) 22:23, 7 January 2017 (UTC)

I rewrote the glyph origin. The original explanation is unlikely although I found a similar explanation in 汉字源流字典 (maybe unreliable). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 23:22, 7 January 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the glyph origin/etymology. Sounds contrived. —suzukaze (tc) 00:17, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

It's from Shuowen: 安也。人有不便,更之。从人、更。(unless I misinterpreted it) Wyang (talk) 00:22, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Hm, OK. —suzukaze (tc) 03:11, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang, Suzukaze-c: It may not be as simple. This suggests that 便 may be the original character for . — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 03:23, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I added this in. Wyang (talk) 03:46, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang: I've corrected it to match the explanation in the book, but I'm not sure what they mean by "以初文冕为声". — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 04:00, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for finding 𠓥! I think the top may be a person, and the bottom from . I'm not sure about 以初文冕为声 either. Wyang (talk) 04:06, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Proto-Italic verb-inflection table templates[edit]

I believe @CodeCat is managing these? I've noticed that they give the ending of the 2nd person plural passive – the ancestor of Latin -minī (by the way, this sense is not mentioned there) – as *-m(e?)n(ai?). However, there's a proposal (mentioned, for example, in Meiser 1998: 219) to derive this ending from the passive participle from which fēmina and possibly alumnus and columna are also thought to descend. If this suggestion is accepted as plausible, the ending could be given as -manoi?. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:05, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Really inflection tables for Proto-Italic seem like an iffy idea altogether, given that the only branch we know well is Latin and its descendants. It's going to end up as "Latin, but with some earlier traits reconstructed whenever we have Sabellic or Faliscan evidence on what happened exactly". This will work decently for general phonology (there's no reason to oppose Proto-Italic reconstructions per se), but whenever Latin has innovated with respect to PIE, & other Italic evidence is missing, there will be little chances for figuring out if a thing happened in Proto-Italic or only in early Latin.
Wider-reaching morphological reconstruction is probably still doable to an extent, by examining parallels and whatnot — but how much of what we have is actually backed up by literature, and how much has been just eyeballed together? I notice that even with phono, we e.g. do not have *xʷ (*formos pro *xʷormos), *θ (*faznom pro *θaznom), even though they're likely reconstructible for Proto-Italic proper. (*θ > f is pan-Italic but postdates *ts > θ in Sabellic, *θ > *ð > d in Latin; *xʷ > f in Sabellic is similarly probably simultaneous with *kʷ > p, and in Latin it's again later than medial voicing to g). So if CodeCat or someone else wants to put together a summary about how much morphology exactly we can reconstruct for PIt., perhaps either Wikipedia or WT:About Proto-Italic would be a better location.
(Similar issues might come up with other less-studied intermediate proto-languages as well — Proto-Celtic, Proto-Hellenic, Proto-Indo-Iranian, etc.)
— And as long as we're at Proto-Italic: we also seems to be missing *əm and *ən (from PIE *m̥, *n̥; to Latin em, en ~ Sabellic 1st syllable am, an), as in *kentom pro *kəntom; maybe also e.g. *nowem pro *nowəm (though in non-initial syllables Sabellic too shows eN). --Tropylium (talk) 14:42, 9 January 2017 (UTC)


I gather that गविष्टि(gaviṣṭi) is the Sanskrit word mentioned by the linguist in the movie Arrival. She says it means “desire for more cows”, and this page says something similar. Can someone with Sanskrit knowledge provide an etymology? — Eru·tuon 00:39, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

@Erutuon: I've updated the entry. To the best of my understanding, the analysis presented in the movie is not really true, viz. the semantics are “eagerness for cows” → “eagerness, desire” → “eagerness for battle” → “battle.” That's not to say that the original meaning would not be obvious to speakers, but it's hard to say whether the intention (“eagerness for cows” = “battle”) existed synchronically. —JohnC5 02:07, 9 January 2017 (UTC)


The OECD's etymology is more specific than ours, claiming, "mid 17th century (as a noun): from French, based on Greek kritikē tekhnē ‘critical art’." Should we include this? ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:21, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

What source says hai is tōon for 海?[edit]

@TAKASUGI Shinji, Eirikr What source says hai is tōon for as noted in the kanji entry? ばかFumikotalk 01:57, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

I don't have access to the Kanjigen or similar specialist kanji dictionaries; perhaps one of those would list that reading? It is definitely used, albeit only in limited contexts, as in the Japanese reading for 上海(Shanhai), which even the Microsoft IME recognizes (I type shanhai in the Latin alphabet, the IME generates しゃんはい as the kana rendering, and offers to convert that to 上海). ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 02:16, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Kanjigen doesn't appear to list any toon reading of 海. Shanhai can be considered as just another direct borrowing from Mandarin, like paozu, Gonbao (see Category:Japanese terms borrowed from Mandarin for more), hence its logical irregularity rather than its supposed, unattested rarity as an actual on reading. You can just type テレビ, press space, and てれび will appear in the prompted list, so the fact that IME renders input as hiragana shouldn't be a factor. ばかFumikotalk 02:44, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Apologies for any confusion -- I was instead offering evidence that the hai reading is accepted. Whether it is tōon or otherwise, I have no data. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 02:51, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
唐音 on Chinese Wikipedia has 海 ハイ. I don’t know whether it is a reliable article or not. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 03:57, 10 January 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 14:45, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

Chinese Wikipedia has a reference. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:46, 10 January 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 14:47, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

Middle English open syllable lengthening and /ʃ/[edit]

Middle English experienced Open syllable lengthening, where vowels in stressed syllables were lengthened when the syllable ended in a vowel. I'm curious what the effect was when the next syllable began with /ʃ/. Did open syllable lengthening apply here, or was it blocked? The latter would indicate that it was actually a geminate, /ʃː/. —CodeCat 01:01, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

I cannot think of any examples where a vowel lengthened. However, I can think of several that remained short (asche, waschen, flusshen) and a few that were originally long and became short (adweschen, maschen, ruschen, wischen) Leasnam (talk) 14:06, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
Interesting. That would suggest that it was still long in Middle English, and thus that we should treat it as long for Old English too. I wonder what can be said about length of word-initial sc- in Old English. —CodeCat 15:22, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the same would apply to Middle High German -sch-, which also hinders open-syllable lengthening. The shift from /sk/ to /ʃ(ʃ)/ is considered to have taken place in late Old High German. How do we know that it was earlier in English? Kolmiel (talk) 16:03, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
I wonder if compound words could provide evidence for initial sc-. — Eru·tuon 19:22, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't think it would give much evidence for anything. It could be allophonically short initially, long medially, so that compounding would just trigger the long allophone. —CodeCat 19:25, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
Again, -- this may be a stupid question -- how do we know that scip was already pronouned /ʃip/ at all, rather than /ʃtʃip/ or /ʃcip/? Kolmiel (talk) 20:55, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Actually, that's a very interesting question. I'm not aware of any direct evidence for the pronunciation of palatalized sc, or of palatalized c in the Old English era. Old English didn't have contact with languages such as Persian that had sh or ch sounds that might provide evidence if English had adopted loanwords that contained those sounds. All we know is that palatalized sc at some point became a palato-alveolar fricative, and c a palato-alveolar affricate, at the very latest by the Middle English era. Presumably they transitioned from velar to palatalized (front-) velar and then somehow to palato-alveolar, but at what point the sounds reached each stage is uncertain. Perhaps there is evidence I'm not aware of, though. — Eru·tuon 02:15, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
There is evidence at least for g, since it is used in words with original /j/. Of course, palatalization of c and sc did not necessarily happen at the same time as g. But I'm sure there is more internal evidence if you search hard enough. --WikiTiki89 15:46, 17 January 2017 (UTC)


The etymology at topolect says, "Coined by sinologist Victor Mair", and refers to a 1991 paper by Mair. That paper says in relevant part, "[John DeFrancis] ingeniously proposes 'regionalect'. As an alternative, I would suggest 'topolect', which aside from being fully Greek in its derivation has the added advantage of being neutral with regard to the size of the place". There is no suggestion that the word is a fresh coinage, though it's possible that Mair derived it from Greek roots.

