Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium

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Etymology scriptorium

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

Etymology scriptorium archives edit


April 2017

Hungarian "bátya"[edit]

Could it be that Hungarian "bácsi" (uncle) comes from "bátya" (uncle; brother), and that the latter is a Slavic loanword.

  • Proto-Slavic: *batę, *batja (uncle/brother/father). Serbo-Croatian: baća/баћа (brother; father; ancestor); Bulgarian: баща (father; ancestor); Czech: báťa (brother; cousin; friend); Russian: батя/батько (father; elderly man); Ukrainian: батьо/батько (father); Belarusian: баця/бацька (father); Old East Slavic: батѧ... etc.

At the first glance, Proto-Slavic reconstruction would be *batę because it's "батѧ" in OES (Old East Slavic), and since "ę" gave "ja" in Russian (compare врѣмѧ and время), it seems to make sense, however, then the rest of the descendants of this Proto-Slavic word would look differently, unless they were all loaned from another Slavic language. Actually, reconstruction *batja makes the most sense, since all of the descendants in Modern Slavic languages seem to correspond. And the OES "батѧ" could be explained by the fact that in OES it was already pronounced as "ja" - and "ꙗ" and "ѧ" were used interchangeably. CHr0mChIk (talk) 01:03, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Yep. These etymologies for both bácsi and bátya are indeed already recognized by {{R:Zaicz 2006}}. --Tropylium (talk) 01:42, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

allectivus and -ivus[edit]

User:I'm so meta even this acronym claims that allectivus is formed directly by attaching -ivus to allego. But this doesn't make any sense; where did the t come from? I fixed the etymology to point to the past participle allectus instead, but this got reverted. As it stands now, the etymology is not complete, because the t remains unexplained. Is the suffix actually -tivus? —CodeCat 13:11, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

It's common, or at least not uncommon, to give the lemma form of the term (here allego) and not another form, see e.g. nominativus and relativus. And besides grammars which could explain the t, there is -ivus which explains it: "Added to the perfect passive participial stem of verbs". That is, allectivus is allect- (cp. the inflection: {{la-conj-3rd|alleg|allēg|allēct}}) + -ivus, where the former belongs allego. - 00:47, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps the etymology should be explicit and say something like "From allēct-, the perfect passive participial stem of allegō, + -īvus (verbal adjective–forming suffix)." I recall trying to do this before and having someone revert me. — Eru·tuon 00:59, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
Hmmm, I think I added all the words ending in -īvus that I found in L&S early on in my time on Wiktionary. I'm not sure why I chose the verbal lemma as opposed to perfect participle except that the adjectives tend to pertain more to the verbs than their perfect participles. I dunno. —JohnC5 01:14, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
Some people could simply do it the way it's done in dictionaries. E.g. in Gaffiot it is: "nōmĭnātīvus, a, um (nomino)". As printed dictionaries often do not cover participles separately, it makes more sense for them to point to allego, nomino and the like.
As the English wiktionary covers inflected forms and particples, one could link to them and mention allego, nomino etc. too like suggested above. - 04:33, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
@CodeCat: As I said, “I don’t really mind it if you prefer the derivation from allectus, but let’s at least have a consistent message at -īvus, OK?”. All I want is consistency instead of contradiction. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 23:43, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
I mean, if you want to get technical, the suffix likely originally was -tivus, probably derived from attaching *-wos to the stem of *-tiH-on-. At some point Latin speakers started to see -tiō and -tivus as if derived from the perfect passive participle, sometimes even detaching the -t- to give -iō and -ivus but these were never productive. Forms like vacivus and nocivus are misleading because they are by all likelihood secondary. Anglom (talk) 08:18, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Although I can't say with certainty that the *-t- in *-tiH- did not come from the past participle originally; it just seems less than ideal to me because -tiō has almost wholly replaced inherited *-tis in its role. Anglom (talk) 08:30, 20 April 2017 (UTC)


This appears to be based on a reanalysis of paramour as composed of para- + amour. (In fact, I was surprised to learn that that is not the correct etymology.) Do you agree? What's the technical term for a formation like metamour or cheeseburger? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 12:08, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Rebracketing? That's apparently the explanation for the second element of each of your examples, but doesn't address the role of the first elements Chuck Entz (talk) 05:23, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
Compare monokini. If the first element is indeed intended to be meta-, then I would say it's a blend of meta- and paramour or meta- and amour, based on a playful or serious(ly mistaken) reanalysis of paramour as para- + amour. - -sche (discuss) 00:18, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

*skrinkwaną, *(s)ker-[edit]

*skrinkwaną (to shrink, pull together, shrivel) isn't sourced. The etymology has a link to *sker- (to wrinkle, wither), but that article doesn't exist. The editor used ine-pro as template parameter for the mention template, so I suppose it wasn't a seasoned editor.

An article for *(s)ker- does exist, but its article gives "to cut". Other articles linking there give different meanings (e.g. crux, but that's a different discussion), so maybe this is the page *skriwana should link to, too.

*(s)kelh₁- (to wither, parch) matches the meaning much better and is close enough to suspect that this is a relevant root. I suspect this is a derivative from *(s)ker-. A change from r to h₁ is not much of a stretch, is it? An l suffix (or infix in a compound word) that moved around or something else would have to be explained, though, I guess. Withering leather on wooden frame is a logical connection.

Slightly related, but more of a stretch: Other articles give "to bend, turn" for *(s)ker-, with source. I still suppose a cross as a scratch mark would somehow inform that formation. To bend on the other hand would be homonym, but not really related, as far as I can see. Can someone chime in on this, what do cutting and bending have in common? 19:55, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

The etymology doesn't make much sense. *(s)ker- would lead to *skeraną, which is another verb. *skrinkwaną requires *skrengʷ-. —CodeCat 20:12, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
I fixed the links as promised and then some. tanner being a low ranking profession, probably even back then could explain curious colloquial sound changes. Add nasal speech impediment to that to diffuse a clear r to muffled sound becoming a laryngeal. I'm going out on a limp, again. Anyway, *(s)ker- led to many words. If its related to cutting with stone tools, the root might go a long way back. Assuming *skrengʷ- for the sake of the argument might still derive from *(s)k_r-, no? 21:15, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
It's theoretically possible, but very much ad-hoc. You'd have to explain the identity of the -engʷ- which derives one root from the other. Given the lack of parallel examples that I'm aware of, that's going to be hard. Thus, it's better to treat the two roots as unrelated. Whatever relationship there is between them is beyond current linguistics to retrieve. —CodeCat 22:26, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
wrong mentions *wer-, *werǵ- and *wrengʰ- (whence wring). Is that a parallel?
ring mentions *hringaz which mentions *(s)krengʰ- and describes it as extended nasalized form derived from *(s)ker-, but again no sources. 10:07, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
The thing with these "extended" roots is that they are only found in Germanic, so they can't really be reconstructed for PIE. That in turn makes finding a PIE solution difficult. Also, -engʰ- and -engʷ- are different things. —CodeCat 12:28, 5 April 2017 (UTC)


Older dictionaries and works on etymology, including the 1914 Century Dictionary, consider two verbs to have been conflated in settle to such an extent as to now be inseparable:

(The Middle English Dictionary has both Middle English words and notes that they may have influenced each other.) Newer dictionaries of modern English that I looked at, however, derive all verb senses from setlan and do not mention (or disclaim) sahtlian. Should our etymology mention sahtlian? - -sche (discuss) 00:38, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Loos good. Leasnam (talk) 17:47, 8 April 2017 (UTC)

隹 vs. 唯[edit]

It is asserted at 維#Glyph_origin that (OC *tjul) once bore the reading *ɢʷi. Is there (primary) evidence for this? I had thought that *ɢʷi was proper to (and that its construction was to be taken as "the sound that a bird 隹 says 口"). 4pq1injbok (talk) 17:02, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Hanyu Da Zidian: [1]. Wyang (talk) 08:06, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Ukrainian чорнобиль[edit]

