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Etymology scriptorium

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

Etymology scriptorium archives edit

April 2021

Transliterations or Alternate forms ?[edit]

I tried to add kupez a redirect (as an alternate transliteration) for kupec and the create page suggested redirects aren't used here but {{alternative form of}} should be used. but that template doesn't exist. I searched for "alternate form of" and saw that it seems to have the signature of {{form of| <<language code>> |alternate form|<<alternate word>>}} seems to be used on wiktionary, but is not recommended when someone tries to create a redirect page.

I suspect the real word is ( Купец or Купез ) which Google states is Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): occupational name for a merchant, Russian kupets, Polish kupiec. Is there a language code for Ashkenazic Jewish ? Alternate source languages for this and other transliterations include Polish, Slovenian, Russian, Basque, and several other slavic languages. DaveJWhitten (talk) 16:48, 1 April 2021 (UTC)

The language you're calling "Ashkenazic Jewish" is normally called Yiddish; the code for it is yi. The template {{alternative form of}} certainly does exist, and I suspect it's actually more widely used than {{form of}}. Incidentally, Basque isn't a Slavic language. But I can't tell what language you're saying kupez is. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:13, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
By the way, I personally prefer to use {{alternative spelling of}} (shortcut {{alt sp}}) when the difference between the entry form and the primary form is purely a spelling difference; I use {{alternative form of}} (shortcut {{alt form}}) when the difference is audible in spoken language. I don't know if other editors follow that distinction, though, or if it's just me. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:19, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
Is this an April Fool's. The question concerns a family name (see capitalization), not a single word but a family of family names so to speak. Family names may be pronounced differently in any language, spelled differently because of it or because of different spelling conventions, and finally pronounced identically irrespective of spelling and country of origin, or pronounced in spelling pronounciation if worse comes to worst. At any rate, the target page only lists a common noun for an occupation. A name is not a mere variation of a noun. Are there any questions left?
For example, Maik#German links to Mike#German by use of a template from Module:names ({{given name|||var=}}). The module has no template for family names.
Schmitt uses {{surname}} (helpfully linked in the name module documentation), that has no 'var=' parameter. The etymological information is added in etymology sections instead. This makes sense because that's where {{bor}} (an alias of {{etyl}}) is prescribed to belong. For the German entry it is reasonable, but poor form because it has to use {{m}} while {{etyl}} is not offering "variant form of", and calling it anything else might be downright wrong (it might be inherited from a derivation, but I do not know). The example in the documentation of {{surname}} is recommending to add "a form of", by hand, to the definition. That's incongruent. Synchronically, in a single language it might be perceived to be correct, but this depends on context.
In diachrony it should be incorrect to gloss Schmitt "a smith" because that is simply not what it means now, except for Schmitt#Hunsrik. In contrast to Schmitt virtually nobody bears the name Schmied.
What I'm trying to say: When I'm not sure about detail, I have to leave it out or ask a clear question. ApisAzuli (talk) 01:18, 2 April 2021 (UTC)
I would guess that the Yiddish equivalent of kupec would be something like Kaufman/ Kauffmann, by the way... (Seems like both forms are used as occupational surnames.) Wakuran (talk) 15:36, 2 April 2021 (UTC)


I've looked for years for information explaining how this word's meaning could plausibly change from "small chamber" to "judge's chambers" to "royal chambers" (at least in French) to "large hall". Even more intriguing is why this change didn't result in the older meaning disappearing. Almost as interesting are the questions of how common it is that a word's meaning changes to its opposite and how rare it is that it also keeps its old meaning.

Is it possible that the meaning of legislative assembly developed from a king's advisors meeting in his private chambers and slowly increasing in number and developing into a parliament? Or the king's role as supreme judge in his chamber being transferred to the meaning of judge's chambers and then being transferred to an even larger room where deliberation and then legislation happen?

I've so far found only the etymological info in dictionaries on onelook.com and the following (from https://www.etymonline.com/word/chamber), much of which is missing from our entry and most of which is not available free elsewhere online:

c. 1200, "a room in a house," usually a private one, from Old French chambre "room, chamber, apartment" (11c.), from Late Latin camera "a chamber, room" (see camera).

The Old French word and the Middle English one also were used alone and in combinations to form words for "latrine, privy" from the notion of "bedroom utensil for containing urine." In anatomy, "enclosed space in a body," from late 14c. Of machinery, "artificial cavity," from 1769. Gunnery sense "part of the bore in which the charge is placed" is from 1620s. Meaning "legislative body" is from c. 1400, an extended sense from the chambers or rooms where an assembly meets. Chamber music (1765) was that meant to be performed in private rooms instead of public halls.

--Espoo (talk) 21:40, 2 April 2021 (UTC)

It seems more like the legislative sense plays on older technical senses, like the anatomical one as considering a legislator part of a “state” in a broad sense of a nation, society etc., or the gunnery sense as it shoots laws out into the world – ignoring here your attestation orders because the picture in Latin and other languages may look different; and even if the legislative sense does not depend on them they probably have supported it later, as constitutions were not so complex earlier, which brings us to the point that its being seen as appendage to a monarchy is also surely distinguishable. Too, the evolving architectural distinguishment plays a role, as you can see with Arabic صَرْح(ṣarḥ) / Ge'ez ጽርሕ (ṣərḥə) meaning earlier “private room, chamber”, then “fortress, palace”! (The cult building sense relates to it because of cults being private and enclosed at special places etc.). Fay Freak (talk) 22:00, 2 April 2021 (UTC)
In the original sense of “room”, the term could refer to any enclosed and covered space; smallness of the enclosed space was not implied by the term. The sense of “deliberative body”, metonymical for the meeting hall of the body, is already found in medieval Latin. Le Trésor cites an Old French use en le cambre de le maison de le ville from 1388, glossing the term as “sessions of certain jurisdictional assemblies”.[1] So the question is, perhaps, how the descendants of camera acquired a connotation – outside of some niche uses – of being a relatively small compartment, in contrast with a larger salle (hall).  --Lambiam 11:44, 3 April 2021 (UTC)
Well, that link also says that the sense of "pièce, en particulier pièce où l'on dort" is recorded for Old French cambra/cambre from the 11c., so 3 centuries before the sense of town hall assembly recorded in Old French from 1388. (What does "a. pic." mean, and where's an explanation of TLFi abbreviations?) Apparently there is no record of the medieval Latin senses of deliberative body or its meeting hall having been transferred to, borrowed by, or (re)created in Old French earlier than or at the same time as the sense of small room in a house.
The biggest problem with etymonline.com is that it doesn't say what sources it copies its info from, but the info seems to usually be reliable. (But chamber music originally meant court music, not music meant to be performed in private rooms instead of public halls.) According to this, the sense of (usually private) room in a house is recorded in Middle English in c. 1200 and the sense of "legislative body" in c. 1400. It goes on to say that this is an extended sense of the hall where an assembly meets but doesn't say whether this sense of "assembly hall" is much older than that of "legislative body" in English. It in no way implies that this sense of hall could be as old as the sense of small room in English.
So what you say here is apparently only true for Latin, not Middle English or Old French: In the original sense of “room”, the term could refer to any enclosed and covered space; smallness of the enclosed space was not implied by the term. So even though this is true for Classical Latin and perhaps Medieval Latin (not according to Century Dictionary), this more abstract Latin sense of "vaulted indoor space of any size" apparently never existed in French or English and doesn't explain how the English word in c. 1400 acquired the opposite sense (hall) of what it had in 1200 (room in a house) and, especially, how it could have kept both senses (which seems to be extremely rare for any word in any language, except, for example, with this word, for example in French, English, and German). --Espoo (talk) 21:28, 3 April 2021 (UTC)
"pic." is Picard (there is a big tab "Abréviations" on top of the start page at atilf.atilf.fr). "a." is not glossed, maybe ancien?
Etymonline has a faq where the dozens of principle sources are listed, the OED, etc.
I wonder where this discussion is going, because we do not usually etymologize every derivative sense. In case there is any doubt, note the hypothesis of contraction from capo for Camorra mentioned in the respective German Wikiledia article. If that is at least technically correct and phonologically compatible with chambre as I guess, the bysense of a governing body that is also evident in capital and cognates could be homonym, depending on an unidentified element that can only be speculated about. The PIE root *kap-, as we note, complicates matters.
The thing with Medieval Latin (though it is labeled Late Latin, actually) is that substrates were absorbed and potentially corrupted. Schöffe for example has a Germanic etymology in some notable sources, but scabinus whence we derive it instead has no etymology. chamberlain betrays a Germanic suffix, too. Conversely, OHG chamarāri reflects a Latin suffix, cp. camerarius. Kammer is attributed sans doute to Late Latin, but this says little about the development of the title and position, cf. Erzkämmerer, Kämmerer with the unsourced claim that Schatzkammer (treasury, vault) was the original meaning. This too should be doubtfull while de.WP on Konrad for example elaborates the vexilation of what would be two or three different words. Euivalently, camera is not recognizable in comrade anymore, when it looks to be a cranberry morpheme with the common prefix com-. The mostly Latin language evidence quickly leads to post-hoc ergo propter-hoc fallacy.
I am trying to say that a sense development in the agent noun is probable, but I found no incriminating evidence. ApisAzuli (talk) 10:34, 4 April 2021 (UTC)
“we do not usually etymologize every derivative sense” is an interesting statement. Actually we attempt to pigeonhole every Arabic sense not obvious in derivation per se, so we can relate whole roots to other roots. Though it be true that in the end there are multiple alternative views and we are not even sure what came after what temporally or causally, as it is all difficult to search. European meaning developments are unfairly neglected. One could write a long journal article about the meaning development of any so multi-faceted a word like chambre, with its cognates. Really, if you “have looked for years” then it is complicated enough that you want to monetize it in a publication to take an abstract of it on Wiktionary. Fay Freak (talk) 11:23, 4 April 2021 (UTC)
The Larin entry can act as a hub for developments that the descendants shared eventually, if the sense narrowing to a relative small compartment and a governing body can not be attributed in more detail. This can be handled to a sufficient degree of detail in definitions and subsenses, separated by Classical, Late and Medieval, to leave the underspecified etymology up to common sense.
This is difficult to distinguish in archtiectural and more figurative senses, for example how the architectural sense narrowed to something like bed chambers, if the word denotated larger vaults before. May hedging was about the fact that etymology betray the common sense, when we really need it. That other words like hall or Gemächer may replace the formerly common sense is sometimes handled, frequently for OE and ME, with "replaced by" but I do not see yet how this is applicable in this case, surely not at the ModE level.
We have no detail about the significance of vaulted archs for roof constructions, which I expect to be the supposed answer for the Greek etymon, but not without doubt. My hedging concerned the fact that this is so far removed from today that the connection is far from obvious, so that a reliable etymology would be desiderata.
I'll note that catacomb with -comb from τύμβος (tomb) from *tewh₂- (to be strong, swell) is reminiscent of the well known people assemblies deriving *tewtéh₂ (people, tribe). On phonological grounds, could this become something like schatkamer (treasure+chamber)? ApisAzuli (talk) 15:05, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