There is scattered attestation of topolect since the 1960s (e.g. this calque of örtliche Sprachform). The word becomes somewhat more common after 1991. It seems to appear mainly in studies of Jewish "lects" in the 1970s and 1980s, and Chinese topolects since the 1990s, but were talking about very small numbers.

Is Mair's calque of 方言 really a coinage? Seems more like a refinement of usage. Cnilep (talk) 08:48, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

Spanish and Portuguese acontecer[edit]

User:ProudPrimate has added many bogus etymologies over the years. I'm trying to clean some of them up. He/she claims that acontecer comes from Latin contingere, which seems doubtful to me. Any ideas for its actual source? Looks like a- + -cont- from somewhere, + -ecer < Latin -escere. Benwing2 (talk) 03:49, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

That must be from the RAE: for acontecer they say "De contecer", and for contecer, "Del lat. contingĕre, en lat. vulg. contingescĕre." DTLHS (talk) 03:55, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
The etymology is correct, but it would benefit from more information, like that the words derive from the inchoative form contingescere (attested?) and have a prothetic a- (very common in Iberian Romance verbs). — Ungoliant (falai) 11:20, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
La lengua de Cervantes mentions a word contir with variants acuntir and cuntir and derives them from computō (through *computēscō?). It further says that accontingēscō gave aconteñecer. KarikaSlayer (talk) 01:54, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that was my concern. The loss of expected -eñ- is irregular and I can't think of any other words where it occurs. Benwing2 (talk) 14:20, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
According to my etymological dictionary (Dicionário etimológico da língua portuguesa, Nascentes) there was an intermediate form *contigescere in VL. — Ungoliant (falai) 16:05, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
That would imply an expected aconteecer in Old Portuguese and maybe Old Spanish (I think at least; possibly the two intertonic vowels would compress early). Do either occur? Benwing2 (talk) 23:13, 14 January 2017 (UTC)


Does this really come from Mandarin? Both Wiktionary and the OED claim this, but "gin" is very different from "ren". Perhaps it's from Min Nan? ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:00, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

The first use seems to be in 1654, when Gin-ſem appeared in Martino Martini (1614 – 1661)'s DE BELLO TARTARICO HISTORIA (English version: Bellum Tartaricum, or the conquest of the great and most renowned Empire of China by the invasion of the Tartars [i.e. Manchus]). The Latin passage was:

Hi ergo quotannis per vicinas Leaotung terras, Sinas, ingrediebantur, ad commercia tanquam subditi vel amici admissi, bellum autem non cogitabant, serè ad egestatem redacti. Adserebant autem Ginsem, radicem, illam à Sinis adeo aestimatam, ...

And the corresponding English version was:

And those Tartars every year, either as Subjects or Friends, came into China by the Province of Leaotung to traffick with the Inhabitants; For, being brought to poverty and misery, they thought no more of making war against China. The Merchandise they brought were several, as the root cal'd Ginsem, so much esteemed amongst the Chinese, ...

Judging from the context in which ginsem was found, and the use of other transcriptions in the book, such as Leaotung (), Niuche () on the same pages as ginsem, and the map used in the book, my impression was that the transcriptions relatively consistently reflected the pronunciations in Middle Mandarin, or Mandarin (late imperial lingua franca) spoken at the end of the Ming Dynasty.
The transcription gin-sem () bears apparent similarity to the transcription system invented by Matteo Ricci (1552 – 1610), in the book Xizi Qiji (downloadable here); In Ricci's system, this word would be rendered as gîn-sēn, which, according to Coblin (A Diachronic Study of Míng Guānhuà Phonology, 2000), represented phonetically /ʐin sɛŋ/ (discussion on gîn), which is quite close to modern Beijing Mandarin /ʐən ʂən/. Wyang (talk) 11:36, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

Gothic *𐌷𐌰𐌻𐌾𐍉𐍂𐌿𐌽𐌰 (*haljōrūna, "witch")[edit]

This term is attested in Latinized form in Jordanes' Getica (c. 550) as haliurunnas (acc.pl), where it is described as a Gothic word for "witch" (magas mulieres). The word is clearly Germanic and has at least two cognates or near-cognates in OHG hellirūna f(necromancy, sorcery, a gloss of necromantia) and OE helrūna m(demon, Beowulf 163), and the constituent elements of the compound seem to be clear enough (𐌷𐌰𐌻𐌾𐌰(halja, netherworld, hell) + 𐍂𐌿𐌽𐌰(rūna, secret, mystery)).

What I don't understand is how there seemingly isn't any agent suffix; as shown above it's just a bare compound which one would expect (as it does in OHG) to mean something like necromancy or sorcery, not witch. The OE term isn't just hel + rūn either, it has some kind of suffix going on. Why would the reconstruction *𐌷𐌰𐌻𐌾𐍉𐍂𐌿𐌽𐌰(*haljōrūna) then, as Köbler assures me, mean witch? Am I mistaken in thinking that it would need to have some kind of suffix attached in order to have that meaning? — Kleio (t · c) 20:07, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

In Old English, -a is a kind of agentive suffix, isn't it, as in dēma? But I guess that wouldn't be -a in Gothic too. Maybe the Gothic word is a bahuvrihi? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:32, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I figured the OE -a is probably an agent suffix but I wasn't entirely sure. I'd expect something like an ōn-stem as in 𐌰𐍂𐌱𐌾𐍉(arbjō, heiress), personally, if it were to have a suffix. (I think -𐌾𐍉(-jō) in that word may be the feminine equivalent of the masculine agent suffix -𐌾𐌰(-ja), though I'm not 100% on that.) Your suggestion may explain it, although I can't recall other Gothic compounds that behave like that, with a second element in the compound that refers to an abstract concept now suddenly referring to a person when compounded. — Kleio (t · c) 20:46, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the Gothic term is an ō-stem, the OHG term is an ōn-stem and the Old English term is an an-stem. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:47, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
That's not really the question here, though: it's the semantics of the Gothic word, which denotes a person (witch), which makes no sense to me. The problem is that the second element of the Gothic compound is just unmodified 𐍂𐌿𐌽𐌰(rūna, secret, mystery); one would at least expect a suffix changing the end of the word to denote an agent. As it is now reconstructed, the word would be expected to mean something like "sorcery" just like its OHG counterpart, which it matches in terms of the etymological derivation of its constituent elements. — Kleio (t · c) 22:29, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Since the word isn't attested except in a latinized form was altered to conform to Latin morphology, how do we know the form wasn't *𐌷𐌰𐌻𐌾𐍉𐍂𐌿𐌽𐌾𐍉(*haljōrunjō) anyway? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 23:35, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Curiously, though, Old English has hellrūn, helrūn(sorceress; woman with a spirit of divination), which is a strong feminine o-stem. This matches the form and meaning of the postulated Gothic word and is likewise puzzling as one would expect it to mean "sorcery" or "necromancy" Leasnam (talk) 05:49, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
And similarly, helrȳneġu, which should mean something like "sorcery" also means "sorceress" instead. Strange. Leasnam (talk) 06:23, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
That's really interesting, I hadn't found those yet. That does seem to corroborate Angr's initial suggestion, and makes the Gothic reconstruction more likely to be correct, though it's still weird. @Angr: I personally would expect some remnant of the j to be reflected in a Latinization, something like *haliurun[n]ia or the like, if the Gothic term indeed had the suffix -jō. But it should be mentioned that the reconstruction I gave in my initial post is just what I found in Köbler and some very brief Google Books searches, perhaps others have different ideas. Definitely curious about this word now though, it's an interesting one and I'll look into it more when I get some spare time. I hadn't expected it to have so many apparent cognates. — Kleio (t · c) 15:32, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
@KIeio: actually, the nn of the Latin made me wonder if this word came from some variety of Gothic that had undergone the gemination of consonants before /j/ followed by deletion of /j/ otherwise known only from the West Germanic languages (e.g. *sunjō > synn). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:11, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
@Angr, but would that not have also geminated the "l" in *haljō as well ( > *hallirunna, *hallurunna) as it does in Old English and Old High German ? Leasnam (talk) 17:52, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
@Leasnam: Good point. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:21, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Angr, Leasnam I've adjusted haliurunna's etymology section to reflect this discussion and some others I found after having a look around, notably an alternate view espoused by Scardigli (1973) and Lehmann (1986). Note also my addition of a reference to 𐍃𐍄𐌰𐌿𐌰(staua), which is a word that can mean both "trial, judgment" and "judge" -- though the declensions differ. Wonder what y'all think. — Kleio (t · c) 12:11, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