The page for Russian чернобыль 'mugwort' says this is derived from a Proto-Slavic *čьrnobylь, which in turn derives it from "*čьrnъ (“black”) + *bylь (< *byti (“to be”) + *-lь)", but the page for Ukrainian Чорнобиль, 'Chernobyl' which in turn comes from Ukrainian чорнoбиль 'mugwort' gives a different etymology, treating it as a later Ukrainian formation "from чoрнe (čórne, “black”, neuter of чoрний (čórnyj)) + билля́ (bylljá, “grass blades or stalks”). I see it as unlikely that two similar words could have different etymologies; is it possible that the Ukrainian etymology is a folk etymology? There is also a similar Czech term: černobýl, which gives a third etymology based on "černý +‎ -o- +‎ bylina", which also seems related to *čьrnobylь. --Hazarasp (talk) 05:07, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Isn't černý ("black") +‎ -o- ("about/for") +‎ bylina ("herb") the same as the second one? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 10:27, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
The second is Ukrainian, while the third is Czech; in the etymology given for the second, the second component mentioned is билля́ (bylljá, “grass blades or stalks”), while in the third the second component mentioned is bylina "herb". These could be cognate, but that is irrelevant as both чорно́биль and černobýl are presented as, respectively, original Ukrainian and Czech formations. However, it seems to me that both of these, as well as чернобыль, must come from a common source due to their extreme similarity and showing all the expected changes for these languages, namely, Proto-Slavic *čьrnobylь -Hazarasp (talk) 12:36, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
In a sense all three etymologies could be equivalent. The second element is surely equivalent to Serbo-Croatian bilje, biljka (plant), it seems like it might be associated with mugwort specifically in North Slavic, see Polish bylica (mugwort, stalk), Upper Sorbian balica (mugwort). However, the herb etymon is apparently derived from *byti or at least its PIE ancestor *bʰuH "to become, to grow" + -*lь.
I'd advise against reconstructing the word to Proto-Slavic, just list the formations in each other's etymologies. Crom daba (talk) 18:05, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
I've made some changes, is this acceptable? Crom daba (talk) 19:12, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
Seems fine to me. I made a few more minor changes. --WikiTiki89 19:26, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
Just to clarify, the Czech -o- is an interfix (like Russian -о- (-o-) and Ukrainian -о- (-o-)), and is not the preposition meaning "about/for". There is no question that the first part of Russian черно́быль (černóbylʹ), Ukrainian чорно́биль (čornóbylʹ), and Czech černobýl comes from Proto-Slavic *čьrnъ (black). The only confusion is about where the last part comes from. And all three of these languages should have the same etymology. --WikiTiki89 14:45, 6 April 2017 (UTC)


I don't know of a Yiddish word that would fit this claimed etymon... Anyone have insight or a better etymological dictionary of German? @Angr, Wikitiki89Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:29, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Pfeiffer says: "aus jidd. zschocken, zachkenen ‘spielen’, hebr. śᵉḥōq ‘lachen, scherzen, spielen’". Kolmiel (talk) 07:45, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
Maybe the second spelling is more correct. He also mentions zachkan, zachkener for "gambler". Of course, this would be tsakhkan or so in an English-based transcription. Kolmiel (talk) 07:50, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
I've noticed that with many of these Dutch and German words that derive from colloquial Yiddish, the Yiddish term is nowadays obscure and not found in any dictionary. That's to be expected I guess since today's Yiddish dictionaries are based mainly on the Eastern Yiddish of the late 19th century on. By this time many older colloquial expressions may have fallen out of use. Furthermore, Dutch and German mainly had contact with Western Yiddish. Anyway, as far as the Hebrew etymon, I think the root צ־ח־ק makes more phonological sense than שׂ־ח־ק, although the latter is not out of the question; their meanings are very similar anyway (and they probably started off as dialectal forms of each other). --WikiTiki89 15:12, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh yeah. I didn't even realize that śᵉḥōq would be with ש /s/ rather than צ. Yours is indeed more likely. Or else they might have been merged in the Yiddish word. (I'd thought that zschocken was a misprint for zchocken, but maybe the -s- is intended.) Kolmiel (talk) 17:08, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
Something came to my mind right now. In pubs around here, they play a kind of game of dice, which is called Schocken with /ʃ/. That would be very likely to be the same word. Kolmiel (talk) 17:14, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
Well actually both שְׂחוֹק (śəḥōq) and צְחוֹק (ṣəḥōq) exist with similar meanings, but generally ś is used to transcribe שׂ. There is also the word טשאָקען (tshoken) (from Slavic, cf. Russian чо́каться (čókatʹsja)), which means "to clink glasses together", not sure if it's relevant. --WikiTiki89 18:36, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Well, de:zocken has a great deal to say on the subject. I suppose I'll just copy over what they say, unless anyone sees a problem with that. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:21, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
    • One problem might be lack of attribution violating the Creative Commons license, which can be easily solved by mentioning in either the edit summary or on the talk page where the material came from. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:09, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

Found it:

--WikiTiki89 20:44, 7 April 2017 (UTC)


Can we verify the existence of Malay gekok? On this page one dictionary says that the Malay word is totek. And another says "gecko" might be derived from Achehnese gèh-gòh ("busy"). This says that it's unsure if it's Malay and the form they mention is gekop, not gekok. With all of this, I just want to rule out that we're dealing with some made-up dictionary word. Kolmiel (talk) 08:00, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

I've edited the etymology, pointing out that the existence of the Malay word is, as yet, not quite sure. Kolmiel (talk) 15:35, 12 April 2017 (UTC)


Why in etymology "See putus"? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 10:23, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

It's "From puer. See also putus" and in putus ("Etymology 2") it is: "Another form of pūsus, from puer." If that's correct, then the entries should somehow point to each other. - 04:43, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

cencerro, cincerro[edit]

Our Spanish entry claims that it comes from Basque, the RAE dictionary claims it is onomatopoeic, and the Portuguese entry is silent on the matter. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:25, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

Is that a variant of Basque zintzarri ? Leasnam (talk) 00:36, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

Albanian rânë[edit]

Can someone verify this etymology for rânë in light of the most recent edit? I get the feeling some Albanian users are trying to avoid having words descended from Latin and look for native roots to them. In some cases, they may be right, but I feel like it's stretching it in this case. Similarly, aftë, tmerr, lirë, shtremb, vepër have also been changed. The edits themselves also look less than neat. Word dewd544 (talk) 00:58, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

I reverted rânë's edits and added sources. --Vahag (talk) 08:19, 7 April 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 04:38, 8 April 2017 (UTC)


I reverted an edit by User:Mountebank1 that made a mess of the entry, but it wasn't entirely their fault: this is obviously a convergence of a number of different etymologies under one spelling. I split it into 5 etymologies based on my best guesses, but I would appreciate it if someone could put everything on a more solid footing and provide etymological details. Thanks! Chuck Entz (talk) 15:06, 9 April 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology: park + talk? @Huhu9001. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 22:08, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Interesting but definitely sounds like folk etymology - may be keepable if explained as such. Wyang (talk) 10:14, 10 April 2017 (UTC)


Is this a backformation from hemoglobin? DTLHS (talk) 21:23, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

According to the OED, no. I'll fix the entry. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:25, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

bird#Etymology 4[edit]

“penis” (in “Asian slang”): Entry explains it as a calque of Malay burung (bird; penis). Is there a source for this? Association between “bird” and “penis” is common in East and Southeast Asia; cf. Chinese , Tagalog ibon. Wyang (talk) 11:50, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Looking back in history, the evolution of the section was:
Edit By Etymology What kind of slang
diff (March 2006) anon nil Filipino slang
diff (March 2006) User:Davilla Possible literal translation of Chinese slang or other Asian origin Filipino slang
diff (May 2012) User:Amir Hamzah 2008 From Malay burung (bird / penis). Asian slang
Wyang (talk) 12:12, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
I was the one who called it a calque, just because it was clearly not a straightforward borrowing of burung. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:21, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
I guess the question was whether the (sole) Malay origin could be verified - it is apparently a calque from some language(s). Wyang (talk) 12:24, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
The comparison is not that unusual, cf. budgie smugglers. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:14, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Or, indeed, cock. There is a fairly natural analogy here that does not necessarily require any calquing in any direction (but, of course, if this use is confined to "Asian slang", that's incidental evidence of a sort). --Tropylium (talk) 16:57, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Let us not forget pecker ;) Leasnam (talk) 22:12, 11 April 2017 (UTC)


