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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

July 2015


A user tagged the etymology with {{fact}}, writing "absolutely not what OED says". - -sche (discuss) 06:26, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

So what does the OED say? --WikiTiki89 20:14, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster says it's from Middle English "crocarde", from Middle French "crocard", which is "perhaps from croc hook (of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse krōkr hook) + -ard". This Middle English Dictionary says "AF; ?cp. croquier break in pieces." - -sche (discuss) 19:54, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
The OED says it's "from Anglo-French crokard, of uncertain origin". I've updated the entry to note the various suggestions. - -sche (discuss) 20:44, 15 July 2015 (UTC)


Does the sense of "private room" come from Italian studiolo? Someone tagged the entry but never listed it here. - -sche (discuss) 06:34, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

I've removed the claim. - -sche (discuss) 22:08, 22 July 2015 (UTC)


I don't get the derivation from PIE *diwoh₁. After all, this would give †divō (or something else in ) in Latin, wouldn't it? A more obvious and regular derivation would be from PIE *dyow or *dyew.

In fact, in his Lateinisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, Walde says that diū in the sense of "during the day" could either come from the locative *dyéwi > *dyowi > *dyow (but in view of Iove, this appears questionable; after *w, *-i is usually preserved) or the endingless locative with lengthened grade *dyēw; however, diū in the sense of "a long time" is probably originally a different word *dū (as in dūdum), which was transformed into diū under the influence of diū "during the day".

(Just in case you are wondering, the usual explanation for the iou- vs. diou- difference is that iou- is from PIE *dyow- and diou- is from the PIE Lindeman variant *diyow-, which is thought to have originally been a sandhi variant used when the previous word in the sentence ended in a consonant.) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:44, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

PIE root grades[edit]

Would it be a good idea to add an option to {{ine-root}} (and thus the module it invokes) for zero grade, o-grade, and lengthened grade on the headword line of the root? For example, the headword line of *leykʷ-, instead of just saying:


could say:

*leykʷ- ‎(zero grade *likʷ-, o-grade *loykʷ-, lengthened grade *lēykʷ-)

In addition, the other grades could have their own entries as nonlemmas, with definition lines that say things like

  1. zero grade of *leykʷ-

Do other people like this idea, and if so, would someone be willing to implement it? That would be way beyond my module-editing capabilities. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:14, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

What do we currently do with the other grades? --WikiTiki89 19:17, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
As far as I know, nothing. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:37, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Is it really necessary? All grades other than zero are trivially easy to figure out, and even the zero grade is not that hard once you know the syllabification rules. Making entries that direct the user to the main page aren't really all that helpful in the long run; the real problem is entries that cite nonstandard grades in the first place. Roots should always, and exclusively, be cited and linked in the full grade. —CodeCat 19:46, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
How is this different from any other inflectional information we have for other languages? --WikiTiki89 20:26, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Root grades alone are not inflectional information though. Rather, different inflectional or derivational formations induce certain grades. So the grades are a consequence of the inflection rather than inflection being derived from grades. —CodeCat 20:31, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
So how is this different from having, for example, под- and подо- or in- and im- and ir-? --WikiTiki89 20:37, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Let's look at it another way. Would we want different grades for Semitic roots? —CodeCat 20:44, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
What would different grades even be in Semitic roots? --WikiTiki89 21:02, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
i, a, u and zero, plus lengthened of each? —CodeCat 21:06, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Those are just vowels, can you apply them to a root as an example of what you are talking about (let's go with k-t-b)? --WikiTiki89 21:11, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
The other ablaut grades may be easily derivable from the full grade, but the reverse isn't always true. If I encounter a zero grade *ḱun-, for example, I don't know if the full grade is *ḱwen- or *ḱewn-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:15, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Ablaut grades seem like an odd an unsatisfactory compromise, and it's not clear what their purpose would me. Root grades are morphological units after all, not lexical ones; and root entries seem to me like they mainly exist to group together related forms. If this is to introduce non-lemma forms, why not go all the way down to specific inflected forms, as we do with all other languages? --Tropylium (talk) 16:31, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

*jьzkonь or *jьskonь[edit]

Etymology of Russian искони?