The derivation rinnan (v.) -> runna (agent noun) doesn't seem irregular by the way; consider for example nuta ("catcher", masculine an-stem) from niutan ("to obtain, attain"). — Kleio (t · c) 13:56, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Nicely explained ! Leasnam (talk) 03:44, 24 January 2017 (UTC)


Similar to 紐約, I feel that perhaps this borrowing may have come through a southern dialect that retains the "k" sound in "shake". Any thoughts? ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:23, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

I agree. It's most likely through Cantonese. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:06, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Justin. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:20, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

hauriō and *h₂ews-, and hauriant[edit]

hauriō is stated as coming from *h₂ews-, with the comment "spurious h", that is presumably meaning hauriō < *auriō < *h₂ews-; but the PIE root has no mention of this, and there doesn't seem to me to be much semantic resemblance either. Can it be confirmed or discredited?

This is a different *h₂ews-, a verb root reconstructed as meaning 'to scoop'; LIV gives reflexes from Greek (αὔω(aúō, to carry (fire))), Old Norse (ausa(to scoop)) and Palaic. --Tropylium (talk) 13:27, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

While we're on this Latin word, can anyone justify it as the origin of the heraldic term hauriant, meaning (of fish) "rising vertically"? The OED s.v. haurient (which I've turned into an alternative form rather than the primary, as hauriant matches sejant, couchant etc., and is used by Fox-Davies), says it's because the fish is supposed to be raised above the surface to draw in air. How do they know? The heraldic term is likely to be proximately from French, not Latin (another reason for preferring -ant), so there could be an intermediate of some other meaning. The English term is first attested in 1572, as hariant, with no clue as to why it means that. The OED entry hasn't been revised since 1898. --Hiztegilari (talk) 18:30, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Etymology for prefixed Modern Greek words[edit]

If we take a look at the word ανεργία (unemployment) the etymology says that it comes from the Ancient Greek word ἄνεργος. According to Wiktionary:Etymology#Affixation_and_compounds shouldn't the etymology show that it comes from αν- and έργο (i.e. without work)? If yes, there is also the word άνεργος (unemployed), should it have the same etymology as ανεργία or should one of the two words reference the other? That is, does άνεργος comes from ανεργία or the inverse? Thanks! Orgyn (talk) 13:00, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

I can't answer for Greek specifically, but in general the derivation would seem most important in the language in which it happened, in this case Ancient Greek. As far as I know, we do think it good to have it in the derivative language as well, even though this means more work in editing and may lead to contradictions... What's important (to myself, anyway) is to distinguish between forms that are from X and forms that are just analyzable as X. So, for example, Sunday isn't "from" sun + day, but only "analyzable as" such, because the compound existed already in Old English and probably even late Proto-Germanic (cf. *sunnōniz dagaz). Kolmiel (talk) 14:42, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, we have lots of examples of this in English, e.g. unlike, which is diachronically from Old English unġelīċ and synchronically from un- + like. There's nothing wrong with listing both; indeed, it's preferable to do so in order to get the categorization right, since unlike ought to be in both CAT:English terms inherited from Old English and CAT:English words prefixed with un-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:02, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
That's exactly why I asked my question! (categorization) Putting both etymologies would solve this. What would be the word to use to "connect" both etymologies? unlike, atrophy and astrology all show different ways of doing it. Concerning my second question, how is etymology handled between derived terms? Orgyn (talk) 19:15, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
What I've often seen and used myself is "From Old English unġelīċ. Equivalent to un- +‎ like." --WikiTiki89 19:22, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
The wording I usually use is "synchronically analyzable as un- +‎ like" or just "synchronically un- +‎ like". I don't think every single etymology like this has to have the exact same wording. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:24, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
I use the "Equivalent to" wording. I dislike "synchronically", because that's not understood by the average user. Moreover, I don't think we should be showing synchronic etymologies to begin with. Etymology is diachronic by definition. I would only say "Equivalent to un- + like" if the word was formed from the ancestor of un- and the ancestor of like, not if the word is currently analysable as such but was not actually formed that way. In my view, the idea of giving equivalent etymology is that one is directed to the entries of these parts to look up their individual etymologies, so that they are not repeated. —CodeCat 19:30, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
If a user doesn't know what a word means, he can look it up. We are a dictionary, after all. And I do think we should be including synchronic etymologies at least for transparent root + affix words, especially when the affix is still productive, because when a speaker uses a word like goodness, for example, we have no way of knowing if he's learned that word as a whole, the same way he learned good (in which case the etymology is only diachronic), or whether he's combining good and -ness himself "on the fly" (in which case the etymology is synchronic, as the speaker has coined the word afresh). So while goodness does go back to gōdnes and very probably *gōdanassuz, it is also being constantly re-coined in Modern English as good + -ness. It isn't simply equivalent to good + -ness, it is good + -ness. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:11, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks guys for your answers! Orgyn (talk) 09:21, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
I agree with CodeCat, that not only would "synchronically" be less likely to be understood, but it also is not the right concept. --WikiTiki89 14:43, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Then what is? "Equivalent to" isn't the right concept either. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:59, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Why isn't it? --WikiTiki89 15:12, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Because unlike isn't merely "equivalent to" un- + like; it *is* un- + like. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:02, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
But it is Old English unlīc, ungelīc and/or PGmc *ungalīkaz which are described as "equivalent to un- + like", not Modern English unlike. Leasnam (talk) 03:48, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
What it's supposed to mean is that it is equivalent to a derivation from un- + like, even though it is really inherited as a whole. --WikiTiki89 16:30, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
I know what it's supposed to mean, but it isn't merely equivalent to a derivation from un- + like. It is simultaneously *both* an inheritance from Old English *and* a concatenation of two Modern English morphemes. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:38, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Well in this particular case you're sort of right, because the morphemes were kept separate, otherwise we might have ended up with unylike or something, but in other cases there is no reason to say that. --WikiTiki89 18:52, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Can you think of an example where there is no reason to say that? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:25, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
I've seen "surface analysis" used, that seems to work. — Kleio (t · c) 16:25, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that would work too. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:38, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
I disagree. The surface analysis can contradict the true etymology. As I said, etymology is by definition diachronic, so merely analysing the contemporary surface form is not good enough. Apparent origins can be misleading. —CodeCat 17:14, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
We shouldn't have only the synchronic analysis any more than we should have only the diachronic one. But saying "etymology is by definition diachronic" is flatly untrue, since words are coined simultaneously with their usage all the time (cf. wug test). A word like "goodness" is not only inherited from Proto-Germanic/Old English/Middle English; it is also built by contemporary English speakers by combining "good" and "-ness". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:25, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
But if that's the case, we should see serious creations such as goodity, goodation, goodment, which we do not Leasnam (talk) 15:18, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
We do, however, see Category:English back-formations (for example). People do analyze the apparent components of words all the time, and sometimes create new words based on those analyses. — Kleio (t · c) 21:50, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

PIE surface vs. morphophonology[edit]

I noticed that we seem to have around "PIE roots" used for one descendant only, e.g. *Hyekʷ-. I was about to protest this as silly, but then realized that this probably has benefits for our root shape categories.