Where did the rare female given name Chaslyn come from? I suspect it is a feminine form of Chase...? Or am I incorrect? Could someone please elaborate? PseudoSkull (talk) 22:10, 15 April 2017 (UTC)

Another possibility would be Chas, a nickname for Charles. Just as likely, it may be nothing but a random combination someone thought would sound nice. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:34, 17 April 2017 (UTC)


What led to the Антарктика - Антарктида divergency? As far as I know, East Slavic languages are the only ones with a -tida ending at all. 23:32, 15 April 2017 (UTC)

In German it's called Antarktis, which suggests an Ancient Greek pattern of nominative Ἀνταρκτίς (Antarktís) / genitive Ἀνταρκτίδος (Antarktídos) (compare Ἀτλαντίς, Ἀτλαντίδος (Atlantís, Atlantídos), so maybe there is a byform with "-id-" running around the Middle Ages somewhere. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:27, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, it must be the Orthodox Connection. Apparently Romanian also has Antarctica/Antarctida. How come I didn't think to check that earlier... (formerly 78.0) 16:17, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
You missed more than just that: Italian Antartide, Spanish Antártida, etc. --WikiTiki89 16:53, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
According to the Duden and other sources, Antarktis is the region and Antarktika is the continent. Антарктида might be coined after the pattern of Atlantis (Атлантида in Russian), which was quite popular since Donnelly's book published in 1882. Шурбур (talk) 15:53, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
Not really the point here, but what you describe is prescription rather than actual use. Antarktika is very rare in German. There's a searchable corpus of the newspaper Die Zeit from 1946 to 2016 at dwds.de. "Antarktis" has 1690 hits, "Antarktika" has 26 altogether. Just a single one between 1956 and 1981. And another single one between 1996 and 2010. Kolmiel (talk) 18:03, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Note that Ανταρκτίδα gets some hits in Google Books, although very few. And Ανταρκτίς gets one. --WikiTiki89 13:34, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
-ида is just from the Greek stem (ending in -id) plus a feminine ending -а. Pretty common when borrowing from the сlassical languages, hence Themis → Фемида, Nemesis → Немезида and so on. Шурбур (talk) 13:45, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but the issue is the existence of the Greek source word. --WikiTiki89 14:06, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
What is the source for the German form Arktis? Greek ἀρκτίς seems to be uncommon. Шурбур (talk) 21:50, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
It seems to be chiefly a German backformation. Pfeiffer says: "Im 19. Jh. werden dazu die Substantive Arktis f. und Antarktis f. ‘Gebiet um den Nord- bzw. Südpol’ gebildet." Kolmiel (talk) 17:44, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime[edit]

The etymology has become a short essay. ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:36, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

Reverted. Starting an etymology with "The general principle..." is never a good sign. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:16, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
While we're talking about this: it looks to me like the quote in the etymology has a lot more text than necessary for etymological purposes. Would anyone object to trimming it down to just the part in quotes? Chuck Entz (talk) 00:27, 17 April 2017 (UTC)


Is the etymology really unknown? This looks like a straightforward derivation from cage +‎ -y, and the semantics make more or less sense. --Barytonesis (talk) 00:41, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

OED Online also gives the etymology as "unknown", for what it's worth. BigDom 09:57, 19 April 2017 (UTC)


The etymologies of the nouns don't look like they're properly sorted out. Etym 1 has "A hatch that provides access to the roof from the interior of a building" and etym 2 has "A small hatch or opening in a boat. Also, small opening in a boat or ship for draining water from open deck." Is that accurate, or do they belong under the same etymology header? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 07:03, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

I've moved the construction sense to the proper etymology Leasnam (talk) 01:40, 19 April 2017 (UTC)


Can anyone get a citation? Like De Vaan? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 16:46, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

De Vaan doesn't know where it comes from, but due to the r/n inflection, he concludes that it must be rather old. —CodeCat 16:56, 19 April 2017 (UTC)


The French and Middle French entries have conflicting etymologies. The French simply says it's from baston + -ade, while the Middle French entry says it's from Italian. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:04, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

TLFi says it's from Italian bastonata, Spanish bastonada or Provençal bastonada. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 02:12, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I have edited the etymologies accordingly. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:41, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

Missing gloss(es)[edit]

The etymology for confound could use a gloss or two.

hosteler, hostler, ostler[edit]

Are they simply alternative forms of one another, or are they doublets? --Barytonesis (talk) 12:48, 22 April 2017 (UTC)


A contributor has deleted a reference to Latin in the etymology section of China on French Wiktionary. Indeed, it seems to be traced back only to the Portuguese China. The Latin China appeared later than the Portuguese word according to Sinae (regio) on Latin Wikipedia. Can anyone explain a link between the English China and the Latin Sinae? If there is no such a link, it should be removed from our entry. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:12, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

In addition, is the Portuguese China really from Persian? Isn’t it unlikely for Portugal to have had a direct contact with Persians in the 15th or 16th century? I presume the word was from India, where Portugal had contacts. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:22, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Persian was the court and literary language of the Mughal Empire. Шурбур (talk) 06:57, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
In addition, they certainly had direct contacts too, e.g. on Hormuz and elsewhere in the region. Шурбур (talk) 13:49, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

I’ve found a source myself:

  • 1688, Gabriel Magalhaens, A New History of China, Containing a Description of the Most Considerable Particulars of that Vast Empire (italics as the original):
    The Eastern Tartars moreover in derision call’d China, Nica Corum, or the Kingdom of the Barbarians, tho’ at present, now they are setled therein, and are become Masters of it, they call it Tulimpa Corum, or the Kingdom of the Middle. The Kingdoms of the Indians, as Canara, Bengala, and others call it Chin, as I was inform’d in the Province of Sù Chuen by two Jogues, of which the one had been at Goa, and had learnt some Portugal Words; and, as I understood at Pekim, by some Merchants of the Country. This name of Chin seems to have been given to China by the Indians, because of the Family of Chin, who reign’d a Hundred sixty nine Years after Christ; though I find more probability to believe that it comes from the Family of Cin, who reign’d two Hundred forty six before Christ, the chief of which Family was Master of all China, and among the rest of the Province of Yûn nân, which is not far distant from Bengala, because the Chineses pronouncing strongly, and whistling the Word Cin through the Teeth, the Indians that cannot imitate them, pronounce it Chin, and the Portugals, who took this word from the Indians, not having any word in their Language that ends in N, have added an A at the latter End. The Italians write China like the Portugheses; but they pronounce it Kina; and so they ought to write it Cina, to give it the same sound as the Germans who write Schina.