Latin phrase underlying Portuguese ontem[edit]

On Portuguese ontem "yesterday" (likewise Spanish anoche) it claims the underlying Latin is ad noctem "at night" but I think it rather should be hāc nocte "on this night". Compare Spanish hogaño which is clearly hōc annō "in this year" and hoje/hoy from Latin hodie from hōc diē "on this day". Benwing (talk) 08:16, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

@Benwing: At first glance, this seems somewhat unlikely to me. Looking at w:History of Portuguese#Historical sound changes (which specifically mentions this change) it appears that Latin words ending in -e tend to become -∅, whereas words ending in -Vm tend to go to -V (though the reäppearance of the -m in Modern Portuguese is odd. Perhaps etymological hypercorrection?). But taking the Old Portuguese onte, oonte, the etymology ad noctem > *anoite > *aõite > *oõte > oonte > onte seems very nice; whereas hāc nocte might give something like *anoit > *aõi > *oõ > .
Also L&S nox shows that hāc noctu was more common than hāc nocte; though, by Vulgar Latin such a distinction may certainly have disappeared. Just a thought. —JohnC5 14:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Re “the reäppearance of the -m in Modern Portuguese is odd”: Portuguese is chock full of spontaneous nasalisation. The pattern /ˈV.Ce/ → /ˈV.Cẽ/ is an uncommon but well attested case (nuvem, pajem, -agem, outrem). — Ungoliant (falai) 14:27, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
This could be a case of progressive nasalization assimilation rather than spontaneous nasalization, c.f. mim < *mi and minha < *mia. Benwing (talk) 08:51, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
That pattern of minha and mim is NV → NṼ (where N is a nasal consonant). — Ungoliant (falai) 16:23, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
1932, Antenor Nascentes, Dicionário etimológico da língua portuguesa. lists both theories. — Ungoliant (falai) 14:22, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
@JohnC5 I don't think there's any difference in outcome of final -e vs -em. The loss of both occurs after certain consonants but not after stops. Benwing (talk) 08:48, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
@Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV Thanks. Benwing (talk) 08:48, 11 July 2015 (UTC)


Vasmer says this is an early borrowing from Ancient Greek καράβιον ‎(karábion), κάραβος ‎(kárabos). The earliness is evidenced by the /b/ rather than /v/. Would it be reasonable to say it was borrowed into Proto-Slavic? I compiled the following list of descendants based on Vasmer and want to put it at *korabjь:

--WikiTiki89 13:35, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

@CodeCat --WikiTiki89 14:25, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89, see “*korabjь / *korabъ / *korabь” in Oleg Trubačóv (ed.) (1974–), Etimologičeskij slovarʹ slavjanskix jazykov [Etymological dictionary of Slavic languages], Moscow: Nauka, volume 11.--Cinemantique (talk) 17:32, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! That's enough for me to create the entry (which I just did). There is an overwhelming amount of information in that dictionary, such as dialectal forms in various languages, that I do not have time to go through and add. I would also like CodeCat's opinion from the point of view of timing and language contact between Ancient Greek and Proto-Slavic. --WikiTiki89 17:48, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Old Church Slavonic certainly had lots of loanwords from Greek, so having a few in Proto-Slavic really isn't that big of a deal. —CodeCat 17:57, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
But that's because of the Greek missionaries and because OCS was used to translate Bible from Greek. This word was before all that, but I don't know how long before and whether it would have been part of Proto-Slavic or entered later into each branch. --WikiTiki89 18:09, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
There definitely were ships in the mutual history of the Slavs and the early Byzantine Empire, for instance, in the constant trade between the two or in the innumerable sieges of Constantinople and other Greek cities by Avars and Bulgars. So my guess would be that the word should have already been known to Slavs by the end of VII century, when the first states with Slavic population were made, but the dialectal changes between the corresponding dialects have not yet shown themselves, so that the word could have been properly transmitted even to the northern boundaries of the people. - Myndfrea (talk) 18:51, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
@Myndfrea: Right. So how do you explain the /b/ sound rather than /v/? At the end of the 7th century, the pronunciation of the Greek beta was already somewhere in between /β/ and /v/ (based on our entry for κάραβος). --WikiTiki89 19:05, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
I think you have to look at Slavic rather than Greek for that. Proto-Slavic had no /v/ itself, and some Slavic languages still don't. The closest was /w/ ~ /ʋ/. We know that by the time Cyrillic was created, Greek /v/ matched with Slavic /ʋ/, but it didn't have to be that way in the past. Older Greek /β/ was still matched more closely by Slavic /b/ than by /w/. —CodeCat 19:10, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
That, and the fact that the loan could come through some obscure Balkan language (Gothic or Gepidic, for instance) or dialect of Greek, or even Latin, which was prevalent in the territories of early Slavic settlement. Ultimately, logic implies that the loan couldn't happen earlier than the times of Heraclius - early VII century, that is. - Myndfrea (talk) 19:23, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Bécs, Beč, Beç etymology?[edit]