But this also got me thinking that this may have other benefits yet as well. A common complaint fielded at PIE reconstructions is that they often inconsistently mix surface (lexical) and deep (morpho-) phonology. However, if we maintain roots as a fully different category from words, then we will have the option to actually claim the best of both worlds: we could transcribe roots morphophonologically, actual word-forms surface-phonologically.

We already have e.g.:

I would suggest indicating also at least the following:

Various newer laryngeal-deletion and schwa-insertion rules would likely be just as good to indicate, though these would take a bit more time to dig up. --Tropylium (talk) 19:38, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Beside the argument that we're simply writing things the way linguists do, there's also these points:
  • Szemerényi's law was morphologised and no longer purely phonological. We find analogical long vowels in words such as *dyḗws, *pṓds. There is also no trace of it in e.g. proterokinetic genitive singulars or athematic 2nd person singulars, where it might have originally occurred.
  • The same probably applies for Stang's law.
  • Unrounding is indicated because it results in phonemic change: the non-labial consonant is a phoneme.
  • Siebs' law, by contrast, does not change phonemes, it is allophonic.
  • Devoicing is post-PIE, and absent in IIr. Voicing assimilation of *s doesn't create a new phoneme, so again it's not indicated.
  • s-insertion may also be post-PIE, if IIr is an indication. Either way, it's allophonic.
  • ōn > ō occurs exclusively in Szemeryényi's law environments, so the same reasoning applies.
  • *ḱḗr is a unique example with no parallels.
CodeCat 20:02, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
(e/c) We already do:
  • w:Pinault's law: *h₂éryeti and not *//*h₂érh₃yeti,//
  • I tend to do schwa-insertion as seen generally through out *tep-, though I'm still on the fence about it.
As for the others you've suggested:
  • As to voicing assimilation, Ringe points out that since these assimilations are so common, it's hard to know whether they occurred in PIE or in the daughters. We can't even tell if w:Bartholomae's law was in PIE.
  • s-insertion is fine with theoretically, but, if we also accept assimilation, we start getting into the hairy business of *bʰudʰtós > *bʰudʰstós > *bʰudʰzdós? > *bʰudzdʰós??. This is a bit too far for my taste.
  • I am deeply opposed to showing vowel coloration, as it muddies the morphology considerably. I'm aware that Stang's and Szemerényi's laws are not obvious either, but being able to distinguish between , *oh₃, and *eh₃ is crucial for our reconstructions.
I would also add that we do not use:
Overall, I'd say we should cleave to the linguistic standard, which we currently do, though you will always find counterexamples (Fortson does s-insertion, I believe). —JohnC5 20:25, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Allophones can probably get hairy, yes. I'm mostly interested in increasing the non-PIE-initiated accessibility of the reconstructions (= decreasing the amount of "gratuitous" features in the reconstruction), but leaving that level of transcription off is reasonable in general.
We aren't able to distinguish *eh₃(C), *oh₃(C) and even other *oH(C), though: they are reflected the same everywhere. I would not go as far as writing out the compensatory lengthening though, as it is often enough taken as post-PIE (e.g. by some formulations of Dybo's law and Balto-Slavic accentology). But there is still the intermediate option to use *ah₂ and *oh₃. Note also that, as rare as it may have otherwise been, we are already using *a anyway.
As for s-insertion: *s is a phoneme, so the change clearly isn't allophonic. AFAIK Indic *TT is normally considered a back-mutation, since Iranian shows *sT and since Sanskrit has also the sandhi rule *-s > ∅ / T_#, which would be expected to turn *-TsT- back to *-TT- in any case. --Tropylium (talk) 21:30, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Old Norse greiða[edit]

Would someone have more details on this word? Anything to do with *raidaz? --Barytonesis (talk) 17:57, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

Yes. greiða is from Pgmc *garaidijaną, from *garaidaz, a prefixed form of *raidaz(ready) Leasnam (talk) 03:55, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! --Barytonesis (talk) 18:31, 26 January 2017 (UTC)


Does this word actually descend from Late Latin gonorrhea, like Sicilian camurria does? Or is it a clipping of a borrowed word? Is it even descended from "gonorrhea" at all? Cirxe (talk) 03:52, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

On "bonkers"[edit]

I have found a good source of etymology here, but am unsure of standards on formatting here. If someone would be so kind as to demonstrate it to me and/or post it, that would be lovely. — JWhitt433 (talk) 06:38, 30 January 2017 (UTC)


I am dazzled by how long this verb has gone without explaining its suppletion. I was thinking, "what's up with wyf, rwyt, oeddwn, etc."? So, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru claims that:

"[daw’r rhan fwyaf o’r ff. pres. ac amhff. myn. o’r gwr. IE. *es- ‘bod’ (e.e. ys (H. Gym. is), H. Lyd. is, H. Wydd. is: < IE. *és-ti"

"ansicr yw trdd. y mae, Crn. C. (y(m))ma, Llyd. C. ema; ynglŷn â’r be. bod, gw. bod1] "

"[?< *maʒe(h)es < *mages-est, sef cfl. lleol yr e. *magos (> ma1, -fa)+*est, 3 un. pres. myn. y f. ‘bod’; dtb. o’r defnydd hwn yw mae2, y mae, cf. Crn. C. ma, ym(m)a, Llyd. C. ema, Llyd. Diw. emañ] "

Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 19:00, 30 January 2017 (UTC)


The etymology currently given lists English < Middle English < Middle Scots < Old French. Isn't (Middle) Scots a descendant of Middle English? KarikaSlayer (talk) 18:29, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Middle Scots seems to start by 1400 and Middle English seems to end by 1500, so technically it might be possible. I wonder how useful the term "Middle Scots" is under these circumstances. Also since wikipedia says that earlier Middle Scots is virtually indistinguishable from northern Middle English. Kolmiel (talk) 07:00, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Does a Middle Scots attestation (either for the word in general or the "altered" form with -l-) being earlier than the Middle English one really warrant loaning from there? You'd expect the ME word to have been around about just as long, maybe simply going unwritten for a bit longer. --Tropylium (talk) 22:37, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Of course, it doesn't necessarily warrant that. But maybe there's some circumstantial evidence for a borrowing from the north. Kolmiel (talk) 09:51, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

RFV LA:nihilominus[edit]

From nihil +‎ ominusus or nihil +‎ omen?. Seems to me pretty straightforward in the form, but the meaning? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:43, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Pretty sure it's nihilō +‎ minus. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:00, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Shame to me... :( Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 17:16, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

February 2017

Accent of Lithuanian vesti[edit]

@Benwing2 Slavic has a mobile accent here, with accent on the ending in the infinitive. However, Lithuanian has an accent on the stem instead. Assuming that Slavic reflects the original situation, what is the cause of the retraction in Lithuanian? Also, why does the present have ẽ while the infinitive has è? Does Slavic have root accent in the present? —CodeCat 21:34, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