According to the author, the English China is from the Portuguese China, which is from the Indian language (probably Hindi) Chin, which is from . Persian and Latin seem to have nothing to do with it here. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:53, 25 April 2017 (UTC)


I don't like the way the Ukrainian entry is formatted. There is obviously a single etymology/word, which just happens to have different inflectional patterns according to its meaning. --Barytonesis (talk) 15:59, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

  • The 3rd meaning may be a calque. Шурбур (talk) 21:00, 22 April 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 03:52, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

@Fumiko Take: It seems to be a translation of ゴキブリ#名称. —suzukaze (tc) 07:04, 24 April 2017 (UTC)


Nobody has any idea where this suppleted form is from? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 15:54, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

It's said to be from Proto-Indo-European *h₃eyt-, which is also the source of Latin ūtor and thus of English use. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:49, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

liber#Etymology 2[edit]

Vowel fails to make sense, ew/ow/u > i??? Would only work if the vowel dissimilated the exact same way as Etymology 1. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 05:32, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

I agree, and actually Etymology 1 is odd too: I would expect lūber. I feel like Old Latin phonology must have been odder than the restricted repertoire of five vowel letters suggests. — Eru·tuon 06:01, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@Eruton: The first etymology is considered fairly sound. De Vaan describes the progression as PIt. *louðeros > Proto-Italo-Faliscan *louβeros > *loiβeros (dissimilation of *ou > *oi before a labial) > Old Latin loeber > Latin līber and Faliscan 𐌋𐌏𐌉𐌚𐌉𐌓𐌕𐌀 (loifirta). De Vaan also supports the second etymology, again appealing to dissimilation of *u before a labial. PIt. *luβēt > Latin libet further demonstrates that this change was fairly robust in the environment *l_β. —JohnC5 06:25, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Well, okay, but does Old Latin oe typically change to ī? I recall it changing to ū in ūnus and pūniō. Or hm, actually the vowel in those words is oe, which must be different from oi. (This is an odd sound change too; I have wondered if oe was actually pronounced in some odd way, like maybe /øː/. Similarly for the other Old Latin diphthongs. Sadly, there's no actual data to base this on; one would have to theorize about what phonetic values or phonological features would be most plausible based on the spelling and the attested sound changes.) — Eru·tuon 07:42, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
But oe remained in foedus for some reason. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 14:06, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon, Hillcrest98: I forgot to mention, but y'all may find this helpful. —JohnC5 15:30, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

English loof ("palm of the hand"), glove[edit]

The entry "loof" reconstructs an Old English etymon, but the word seems only attested in Old Norse and Gothic, not in West Germanic. It is also a chiefly northern word within English. This looks like the typical situation of a Norse loan to me. And if this is so, the derivative "glove" may also be borrowed. There seems to be an Old English attestation, but it might have been rare or late. Does anyone know more? Kolmiel (talk) 15:08, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

lōf (palm of the hand) is attested at least once (and possibly glossed once as well), in the West Saxon dialect of OE (making the possibility of ot being a Norse loan unlikely). It is a strong-a stem masc, so it is a byform of the reconstructed form *lōfa. I have added it to the PGmc entry. Leasnam (talk) 17:24, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Okay. This doesn't rule out my Norse theory, but makes it difficult to prove. Thanks. Kolmiel (talk) 19:39, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

User:HJJHolm and their etymologies[edit]

Now that I have been accused twice of exercising "god-like" overreach in editing etymologies, I'd like to bring the discussion here. HJJHolm has been calling our etymologies "phantasy", making debatable claims about PIE, and adding generally rude comments:

Can someone sort through these? I'm getting tired of reading so many exclamation points!!!1!1! —JohnC5 15:46, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Don't feed the wheel trolling. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 16:47, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
This "behaving like God"-thing is his standard phrase. He's said the same thing about Leasnam and myself. It's a bit strange. Still, I think his objections are sometimes worth considering, not totally made-up stuff. Kolmiel (talk) 19:31, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh some of them have merit, which is why I brought them here. Some of them, however, are not at all. —JohnC5 20:01, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh yeah, I went back to his page now. I'd forgotten about those strange theories of his. So these do qualify as "made-up stuff". But not everything he says is based on them. Kolmiel (talk) 21:29, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Tone questions aside, much of what's linked here seems to be basically legitimate as questions.
One problem may be that, >90% of the time, we only give etymologies "ex cathedra" from some source, without explaining the actual reasoning behind them. Issues like finer details of historical phonology get brushed aside in this process, and so you can very easily end up with e.g. e in rreth looking just plain irregular. As per e.g. {{R:sq:Orel:2000}} though, there was a late Proto-Albanian umlaut process *a > e before a lost unstressed *i, which is probably what is at work here (esp. given the reference to this being a "plural formation of rrath"). I cannot tell though if the trigger is supposed to have been the *i in the posited diminutive *róth₂iḱom, or some later Albanian-internal derivation.
It's hard to say what should be done in cases like these. Urge more people to work on writing things like w:Albanian historical phonology (thus far unwritten)?
As far as sourcing goes, we maybe just need to have a citation needed for this etymology type template and slap it on things, until someone is willing to go through a specialized monograph on e.g. Romance loans in Greek to fill them in. --Tropylium (talk) 23:33, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
@Tropylium: Could you update rreth? I wonder, if we fix up these entries slightly, whether this user will calm down slightly. —JohnC5 05:52, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Simply give scientific sources and spare all this useless sentences. Thank you.HJJHolm (talk) 15:30, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Please don't be rude. People here put a lot of effort into typing up etymologies for Wiktionary, and just because they don't provide sources for every etymology that they type up doesn't mean that those etymologies are false. Tharthan (talk) 15:47, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
I suspect I see what the problem is. Your (HJJHolm's) userpage states you're coming in from Wikipedia; you may be used to the policies that unsourced material needs to be sourced when challenged, and that original research is disallowed. We have no such policies on Wiktionary (see WT:WFW). Already all our lexicographic work is, in a sense, original research.
We have not strictly codified how much editor freedom we allow on etymology, but roughly the practice seem to be that
  1. etymologies can be freely proposed as long as they link closely related languages, follow established sound laws and do not stray far afield with semantic changes;
  2. editors may exercise their own judgement in ranking or choosing to include competing published etymologies;
  3. published etymologies normally outrank any "Wiktionary-native" ones.
Disputes can happen of course, which is what this forum is for. You're even free to propose new policies, though you will probably need to present an actual argument to get anywhere with that. --Tropylium (talk) 16:50, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
It's actually good that Wiktionary doesn't have the same standards as Wikipedia, because an encyclopaedia is not a dictionary; a dictionary is formed differently than an encyclopaedia is. I don't think that I would be very active at all on Wiktionary if we had to follow the same stringent policies and rules that Wikipedia has. That's the reason that I'm not very active on Wikipedia (well that and the political nonsense going on on Wikipedia). Tharthan (talk) 20:00, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Latin suffixes as intermediate steps[edit]

Should any Latin suffix for which a page exists on Wiktionary be considered a valid step in the etymology of a Latin word, or are some just presented for explanation to help people understand the root of the word? In particular, for monstriger the etymology is currently given [minus the glosses, etc.] as "monstrum +‎ -iger". However an old Latin dictionary like Harpers Latin Dictionary or the older one by White & Riddle gives the etymology as "monstrum; gero", implying we should maybe be using "monstrum + gero". The Latin-English Dictionary For the Use of Junior Students (derived from White & Riddle) doesn't include this word, but for the similar monstrifer it gives it in the form "monstr-um; (i); fer-o", which might be displayed here as "monstrum + -i- + fero". This is the form I have used on a few etymologies because as I try to get more familiar with Latin I like to see all of the pieces forming the words. In this case I see Wiktionary has a page for -iger, but not -ger, however it has pages for both -ifer and -fer. Are these included for merely explanatory reasons or are these considered intermediate steps in their own right? Should the etymology for monstriger really be "monstrum + -iger, -i- + gero", or even "monstrum + -iger, -i- + -ger, gero"? (Not having a copy of the OLD, I don't have a clue what form they use.) -Mike (talk) 22:30, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Seeing these etymologies, I'd wonder why the combination "monstrum + -i- + fero" is not "monstrifero" and why it's not a verb. In truth, the -i- is superfluous, the change of the final ending to -i- is a process common to all nouns and adjectives in Latin and is simply the thematic vowel (Proto-Italic -o-) that has been weakened by Latin's regular treatment of unstressed vowels. I do think -fer and -ger should have their own entries though, and -ifer and -iger should not exist. —CodeCat 22:35, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
I want to point out that just because a morpheme is part of the surface analysis, doesn't mean that it is part of the actual derivation. --WikiTiki89 14:35, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

North Levantine Arabic سكربينه (skarbīni, pump, high-heeled shoe)[edit]