What would be etymology of Bécs, Beč, Beç? any thoughts? 13:47, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia: "The name of the city in Hungarian (Bécs), Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian (Beč) and Ottoman Turkish (Beç) appears to have a different, Slavonic origin, and originally referred to an Avar fort in the area." That should give a place to start looking. --WikiTiki89 14:22, 20 July 2015 (UTC)


The Latin verb campsō is given as the etymology for the Catalan, Italian, Occitan, Portugese, and Spanish verb cansar/cansare. Cansar in these languages means to tire, whereas the Latin campsō means I turn or sail around a place. How did turning/sailing around become to tire?

*gʷreh₂- or *gʷerh₂-?[edit]

The etymologies of gravis, βαρύς ‎(barús) and *kuruz all say that the cluster was -re-. {{R:De Vaan 2008}} also has this form. But {{R:Philippa EWN 2009}} has the cluster as -er-. {{R:gem:Kroonen 2013}} has only the zero grade, so is noncommittal. Which is it? —CodeCat 18:38, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Is it knowable? It looks like all descendants (those you mention as well as गुरु ‎(guru)) derive from the zero grade. Maybe this is one of those irregular roots like *bʰuH- that didn't have a full grade. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:06, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
But if there is no evidence either way, why do some sources nonetheless commit to one particular variety? What do they base it on? —CodeCat 19:08, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Their preconceived expectations? Anyway, I just discovered *kwernuz, which looks like it has the full grade in the order -er-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:16, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
If it's related at all, that is. —CodeCat 19:27, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough, but it could be the reason why some authors committed themselves to *gʷerh₂-. And if the full grade is *gʷreh₂-, it will be indistinguishable from the zero grade *gʷr̥h₂- in many languages (Indo-Iranian, Italic, Celtic), which makes the decision more difficult. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:31, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Latin gravis has a short "a", does that give any distinguishing information? To tell the two possible root shapes apart, we'd need either an attestation with a long ā or ō (indicating -re-) or a Balto-Slavic -er- or -ar- with an acute register (indicating -er-). I don't know anything at all about how syllabic sonorants develop in Indo-Iranian, especially not with laryngeals. —CodeCat 20:31, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
I was mistaken about Indo-Iranian. I was thinking -r̥H- became -rā- before a consonant there, but it doesn't, it becomes (at least in Sanskrit) -īr- or -ūr-. But this root seems mostly to have -r̥H- before a vowel, which means H-loss doesn't trigger compensatory lengthening. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:01, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
BTW, Sihler reconstructs it *gʷr̥ru- without a laryngeal and just says "the obvious inference is that *gʷr̥- before a vowel gives L gra-". He also thinks that prae < *pr̥h₂ey shows a parallel change of prevocalic *pr̥- to pra- and suggests that trāns might also show *tr̥- to tra-. As for the reason why he reconstructs *gʷr̥ru- without a laryngeal, he just says "Evidence bearing on *gʷr̥Hu- is meager by comparison [to tenuis from laryngealless *tn̥u- rather than *tn̥Hu-], but the evidence against a laryngeal is better than the evidence in favor of one." Unfortunately he doesn't say what that evidence is. With or without a laryngeal, the problem is that there are so few instances of a syllabic sonorant before a vowel that it's hard to figure out what the "normal" outcome would be. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:32, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Proto-Indo-European generally did not have geminates. And if there was a geminate, why is there no trace of it in any descendants? I think his hypothesis is too far fetched. And there are certainly plenty of possible examples of syllabic sonorants before vowels in Germanic: just look for a zero grade -u- + sonorant + vowel, with related forms having -e- or -a- (and not -eu- or -au-). —CodeCat 19:22, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't think he was actually proposing a geminate; at the same time he was writing *gʷr̥ru- he was referring to it as a syllabic sonorant followed by a vowel, so he was clearly thinking of it as *gʷr̥u-. Maybe he was thinking /gʷr̥u-/ phonemically and [gʷr̥ru-] phonetically, though he doesn't seem to come out and say that in so many words, or maybe it was a misprint. I don't know how old the Germanic -uRV- forms are; I can imagine many of them are analogical rather than inherited. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:26, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Back to the original question, ग्रावन् ‎(grāvan) looks like it can only come from *gʷreh₂-, since *gʷr̥h₂u- gave guru- and *gʷr̥h₂w- would have given gūrv-. So maybe this is a case of Schwebeablaut, with *gʷreh₂- in Indic and *gʷerh₂- in Germanic (assuming the "millstone" word is from the same root as the "heavy" word). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:50, 23 July 2015 (UTC)


Discussion moved from WT:RFV.