Pristidae and Pristiformes[edit]

What about Pristis? 01:56, 3 April 2021 (UTC)

Fixed. Pristis is a direct borrowing from the Greek word for the sawfish, which is related to the word for saw, not derived from it. They both came from the same verb, but the saw has the agent suffix, as someone or something that performs the action of the verb, while the sawfish has a more general suffix used to form nouns from verbs.
The formation of the family follows the normal rule for taxa of family rank and higher: you start with the name of the genus, which has been converted from its original language to a Latin verb, take the Latin genitive singular (which would be pristidis<), remove the inflectional ending (in this case, -is) and add the ending for the appropriate taxonomic rank. The order should technically be Pristidiformes, but the taxonomic code doesn't cover orders- so taxonomists can make up the names any way they want to. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:07, 3 April 2021 (UTC)
AFAICT, Pristidiformes would be incorrect because πριστις does not inflect on the stem πριστιδ-. DCDuring (talk) 14:29, 3 April 2021 (UTC)
You're right, of course. I must have been half asleep. Not only is the Ancient Greek genitive πρῐ́στεως (prísteōs), but the Latin word's genitive is pristis (Latin pristis has differences in meaning, but it seems to be a descendant). Even if the Latin genitive was *pristidis, the relevant passage in the ICZN refers to "Greek or Latin", so the Greek genitive would prevail. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:50, 3 April 2021 (UTC)
This time I remembered to check how it declined, so I didn't fall into error. There have been other times. DCDuring (talk) 18:38, 3 April 2021 (UTC)

Words in the format "H-L-R", etc.[edit]

Are Basque ilar, Armenian ոլոռ, Ancient Greek ὄλυρα, Arabic خلر, and Akkadian 𒄒 related? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 15:11, 3 April 2021‎.

No etymological relationship based on common descent is known between any Basque term and terms of any other language. A loan appears impossible on a priori grounds. There may be etymological relationships between the other terms, which can be explored through the Etymology sections of the various articles. See also Armenian սալոր (salor).  --Lambiam 12:27, 4 April 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam So you mean to say that the Basque term's resemblance is merely a coincidence? (false cognate) 15:51, 11 April 2021 (UTC)
No, merely that no such relationship is known. That it is not known whether something is true, is not the same as saying that it is not true.  --Lambiam 16:24, 11 April 2021 (UTC)
You have mixed up the Akkadian plum word; it is compared on خُلَّر(ḵullar) for typological reasons, not because it is related but to lay bare the structure of Hurrian plant names. Since the wanderwort reflected in خُلَّر(ḵullar) is old, Basque ilar (pea; legume) may be related, assuming‌—as it is done sometimes—that the Basques, their ancestors, resided in Africa at that time. Fay Freak (talk) 17:50, 4 April 2021 (UTC)


The fact that this is שאַנדע(shande) rather than *שאָנד (*shond) makes me suspect it's a daytshmerish loanword from German rather than an inherited term from MHG. Can anyone confirm or deny? @Airy-zero, Caligari, Chaimish, Gausie, Isaacmayer9, Kavindad1, Lingo Bingo Dingo, Metaknowledge @Pashute, Phoenix84, Port a'bhéil, Sije, Thadh, Xikenni, פֿינצטערניש. —Mahāgaja · talk 11:15, 4 April 2021 (UTC)

I think a vowel a11 (originally short) rather than vowel type 12 (originally long) or 13 (lengthened) would not be unusual for VCC in Yiddish. No idea about the final schwa. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:43, 4 April 2021 (UTC)
I don’t know if this is relevant, but there is also Yiddish שונד (shund), according to the Hebrew Wikipedia borrowed from German Schund, meaning “trash” (as in “trash literature”).  --Lambiam 12:15, 4 April 2021 (UTC)
Verterbukh.org gives שאַנדע as an alternate form of שאַנד, which it gives as the canonical form. It doesn't say whether שאַנדע is daytshmerish, though. Dovid Katz's Yiddish Cultural Dictionary gives שאַנדע as the canonical form, using the shorter form only in compounds. I'm not sure how helpful any of what I just said was. I will say Katz has done extensive work on Yiddish historical linguistics, so he would be a good person to ask. He's usually rather responsive to emails. I would send an email myself, but I don't 100% understand the linguistics behind the question. פֿינצטערניש (Fintsternish), she/her (talk) 13:32, 4 April 2021 (UTC)
Yes, it seems that שאַנד is from MHG and שאַנדע is from NHG. Uriel Weinreich marks שאַנדע daytshmerish in his modern Yiddish-English dictionary. However, it is unmarked in Stutchkoff's oytser and later works. I feel it's safe to assume it was taken from NHG but has now been integrated and is no longer considered daytshmerish. Does that make sense? Chaimish (talk) 04:30, 5 April 2021 (UTC)
Yes. So not everything that's borrowed from Modern German is considered daytshmerish? —Mahāgaja · talk 08:47, 5 April 2021 (UTC)
Exactly. Daytshmerism is the assumption that Yiddish is a broken or low prestige form of German and the more German words and features you can use to "correct" it, the better. However, strong daytshmerism is basically a thing of the past (except among german speakers learning yiddish on occasion). Some words are used extensively (shande) and many would consider them as Yiddish as Yiddish could be (as demonstrated by this thread). Other words, like vorshaynlekh, are used in Hungarian Yiddish simply because of their proximity to german speakers. In Poland the same with polish (and german, like shtets and felik) and in America the same with English. These could be considered "localisms", accepted in some places but not others. Standard Yiddish doesn't usually accept them due to the necessity to be globally understood, but they are not considered wrong or destructive like daytshmerisms. Finally, there are proper daytshmerisms: bitte, das, danke got and so on. These replace functioning Yiddish words and grammar that are part of the holistic whole of Yiddish with phrases lifted entirely from german. What does danke mean? In yiddish is danken, but there is no case or conjunction that results in the final shwa. Only in German is such a thing allowed. The lines are fluid, and what is or isn't daytshmerish will vary. But only fanatical language purists will avoid shande. This is the same as the situation in flemish speaking territories. Some language purists will avoid even French words that have been in the language for hundreds of years. Ça va ça va... Chaimish (talk) 15:13, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

Romanian rahat[edit]

Can someone expand this etymology? What sense of Turkish rahat does it derive from? Dex indicates that the sense "shit" comes from the sense "Turkish delight", but I don't see the connection. Ultimateria (talk) 17:48, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

“Shit”, or Köttel, from the sense of something small, “trifle”. Also the original sense of Turkish rahat is used in rude expressions, beni rahat bırak! means the same as German lass mich in Ruhe!, which en.Wiktionary has under leave alone: turns out that English is even incapable of expressing the common notions of Ruhe and rahat, save for the restricted-use tranquillity.
As a bodybuilder, I might also remark that Americans should eat less shit, as sugar is poison, shit for your body, so rahat lokum is actually shit. In so far as in the Balkans everyone is a sculpted supermodel (they went to the gym when Anglos played vidya), this view may also be relevant. If it be slang then you know not whether that was invented perhaps by some racists in contradistinction from fat Turks and what they eat (not that myself I believe Turks to be particularly fat). But we can’t tell this without corpus studies, better take the considerations in the first paragraph. Fay Freak (talk) 19:21, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