I take it that the origin of this is some kind of a dimunutive of Italian scarpa. Does anyone know what form it is? scarpino or scarpina or something? And is it common in Italian and in what sense? Googling "lo scarpino" yields a lot of pictures of football shoes. Kolmiel (talk) 03:44, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Nevermind. I figured it out through French escarpin. Kolmiel (talk) 14:45, 30 April 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology (taken from Chinese Wikipedia). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:28, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Roots such as PIE *weh₁-[edit]

This entry currently gives no evidence for the reconstruction of a root: the only derived term seems to be the adjective *weh₁ros. Checking thru a number of sources ({{R:Derksen 2008}}, {{R:De Vaan 2008}}, {{R:gem:Kroonen 2013}} and the abridged free version of {{R:cel:Matasovic 2009}}) reveals no such evidence either, though at least a few indeed claim derivation from a root. This leads to two questions:

  1. do we intend to reconstruct roots behind every PIE term, no matter if a root is required by the data or not? (Would we create a root *mewh₂- just to house *muh₂s?)
  2. why would we reconstruct the root as *weh₁- and not *weh₁r-? This smells of circular logic applied to root structure ("well roots can't end in *-Hr, so the *r must be a suffix, therefore there are no roots ending in *-Hr"), especially when we already have Category:Proto-Indo-European CeHR-shape roots.

--Tropylium (talk) 13:36, 29 April 2017 (UTC)


Was this word modelled on outwit, or was it an entirely separate coinage? Tharthan (talk) 18:29, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

I imagine it's no more than definition 3 of out- + smart. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 05:55, 30 April 2017 (UTC)


Does anyone here know the Mediaeval Latin etymon of the Manx dragane (tarragon)? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 23:00, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

The Online Etymology Dictionary says the ML. etymon of the English word is tragonia, which is doubtless the source of the Manx word as well. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:55, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: OK, I've recorded that as the etymon. Thanks. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 21:55, 1 May 2017 (UTC)


Does the Old French soffrance (suffering) just derive from the Classical Latin sufferentia, or would a Vulgar Latin etymon differ? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 23:04, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

The only difference would be that Classical Latin /ʊ/ became Vulgar Latin /o/ as usual, but I don't see any need to posit a specific VL form between soffrance and sufferentia as the former derives quite regularly from the latter. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:07, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: Lovely. Is this correct? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 19:02, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
@I'm so meta even this acronym: I guess, but showing the VL. is really unnecessary. Also, if we're going to show VL., we should show the difference between close mid and open mid vowels somehow, so either sọffęręntia or soffɛrɛntia or something like that. But personally, I wouldn't show the VL. at all. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:30, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: OK. Removed. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 20:12, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

May 2017


What's the first part of this word from? - -sche (discuss) 03:38, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Maybe derived from attention span? DTLHS (talk) 03:46, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you! I should've thought to check Greek. - -sche (discuss) 21:33, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

chinny reckon[edit]

Is this a corruption of "ich ne reckon" (or "'ch ne reckon")? Tharthan (talk) 19:05, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Apparently so, from a West Country expression Leasnam (talk) 22:58, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for confirming that. I added the etymology to the entry. Tharthan (talk) 23:22, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Old English cnīf[edit]

Some authorities say the Old English cnīf is a borrowing of the Old Norse knífr, arguing that its late appearance in writing is evidence of a non-native origin. Others say it's inherited, but simply not attested till later. Still others allude the possibility of a borrowing, or a reinforcing by Old Norse of a native term (a common occurrence, cf. dæl (dale)). What do we think ? Leasnam (talk) 21:28, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Linguistically, I don't think there's any way to know, as *knībaz would have shown up in OE as cnīf anyway. I suppose some slight additional evidence for a borrowing is that OE already had a native word for "knife", namely seax, but of course languages are perfectly happy to have synonyms that are both inherited native words, so it isn't very strong evidence. Evidence against borrowing is the fact that *knībaz has descendants throughout West Germanic, suggesting that it's a very old word in our branch of Germanic. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:51, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
That's a good comprehensive assessment, i think. I suppose that, where it's plausible that a word was simply retained from Proto-Germanic, Occam's razor might favour that over the idea that it was borrowed from another language. I've taken a stab (ha ha) at putting that info into the etymology. - -sche (discuss) 17:40, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Addition to Latin Suffix -dem[edit]

The page on latin Suffixes for -dem should include the word: ibidem (the latin precursor to the word ibid). It ends in -dem, and there is a wiktionary page for it.


I tried to add, but the edit section for the -dem page was closed.

Thanks. :)

It's there now. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:53, 5 May 2017 (UTC)


Some help with this tricky etymology would be appreciated. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:40, 7 May 2017 (UTC)


I added two possible etymologies to the entry and I would like to get a second opinion on their likelihoods and/or accuracy if possible. Tharthan (talk) 15:47, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Revamping Template:rfe[edit]

I'm surprised that Template:rfe doesn't transclude maintenance categories for tracking pages that need etymologies. Wouldn't it be helpful to have them categorized by language? That would make it easier to find entries that require an etymology. Does anyone have a bead on why this doesn't exist yet? —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:32, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

It does do that. In fact using it without a language code will produce a module error. DTLHS (talk) 16:34, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
You may have hidden categories turned off. DTLHS (talk) 16:35, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
@DTLHS: Incredible. Thanks. —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:42, 9 May 2017 (UTC)


An essential word (get it?) that undergoes so much variation that I doubt it would be practical to reconstruct. It's glaring that we lack a conjugation table for this verb anyhow, given the entry itself states three principal forms. I have a sandbox here, feel free to make any immense edits. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 15:48, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Why do we have these Latin reconstructions when they are actually attested in Latin? This isn't the first one that has come up for discussion. —CodeCat 18:15, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
The inflected forms are not all attested, and the infinitive essere itself isn't attested. — Eru·tuon 18:18, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
esse is attested. —CodeCat 19:39, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Right, but the entry isn't Reconstruction:Latin/esse. I guess the question is, which forms should be unattested for the reconstructed entry to exist? And if an unattested Vulgar Latin or Proto-Romance term is similar to an attested Latin one, should it not have an entry? The broader question: how do we decide which VL or PR terms get entries? — Eru·tuon 19:50, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
The language of this page is Latin, like it says in the page title. And it's clearly attested in Latin; *essere is merely an unattested alternative form of sum. —CodeCat 19:55, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Well, it's an alternative form, and as such perhaps it demands a separate entry. Other alternative forms have separate entries, sometimes also separate inflection tables. As it's unattested, its entry has to go in the Reconstruction namespace. I don't think it wouldn't make sense to put the inflection tables proposed above in the entry for sum. The form sum itself is apparently replaced with sun in the reconstructed verb essere. — Eru·tuon 20:06, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
I've moved the reconstruction page itself to "sun", because usually Latin verbs are lemmatized in their first-person-singular anyway as well as the variations in the infinitive. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 16:15, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

So let's deal with the paradigm itself I've tried wrangling through in my sandbox. I've run into a few snags.

  • Is it reasonable to assume that the Italian 1PL and 2PL present forms derive from elongated forms "essemos/essimos", "essitis"? The infinitive itself was created from the third conjugation it seems, and the fused 2nd/3rd conjugation class in Italian also exhibit -iamo and -ete.
  • Where did the Iberian past participle derive from? ser < sedeo?
  • I 95% think that I got the Eastern subjunctive forms wrong.
  • Gallo-Romance forms I haven't dealt with yet. They seem to consistently replace the past participle with status, French subjunctives are a little fishy (French oi is often from long E, but seeing soif and noir and poil, I'll let that slide) but for now I'll trust the assumption that they come from sim, sis, sit, etc.

Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 16:15, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

@Hillcrest98 Italian -iamo is an import from the subjunctive, and I think -ete is from the 2p imperative. And I don't think they had initial e- at any stage in VL.
I'm pretty sure the Ibero-Romance past participles are original creations. I'd love to know what Old Spanish, Old Portuguese or any other old Ibero-Romance language had.
I'm pretty sure sim, sis, sit don't survive in Romance anywhere. They were replaced by *siam, *sias, *siat, *siamus, *siatis, *siant by analogy with fiam and other third conjugation verbs with -a- in the subjunctive. Sardinian reflects it, so it's probably pretty old.
Other things I noticed:
  • On the Ibero-Romance future, Alkire-Rosen says: "Sp será could be from *esser-at, but more plausibly derives from *seder-at, given the evidence for syncretism." Same goes for the present subjunctive: sea could be from *siat or *sedeat.
  • The old Latin future survived in Old French, Old Italian, and Spanish eres.
  • Friulian has an anomalous -d- in the present subjunctive. Why? Contamination with sedēre?
  • Romansch seems to have rebuilt the entire subjunctive-imperative system on a stem saja-. Why?
  • Catalan has ets as the second person singular. Why the -t-?

KarikaSlayer (talk) 20:31, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

angle (geometry), angle (fishing), hirn, horn[edit]

Are these words cognates or not? I was very confused by the etymologies 1 and 2 of angle, and things got even more confusing when trying to go back in time to hirn and horn. All of these words' etymologies should mention that they are cognates or that they are not despite the seemingly obvious very close relationships. --Espoo (talk) 08:56, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

"Hirn" is said to be originally a diminutive of "horn" here: *hurnijǭ. Concerning the two "angle" words, there are others who'll know more about that around here than I do. But apparently there are two Indo-European roots *h₂enk- and h₂eng-, both meaning "bent". If my understanding is correct, there's no regular alternation of -k- and -g- in PIE, but it would still seem likely that these roots are variants of each other. Kolmiel (talk) 14:29, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
I've added that information on the relationship of horn and hirn to the entry for hirn. — Eru·tuon 16:51, 11 May 2017 (UTC)


@माधवपंडित This is just given as a root, with no stem suffix, but the part of speech is "Noun" so it appears like it's a root noun. However, none of the descendants attest a root noun, so that can't be right. Moreover, the Germanic descendant doesn't fit, the labiovelar is missing. —CodeCat 17:49, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Plus the semantic shift of “womb” > “calf” does not seem very natural. --WikiTiki89 18:04, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Kroonen 2013 gives it as "unknown etymology", and specifically discounts any connection with the Greek word ἀδελφός (adelphós). Also worth mentioning is the fact that labiovelars don't delabialize in Germanic before *o. KarikaSlayer (talk) 23:36, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
With some modifier it (wherever you saw that, I didn't actually see it) a resulting meaning "from the womb" is a rather natural circumscription for a calf. 13:17, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Now that the Germanic has been removed, what's still wrong with the rest of the entry? Clearly there is something there that should be kept, even if it needs to be moved to a different lemma. --WikiTiki89 21:30, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Nothing beyond the root seems salvageable. Greek and II have different formations. But a root with descendants in only two branches - which don't even perfectly match - is not very strong evidence. —CodeCat 22:23, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
If it's a real root, what would be the respective reconstructions of the PIE forms the Greek and II forms come from? --WikiTiki89 19:10, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
*gʷelbʰ-u-s and *gʷelbʰ-ó-s respectively. Δελφοί (Delphoí) also seems to reflect *gʷelbʰ-ó-s, its current etymology is actually wrong. —CodeCat 19:13, 17 May 2017 (UTC)


Tagged as needing verification, but not listed. In particular, "the Celtic hydronym Rodanos" should indicate a language... - -sche (discuss) 19:57, 11 May 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. See the rfe note there for further details. ばかFumikotalk 12:16, 12 May 2017 (UTC)


The existence of Hidekeli suggests that Christian translators went straight to the Biblical Hebrew when borrowing place names. So why isn't this *Prati (after פְּרָת) instead of Frati? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:06, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Swahili has historically had intensive contact with Arabic, so the /f/ may be due to the influence of الْفُرَات (al-furāt). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:43, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Or just borrowed directly from it; who's to say that the Euphrates was not known to speakers of Swahili pre-Christianity? --Tropylium (talk) 11:50, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
I considered that, but in that case why would Swahili have deleted the u? *Furati is a perfectly well-formed Swahili word; perhaps even better formed than Frati, since I don't think Swahili has fr- in native words. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:44, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. And again, Arabic can't be at fault because of Hidekeli — the Arabic is way farther off there. Did the translators just have trouble telling whether to dot the פ? @Wikitiki89Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:12, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
At least some (apparently Muslim) authors do use Furati: Citations:Furati. - -sche (discuss) 00:56, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
First of all, in many Arabic dialects, the u is lost: al-furātu > (a)l(i)-frāt. Second of all, it seems that many of these Biblical names could have been taken from English translations of the Bible: In the KJV, חדקל is translated as Hiddekel, פינחס is translated as Phinehas (Swahili: Finehasi); although פלשת is translated as Palestina, while Swahili has Ufilisti, but that could have been influenced by פלשתים, translated as Philistim/Philistines (Swahili: Wafilisti). And also some of the names, such as Musa and Harun, clearly come from Arabic. I would say more research needs to be done before giving an explanation. --WikiTiki89 18:54, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic *wisundaz*wisundz[edit]

Discussion moved from WT:RFM.

Most sources I found seem to reconstruct this word as a consonant stem (See talk page for *wisundaz before moving.) Some information regarding the etymology of the word may need to be looked over more (Not all the sources on the talk page agree on the etymology of this word.).Nayrb Rellimer (talk) 07:47, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

2 references with Google Books previews use wisundaz, whereas only one uses wisundz. On which page should these entries be merged? - -sche (discuss) 18:42, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
What evidence is there for a consonant stem? —CodeCat 21:41, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
The OP listed some at Reconstruction talk:Proto-Germanic/wisundaz. (What evidence is there for the other reconstruction?) - -sche (discuss) 22:05, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. If anyone wants to make the case that the content should be on -az instead, feel free. - -sche (discuss) 23:24, 18 May 2017 (UTC)


I find it striking that not only is this derived from a non-Koine form, but it also has the characteristic weakening of unstressed syllables in Latin. Is this evidence that this term was borrowed relatively early, in Old Latin times, before the time of Plautus (when stress shifted away from the first syllable)? —CodeCat 00:47, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

In short: yes. It's Doric because Latin got it from the Greek settlers of Magna Graecia. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:24, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Feral brown bears and beavers[edit]

This is ugly.

  • "Brown" < *bʰruHnos?
  • "Bear" < *bʰerons?
  • bʰébʰrus < bʰrew-?

There seems to be no phonologically possible relation between "bear" and "brown", but is relating brown and beavers to be discounted? There is a laryngeal in the way however.

And on the Proto-Germanic for bear, I found this: "Ringe, discrediting the existence of such a root, suggests instead *ǵʰwer- (“wild animal”)." The sound changes to *ǵʰwer- boggles my mind. θήρ (thḗr) and ferus would work far better starting with a gʷʰ, but the Balto-Slavic forms have an issue with that. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 01:03, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Many Centum languages merged Cw and Cʷ, including Germanic. The Greek and Latin evidence suggests that they did too, although for Latin a later change fw- > f- is also possible. —CodeCat 01:06, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Is fundo a result of this too? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 04:39, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
ἵππος (híppos), if it really is from *h₁éḱwos, is also evidence that Ḱw and Kʷ merged in Greek. I rather like the idea of bear come from *ǵʰwer-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:49, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Latin *musō from Frankish *mōtōn[edit]

A couple things I'd like to ask about this word:

  • Is the Latin u long or short? I'm tending to think long, because AFAIK Gallo-Romance doesn't have any early o > u raising rules.
  • What's up with the Latin s < Frankish t correspondence? My best guess is that the Latin verb is a frequentative that is hiding an earlier *mūtō.

KarikaSlayer (talk) 12:57, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Strange concerning the s. Would this perhaps arise via an upper variant *muozzōn ? Leasnam (talk) 20:36, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

A remark from *dekmt[edit]

So... on Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/déḱm̥, you can find this comment:

Has been suggested to contain an element *ḱm̥t, possibly from *ḱomt (“hand”), in which case *de-ḱm̥t could mean originally “two hands.”