Not sure if this is the right place to put a question of etymology, but it seems that satyr has been listed for over three years as being derived ultimately from Hebrew שעיר. I haven't found anything confirming such a derivation; I suspect this assumption was taken from the KJV rendering of Isaiah 13:21, which translates שעיר as "satyr." So do some Jewish Tanach translations. But the majority of modern translations have "goats" or some iteration thereof. In any event, it strikes me as incredibly unlikely that the Greek σάτυρος ‎(sáturos), a mainstay of Hellenic paganism, was a Hebrew borrowing, given both the phonetic difficulties of going from שעיר (śa‘ír) to σάτυρος (sátyros) and the lack of suitable horse-men in Jewish mythology (as far as I'm aware) to justify this origin for the Greek myth. Does this etymology seem plausible to any of you, or are there reputable sources giving such an etymology? Aperiarcam (talk) 05:10, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Looks like bullshit to me. Incidentally, the Etymology scriptorium is the usual venue for questions like this. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:12, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Makes no sense to me. Someone probably misinterpreted "used to translate" as "derives from". I'll remove it. --WikiTiki89 17:50, 23 July 2015 (UTC)


The term despedir is a Portuguese and Spanish word that comes from Latin de + expetere, from peto, according to some sources like the RAE. It can be confusing as it could come from Latin de + expedire, from pes, which gave out despir instead. So I'm looking for a clarification. :) Thanks. 2001:8A0:4300:B701:F482:A6EA:1705:BCF7 20:46, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

/t/ became /d/ after a vowel in Vulgar Latin, so de+expetere > despedir is expected; /d/ disappeared after a vowel in early Iberian Romance, so de+expedire > despir (with no consonant between the p and the r) is also expected. The only way de+expedire could become despedir in Spanish and Portuguese is if it were a learnèd borrowing from Latin rather than an inherited word. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:32, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Appreciated. It's just I was reverted (as in other edits) when fixing the etymology of despedir so I wanted to make sure. I then have to return to counter-argue the reverts...


{{R:De Vaan 2008}} and {{R:gem:Kroonen 2013}} both give a very different reconstruction for this, based on a root *h₃(e)rdʰ (De Vaan only gives the zero grade). I don't know what other sources say, or where this particular reconstruction came from. —CodeCat 13:28, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

rapaz / rapariga[edit]

Most sources point to Latin rapacem ‎(one who robs, plunders) as the root of Portuguese rapaz ‎(boy) / rapariga ‎(girl), but I have also found one blog post linking the word to Phoenician ḥrph (youth) or rbh (procreate). Anyone familiar with this here who can comment? – Jberkel (talk) 10:58, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

You can’t trust these types of blog. Nearly everything he posted is nothing more than wishful thinking. — Ungoliant (falai) 14:16, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

*jьskati conjugation?[edit]

Can someone more experienced look if this conjugation is good. 17:37, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

What's wrong with using a regular template ({{sla-conj-j/a|jь|sk}}):
 ? --WikiTiki89 17:55, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
*jьskǫ / *jьščǫ ! for OCS has iskǫ, 3sg. ištetъ, 3pl. iskǫtъ (also 1sg ištǫ, 3sg

ištǫtъ, with analogical spread of the palatalized root form išt-) That's problematic, it looks like *jьskǫ is original, and *jьščǫ is maybe a proto-slavized form from OCS innovation. 20:49, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

August 2015


RFV of the etymology.