@Ultimateria, rahat means first and foremost Turkish delight. The shit sense should be seen as a euphemism – compare the third sense of dumpling. --Robbie SWE (talk) 17:31, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Also, the slang sense originated in Romanian; in Turkish neither this term (which is not only an adjective but also a noun meaning “comfort, ease”) nor lokum has such a sense.  --Lambiam 22:32, 6 April 2021 (UTC)


I saw a comment on Reddit which explains why the etymology here is incorrect. I don't know much about Japanese, so I'm not really confident in correcting it. Plus, I can't read the second source they linked. Would anyone be able to fix it? --Smashhoof (Talk · Contributions) 23:04, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

@Smashhoof: Fun timing, I'd been looking at that earlier this weekend, digging deeper into the attestations and dates.
FWIW, the oldest attested sense listed in the KDJ entry is the objective physical "color" sense (what one sees), followed up by the more subjective emotionally dependent "color" sense (how it makes one feel). The "love"-related senses aren't attested until the early 900s.
Regarding the vowel values mentioned in that Reddit post, I suspect that this other paper by Pellard might cover the /i//e/ initial vowel discrepancy in Ryukyuan. (It's in English, so no worries there. :) )
I'll have a go at reworking the etym later this week. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 00:22, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Dutch worden[edit]

@Rua and anyone else up on Dutch historical linguistics: is there a known reason why the vowels of Middle Dutch werden/past wart changed to Modern Dutch worden/past werd? I can imagine that the present stem changed from e to o on the analogy of the past participle geworden, since lots of strong verbs have the same vowel in the present stem and the past participle, but why did the past tense develop e, which is such an eminently non-past vowel in Germanic strong verbs? —Mahāgaja · talk 07:58, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be generalisation to werden / werd and then werden -> worden? Some flemish dialects have wörden. Maybe I should stick to Yiddish... Chaimish (talk) 08:20, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
The past tense vowel adapting to the present tense one would be very unusual, not to mention confusing to speakers. There's no other cases of that in Dutch that I know of. The usual pattern in Dutch is that past singular a becomes o if the past plural already has o.
Etymologiebank states that the change in the present is due to the rounding influence of the preceding w. The past tense is explained as a result of "instability of the arT combination" in Dutch, plus analogy. That last part doesn't feel terribly satisfying. However, EB also says that the modern vowels didn't become standard until the 18th century, and before that a wider variety of vowels is attested. So early modern Dutch might provide some examples of other vowels. —Rua (mew) 09:10, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
OK, thanks for looking that up! I must say it is extremely confusing for someone approaching Dutch from a previous knowledge of German and Old English to have a present stem that looks like a past participle and a past stem that looks like a present. —Mahāgaja · talk 11:42, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
I do not recall encountering a past form ward/wardt/wart in early Modern Dutch (but I have read 'very little' sixteenth-century Dutch), but wierd is quite commonly seen from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 15:55, 6 April 2021 (UTC)


For some reason, an IP insists that the etymology is wrong and insists it must be toponymical (diff). Is there any truth to this? — surjection??⟩ 10:29, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

I cannot evaluate the claim that the surname originated from a shortening of the epithet of the mediaeval Lords of Ferreira de Aves, such as Rui Peres de Ferreira, but the theory of an occupational surname raises the question why the feminine form was chosen for this traditionally very masculine occupation. According to The Concise Dictionary of World Place Names, Ferreira do Zêzere, an old small city in the middle of Portugal, got its name from one Pedro Ferreira, who founded the town in the 13th century.[2] Next to senhor de Ferreira de Aves, someone could also be, at the same time, senhor do paço de Ferreira, like the second of two senhores Pedro Ferreira mentioned here (both royal noblemen). The same Pedro Ferreira as the town founder? Or was the name more widely spread already then?  --Lambiam 22:23, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
So. Rui Peres de Ferreira, appeares as fourth So., everyone before him has other names with the title de Ferreira de Aves, if the list is correct, and his own pt.wp page says: "O facto de ter sido Senhor de Ferreira de Aves levou-o a adoptar este apelido como nome de família." I don't read portuguese, and it is not sourced anyway, but it seems to say he adopted the name. That would be the reason why the IP edited.
That's more source than the original contributor supplied.
I have also wondered why the occupation would be feminine, or rather about the placename. herrería (iron-workshop) might work as comparison. The derivational suffix fem. -aria is the equivalent of -eiro < -arius has a variety of meanings that might apply. The city of Ferrara compares as well. I have no reason to believe there was a smithery, but if so, what was first, hen or egg? There is a Tower that might have had a smithery, or it could be the Door to the East, who knows. de Aves, is that Aveniō? ApisAzuli (talk) 01:53, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
The Portuguese Wikipedia has an article Ferreira (nome de família) that states that the surname definitely does not stem from a single common origin, citing a documented essay presenting several toponymical origins next to the occupational one, also attested historically in both of the forms Ferreiro and Ferreira for the same individuals. The mutation to an -a ending for the blacksmith is explained in the essay as a regular tendency of less usual Portuguese surnames to change to the nearest usual surname (“uma regra na onomástica portuguesa segundo a qual os nomes pouco usuais tendem a passar para o nome usual mais próximo”).  --Lambiam 10:21, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

Etymology of eigenaard[edit]

I'd like to bring two hypotheses up for discussion for the etymology of eigenaard, that are complementary to the current one. The term eigenaard becomes common in the late 19th century, older attestations may exist but they are not very easy to find due to scannos. One hypothesis is that it is a backformation from eigenaardig, a word that is well attested since the 18th century. But note that eigenaardig is a calque of eigenartig, and in German Eigenart exists as well. So a calque from German is also possible and even might be the more probable option. @Morgengave, Lambiam ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 17:45, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

However, even in German, Eigenart is a back-formation from eigenartig. —Mahāgaja · talk 17:52, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
The word is listed in the Grimm brothers’ Deutsches Wörterbuch, dritter Band (EForsche), which was published in 1862;[3] for the word to be included, it must have had some currency at the time. There are book uses from 1833[4] and 1848.[5] An early use of the Dutch word eigenaard is from a book from 1756.[6] The next oldest book result is from 1878,[7] but there is an earlier newspaper use, from 1869;[8] since the text has the date line “Hermannstadt, 6 junij ” and defends the right of the local German colony to maintain their own culture and language, this use may well have been a “Germanism”.  --Lambiam 20:31, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
I wonder if eigenartig originated as a calque of sui generis (from Latin, of course, not from the English borrowing) and acquired the sense of ”peculiar” the same way peculiar itself did, from “unique, singular” to ”kinda weird”.  --Lambiam 20:31, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
And the way unique is in the process of acquiring the sense of "unusual". —Mahāgaja · talk 20:54, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
I wonder if it's actually cognate to generis, cp. kindred, and the pronunciation of eigentlich /ˈaɪ̯ŋk(l)ɪç/. Funny by the way, cf. Adelung: eigenen compares ἔχειν. We have it from *seǵʰ- . That is reminiscent of the coda in *sek, which otherwise cognates with sui, surely, the way it was explained by @mahagaja. ApisAzuli (talk) 23:21, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
I mean Art and genus are synonymous; artig and genius or gentle almost so, as are kin and kind.
Back-formation is a difficult proposition, I do not see where this notion is coming from. eigenartig is no contraction from artig (well-behaved, good) (but see Adelung: artig; NB: no eigenartig but einart) and because the backformation ((eigen-art)-ig) is synchronically equivalent to contraction from the transparent phrase eigen' Art (Adelung: einig uses "eigene Art").
The sense of peculiarity is not immediately obvious from either of these. Compounds like Eigendünkel' would suffice, but I wonder if I may indulge for minute, whether it could also come from the verb sense (cp. ought, have to, ie. to be obligatory) might be conducive to a bysense of involuntary behaviour, "Ich eige oder mir eiget, competit mihi. Das Kind eiget Schläge, es verdienet Schläge." (the kid ought beaten). ApisAzuli (talk) 00:10, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
The original is surely eigener Art for sui generis, which you can attest again a century a earlier and even to the beginning of New High German if not necessarily much resembling the meaning of sui generis. As sui generis can form compounds, especially in spoken legalese (eine sui-generis-blabla; you find that the Vormerkung is a Sicherungsmittel sui generis and Sicherungsmittel eigener Art but not in the reverse order, however see more general terms like Sui-generis-Recht), so arises the adjective eigenartig—that at a time when artificial word-forming elements as -artig, -mäßig, -fähig came to be applied increasingly schematically and naturally. Eigenart is too belles-lettres and contextless a term to be the source of eigenartig. It is this bureaucratese derivation type, eigen +‎ -artig. Fay Freak (talk) 01:57, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
Can we be sufficiently certain that eigenartig was formed as a prepositional adjective with the same meaning as the calque eigener Art to add this to its etymology (in which case the structure is (eigen + Art ) + -ig and not eigen +‎ -artig)? And does eigener Art deserve inclusion in the Pantheon of German idioms?  --Lambiam 21:55, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

SAsian and Persian /bima/ "insurance"[edit]

(Notifying AryamanA, Atitarev, Benwing2, DerekWinters, Kutchkutch, Bhagadatta, Msasag, Inqilābī, SodhakSH):

Our entry at بیمه has the South Asian words coming from Persian, but Encyclopaedia Iranica states that the word is only attested in Persian beginning in 1799 and is "a word probably of Indian origin". I checked Dekhoda and it also says "از هندی" ("from Hindi/Indian").