@CodeCat I wish I knew enough about Lithuanian historical linguistics to answer this. The answer might be in Kortlandt's From Proto-Indo-European to Slavic but it's inaccessible right now. I do know that verbs in Lithuanian are rather less conservative than nouns. Benwing2 (talk) 21:57, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Can you ping anyone else here who may know? —CodeCat 21:58, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
@Ivan Štambuk? Benwing2 (talk) 22:08, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Stang writes that "Im Litauischen sind heute alle Präsensformen barytoniert, abgesehen von den Fällen, wo das de Saussure'sche Gesetz gewirkt hat." in "Vergleichende Grammatik der Baltischen Sprachen" page 449.
No idea about the ẽ/è variation, it's probably also explained in Stang's book. Based on this sentence from Lithuanian_accentuation#Root "Short vowels a, e in a root of a word lengthen when stressed and have a circumflex accent: ã, ẽ", I wager that it has to do with when the accent was placed on it. (by analogy?)
Crom daba (talk) 01:41, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
To me, it looks a bit like the distinction could be similar to that of Neoshtokavian, where ẽ reflects an originally stressed vowel while è reflects a retracted accent. I could be totally wrong though. I don't know how the acute-circumflex distinction could arise on short vowels anyway, but apparently they're a regular thing for Lithuanian. —CodeCat 01:45, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Also, if I understand your quote right, does it mean that there are no more mobile verbs (accent classes 3 and 4) in Lithuanian, at all? —CodeCat 01:56, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
è was certainly unstressed at some point, but I really have no clue if the ictus getting there is phonology or morphology at work.
Circumflex "short vowels" ã/ẽ are actually long, the difference between them and historically long circumlexes is vowel quality.
Most probably the mobile accent classes still exists when comparing tenses other than the present.
My experience with this whole Balto-Slavic accentuation mess boils down to trying for years to square that linked Kortlandt pdf with my native language with no success. At this point my only hope is that @Benwing2 will figure it out for all of us and update the relevant wiki pages.
Crom daba (talk) 03:00, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Let's try another approach then, since Lithuanian is not helpful here. If the accent was originally on the root in PBS, then there would have to be some kind of sound law that shifted it onto the ending. The main contender, Dybo's law, does indeed shift the accent to the ending in AP b verbs, but this law doesn't operate in mobile paradigms. So it seems that the final accent directly reflects the PBS situation, if the mobile paradigm itself dates to PBS. Are there any sound laws that could cause a fixed paradigm to become mobile in the history of Slavic? —CodeCat 21:03, 8 February 2017 (UTC)


The etymology of krokodili is not sourced. Several suggestions have been put in to what the etymology of this word is but none of them have been sourced properly. Pkbwcgs (talk) 16:25, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

[1] is not a source?
"Krokodili (to crocodile) means to speak in your national language at an event where you should be speaking Esperanto (conjuring up the image of a reptilian beast flapping its big jaws)."
How exactly are you going to explain this away. You can't. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 18:36, 6 February 2017 (UTC).
@ That is a story book, not a source. Story books are not sources. Pkbwcgs (talk) 18:00, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
@Pkbwcgs A story book. A story book? I don't suppose you have a source for that assertion, because it is most definitely NOT a story book simply because the first line of its description says "Here is the captivating story of humankind’s enduring quest to build a better language." So I suppose by that same measure every written biography also falls under the mantle of fiction? Now you are just being obstinate.
@ It is basically a story about Esperanto. It has nothing about crocodiles and definitely nothing to do with your etymology. All you have done is provided me with a story about Esperanto and you are saying that it is a source and you are calling me obstinate. Please provide a better source and I will see whether it is valid or not. Pkbwcgs (talk) 18:25, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
@Pkbwcgs Is google blocking the preview for you or something, because page 113 shows the etymology clear as day. Do I need to quote it again? "To crocodile", look for it. It's right there. It is furthermore not "basically a story about Esperanto" as that makes up a fractional part of its over 300 pages devoted to conlangs of every variety. All you have done is display your willingness to distort the truth. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 18:36, 6 February 2017 (UTC).
@Pkbwcgs I am not convinced you are very well equipped to judge whether sources are valid or not. A brief Google of the author reveals that she 1. has some pretty legitimate credentials in the field of linguistics and 2. has written quite a lot about Esperanto specifically. This would make her claims on Esperanto etymologies authoritative enough in my book. The work may be aimed at a broader audience, but just because it's popular science doesn't mean it's unscientific. With that source, I'd definitely say the IP editor here is right and the claim could be mentioned at least in the etymology section. — Kleio (t · c) 18:39, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Slang etymologies are going to be somewhat apocryphal no matter how much scientific scrutiny you bring to the table, no sense in making a big deal out of this. Crom daba (talk) 18:44, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
I am leaving the discussion here but I saw a lot of users reverting the etymology so this is why I brought it to here. Pkbwcgs (talk) 18:47, 6 February 2017 (UTC)


Please review / clean up this user's contributions. DTLHS (talk) 01:08, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Please block him. --Barytonesis (talk) 01:15, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, blocking makes sense to me, unless someone can reason with them. —JohnC5 02:51, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
I hadn't seen any constructive attempts to educate and correct them which is why I asked here. DTLHS (talk) 03:04, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
I just made a first stab at it on their talk page. Although they make lots of the usual kinds of newbie formatting errors, they also have problems with editing where they're clearly out of their depth, but don't seem to realize it, and they show other signs of poor judgment. I suspect this is compounded by moderately poor English comprehension. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:44, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm as anti-Starostin as anyone here, but blocking someone who hasn't demonstrated malicious intent sounds like a terrible idea. It makes sense short-term, but long-term we need editors and even this one may develop into a great asset in the future. Crom daba (talk) 11:21, 7 February 2017 (UTC)


This entry needs some cleanup and an assessment of the likelihood of the descendants actually descending from it. The former can quite possibly only be done by a competent Egyptian editor, most of whom seem to have left the project, unfortunately. The latter can probably be handled by any of our editors who have experience in these sorts of things — @Ivan Štambuk, JohnC5, and feel free to ping others. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:55, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

So I can find references to this word, but Beekes and earlier Walde prefer to relate it to a Semitic source, citing Hebrew שָׂק(saq, sack). These lemmata may well be related, but I don't know whether the Ancient Greek can be directly traced to the Egyptian. I have not the knowledge of Afro-Asiatic to make such a determination. —JohnC5 04:05, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Indo-European buck word[edit]

Could coordinate we coordinate the stories on Proto-Germanic *bukkaz, Proto-Celtic *bukkos(goat), Old Armenian բուծ(buc, lamb), Persian بز(boz, goat) (ESIYa gives Proto-Iranian *būźa), Sanskrit बुख(bukha, male goat) and maybe make a PIE entry? Currently we have *bʰuǵno-, *bʰuǵ- and *bʰuǵos. I'd like to link it as a potential source/relative of Proto-Turkic *buka(bull), Proto-Mongolic *bugu(deer), South Tungusic *bụcan ("deer"), and I'd like a single handle for the etymon.

And as an aside, how secure is the reconstruction anyway? How do we explain Celtic gemination (could it be a Germanic loan?) or Sanskrit aspiration (are these two connected somehow?) or Iranian long vowel (and why is it shortened again in Persian?). Also what about Proto-Slavic *bykъ(bull)? It doesn't look that far of from the rest of the crew.

Crom daba (talk) 17:05, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

On some of these words see Witzel 2003, pages 21–22. --Vahag (talk) 08:25, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Did anyone try reconstructing *bʰuǵ(ʰ)-kos on a PIE level (as Matasović does for Celtic)? Could PII *ĉk ~ *ĵk ~ *ĵʰgʰ give Av. z, Sa. (or Prakrit substrate) kk(h) ? What about Armenian? How does it treat clusters with different voicing?