User:Prinsgezinde removed all references to the Philistines in this diff and the following one. A quick check of Etymonline and in the New Oxford American Dictionary app on my computer supported the removed material. Does anyone have more information on this? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:49, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

That the word Palestine derives from the word פלשת and is related to the word Philistine is the generally accepted theory. In various fora across the internet, at least part of the (non-scholarly) disagreement with this theory comes from people conflating questions about origin of the word with questions about the ethnic origin of the Palestinian people and/or the history of entities called "Palestine". Strong's has more on the Hebrew word.
Among the more entertaining folk etymologies (if they can be called that) is the one advanced by James Silk Buckingham and Henry Welsford in the early 1830s and 40s, that "the etymology of Palestine is Sanskrit, from Pali, a shepherd, and Stan or Istan, place."
- -sche (discuss) 04:58, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
Is פְּלֶשֶׁת "unattested", as has been claimed? DTLHS (talk) 05:22, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
No, e.g. Exodus 15:14 has פְּלָֽשֶׁת (KJV: "of Palestina", NIV: "of Philistia") and Isaiah 14:29 has פְלֶ֙שֶׁת֙ (KJV: "Palestina" NIV: "you Philistines"). - -sche (discuss) 05:48, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
My reasoning for it is that this particular word's origin and usage is extremely politicized. There is no certainty on the etymology, although many would like to claim there is a general agreement. I'd rather avoid it than potentionally supply false information. Also, see here.
More: Philistine - This has been used to mean "uneducated person" since the 19th century. That use in English originates with a conflict between university academics and the townsfolk of Jena, Germany, in the 17th century, apparently based on the Book of Judges phrase “the Philistines are upon you.” The Philistines - in Hebrew plishtim - were a coastal adversary of ancient Israel whose name simply meant "invaders."
-Prinsgezinde (talk) 16:35, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
The word Palestine and its etymology existed long before any political issues you may be referring to. --WikiTiki89 11:08, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Can you point to modern scholarship that disputes the derivation of "Palestine" from פלשת? The alternative theories I've seen are: (1) the spurious folk etymology suggested by Buckingham and Welsford in the 1830s and 40s, which merits no mention; (2) a theory by David M. Jacobson that "Palestine" is not just from פלשת but is a modification of it by the Greeks to incorporate a pun/folk etymology (but Jacobson notes that "modern consensus agrees with" linking "Palestine" to "Philistine"), which might merit attributed mention; (3) the theory mentioned at Philistines#Etymology that the Philistines take their name from Palaestīnī who take their name from Palasë in Albania, which seems like an unlikely minority view. (I've also seen it suggested that the Plst mentioned in Ancient Egyptian records are not, as most scholars think, cognate to "Philistines" and hence "Palestinians", but rather Pelagesians who migrated eastwards.) The sources you link to which explain how "Philistine" came to mean "uneducated person" don't contradict or indeed have much to do with the cognancy of the place-names "Palestine" and "Philistia". - -sche (discuss) 18:49, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Avena is to sheep as Haver is to goats?[edit]

Different pages for Germanic words for "oats" (something like 'haver') claim that the etymology is from 'Kaper' because oats would have been fed to goats. Why oats would be especially distinctive of goats I'm not sure, but it occurred to me that "avena" sounded like "ovis", which was especially glaring when I stumbled upon Russian "овес" Just doing a little reading about goats and sheep, it looks like both are grazers, not regularly given grain. Sheep are a little more picky about what they can eat, but do better on grasses whereas goats apparently like vines and weeds best. If "haver" is "Kaper" why couldn't "avena" be a modified form of "ovis"? Then the association between the livestock and the grain would have been a (kind of) calque one direction or the other.

J'odore (talk)

Kluge's etymological dictionary also suggests a connection of Hafer ‎(oats) (< *habrô) with *kapro- ‎(goat), but I'm unconvinced. It seems like wishful thinking to me. The PIE "goat" word is attested in Proto-Germanic *hafraz. A connection of avēna with ovis seems even more far-fetched. I'm no zoologist, but I thought goats were browsers rather than grazers. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:22, 2 August 2015 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology:

From year + hundred. Cognate with Scots yeirhunder ‎(century), German Jahrhundert ‎(century), Danish århundrede ‎(century), Swedish århundrade ‎(century), Norwegian århundre ‎(century).