Meanwhile, this paper cites a Persian-language source I do not have access to, which apparently states that Persian بیمه‎ actually comes from Sindhi, of all languages, even "though it has a Persian outward appearance".

Could this be clarified?--Tibidibi (talk) 05:45, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

@Tibidibi: An Indian origin seems very likely. Hindustani word being borrowed from Persian, with the Persian word being an innovation/Persianisation from Sanskrit भीम (terrible, fearful) or भीमक (name of a demon), from the root भी (compare भय) seems possible since Sk bhakta = Pers. baxt. Fear and terror, obviously are in some way related to insurance, so Persian word may be an innovation. 🔥शब्दशोधक🔥 06:15, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
This is unlikely, but again, may be possible - Persian word, a cognate to Sanskrit bhīmá. Many times, the same Persian and Sanskrit words have entirely opposite meanings - like deva (god in Sk, demon in Pers). Sanskrit word bhīmá means fearful - which causes fear, while Persian word means insurance - something that in some way removes fear of damage, loss, etc. 🔥शब्दशोधक🔥 06:23, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
@SodhakSH: If the word was borrowed from or is cognate to Sanskrit at an ancient stage, shouldn't it have been attested earlier than 1799 given the very large corpus of Persian literature? So my feeling was that it would have been borrowed from a New Indo-Aryan language.--Tibidibi (talk) 07:06, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
@Tibidibi: Oh right, I didn't read that. It may be borrowed from a New Indo-Aryan language. भीम is also attested in Hindi as a learned loan from Skt. You can take the etymology as you feel correct, but I have a strong feeling that it may be related to Sanskrit भीम. 🔥शब्दशोधक🔥 07:24, 8 April 2021 (UTC) It is related to Sanskrit bhīmá! The dictionaries which say that it is of Indian origin are apparently wrong; the word may be a modern formation from بیم(bim, fear), which derives from the same PIE root as Sanskrit भी (to fear), which is the source of bhīmá. Please add the Persian term's etymology accordingly. 🔥शब्दशोधक🔥 14:50, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
@SodhakSH: Having done some more research, the actual first attestations seem to be from Mughal Persian; an early one is in a correspondence by Aurangzeb (then a prince) in 1653–54. 1799 is probably the first time yet discovered when it was attested by an Iranian writer, who would presumably have learned it from an Indian writer of Persian, and this might be what is meant by “of Indian origin”. However, it seems not completely clear whether this Mughal word was coined from Persian بیم‎ or derived from Sanskrit, either directly or via a NIA language.--Tibidibi (talk) 15:28, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
@Tibidibi: I think it was formed with influence from Indo-Aryan ({{der|fa|inc}}) languages. 🔥शब्दशोधक🔥 15:35, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

For the sense development compare Russian страховка (straxovka, insurance), from страх (strax, fear). --Vahag (talk) 11:54, 8 April 2021 (UTC)


I’ve always assumed ‘flob’ is a portmanteau of ‘phlegm’ and ‘gob’. Does anyone else find that plausible?Overlordnat1 (talk) 14:36, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

Etymology of θησαυρός[edit]

The entry at θησαυρός only traces the θησ- < τίθημι. Apart from adding the PIE roots for this, is the etymology of the -αυρός ending known? MGorrone (talk) 17:42, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

I don’t think θησ- is a stem of τίθημι (títhēmi). Compare θέμα (théma) = θε- (the-) +‎ -μᾰ (-ma). Beekes writes:
No etymology, but probably a technical loanword, without a doubt from Pre­-Greek. The appearance of the word could suggest a pre-form in -arw-o-.
 --Lambiam 09:34, 9 April 2021 (UTC)
I've updated the etymology according to Beekes. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:53, 9 April 2021 (UTC)

elektrische spanning[edit]

I suspect that the sense "voltage" of spanning derived from the collocation elektrische spanning (or the variants with elektriek or with c). The collocation is attested in 1803 [9] [10] [11], the oldest occurrence of bare spanning I found is from 1808 [12]. Any thoughts? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 17:14, 10 April 2021 (UTC)

I would guess it's a borrowing of German Spannung. Wakuran (talk) 17:46, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
That is possible for the sense "voltage", but it is orthogonal to the matter under discussion, which is really about the possibility that elektrische spanning, etc. is a jiffy for spanning and therefore qualifies for inclusion. The word itself would not be considered a borrowing into modern Dutch, because it is mentioned in Middle Dutch. Middle Dutch of course could have borrowed it from early modern High German or Middle High German. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 18:08, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
Hmm, I don't know which language that first coined the concept of "electric tension", which seems pretty easily calqued between languages. Otherwise, there seems to be a similar situation in Dutch, German and modern Scandinavian languages. Wakuran (talk) 22:51, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
Since spanning is an obvious choice when calquing a term containing the word tension,[13] Dutch electrische spanning may as well have been calqued from English as from German (or French or Italian or ...). It seems that in English the use of bare tension for voltage is now uncommon; was that also so historically? In French, however, this was and is common use. The ur-coinage was in the form tensione elettrica by Alessandro Volta, in his 1778 memoir Osservazioni sulla capacità dei conduttori elettrici, e sulla commozione che anche un simplice conduttore è atto a dare eguale a quella della boccia di Leyden, sent as a letter to his friend Horace Bénédict de Saussure, in which he writes, "la capacità e l'azione, o tensione elettrica sono in ragione inversa".[14] Italian tensione too is still commonly used for voltage. I saw an older use of English electric tension, from 1710,[15] but it does not appear to have the same sense, being listed as one of several elements that, combined, make up the climate.  --Lambiam 16:16, 11 April 2021 (UTC)
That is useful, especially the Italian etymon, but my primary concern is the language-internal diachronic development, because that is how the jiffy criterion is applied. That said, it does make the direction elektrische spanning > bare spanning more likely if the oldest forms in other languages are all with electric. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 16:37, 11 April 2021 (UTC)
Understood, but how to find the right pathway in
   tension éléctrique    →    tension  
               ↓                              ↓
electrische spanning   →  spanning
? This requires a diligent search for early attestations, the difficulty being compounded by the multitude of potential donor languages.  --Lambiam 17:09, 11 April 2021 (UTC)
edit conflict. Wikipedia w:Voltage has a short History section that indicates "Volta distinguished electromotive force (emf) from tension (potential difference)". Whether Volta himself of Italian extraction used it first in English (reports to the Royal Society) or any Romance language (first letter to an Italian colleague, later papers) might make no difference. Earlier uses before C18 would be decisive however. The lede of w:Alessandro Volta stresses that "With this invention Volta proved that electricity could be generated chemically and debunked the prevalent theory that electricity was generated solely by living beings. Volta's invention sparked a great amount of scientific excitement [...]" (puns not intended? The excitement, I might add, led up to Shelley's Frankenstein).
It is clear that some form of the phenomenon was known not only in living beings that the lede implies, which would notably involve muscle tension, but also in solids since, as is commonly told, "electric" was coined about C16 derived from a Greek word for Amber, because of its electro-static capacities known since antiquity. Hence it is imaginable that they already had a word for one or another of these phenomena and it is equally possible that it was formed incorporating "amber" or span- or something similar in a compound phrase, in any language.
On another, note, if the cognates of spannen are limited to West-Germanic, the PGem entries should probably be moved up a node.
An etymology is missing. I am sure that's why you are looking into it. Incidently, Pfeifer cites OE spanan (cf. Bosworth-Toller, "to allure, entice, lure, decoy, attract, urge") besides to span. Their alternating preterite forms overlap in part as speon(n) (Class VII), distinct from spon (class VI) and respectively spen(n) (?). I don't think that Pfeifer's comparison is completely reliable, but "attract" describes electromagnetic effects of amber very well.
I looked into miner jargon for an appropriately named stone with the suffix Span (cp. Spat), but I'm no geologer, and dialectal variation between words like v. spachen ~ spannen (of muscels and blood vessels, cf. Grimm) or specan ~ sprekan add to the confusion. I would eventually hope for a comparison to *funkô (spark), if it weren't anachronistic (but cp. spunk C15 spark + funk?) ApisAzuli (talk) 18:36, 11 April 2021 (UTC)
That's the opposite of what WT:JIFFY means, if you imply it was never a transparent compound. You can ignore the jiffy criterion, in my humble opinion. Elektrische spanning / Spannung are terms of art, surely prescribed in standard codes. Despite the initial not being capitalized anywhere I looked, it still feels pretty much like a compound, because they would not need to spell it out everywhere if it wasn't obligatory. It feels like a pleonasm maybe, but not SOP. The difference is what technische Informatik (technical informatics?) is to Technische Informatik (computer engineering). ApisAzuli (talk) 19:01, 11 April 2021 (UTC)
Since Spannung for voltage is also used in German, I find it hard to say whether the Dutch word would be a native clipping, a calqued clipping, or a combination of the two. Wakuran (talk) 00:15, 13 April 2021 (UTC)

stitched up like a kipper[edit]