So does that root exist? The first thing that came into mind was *handuz and its root *ḱent-, which sounds quite familiar especially if you take nasal assimilation into account (such assimilation can be found in *samdaz) But even if that was true, there's the problem in that the IE root for 2 has a W in it... Can this etymology comment be checked up? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 15:11, 15 May 2017 (UTC)


There's a few things wrong here. Firstly, none of the descendants match exactly: Celtic and Germanic are given with an unexplained -i-, the Indo-Iranian form isn't neuter. Moreover, there's no way Old Norse kváða can come from Proto-Germanic *kwidaz. The inflection also looks very wrong, a u-stem would be expected to ablaut. This is the second PIE entry by User:माधवपंडित that is rather questionable. —CodeCat 20:59, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

@CodeCat: I understand. This is because I myself reconstructed the Proto-Germanic word and there is a possibility of an error. I should have left the PGmc word unreconstructed and just listed the descendants, but I did not prefer to leave things blank so I filled up what I thought the reconstruction would be and for this I do apologize for having mislead people. However, rest assured that the listed descendants in the attested daughter languages do come from *gʷétu. PIIr & PGmc are open to being improvised. माधवपंडित (talk) 01:01, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
I converted the entry to a root. The u-stem is certainly well attested, but there's also other formations. —CodeCat 01:22, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
@CodeCat: What about Proto-Celtic *bitu from where Latin bitumen is borrowed? Is it from *gʷétu or is it unsorted? माधवपंडित (talk) 02:24, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
The Proto-Celtic is actually *betu, if Welsh is any indication. —CodeCat 11:34, 17 May 2017 (UTC)


...third entry. The Germanic doesn't fit Grimm's law, while the Balto-Slavic has the wrong vowel. —CodeCat 21:02, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Don't blame this on him. This etymology has already been at Proto-Germanic *hwītaz and Proto-Slavic *světъ for a long time. The Slavic entry says "from *ḱwoytos / *ḱweytos", which makes sense to me. The Germanic one is a little more puzzling. Perhaps the -taz was a different suffix added to the stem? --WikiTiki89 21:26, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Normally *ey > *i, versus *ay/*oy > *ě. Kroonen gives *hwītaz < *hwīttaz < *kweytna- through Kluge's Law, though that doesn't account for the different ablaut grades. --Tropylium (talk) 21:33, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
@CodeCat: I thought of adding that PGmc *hwitaz instead of the expected *hwidaz is unusual. माधवपंडित (talk) 01:06, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Should have been *hwīþaz, I would have thought. But anyway, Tropylium gives a potential explanation. --WikiTiki89 19:17, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
But how widely accepted is Kluge's law? Kroonen is the only one that I've seen use it. —CodeCat 19:19, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
I accept it in my etymological endeavors. It explains the gemination found in iteratives and n-stems very well, and oftentimes explains the otherwise strange consonants Germanic shows in some words, like *deupaz, which etymologically goes back to a root *dʰewbʰ-, compare Celtic *dubnos. PIE is largely suspected of not possessing the phoneme *b, and many reconstructions that feature it use Germanic as evidence, but Kluge's law can explain that. Anglom (talk) 17:25, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Latin sex > *sexe?[edit]

Robert A. Hall's Proto-Romance Morphology mentions a byform *sexe for Classical sex. Is this vulgar form attested anywhere? It seems to be restricted to Italo- and Eastern Romance (and Friulian). KarikaSlayer (talk) 01:17, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Old Irish "baile".[edit]

The article for baile does not give an etymology. My interpretation would link it to PIE *bʰeh₂w-, suffixed with perhaps legʰ-, but this doesn't seem to fit the usual vowel mutations. Could anyone provide any insight here? --JoeyofScotia (talk) 22:57, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

lead someone down the garden path[edit]

re Wiktionary's entry for "Lead Down the Garden Path": That the idea for the phrase sprang into the originator's mind from the Biblical passage concerning Eve's seduction in the garden by the serpent, has anyone read any suggestion?

Where is the "Save Page" button on the "Editing Wiktionary: Etymology scriptorium/2017/May (comment)" page (under the rubric "News for editors")? this unsigned comment by‎ User:BRBishop 02:59, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

The "save page" button is below the edit window. It no longer says "Save page" ... now it reads "Publish changes". I agree, it's a confusing name, but apparently someone at Wikimedia liked that wording. —Stephen (Talk) 13:30, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

"der" vs. "the" split, dem and "them#Determiner??, etc.[edit]

AFAIK: the german equivalent of the is der, which the article seems to associate with "there" in some languages; it cites ther for Old High German but I didn't see anything relevant in that article.

I found myself wondering if the tremendously nonstandard and now antiquated them#determiner could actually be a cognate of dem, the German form of "der" used after a preposition. Perhaps it was never really an "error" but actually a remnant of some ancient grammar, perhaps long since scrambled? It kind of tickles me that the traditional saying "them thar hills" includes the putative "dem" and a possible equivalent of "der" also ... with that and $2.50 you might get a latte.

Anyway, I don't know anything about this but the etymology of articles seems really fundamental to us. Wiktionary and Wikipedia skim over some other English detail about w:the, but not much. There are a bazillion articles about these definite articles and it's possible there's great detail in one of them and I don't know it; how to make this more approachable is another thing to look at. Anything you can do to augment this etymology in the articles would seem extra useful, just because it's so basic. Wnt (talk) 17:49, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

German der is from Old High German ther, but this word is much more closely related to English the than English there. The Old High German word corresponding to "there" is thār. It is true that all of these words are derived from the same Indo-European root.
The word "them" is from Old Norse. In the Scandinavian languages "de"/"dem" is used both as a plural article/determiner and as a 3rd-person plural personal pronoun (although "dem" is now only a pronoun). So this usage may indeed be old in English, too. But since I have little knowledge of Middle English, I can't say anything certain. Kolmiel (talk) 13:31, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

duct tape[edit]

Do we have a quack etymology here?

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/duct_tape: Origin 1970s: originally used for repairing leaks in ducted ventilation and heating systems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duct_tape: According to etymologist Jan Freeman, the story that duct tape was originally called duck tape is "quack etymology" that has spread "due to the reach of the Internet and the appeal of a good story" but "remains a statement of faith, not fact." She notes that duct tape is not made from duck tape and there is no known primary-source evidence that it was originally referred to as duck tape. Her research does not show any use of the phrase "duck tape" in World War II and indicates that the earliest documented name for the adhesive product was "duct tape" in 1960. The phrase "duck tape" to refer to an adhesive product does not appear until the 1970s and isn't popularized until the 1980s, after the Duck brand became successful and after the New York Times referred to and defined the product under the name "duct tape" in 1973.[3][30] --Espoo (talk) 17:07, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

The collocation duck + tape seems to have been used since 1902. I see uses of duct + tape since 1952. The modern definition of non-SoP duct tape seems to be what gets the date 1973. Just to make the cheese more binding, there is a brand of duct tape called [Duck tape]. They claim that the product was invented in 1942 and their Duck brand logo and mascot appeared in 1984. DCDuring (talk) 18:59, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Duct tape together with the word adhesive appears in Books as early as 1959. A company named Arno Adhesive Tapes, Inc. had a brand Ductape by 1961. These may refer to an adhesive aluminum-foil tape, which is supposed to be fire-resistant. DCDuring (talk) 19:07, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
If you have the source for 1902 from an [ngram search|https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=duck+tape&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cduck%20tape%3B%2Cc0] then it looks like an outlier. The earliest example (if you follow the search results linked to sorted by year at the bottom) is actually from a 1908 patent application (I'd attribute the misleading graph to a heuristic search optimization). For one it's not clear that's the type of tape we are talking about. And then it's not clear weather it's not just a w:Mondegreen, hence I call it an outlier. There are two other mentions from 1931 and 1939, from electricians, one specifically also mentions ducts. Besides puns are an elementary part of electronics culture, in my experience. 14:32, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic *durz > *durī[edit]

In an inversion of the wisent debate mentioned above, here's a consonant stem that probably didn't exist. The usage notes state that Gothic is the only language to preserve the consonant stem declension...except 𐌳𐌰𐌿𐍂 (daur) is a neuter a-stem probably best derived from the related neuter noun *durą. Old Norse, on the other hand, has a consonant stem inflection, but that doesn't have to be original since as far as I know ON added considerably to its consonant stems.