Crom daba (talk) 22:09, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Armenian requires PIE -ǵ-. A -ǵʰ- would yield Arm. -ձ-(-j-). PIE -ǵk- would probably yield Arm. -ծք-(-ckʿ-) or -սք-(-skʿ-), although we do not have data. The two stems of Arm. բծ-ա-(bc-a-) and բծ-ո-(bc-o-) point to PIE *bʰuǵ-eh₂- and *bʰuǵ-o- respectively.--Vahag (talk) 08:31, 9 February 2017 (UTC)


I don't understand how to edit this in a way that doesn't mix it up but does get it out of the category "Persian twice-borrowed terms". Please help if you can! Kolmiel (talk) 18:53, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

I see no issue. {{bor}} works this way. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 20:49, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
When you looked, the problem had probably already been solved by the friendly user who did. Admittedly, it was a simple edit. But when I tried to fix it, I seem to have done something wrong, so I got confused. The issue was that the word was in the category mentioned above, in which it cannot be because it is a Chinese word, not a Persian one. Kolmiel (talk) 22:14, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, User:Crom daba has fixed it. The entry had {{bor|fa|zh|افیون|tr=afyūn|lang=fa|notext=1}}, which means a Persian term borrowed from Persian Chinese. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:56, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Kolmiel: The first arguments for {{bor}}, {{der}}, and {{inh}} are 1) the language of the headword term itself, and 2) the source language of the etymon. This is the opposite of the older {{etyl}} template, which had the etymon language first and the headword language second.
However, if you're using {{bor}}, {{der}}, or {{inh}}, and you also include a lang= argument, that overrides the behavior to match the older {{etyl}} template instead -- the lang value is the headword language, the first unnamed argument becomes the etymon language, and the second unnamed argument is the etymon itself. See [[Template:borrowing#Old-style_parameters]], for instance.
So in the previous version of the entry, {{bor|fa|zh|افیون|tr=afyūn|lang=fa|notext=1}} parses out to a Persian headword (the lang=fa part) from a Persian etymon (the fa in the first unnamed parameter), and that etymon was the term "zh" (the second unnamed parameter). ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:39, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Sorry all - my fault initially. I don't even know why I used {{bor|fa|zh|افیون|tr=afyūn|lang=fa|notext=1}}. Wyang (talk) 21:45, 10 February 2017 (UTC)


Does anyone know if "incandesce" is a back-formation from "incandescence" or "incandescent"? It is consistent with the expected meaning of that (which would be some form of glowing), and when I first used it I had never heard it before and had back-formed it from incandesc- words. 08:03, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Oxford Dictionaries says that it's a backformation, but OED and Merriam-Webster say that it's from Latin incandescere. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 06:07, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Odd how Oxford Dictionaries and OED contradict each other. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:41, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

RFV PIE>PSlav[edit]

Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/gʷerH- ("to approve, to praise") says that *gʷr̥H-yé- ‎(zero-grade ye-present) gives žerti, but Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/žerti ("to devour, to glut") says that it comes from *gʷerh₃- ‎("devour"). And of course Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/gʷerh₃- mentions žerti. A mistake of aspirants that we can distinguish (H-h₃)? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 10:12, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

LIV gives from *gʷr̥H-ye- > "OCS (+)" žьrjǫ, žrъti; "secondary thematic" žьrǫ 'to offer', separate from the *žerti group. I can't seem to find anything fitting together with this from {{R:Derksen 2008}}, though. --Tropylium (talk) 04:09, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
This is just a case of homonymy, *žьrti is the verb derived from *gʷerH- and *žerti is from *gʷerh₃-, the point of confusion is that *žьrti had an alternative form in *žerti (according to our page) which was homophonous with the devour verb. Crom daba (talk) 06:44, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

باران, baran[edit]

Which of these are actually borrowed from Persian? I'm not a huge expert on Iranian, but Kurdish and Pashto are suspect. For the former, there's the variant "waran", which looks more expectable; but I suppose both might be native. The Pashto, however, looks very borrowed. Initial *b- becomes w-, not the other way round. Actually, b- can only arise from intervocalic *-p- by procope according to this [2]. Kolmiel (talk) 14:07, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Proto-Iranian *w- → Kurdish b- is regular. See Asatrian G., Livshits V. (1994) Origine du système consonantique de la langue kurde, pages 94–95, here. --Vahag (talk) 15:50, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
Apparently Southern Kurdish, in many cases at least, has retained w- ([3]). But okay, you're right, it's a native development per se. So Kurdish is out of the list. Can you say anything about Pashto? Kolmiel (talk) 18:00, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
Usually, the Pashto ووریدل(warēdəl, wōrēdəl, to rain) is taken to be the descendant of this root. I agree with you that Pashto باران(bārān) is probably a borrowing. --Vahag (talk) 06:19, 10 February 2017 (UTC)


[Copied from User talk:Smuconlaw.]

Excuse me, but if you’re going to go around reverting substantial edits you at least have to pay attention to the actual content of the edit. Nothing in my edit implied that Danish is borrowed from Latin. Rather, it very clearly indicates that Danicize is derived from Latin danicus and NOT from Danish. Anyway, from the form of the word, Danicize /ˈdeɪnɪsaɪz/, it can be seen that it cannot be from Danish + -ize; then it would be Danishize /ˈdeɪnɪʃaɪz/. Like most of the -ize words, it is either a learned Latinate construction or borrowed and adapted from Neo-Latin or another language that uses such constructions. The word’s spelling and pronunciation both confirm this. – Krun (talk) 12:54, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps we can take this discussion to the Etymology scriptorium. — SMUconlaw (talk) 13:04, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Editors' input on the above matter is most welcome. — SMUconlaw (talk) 20:24, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

I would think it's more from Dan(ish) +‎ -icize. I don't think these new constructions are actually hearkening back to old Latin forms, but are created on a model now ingrafted into and natural to English. Leasnam (talk) 22:05, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Latin penuria[edit]

Does anybody have more details on this word? De Vaan doesn't mention it; and penury has another etymology. --Barytonesis (talk) 11:46, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

My bad, it does mention it as a derivative of paene, precisely. --Barytonesis (talk) 11:49, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
I think it's the same root but not directly from paene, compare Greek cognates listed at spero. Crom daba (talk) 12:47, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

French à peine[edit]

I don't know what to think of this edit. If it's right, we have to remove the descendants from paene. --Barytonesis (talk) 12:12, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

The TLFI says poena [4]. Also, can someone check the translations, they seem a bit off to me (especially #2). — Dakdada 15:24, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

A new Labs Tool to visually explore etymological relationships extracted from the English Wiktionary[edit]

Hi all! I have developed a tool to visualize etymologies. Please check it out at tools.wmflabs.org/etytree. My work is funded by an IEG grant. Please leave your feedback on the interactive tool here. It will help improve it.

a screenshot of the graph for word coffee

It's is impressive how well automatic extraction of data works. This is because Etymology Sections are written using well defined standards. I would like to get some feedback about some difficulties I have encountered while extracting data and some ideas I have about new templates. I wrote some notes here. Please add your comment there if you have any.

Looking forward to your comments! Epantaleo (talk) 17:25, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