I’m considering making an entry for ‘stitched up like a kipper’ and giving it the same definition as done up like a kipper. There’s an interesting discussion at https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/60260/what-is-the-origin-of-stitched-up-like-a-kipper about the etymology variously claiming that the expression comes from kipper ties, a combination of ‘done up like a kipper’ and ‘stitched up’, the literal sewing together of kippers(!) and a very old-fashioned word for ‘seamstresses’, apparently because they always worked in pairs, like kippers came in pairs (the website provides two quotations supporting this). I’ve also found the word ‘kippered’ in my 2005 Collins Dictionary meaning ‘utterly defeated or outwitted’, so perhaps ‘kipper’ can be considered to have gone from a verb to a noun? This would seem to be using a foodstuff as a negative epithet for a person, along the lines of our entries for sit like a lemon and stand there like a lemon. Any thoughts on this?Overlordnat1 (talk) 10:52, 11 April 2021 (UTC)

I’ve now created an entry for it Overlordnat1 (talk) 18:47, 11 April 2021 (UTC)

I can't shake the feeling that it sounds like kippa, thus indicating bowdlerized slang (your citations showing bowdlerizeation in progress). Any literal interpratation is worthless. Insinuating conflation of two completely different terms like done up and stitched up doesn't help anything. "probably" also means probably not at the same time. Stackexchange is not a permissable source--not that anyone would add sources to their etymologies anyway--just saying. ApisAzuli (talk) 15:46, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
My instinct is that the phrase came about from conflation, so I fail to see how conflating the phrases isn’t helpful. It’s an interesting theory about kippas but I doubt it as there would presumably be evidence in print of the phrase ‘stitched up like a kippa’. Overlordnat1 (talk) 19:05, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
Sound similarities are a dime a dozen. For such a theory to work, there would have to be some special connection between "stitching up" and kippahs. The fact that the vast majority of English speakers have never even heard of a kippah doesn't help (I couldn't remember what one was, and I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood). Yes, there are embroidered kippahs, but that's true of just about any article of clothing- why a kippah?
The connotation seems to be that the object of the phrase is being handled like an inanimate object. The image of a living creature reduced to being prepared as an article of food would be especially fitting. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:48, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
Yeah, the term yarmulke seems to be a lot more common in English, and even that might not be immediately well-known outside Jewish circles. Wakuran (talk) 22:30, 18 April 2021 (UTC)

I suspect that ‘done up like a kipper’ came first as the word ‘done’ serves a dual role, it can mean ‘cooked/prepared’ and ‘conned/maltreated’ and this combined with ‘stitched up’; the idea being that someone is metaphorically gutted, filleted, salted, skinned, smoked and cooked, as well as being treated like an inanimate object, a fish. The seamstress definition is way too obscure a piece of slang, I don’t think there’s any connection between being joined together like seamstresses working together or like fabric that’s been stitched by a seamstress. It’s also occurred to me that ‘kippered’ came later, after the expressions ‘done/stitched like a kipper’ came into being. Finally I suspect that the most common term is skullcap, the other terms being fairly obscure but then I’m not Jewish. Overlordnat1 (talk) 22:44, 18 April 2021 (UTC)

藷蔗 and (sugarcane words in Chinese)[edit]

Both and 藷蔗 are tagged as RFE (I created the latter).

Some background material that I managed to gather:

was possibly also written as , based on the surviving editions of the Verses of Chu (in the poem 《招魂》 of obscure authorship, possibly late Warring States to early Western Han), the Records of the Grand Historian, and the Book of Han. The character-word's appearance in the latter two sources were in a full-text copy of Sima Xiangru's 《子虛賦》 ("Sir Fantasy" or "Mister No-one"), with some textual differences.

  1. In 《招魂》 from the Verses of Chu, the word since the time of Wang Yi (Eastern Han) has been traditionally glossed as "sugarcane" (藷蔗/蔗, see page photocopy). The line refers to the making of a liquid (漿, referring to the cane syrup) used in the preparation of meat.
  2. In the 《子虛賦》, 藷蔗 also appears (as 諸蔗/諸柘). Traditional commentaries (compiled in the Six Dynasties to Tang, but often referring to substrata dating to the Eastern Han) also clearly identify it as the sugar cane.
  3. The Eastern-Han era dictionary Shuowen included the characters 藷蔗.
  4. The Xijing Zaji (Chinese: 《西京雜記》) refers to 藷蔗 (link). The book is of obscure authorship and could be dated between late Eastern Han and the Six Dynasties.

It would be the best if we can find some reliable source on the origin of the word 藷蔗 in ancient Chinese. Both characters starts with the same consonant-initial group and might have been related. Even more tantalizing is the following character-form identification: the components (OC *tjaːʔ) and (OC *hljaɡs) in early writing are both related to the sense "fire, heating, boiling" - see also (OC *tjaʔ). —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Frigoris (talkcontribs) at 18:09, 14 April 2021 (UTC).


Can English have a {{learned borrowing}} from Proto-Indo-European?

learned borrowing "especially a word from a dead language" may be felicitous to use absent better alternatives, "not through normal means of language contact" is definitely applicable, but "from another [language]" should be prerequisite. It is a terribly burdensome argument to discuss whether PIE is or isn't a language, because the terminology is ambiguous. I don't really want to go there while the definition of language is like the holy grail.

PIE the language would be theoretically very similar to PIE the theoretical construct. Ideally it would be indistinguishable. The ambiguous usage of the term PIE is thus as ambiguous as the theory itself--ideally indistinguishable. Yet, it remains distinct. The only disagreement I expect is whether there is any need to distinguish, if in some perspective there is ideally no ambiguity. A precise etymology--who where and when--would certainly help to resolve this.

For example, if it comes from a time when PIE was considered an archaic form of Sanskrit, Dyaus Pita could quickly evolve to become Deyus, but I'm not sure that's what happened.

In another way, all reconstructions are phonological calques from more than one language at the same time, conforming to phonological rules other than the natural ones. In the same veim, it is a transcription, a phonetic spelling after verbalization of the PIE root, while the prescribed asterisk of reconstructeded forms is silent. From my point of view it is a just spelling mistake, or {{alt form}}, which omits the asterisk that is conventionally prescribed for reconstructed forms. Alternative forms cannot link foreign languages and alt forms in reconstruction space still need a star prefix for obvious reasons.

Either way it is taken from the translingual technical jargon where the principle difference is theoretically well understood. I find it nevertheless difficult to delineate the use-mention-distinction. Of the given quotations, only Mayerfeld Bell is clearly a mention: "The PIE peoples had called their chief god by almost the same name: Dyeus". Pearson comes close second with "a supreme sky god known as Dyeus" (mentions Indo-Iranian anyhow, not PIE). Burham is a corner case, "Dyeus was [he called,] the shining God of Sky [...]". Putting this up for RfV is probably no good idea. I am not a friend of deletionism anyway, though it would swiftly alleviate my problems. ApisAzuli (talk) 01:17, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

Is English Zeus a learned borrowing from Ancient Greek Ζεύς (Zeús)? The term makes its appearance in English by 1706, when Ancient Greek had long since shuffled off this mortal coil and was pushing up the daisies. And what about the “English” name of the Egyptian goddess Nut, a borrowing from the beyond, transliterated from
nw t
? I think we should classify the straightforward transliteration of a proper noun as a simple “borrowing”, regardless of the liveness of its source.  --Lambiam 08:03, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
A key difference is that Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian were both written, so we have some idea at least of what the phones involved might have been (ignoring the issue of vowel values for Egyptian), and we have concrete textual examples from which to borrow.
PIE is purely a reconstructed language, PIE in the sky, really. (NB: play on words, I understand that it has solid support and is a well-tested theoretical model -- my point is that it is a theoretical model.) I too am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of accepting that anything can be "borrowed" from a purely theoretical construct. "Borrowing" implies that the source language exists in some tangible form independent of reconstruction, which PIE does not.
I am also unhappy with the "learned borrowing" label, since that is defined as, and is used almost exclusively for, borrowings from classical languages, which in turn are described as "[a]n ancient language that has an independent tradition that arose mostly on its own, and has a large and rich body of ancient literature." PIE has no independent tradition, and it has no literature.
I would be much more comfortable with the less specifically qualifying label "derived" in favor of "borrowed". ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:26, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
@ApisAzuli: Although “The PIE peoples had called their chief god by almost the same name: Dyeus.” is “clearly a mention”, the following text is clearly not (“Like Zeus, Dyeus was a male god of sky and thunder.”) J3133 (talk) 08:33, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
@J3133: I'm not sure that's really usable though -- the author may as well have said, "The PIE peoples had called their chief god by almost the same name: Smurfalicious. Like Zeus, Smurfalicious was a male god of sky and thunder." The term "Smurfalicious" isn't suddenly English just because the second sentence uses it without fully explaining what it is.
The author here introduces the term to readers as something new, and defines it for them. Any further use in the same text hangs on that same initial introduction. Our example here is essentially a case where authors introduce a foreign term to their readers, complete with definition, and then proceed to use that term without further explanation. This is a specialized use case, and I don't think it can be used to justify treating the introduced term as now suddenly "belonging" to the lexicon of the main language of the text. If it catches on, and other authors and speakers start to use that term without the need for any preface to explain what it is to readers and listeners (and excluding cases of code switching, where the audience is assumed to share specialized knowledge, see Spanglish, for instance), then I think we can say it has entered the lexicon. But within that same initial introductory text, it can only be an introduced term. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:26, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

Swahili ziwa vs. its plural maziwa[edit]

Today I discovered that the Swahili word ziwa comes “from Proto-Bantu *ìdìbà” while its plural maziwa (formed completely regularly) is “a borrowing in Proto-Sabaki from a South Cushitic language”. How did that happen? ☺ MuDavid 栘𩿠 (talk) 02:32, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

@MuDavid: It's just that ziwa has two etymologies and nobody had split it yet. See Nurse & Hinnebusch 1993 (which really ought to have a reference template). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:45, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for the good work! I split maziwa as well. MuDavid 栘𩿠 (talk) 07:04, 16 April 2021 (UTC)


The etymology section currently states that “the word for straw was derived from a verbal participle and thus meant "(that which is) strewn", hence the applicability to berries growing on a bush.”