According to Kroonen, the plural-only i-stems come from a petrified dual *durī < *dʰurih₁ (double doors). There's also a fairly secure ō-stem *durō < *dʰuréh₂. I have no idea how Old English duru is supposed to fit into all this (what declension is it?). Kroonen says it's from the ō-stem, but it almost looks like a wa-stem to me. KarikaSlayer (talk) 19:57, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

OE duru looks to me like a -u stem (cf. hand, also sunu, feld, ford, etc. for masc. examples) Leasnam (talk) 17:56, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

merge#EN < mergo#LA[edit]

How comes that "join" can come from "dive"? Through French? Not explained. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:49, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

It's not that far away if you think about something small being plunged or absorbed into something greater, and the two becoming one in the end. Probably no the best example, but think of a candle being merged into a vat of hot wax. Leasnam (talk) 15:40, 23 May 2017 (UTC)


Gives no etym, but I guess it's from Russian. Then Москва and wikipedia's w:Moscow#Etymology give more data, but PIE *mesg- appears to be incongruent with PIE *meu- of Wikipedia (although we have it for Latvian mazgāt as *mezg-; why with circunflex in *mesg-?). Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 12:06, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

It must have come through OES Москъвь/Московь (Moskŭvĭ/Moskovĭ), not from Modern Russian. --WikiTiki89 19:01, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
languagehat quotes the OED as agreeing; "the Old Russian name for the river, principality, and city is recorded as Moskovʼ, accusative (1177 in this form; earlier in locative na Moskvě ‘on the Moscow river’[)...] the fully vocalized form of the name that gave rise both to English Moscow (perh. also influenced by the Russian adjective Moskovskij) and to post-classical Latin Moscovia". - -sche (discuss) 20:37, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
For me, the odd part is: what happened to the "v"? We can explain easily explain the "o", but the obvious route of a spelling pronunciation after borrowing from a language with w=v suffers from the lack of such languages having an -"ow" spelling- Polish has Moskwa, and German has Moskau, for instance. The languages that end the word without the "v" seem to cluster in western Europe, so it must have happened there- Old/Middle French, perhaps? Chuck Entz (talk) 04:09, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm a little confused by what you're saying. What do you mean by "w=v"? I don't think there was any spelling-pronunciation going on, I think it's a legitimate spoken form. Note that the original quality of the /v/ sound in Slavic is not certain, so Московь (Moskovĭ) could easily have been pronounced something like [mosˈkowʲ]. Also, perhaps the English and German words came from via Old French (modern Moscou) and the French, English, and German vowels went through normal changes. Or something like that. Also note that the Polish is either a more recent borrowing from Russian or a regular reflex of the same Slavic v-stem paradigm (meaning that it essentially it could have been borrowed at any point in time). --WikiTiki89 14:25, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Italian pecchia[edit]

It obviously comes from a syncopated form of Classical Latin apicula, but I wonder why the initial a vanished: phonetic evolution, or metanalysis of "l'apecchia" as "la pecchia"? --Barytonesis (talk) 19:49, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Obscure Italic dialects[edit]

So, I was just editing Paestum, which can was called Paistos by the w:Lucanians. This seems fairly clearly to be a case of borrowing from Lucanian to Latin. But what do I do? Create a new language for such a faintly attested language? Also, what about Sabine, Hernician, and the Samnites generally? Any ideas? —JohnC5 03:27, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Does the literature tend to speak of them as (separate) languages? Do they seem to be?
If they are distinct enough to be treated as separate languages, and there are words attested in them, they can have codes regardless of how limited the attestation is. I just added the only nine words known from the Baenan language!
But if they are similar enough to be treated as dialects, (or if the only content from them is borrowings,) you could just create etymology codes to indicate borrowings from them, and handle their content under the nearest encoded language.
Also, if there is ambiguity over whether particular inscriptions are Lucanian or Oscan, it's probably easier to treat them as the same language, with etymology-only codes to indicate borrowings that are clearly Lucanian.
Sabine seems like a sparsely attested but distinct language — and indeed already has an ISO code. - -sche (discuss) 05:17, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Conway’s The Italic Dialects classifies Lucanian as Southern Oscan, Sabine and Hernician as Latinian, and Samnite as Central Oscan. — Ungoliant (falai) 12:14, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree that Lucanian and Samnite can be considered dialects of Oscan. As -sche mentioned, Sabine already has an ISO code sbv. Hernician can probably be considered a dialect of Umbrian. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:51, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
So etymology only dialects, then? —JohnC5 21:39, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I'd say so, yes. osc-luc, osc-sam, and xum-her? Or do they have to start with itc? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:06, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
If they're etymology-only codes and we're considering them dialects of Oscan and Umbrian, then they can start with Oscan and Umbrian's codes, yes. - -sche (discuss) 22:31, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't sure, because the etymology-only code for Old Italian is roa-oit, not it-oit. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:41, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh, good catch. I think the reason that one is different is that it was initially treated as a separate language, with entries, and the code wasn't changed when it was made etymology-only. That's fine when ISO-assigned codes are made etymology-only, but in this case I suppose we should made "it-oit" the canonical code, with "roa-oit" an alias. I will do that, and add the codes for Lucanian, Samnite, and Hernician. :) - -sche (discuss) 01:07, 28 May 2017 (UTC)


Most of the etymology looks fine, but I don't see how Tamil தோகை (tōkai) could given rise to Latin pāvō. Does Tamil t correspond to Latin p and k to v /w/? Those are weird hypothetical sound changes. The etymology originates from this edit by @Inbamkumar86, who didn't give a source and is no longer active. The OED, in the entry for pawn, n.², gives no origin for the Latin term. — Eru·tuon 18:00, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Etymonline mentions the possibility of an origin from the Tamil word, but doesn't say how the t managed to become a p in Latin. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:43, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Ahh, that's definitely the source: the transliteration of the Tamil word is even the same. Too bad Harper doesn't cite his source. He has a list of all his sources on another page, but that doesn't help much. — Eru·tuon 18:58, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I've modified the etymology at peacock a bit, and moved the information above to pea etym_2. Leasnam (talk) 15:45, 25 May 2017 (UTC)


I read this piece on English and came across "Uzbekhistan" (rather than "Uzbekistan"). I did some Internet searching and found several sources using the -h variation so it doesn't seem like a misspelling but an alternate transliteration. Can anyone confirm this? —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:45, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

A quick look through the translation tables for Uzbekistan shows that all the languages used in the area seem to show a plain k sound. Of those, Uzbek and Russian(the most likely source of the English) have separate letters in their alphabets for the k and kh sounds, but use the k sound. I suspect hyperforeignism is at play here, or possibly confusion with other borrowed terms with kh. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:11, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
I've created the entry. Maybe it should be listed as a misspelling. DTLHS (talk) 02:20, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
I'd call it a misspelling. FWIW you get a lot of hits for "Tajikhistan", "Kazakstan", and "Kazakistan" too. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:12, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: But aren't "k" and "kh" transliterated from the same letters in Cyrillic? That would just be an alternate transliteration, correct? —Justin (koavf)TCM 01:53, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
The correct Russian is Узбекистан (Uzbekistan), with a stop к /k/, as opposed to the fricative х /x/. Although Узбехистан (Uzbexistan) does show hits in Google, so *shrug*. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:59, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
kh is typically a transliteration of х (x) (for instance, see w:Mikhail Gorbachev), while k is a transliteration of к (k). — Eru·tuon 02:04, 29 May 2017 (UTC)