I took a look at a few basic words.
  1. "Door" generates, in addition to the expected chain of inheritance (< OE duru < PGmc *duriz ← PIE *dʰwer-) also an extensive tangent on completely unrelated words meaning "beetle". It seems that these have tagged along because of Middle English dor (a word that we do not have yet!) being used as a spelling for both.
    @Tropylium: Thanks for looking so much in detail. It's a great feedback. I'm going to reply to each point. Regarding dor, in the visualization it's dor, i.e., English dor (some kind of beetle) and not Middle English dor. Apparently (from the etymology in Wiktionary) both English door and English dor derive from Middle English dore. So the extraction is correct. Epantaleo (talk) 11:52, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
    So, the operation was a success, but the patient died... Homographs are definitely a problem, especially when there are a number of etymology sections, and with languages such as Middle English, where there's so much orthographical variation that unrelated words overlap. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:59, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
    @Chuck Entz: I see your point. You are right. The problem is intrinsic in the current way templates are used if two homographs link to the same lexical entry. This kind of experiment (the visualization) can help set new standards that improve how Wiktionary works in terms of infrastructure. If when people write etymology sections, they think about homographs and specify which sense they mean in the template, the graphs will link to the correct thing, a posteriori. This is not implemented yet though. To use your words, hopefully with a new setup (where thelink points to the word with the correct sense) the next patient won't die. Does it make sense? Epantaleo (talk) 15:30, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
    I doubt we will be "fixing" this just for the sake of accommodating your tool. People with brains can figure out that dor for "beetle" and dor for "door" are probably not the same word. And, as I said, you can fix this easily enough by not conflating homographs for which we have no entries. After all, you already manage to do this with homographs for which we do give multiple etymologies, correct?
    A fully machine-readable formatting standard for etymology would be quite a nice thing to have, but this is not really a project for Wiktionary to hash out (such a project would probably need a different underlying database structure entirely). --Tropylium (talk) 21:05, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  2. "Air" for some unfathomable reason gives only definition line 9 (i.e. "(informal) Nothing"). Only three derived terms are given (airworthy, castle in the air, phlogisticated air), out of dozens of possible ones. Two different PIE roots turn up (apparently because we have a faulty etymology at Modern Greek αέρας). Interestingly, one of them gets rendered with on-line numbers ("*h2weh1-"), despite our originals having the proper subscripts.
    @Tropylium: Good catch, those are small bugs that I'm going to fix: printing word definition in the tooltip seems to only print one of the definitions, and this change in superscript... not sure why this last thing is happening.Regarding derived terms, I am filtering those (I am working on filtering derived terms that are compounds at the moment, so they still show up) otherwise the visualization is overpopulated. Maybe I'll just have a button that visualizes all of the derived words if the user is interested. Epantaleo (talk) 11:57, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  3. "Cheap" generates a generally correct-looking web of related words, but for some reason splits Old English cēap into two nodes, one of them labeled "ceap", the other "cēap". Is the tool failing to cope with words that we cite differently from the lemmatization?
    @Tropylium: ceap has been extracted from its own page https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ceap#Old_English, and there is no place (at least in etymology sections) where ceap is said to be etyomlogically equivalent to cēap. Again the extraction is working correctly. Epantaleo (talk) 12:02, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
    You may have failed to register correctly what the problem is. Ceap is not "etymologically equivant" to cēap, they are the one and the same word, which we spell in two different ways depending on the context. Our entry for ceap indeed notes this, in giving the word in its definition line as ċēap and not ceap. (You can think of ceap as a standardized broad transcription, cēap and ċēap as more narrow transcriptions.) It is highly typical for older stages of languages to have unstandardized orthography, which we here at Wiktionary solve by standardized lemmatization. Your tool definitely needs to be able to work with this. Although you could manually infer them from headword lines, rules for these operations can be generally found listed at Wiktionary's language considerations pages, in this case Wiktionary:About Old English. --Tropylium (talk) 21:05, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  4. "Lunch" gives an extensive list of words borrowed fron English, and also an undergrowth of words meaning "long", that I don't see where it's pulling them from. I imagine they have something to do with the possibility we give that Northern English lunch might be from Spanish lonja — but the Spanish word itself appears nowhere in the chart! A second unrelated tangent adds in various "loin" words, again due to Old French longe having both meanings.
    @Tropylium: The etymology section in Portuguese lanche says: Borrowing from English lunch, shortened form of luncheon, probably from Old French longe, from lonc, from Latin longus. And Portouguese lanche is in the visualization. Epantaleo (talk) 12:12, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
    I see. That's perhaps taken care of easily enough: it might be a good idea to disregard claims of the form "word B derives from word C" in some other word A's entry, whenever word B's own entry has an etymology but fails to corroborate derivation from C. --Tropylium (talk) 21:05, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
So far this looks like kind of random performance; I have doubts about how much an uneducated reader is going to get out of it currently. In particular, it seems that the tool is making a bit too many assumptions about the relatedness of words whenever an entry is lacking. But I'm interested in seeing what direction this develops in.
@Tropylium: Hopefully I have shown with your examples that there is no random behavior.
As far as the interface goes, so far the generated graphs look far too "wiggly" to me, with the nodes grouped randomly and no clear way to identify different chronological levels. Attempting to manually re-organize the nodes, while possible, also seems to pull the entire graph along, with a distressing flickery effect (at least on Firefox 51.0.1 for the Mac).
@Tropylium: I agree. The thing is that, because of inconsistent etymologies (which I have to say I was expecting), I find loops in the graphs (which should not be!) otherwise I would use the much nicer visualization I used in the demo which uses trees that go from left to right following time evolution (with no loops!). Epantaleo (talk) 12:12, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

--Tropylium (talk) 19:23, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

I agree with Tropylium. The current state of the project seems more like a demonstration of author's d3 skills. Seriously, I can comprehend text better this infographics-wannabe. --

Dixtosa (talk) 19:36, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

@Dixtosa: Hope my explanations above answer your doubts too. In any case it was a lot of work for only 6 months. Hopefully my grant will be renewed so that I can improve the visual interface. It is noteworthy that the visualizations point out to inconsistent etymologies, which can be fixed. Once fixed the database extraction can be updated and the visualization will look fine. Epantaleo (talk) 12:14, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
This has made a ton of progress since I last looked at it, and it's really cool to see it coming along! However, there is certainly a lot of work to be done yet. The current moving web of words that is displayed is not as clear as the more linear layout I remember seeing before, which was far, far clearer. I'm not sure what your reasons for the change is (or if I'm just looking at incomplete work). I notice also that the search bar does not recognize diacritics, and does not even search when I use them (I tried searching "café" and "leçon" and nothing happened).
Again, I'm really thrilled about the idea, and the progress that has been made, but there's a lot of work to be done to make it more accurate and visually clear. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:20, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
@Andrew Sheedy: Thanks! That's very encouraging! :) I totally agree with you that the linear visualization was much clearer. I wish I could use it as it was so much work. However, as I have written before, in the current state, there is a lot of inconsistencies in etymologies which causes loops in the visualization and loops cannot fit in the previous visualization (trees don't have branches that merge back with the tree). Epantaleo (talk) 12:17, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
@Andrew Sheedy:, @Epantaleo: : As there are inconsistancies in the extracted data, with different nodes merged as a single one, the extracted datastructure is a graph. It is possible to overcome this limitation by "correcting" the structure on the fly (using a spanning tree algorithm or try to get a DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph), which should be the correct structure. If the grant is to be continued, I'll be happy tohelp you find a correct algorithm for this. Dodecaplex (talk) 12:32, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of visualizing the derivational relationships between words. However, as shown in the image for coffee, the tool doesn't recognize variant spellings of the same word: specifically the Arabic قَهْوَة(qahwa) with diacritics and قهوة without. Those should be a single node in the diagram; they are variant spellings of the same word, just as Old English ċēap, cēap, and ceap are. Ideally, the tool would show the form with the most diacritics, as it has the most information (that is, قَهْوَة(qahwa) and ċēap); and for Arabic, this is doubly necessary, because spellings without diacritics are extremely ambiguous in certain cases. (Arabic letters indicate consonants or long vowels, while diacritics indicate vowels, the lack of a vowel, and consonant doubling.) — Eru·tuon 01:54, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Category:Proto-Germanic given names[edit]

A lot of the reconstructed given names we have are attested only in one or two (often closely related) early Germanic languages; e.g. *Grīmaz, *Audawarduz, *Mērijawīgą, *Andaswaraz, *Hrōþilandą, and so forth. On what basis do we assume that names like these were in fact in use in Proto-Germanic and were not just later regional innovations? — Kleio (t · c) 16:51, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Latin conjugation vs. present active participle ending[edit]

Is there anything for 3rd?

conj 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
verb -o#Latin (denominal or 3rd-conj.-deverbal compound) -eo#Latin (causative)  ?? -io#Latin (causative)
pres.act.part. -ans#Latin -ens#Latin  ?? -iens#Latin

Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 17:38, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes, , -ēns, though as the descendant of the default thematic or athematic conjugation, they aren't really derivational suffixes. —JohnC5 18:13, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
@JohnC5The same , -ēns of 1st and 2nd that would respectively make?:
  • suffixed to third-conjugation verbs in composition, forms regular first-conjugation verbs INTO
    suffixed to third-conjugation verbs in composition, forms regular first-conjugation and third-conjugation verbs; and
  • Used to form present active participles from second conjugation verbs. INTO
    Used to form present active participles from second and third conjugation verbs? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 13:19, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Template:REPLY TO Yes and no. For -ēns, that is fine, but for , this isn't correct. It's only inflectional morphology, not derivation for 3rd conjugation. Verbs don't really become 3rd conjugation. They are just inherited into that conjugation. On the other hand, verbs do switch conjugation to 1st. @CodeCat, could you confirm this? —JohnC5 15:32, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Every conjugation has a characteristic underlying formation, which may or may not be still productive. The issue is that the conjugations include multiple formations that have been subsumed into one group. The 1st conjugation, for example, is made up of denominatives formed from ā-stems with a ye-suffix, factitives formed from thematic adjectives with a h₂ye-suffix, a few primary root verbs, mostly from laryngeal-final roots, frequentatives in -tā-, deverbal verbs created by prefixing a preverb, and various analogical derivations. The second conjugation contains at least statives in -ē- and o-grade causatives in -eye-. So to say that a verb is converted to another conjugation is misleading; you should specify which formation was used in the conversion. —CodeCat 15:38, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
done Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 21:01, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
3rd conjugation could have two forms, compare for example rego (reg-o) and capio (cap-io). -Slœtel (talk) 21:10, 16 February 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. @Prisencolin, not really sure what you mean by "court dialect". — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 00:35, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

It appears to follow the romanization scheme scene in An English and Chinese Vocabulary, in the Court Dialect- -Prisencolin (talk) 02:47, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
It seems to be referring to the Nanjing dialect. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 17:08, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I've made changes to the article to reflect this, but it's hard to tell whether it actually comes from the Nanjing dialect. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 17:12, 18 February 2017 (UTC)


schots, RFV of etymology 2: This etymology is also given by De Vries [5], but other dictionaries don't follow him and call the etymology uncertain. Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:49, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

RFV etym ergosterol[edit]

Sourced in DHLP=Houaiss for Portuguese, and Wikipedia, I changed the etym from LA<GRC ergo- + sterol to EN/FR ergot + sterol. Any idea of the preference for EN or FR? (BTW, Houaiss says PT<FR, not from EN). Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 13:10, 16 February 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

Many sources list this as originating from Latin. Merriam-Webster and Oxford also mention that it came into English via Italian.

Our entry currently says this originated in French. Anyone have any clarity on where this etymology came from, and whether this is a valid alternative theory or just a mistake? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:23, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Whoever added it may have got it from here [[6]] Leasnam (talk) 05:44, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I have removed that part pending further sources. The OED says "Italian and Latin", but it looks to me that the instrument was invented by Germans and that the name was simply taken directly from Latin for all major European languages involved. It referred to a specific sort of Roman instrument, for which our English entry lacks a sense. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:47, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. "Worüber man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen." We need some Italian, German, and French etymological research. DCDuring TALK 15:39, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Robert has tuba from a 1767 dictionary referring to a Roman instrument, doesn't mention Italian, but (of course) refers to Latin origin. The correspondence of the early use of the French term to the modern instrument is not clear to me. DCDuring TALK 15:48, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
For German, Pfeiffer says "borrowing (second half of 18th century) from Latin tuba". Kolmiel (talk) 19:23, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Philippa (Dutch) may be interesting: "Borrowed from German Tuba "tuba" (1845), earlier already Baß-Tuba (1835), a generalization of Tuba "Roman war trumpet" (1768), which is borrowed from Latin [...]. Before that, Dutch tuba "Roman war trumpet" had already been borrowed [...]. The German musician Wilhelm Wieprecht and the instrument maker Gottfried Moritz obtained a patent for the tuba in 1835, a bass wind instrument developed by them, under the name of Baß-Tuba." — So it seems that the word as such had already spread and that the use for the modern instrument is from German. Kolmiel (talk) 19:31, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Vandalic orthography for reconstructions[edit]

For the interested (@Anglom, Angr, CodeCat, Leasnam?) I started a discussion on this user page about Vandalic reconstructions after the entries *Gaisareiks and *Hildireiks were created recently. Input may be nice, since I've not done a whole lot of reading about Vandalic yet. — Kleio (t · c) 18:35, 16 February 2017 (UTC)


Online Etymology Dictionary claims that Proposed Arabic sources in a name of a variety of saltwort have not been attested and that theory is no longer considered valid. , do we know something they don't or is our Arabic etymon bunk? Crom daba (talk) 11:50, 18 February 2017 (UTC)


According to Wikipedia, the shamisen originated from the Chinese sanxian. If that is the case, why do we claim here that the word shamisen in Japanese comes from Okinawan? ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:15, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Is the etymology at 三味線#Japanese confusing? I would be happy to rework it if needed.
The term's history is relatively clear. The instrument may indeed have originated in China, but the term came from Okinawan, albeit based on constituent roots originally borrowed from Chinese. The relevant section of the WP article (at w:Shamisen#History_and_genres) notes the transmission of the instrument from China to Japan via the Ryūkyū Kingdom. The Japanese WP article section here notes that the Chinese instrument was known in the Ryūkyū Kingdom from 1392. That article also states that this was then transmitted to Sakai in mainland Japan in 1558 or 1559.
FWIW, the Japanese cognate for Chinese 三弦(sānxián) is 三弦(sangen). ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:24, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm just confused how something which originated from China could be originally derived from a Japonic language. Perhaps the etymology does not go back far enough? ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:42, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we're talking past each other?
One example of a Chinese "thing" with a non-Chinese name is English bean curd instead of tofu. Things and the terms for those things don't always share origins.
“something which originated from China” -- The "thing" is the instrument, which did originate in China. No concerns there.
“could be originally derived from a Japonic language” -- The Japanese term 三弦(sangen) for (one variety of) this instrument originates in Chinese. However, Japanese 三味線(shamisen) derives from an Okinawan-coined compound of Chinese-derived elements 蛇皮(jabi, snake skin) + (sen, line; string). The choice of the (sen) final character was influenced by the xián phonetics of the Chinese , but the Japanese 三味線(shamisen) etymon 蛇皮線(jabisen) as a single term was decidedly not from Chinese, to the best of what I've been able to find.
The alternative name of the more-traditionally Okinawan form of the instrument, 三線(sanshin), is definitely borrowed from Chinese 三弦(sānxián) phonetically, with the Japanese term using (shin, more commonly sen, line; string) as a phonosemantic replacement for Chinese (xián, string of an instrument), as the Japanese reading of this character is gen, which doesn't match the Chinese pronunciation at all.
Does that answer your concerns? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:23, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for that detailed explanation, I think I understand now. Cheers! ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:09, 22 February 2017 (UTC)


G. Meyer 1891: 259 (G. Meyer. Etymologisches Wörterbuch der albanesischen Sprachen. Strassbourg. 1891) —This unsigned comment was added by Mattbeets (talkcontribs)..

@Mattbeets: Is that supposed to be the source for the substrate origin proposed at mërajë? Meyer claims no such thing. According to him the Albanian word is a Romance borrowing. Feel free to readd the substrate theory (which is plausible) with a proper reference. --Vahag (talk) 14:25, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
@Vahagn Petrosyan: no, just a source for the attestations, since there was none. But I must admit i did not have the original source, so it was a proxy reference from Berneker's "Slavisches etymologisches Wörterbuch" (second volume) p. 73, but I thought the original reference was best. The substrate theory is mostly mentioned for the Greek word. e.g. Beekes 2010 . 903-904 copying from Schwyzer 1953 (first volume) p. 61 (and the same in Chantraine's and Frisk's respective dictionaries). The Greek dictionaries, however do not mention the Rumanian and Albanian, as I recall). —This unsigned comment was added by Mattbeets (talkcontribs).
I have moved the etymological discussion to maraj, with references. --Vahag (talk) 15:02, 20 February 2017 (UTC)