Someone pointed out on the talk page that strawberries do not grow on bushes. Merriam Webster mentions “perhaps from the appearance of the achenes on the surface” and Etymonline “perhaps it is in reference to the tiny chaff-like external seeds which cover the fruit”. w:Fragaria says “possibly derived from "strewn berry" in reference to the runners that "strew" or "stray away" from the base of the plants”, I can’t find where they got this from — Ungoliant (falai) 14:22, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

I was under the impression that the name came from the use of straw as a mulch in gardens, but I don't really know whether strawberries were cultivated back then (it would have been Fragaria vesca, not the modern hybrids), nor much of anything about old English gardening practices. There is a specific term for strawberry runners in Old English, so the association of runners with the plant was certainly there at the time. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:35, 17 April 2021 (UTC)

Gādēs as a borrowing from AGrk[edit]

I've looked around in Google and although this normally produces good results for me, it didn't this time. I see no formal evidence that this word is a borrowing from Greek, while it could have easily been borrowed as a 2nd declension plural *Gādīra. Instead I see a straightforward adaptation of the Phoenician/Punic word to Latin morphophonology, and even the final /r/ was probably an allophone of /s/ at the time. So I've listed it as a borrowing from Phoenician on that page but not everywhere else so far because I haven't found any concrete mentions of its etymology either way. I'm also wondering if it isn't better to assume a borrowing from Punic - wich of them was spoken in Spain as well Sicily and Sardinia around the First Punic War? Brutal Russian (talk) 20:20, 16 April 2021 (UTC)


Long long ago, I read an article about stating that it's pictogram (象形) of (“mosquito”). The article was on w:zh:新民晚报, but date not sure. Any reliable source about ? EdwardAlexanderCrowley (talk) 16:52, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

No credible source that I know of interprets the original character as a pictogram of the mosquito. Any source and textual materials to back up that claim? --Frigoris (talk) 17:30, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
Well, for 新民晚报 digital version before 2011 is here, 2011-2019 is here, not sure how to crawl through those. " from Proto-Mon-Khmer *muujs with a nominal suffix *-n (Schuessler, 2007). Compare Khmer មូស (muuh), Vietnamese muỗi", is this reliable, as at least a collateral evidence? Or any etymology about ? EdwardAlexanderCrowley (talk) 02:44, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
For clarity, the quoted bit about "from Proto-Mon-Khmer *muujs" is from Etymology 1 at 蚊#Chinese.
As currently written, that etymology suggests that the Chinese word for "mosquito" was borrowed, and the 蚊#Glyph_origin section explains that the glyph was created as a "Phono-semantic compound (形聲, OC *mɯn): semantic 虫 (“insect”) + phonetic 文 (OC *mɯn). " In other words, this seems to undercut the idea that originally meant "mosquito", and instead suggests that meant something else, and was borrowed for this character simply because the older term sounded a bit like the new borrowed term for "mosquito".
That said, that's just my interpretation based on what is in our current entries. I am not very familiar with the origins of either glyph. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 03:38, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
Most 形聲 is not only compund of one's sound and another's meaning. If 蚊 is 形聲, 蚊 takes the meaning and sound of 文 (tattoo, shown on mosquito leg). But someone suggests 蚊 is originally 文, just like 鼻 is originally 自. EdwardAlexanderCrowley (talk) 05:09, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
Also, I kinda dislike "borrow". In my opinion, proto-tai, proto-austronesian and proto-mon-khmer are all ancestors. EdwardAlexanderCrowley (talk) 05:14, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
There are two problems at hand: the origin of the mosquito word in Chinese and the source of the character . While the first can be approached by comparative methods, the latter is more problematic. The reason is that the surviving written-language corpora are scarce and biased (toward the norms and traditions of a tiny minority in the historical population). I imagine it would be difficult to test the validity of the claim about character origin. A counterexample would be the character - the hypothesis "it was pictogrammic of the horse" is easier to test because we can find textual materials in which the interpretation fits into the context (e.g. 王睗乘馬 in the Guoji Zibai Pan inscriptions). However, we're lucky because the horse was a frequent topic among the elite. For the mosquito, our luck would be considerably less. --Frigoris (talk) 10:03, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
Any comparative results about 文 as tattoo or mark, especially in Sino-Tibetan languages? EdwardAlexanderCrowley (talk) 13:57, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

I found the article[16]. The author 徐梦嘉 is good at seal carving, and a member of 甲骨文学会(forum of 甲骨文?). EdwardAlexanderCrowley (talk) 13:52, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

Some of the characters have really long head or leg. [17] EdwardAlexanderCrowley (talk) 14:16, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

Thank you, it's really impressive that you managed to locate it! Based on my understanding, the author was putting forward a hypothesis in a tentative way while leaving the problem open. As such I don't think we may reliably cite this one unless more supporting material can be found. Notice that the essay wasn't in a peer-reviewed.
For the other question about "comparative results about 文 as tattoo or mark", I think this hypothesis is largely based upon internal reconstruction in the Chinese language. Indeed the essay gave us some examples as such: we can find such usage in context in received texts. This alone doesn't lead us to any definitive conclusion about the origin of the character, but it lends some credence to the hypothesis as such. In contrast, known textual materials don't offer us the opportunity to say so about the "mosquito" hypothesis.
BTW, in the Shang oracle-bone corpus, the character 文 almost always appear specifically as part of a honorific title (such as 文武丁) referring to a royal ancestor. Such limitation of the context makes it difficult to interpret character origins -- unlike the situation with the well-known pictograms such as 日月木火牛馬 etc. For 文, it's perhaps a bit of stretch to read too much out of what could be adequately explained as stylistic variations among a very small community of writers. --Frigoris (talk) 17:49, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
@Frigoris, Eirikr moved here.
The old theory is inspired by 说文解字:“文,错画也,象交文。”, probably meaning: 文 is a painting(画,象) of crossed(错,交) lines. 说文解字 may be not reliable for oracle-bone scripts.
On the other hand, w:zh:朱书文字 says 文 derived from 陶文(pottery script), see File:陶村朱書.png. The script can't be interpreted as tattoo at all. This theory is reliable reference.
Also, 蚊≈*mɯn, 蠆≈*m̥ʰraːds, 螞≈*mraːʔ, 蜢≈*mraːŋʔ, 蝱≈*mraːŋ, it's not suprising that these have non sino-tibetan origin.
徐梦嘉 himself is a retired professor, not interested in writing research papers though.
I think, at least some challenges can be included in , and put the main part in the talk page. EdwardAlexanderCrowley (talk) 04:43, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I'm curious, why would the possible appearance of in 陶村朱書.png rule out an interpretation as meaning tattoo? I don't see that. Reading w:zh:朱书文字, it's also not cut-and-dried that the left-hand portion is necessarily : 「一些中国考古學家」 ("some Chinese archaeologists", not all). ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:12, 20 April 2021 (UTC)


The glyph origin states that is a phono-semantic compound (形聲) with as the phonetic component. However, it is clear that the pronunciations of the two characters doesn't match, as seen in the Old Chinese reconstructions ( = *tjib, = *ɡreːŋʔ). The correct phonetic component, as indicated in Shuowen Jiezi Zhu, should be (MC *ɳˠiᴇp̚, OC (probably) *neb), which has been replaced by .

Another note is that Shuowen Jiezi Zhu lists as an ideogrammic compound (會意) first, then it lists it as phono-semantic compound (形聲). StrongestStrike (talk) 09:31, 17 April 2021 (UTC)

Unknown etymologies[edit]

Sometimes I ask myself if it's worth mentioning that a word's etymology is unknown. Explicitly pointing it out looks a bit redundant. Wouldn't it be enough just not to include etymological information? (And if it's known but missing from the entry, marking it to avoid confusion with actually unknown origins). -- Horchatamivida (talk)

If we don't explicitly say the etymology is unknown, people will think we simply forgot to include it. —Mahāgaja · talk 15:48, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
When I’m looking for a word’s etymology, I prefer being told that it is unknown to not being told anything. So I appreciate editors taking the effort of mentioning this. But in that case, if there are theories than can be referenced, these should IMO then also be mentioned. Otherwise the risk is substantial that a reader who happens to have heard one of these theories will add it as a "fact".  --Lambiam 12:18, 19 April 2021 (UTC)
It is not exactly a case of w:Redundancy (linguistics), but a case of w:Redundancy (disambiguation). Sorry, this is not funny. ApisAzuli (talk) 04:04, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
  • @Horchatamivida: I agree with @Mahāgaja and @Lambiam. If we don't say anything, it just looks like we forgot to enter an etymology. Best to explicitly state the facts, rather than hope that an omission is interpreted the way we intend. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:03, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
    I think the cleartext message revealed upon decryption of ApisAzuli’s unfunny contribution is that they also agree.  --Lambiam 19:16, 20 April 2021 (UTC)

ilmu hitung[edit]

Ilmu hitung (old spelling: ilmoe hitoeng) have two definition: 1. arithmetic 2. algebra. Those are calques from another languages. Previous editor add two calques from the Dutch. I just edited one of those to an obsolete term. In my 'research' that term more appropriate for that era.

Then in my 'search' ilmu hitung is an equivalent term for Japanese sooto- suu-gaku, probably written in romaji as sōto sūgaku. Do anyone know that word? ―Rex AurōrumDisputātiō 22:19, 26 April 2021 (UTC)

I did not find a plausible Japanese candidate in this context for sōto. Japanese 数学 (sūgaku), literally “numerology”, “number science”, means “mathematics”. The part is the same as found in the Japanese rendering of sudoku. On the Indonesian Wikipedia, Ilmu hitung redirects to Aritmetika, which states that this was formerly called ilmu hitung. There are no redirects to Aljabar, so it does not appear that the term is commonly used in this sense.  --Lambiam 08:58, 27 April 2021 (UTC)
Maybe kana for sort? [This the link] of the book which i refer. Maybe you can found/see the romanisation patterns there. Older generation familiar using that term in arithmetic sense. But, that sense not recorded in KBBB instead algebra sense. ―Rex AurōrumDisputātiō 14:27, 27 April 2021 (UTC)
Sorting arithmetic/algebra” doesn’t make sense, which is why I wrote I did not find a plausible candidate. It is vaguely possible that the dangling hyphen in “Sooto- Suu-gaku” means “Sooto-gaku / Suu-gaku”, and “sorting science” would make some sense, but apart from this not being a term that is in actual use, it seems a more advanced topic than the rest, and out of place. Did you mean KBBI? We do not go by what dictionaries say, but by the senses implied by actual uses of a term.  --Lambiam 13:23, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
To me it looks a straighforward calque from rekenkunde. –Austronesier (talk) 13:41, 28 April 2021 (UTC)


Cheers! I need help with the etymology of macumba. The page states it comes from Kimbundu makôba similar to what is stated in Aulete, ma'kôba. Michäelis writes it as makumba. Infopédia goes in another direction and says it comes from Tupi ma'kũba. What's actually the etymology or is it disputed? - Sarilho1 (talk) 22:18, 27 April 2021 (UTC)

Tupi is reportedly extinct; is some language meant that was used by the Tupi people? Then it would most likely be one of the lingua francas known as Língua Geral, also spoken by black slaves. Considering that this is a Portuguese umbrella term for Bantu religions of African origin, including the region where Kimbundu is sproken, it is possible that the term was copied from Kimbundu into a lingua franca before being adopted from there by Brazilian Portuguese. According to this source, the Kimbundu term refers to a musical instrument and dance.  --Lambiam 12:57, 28 April 2021 (UTC)


What is the etymology of "chti?" 12:45, 29 April 2021 (UTC)

According to w:fr:Ch'ti, it's from Picard ch'ti mi (it's me). I have no idea how reliable that is, though, since the claim is unsourced. —Mahāgaja · talk 13:07, 29 April 2021 (UTC)

Updating modules to reflect Prakrit vote[edit]

(Notifying AryamanA, Kutchkutch, Bhagadatta, Msasag, SodhakSH): There are already two entries in CAT:E due to the data modules not having "inc-pra" as an ancestor. I think we should be proactive and have someone knowledgeable go through all of the Indic languages to add inc-pra as an ancestor to the modules where appropriate. I would do it myself, but I'm not sure if there are any cases where inc-pra isn't the first descendant of Sanskrit. There may also be some cases where "Old [fill in the blank]" might actually be part of inc-pra. I don't know Indic linguistic history well at all, so I could be worried over nothing- but better safe than sorry. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:22, 29 April 2021 (UTC)

For now, I've fixed the pages with module-errors. AryamanA is anyways going to make the appropriate changes to descendants, language codes, and bot changes this weekend as he said. These separate language codes have to be made etymology-only and be set as a dialect of Prakrit:
  1. inc-kha (Khasa Prakrit)
  2. elu-prk (Elu Prakrit)
These full-fledged language codes have to be replaced by etymology-only dialects of Prakrit:
  1. psu to inc-pse
  2. pmh to inc-pmh
  3. inc-psc to inc-psi
  4. inc-mgd to inc-pmg
  5. pka to inc-pka
    Currently, the 5 language codes have lemma entries, so a bot operation would be needed for fixing all these.
All the descendants of these 7 lects have to be set the descendants of the same lects under the new codes (same for Khasa and Elu) (and Prakrit itself). 🔥शब्दशोधक🔥 16:15, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: I've made the changes. Anyway these codes will all be gone soon and be replaced in functionality by inc-pra itself. -- 𝓑𝓱𝓪𝓰𝓪𝓭𝓪𝓽𝓽𝓪(𝓽𝓪𝓵𝓴) 01:48, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: Currently, there don't seem to be any cases where "Old [fill in the blank]" might actually be part of inc-pra. Kutchkutch (talk) 08:43, 30 April 2021 (UTC)

May 2021

The etymology of Πᾰραιτόνῐον (a Greek toponym in Egypt)[edit]

I wonder if someone has studied or came up with etymology of it? It looks Greek and Egyptian at the same time but i couldn't find it in any etymological dictionary. My only guess is πᾰρᾰ́ + Ἴτανον "contrary to Itanos" but i don't know if this construction was possible in Ancient Greek. --ⲫⲁϯⲟⲩⲉⲣϣⲓ (talk) 18:26, 1 May 2021 (UTC)

Aristotle's etymology of Italy[edit]

Aristotle says in the Politics that "there was a certain Italus, king of Oenotria, from whom the Oenotrians were called Italians, and who gave the name of Italy to the promontory of Europe lying within the Scylletic and Lametic Gulfs". Is this alternate origin of the word "Italy" worth mentioning the etymology, or has it been discredited? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 20:47, 1 May 2021 (UTC)

It is likely that Aristotle based this on the same sources as Thucydides, who wrote earlier, in Book 6 of The History of the Peloponnesian War: Εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ νῦν ἔτι ἐν τῇ Ἰταλίᾳ Σικελοί, καὶ ἡ χώρα ἀπὸ Ἰταλοῦ βασιλέως τινὸς Σικελῶν, τοὔνομα τοῦτο ἔχοντος, οὕτως Ἰταλία ἐπωνομάσθη. (Also now there are Sicels in Italia, and the region was named Italia after Italos, a thus-named king of the Sicels.) The differences (Th.: Sicels; A.: Oenotrians) suggest that A. did not simply copy this from Th. For what it's worth, OEtymD gives several tentative etymologies ("Perhaps", "Traditionally said to be", "Or perhaps"), including the "Italus" theory without indicating its provenance.  --Lambiam 23:52, 2 May 2021 (UTC)
According to legend named for a king Italos. Like that? ApisAzuli (talk) 05:01, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
I would say something more like, "According to some ancient Greek authors" rather than "According to legend," but I think it's worth noting in the entry. I'll add it in. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 06:56, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
Following the links to Ῑ̓ταλίᾱ (Ītalíā) > Ῑ̓τᾰλός (Ītalós), the mention of Thucydides was effectively there already.
I am by the way not clear what "reanalysed" means in this context (see Ῑ̓ταλίᾱ). Seems it wanted to suggest--in the wrong place--that Ῑ̓τᾰλός was a backformation. The interpretation of "Ῑ̓ταλίᾱ" itself is suggested in a foregone conclusion, suggesting that calquing was correct, when it is attributed under the current hypothesis to be glossed {{bor|grc|osc|𐌅𐌝𐌕𐌄𐌋𐌉𐌞 (víteliú)||land of young cattle}}, although "land of" is not really warranted by the lack of surface analysis unless, that is, if -𐌉𐌞 corresponded remotely to -ίᾱ. ApisAzuli (talk) 04:23, 4 May 2021 (UTC)
That would make Italy a doublet of veal. Odd, that... Chuck Entz (talk) 04:48, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

Source for etymology of Akkadian wardum[edit]

Anyone who could help with this? See wardum. Sartma (talk) 14:17, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

@Sartma: The source is the head of Profes.I. (talkcontribs), in the entry where you removed it from, as usual with native Semitic lexemes, like I have to explain the plainest words in Arabic like إِبِل(ʾibil) and أُهْبَة(ʾuhba) myself, due to the lack of any etymological dictionary and the taciturnity of mentioners of words in literature – it’s a job of thinking. It makes sense to me. w-r-d seems to have meant originally “to follow”, in application to the way down that water goes, so wardum means Gefolge, Gedinse. Does this answer satisfy you? Fay Freak (talk) 23:35, 2 May 2021 (UTC)
@Fay Freak: Thank you for your reply. I didn't know that source in the head of {{user}} was an acceptable source, and it makes sense to me a desirable method of investigation. Is this common practice here on Wiktionary? Is there any documentation that endorses this approach to etymologies you can refer me to?


Wouldn't normal Latin be via rupta, not rupta via? --Espoo (talk) 19:03, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

The dictionaries i was able to check all have rupta via, even lexico.com, whose content is supposed to be produced by Oxford Dictionaries, but https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2011/08/route.html says that the OED has via rupta. --Espoo (talk) 19:27, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

It doesn’t make any difference though, as with torta, but indeed the natural (for a Roman) order is via rupta. Fay Freak (talk) 23:38, 2 May 2021 (UTC)
It is used by Quintilian as an ablative in that word order here, which seems perfectly natural (to me).  --Lambiam 00:14, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
In context it does, because one stresses the ideas in a certain way. But let’s say the citation form of a noun+adjective phrase is first noun then adjective in Latin. Fay Freak (talk) 02:58, 3 May 2021 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. I can't find evidence of "Saxon" (Anglo-Saxon, i.e. Old English?) spicurran except in 18th-century dictionaries as the etymology of this very word. —Mahāgaja · talk 20:25, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

@Mahagaja: It looks to me like it might be corrupted from Latin *expignorellus, from expignorō (to redeem from pawn; to seize as a pawn, distrain), from pignus (pledge, mortgage). --{{victar|talk}} 04:23, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
Du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis has entries for spigurnellus, to which the variant form spigornellus refers. The attestations having an English context, the earliest being from 1275, this is probably a Latinization of an existing English term. I have a problem with the semantic gap between redeeming from (or seizing as) pawn and sealing a writ. Also, the metathesis in gorn < gnor is somewhat unusual. The word is seen as a surname around the same time;[18] it may have arisen as a vocational name. In a footnote in an article in The Harvard Law Review the term occurs with a capital letter and without article as if it is a proper noun, but judging from the context it refers to an official having that function.  --Lambiam 13:24, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
Let's look at the circumstantial evidence: the bulk of older legal terminology comes from Anglo-Norman Old French, and the overall shape of the word is reminiscent of Anglo-Norman Old French. The problem is that Middle English spigurnel and its Anglo-Norman/Medieval Latin etyma refer to a plant. Also of interest is that, as mentioned above, this is both a surname and a title, with early occurrences of the same person bearing both the name and the title. The latter fact could be explained by it being an occupational surname, but what about the reverse? What if the title came from the surname?
I'm just guessing here from limited knowledge, but there doesn't seem much to go on. I was surprised not to find anything for the title in the MED, given that the office dates to the Middle English period. Of course, everyone in the courts spoke Anglo-Norman Old French and Latin, but you'd think it would make its way into Middle English somewhere. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:40, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
If the word *is* from Latin, it most likely started with expig-, so ex-pign- is definitely the best guess, especially given it has to do with legal contracts. One could venture a reconstruction like *ex-pign-urn-ellus, but that lacks more precedence. I really want it to be from *expignorārius, as that makes most sense construction-wise, but that's maybe a harder sell. --{{victar|talk}} 16:24, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
I find no evidence of a Latin verb expignorō having been used before the 14th century. The footnote in the article in The Harvard Law Review refers to “(Y. B. 20 & 21, Edw. I. no)”. Searching there for Spigornel gives 48 hits;[19] his role seems to be that of an advocate, often making pronouncements concerning writs. The later Year Books 32 & 33 Edw.1 only refer to a Justice “Sire Henri Spigornel”,[20] whose surname is also spelled Spigurnel.[21][22] I can find no clear information that he and the 1292 Spigornel are the same person, but it appears rather likely. I also spotted the variants Pigornel and Espigornel, for which British History Online refers to Spigornel. A search there on the latter term produces 43 hits.[23] One entry in the Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward I, dated Westminster, Oct. 20 1276, refers to “the office of the king's chapel and spigornels”.[24] The source does not provide the original Anglo-Norman, but, presumably, the rendering in Modern English faitrhfully mirrors a plural form, identifying the use here without question as a common noun. If the common noun derived from the surname, it must have been earlier than the uses identified in the Year Books.  --Lambiam 10:22, 4 May 2021 (UTC)
In Latin, the verb from pignus is pignero with an "e"; is there an expignero attested in post-Classical Latin? —Mahāgaja · talk 10:35, 4 May 2021 (UTC)
Records of the Corte Pretoriana (the court of the town of Palermo), the oldest surviving documents of which date from the second half of the fourteenth century, contain the forms expignorasse (at least 9 times) and expignorata.[25]  --Lambiam 11:48, 4 May 2021 (UTC)
Affixing ex- to a verb really isn't that big of an innovation. I wouldn't get hung up on the attestation of expign-, --{{victar|talk}} 07:21, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
Presumably the same person is variously referred to, in the 49th regnal year of Henry II (1255 or 1256) as Nich. le Epigornell, Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire,[26] in 1262 as Nicholas le Espigornel, and in 1265 as Nicholas Spigornel.[27]  --Lambiam 11:45, 4 May 2021 (UTC)
The likely scenario is that the surname derives from the occupation, as most surnames do. --{{victar|talk}} 07:21, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
That is true, however this source [[28]] states that the occupation was first named after a man Galfridus Spigurnel (some other sources say Geoffrey Spigurnell), which other sources link to the occupational derived English surname Spickernell (as you say). The ultimate origin of the surname Spigurnel(l), though, remains unclear, yet if this etymological account is true, it need not be derived from any word meaning "seal up" or "inclose"...it could merely be from the flowering plant Leasnam (talk) 14:00, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
There are also several variants, both of the surname and occupation, that display -gn-: espignorel (1282), spignorel (1287), spignurel, spignorell. --{{victar|talk}} 15:23, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
One would presume that Geoffrey Spigurnell is the same G.S. as Geffery Spigurnell mentioned here, the great-grandfather of Justice Henry Spigornel. Are there sources, independent of Bailey's Dictionary, that state he was Sealer of Writs?  --Lambiam 11:54, 6 May 2021 (UTC)

Does the Tagalog word "sampo" come from an earlier "isang pulo"[edit]

I know that "pulo" is a word for ten many many Philippine languages (Source: I also speak Cebuano). Here's my explanations

  • The loss of "i" is caused by apheresis.
  • The change of "ng" to "m" is caused by nasal assimilation.
  • "l" is lost somewhere along the way. eg. tl. "baon" vs. ceb. "balon" (packed lunch)
  • The next multiples of ten follow the same pattern. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by XXtarrareXX (talkcontribs) at 06:41, 4 May 2021 (UTC).
Tagalog sampo points to sampu, which seems to suggest a derivation similar to what you describe. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:35, 4 May 2021 (UTC)


Although there isn't concrete evidence, I think the Chinese term of 海關 (Customs) derives from the government departments responsible for external trade in Qing Dynasty (such as 粵海關 and 江海關). Can someone else confirm this?廣九直通車 (talk) 10:39, 4 May 2021 (UTC)


@Tropylium, Rua I have no idea where this is from. There seems to be a cognate in Votic (jurma), but this may be a misidentification of Ala-Laukaa Ingrian or simply a borrowed term into or from Votic. Does anyone have any idea? Thadh (talk) 20:50, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

My first guess would be to consider it an alteration of Proto-Finnic *julma. In Finnish julma (SMS) does seem to mean 'brave' in southeastern dialects, including Ingria. This seems hard to defend in any more detail without a plausible reason for the -r-, too. Possibly juro which likewise means 'brave' in SE Finnish (SMS)? Unfortunately neither of these two "building blocks" are attested by themselves from Ingrian, and I'm also not sure if this latter one should be even considered the same word as the widespread juro meaning 'sullen, silent' (though perhaps bridgeable by Finnish–Karelian–Votic jura (tough, hardy)).
The complete loss of the meanings 'angry', 'brutal' and the introduction of the polar opposite meanings 'tame', 'safe' would in any case have to be left as unique local developments too.
In Votic the word seems to be attested widely enough, five Western Votic villages per {{R:vot:VKS}} (given also with "cf. julkõa", not that that solves anything), that's it's certainly not just misidentified Ingrian. The very local distribution clearly suggests a loanword in either direction of course. --Tropylium (talk) 16:26, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
Mägiste recorded julmistua though, which suggests *julma once existed in Ingrian; I guess that makes the possibility *julma > jurma less likely. Don't know about jurV though.
By the way, the term is widely attested in northern Soikkola, so that makes borrowing from Votic less likely IIUC. I personally interpretated the semantic shift as "brave" > "brave for an animal" > "tame" (referring to an animal's approach to humans; "safe" is undoubtedly related to this sense), not sure if that makes sense. Thadh (talk) 18:46, 5 May 2021 (UTC)