This looks to me like a self-conscious artificial calque from one or more of the "cognates". It has very limited usage, but it meets CFI, so it shouldn't be deleted, but, if I'm right, we should be honest about its unnatural origins. Is there any trace of usage outside of the past century or so, or any evidence at all that this was inherited rather than constructed? Bosworth-Toller doesn't seem to have anything like this- just SOP combinations of hund/hundred and ġēar in sentences, i.e. the equivalent of "a hundred years" and not "a yearhundred". I suspect this is about as authentic as phony archaisms like "thee sayeth". Chuck Entz (talk) 01:47, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

The way in which the Etymology is written doesnt suggest it was inherited. It suggests it was created in Modern English by combining year + hundred. ?? Leasnam (talk) 03:20, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Irish ól[edit]

Proto-Celtic had no long ō, but the PIE root page suggests that this form did have one. So what is going on? —CodeCat 16:38, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

This is usually said to be from *ɸotlom with compensatory lengthening for the loss of the t, though I can't say where the short o came from since Latin pōculum points to *pōtlom < *peh₃tlom. Maybe before ō became ā in Proto-Celtic it shortened to ŏ before clusters like tl? That's not an environment for Osthoff's law, though. Hmm... —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:57, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Ranko Matasović, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, Leiden: Brill, 2009, ISBN 978-90-04-17336-1, page 137–38 has this to say:

The vowel *o in Celtic is unexpected, as the PIE laryngeal should have yielded *a between consonants. It is probably due to an early analogy with the full grade (*eh₃ > *ō > PCelt. *ā), or to vowel assimilation (*fatlo- > *fotlo-), or to Dybo's law (*peh₃-tló- > *pōtló- > *potló-). Original *peh₃-tlo- would presumably have given OIr. **ál.

In my opinion, the "analogy with the full grade" argument is weak, because what would be the source of the analogy? Vowel assimilation is possible, I suppose, but it's kind of a copout since there are so many words where a...o didn't assimilate to o...o. And I don't know what Dybo's law he's talking about since the only Dybo's law I've ever heard of applies only in Slavic and is an accent shift, not a vowel shortening. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:42, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
This Dybo's law refers to pre-tonic vowel shortening in Italic and Celtic. See [1] and [2]. Benwing (talk) 23:50, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Placement of the -l- in *pleh₂- and *pelth₂-[edit]

It seems that there can't be a single reconstruction for this root because there are two different forms: *pleh₂- and *pelh₂-.

  • Balto-Slavic *plāˀnas must derive from a full-grade *pleh₂-, as a zero grade *pl̥h₂- would develop into **pilˀnas or perhaps **pulˀnas, and the full grade of *pelh₂- would result in **pelˀnas.
  • Slavic *polje on the other hand must derive from the *pelh₂- variant (in o-grade).

The synonymous root currently at *pelth₂- suffers from the same problem:

  • Germanic *felþą requires *pelt(h₂)-, the reverse variant *plet(h₂)- would give **fleþ-.
  • Sanskrit प्रथस् ‎(práthas) appears to require *pleth₂-.

And then of course there's the relationship between the t-roots and the t-less roots, which goes beyond a simple root extension. I'm not sure what the best way would be to handle this in the entries. Should we just have four separate pages? This might be difficult because the zero grades coincide: *fuldō could come from both *pelt(h₂)- and *plet(h₂)- as they have the same zero grade *pl̥t(h₂)-. —CodeCat 21:01, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Alternation *pel(t)h₂- ~ *ple(t)h₂- looks like an instance of Schwebeablaut. Roots appear to be unrelated. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 01:39, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

grem, greš, gre...[edit]

Etymology of Slovene grem, greš, gre...? 02:25, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

أرثوذكسي (orthodox)[edit]

I created this entry and put "Ancient Greek" for the etymology by force of habit, but I'm wondering if it should be listed just under "Greek." In particular, the ذ ‎() seems to indicate a late derivation reflecting modern ορθόδοξος ‎(orthódoxos) instead of ancient ὀρθόδοξος ‎(orthódoxos), but I suppose the Hellenistic (koine) pronunciation would have /ð/ for delta and still be considered "Ancient Greek." I have sought, with little luck, Arabic terms deriving from Ancient Greek words with intervocalic delta to see if they become د ‎(d) or ذ ‎(), excepting terms from Greek mythology or technical terms which are more likely to have been coined in modern times. This is really sort of a frivolous distinction but I would like to get it right, to the extent that there is a clear boundary between an Ancient or Modern Greek derivation, and I don't know nearly enough about Greek phonology, or even the evolution of the English word orthodox, to come up with a compelling answer one way or the other on my own. Any insight would be appreciated. Aperiarcam (talk) 04:52, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, you're right that δ was pronounced /ð/ already in Koine Greek, which is still well within what we consider Ancient Greek, so you can say the Arabic word is from {{etyl|grc-koi|ar}} {{m|grc|ὀρθόδοξος}}. The code grc-koi can be used as the first parameter of {{etyl}}, but is otherwise not a recognized language code; use grc instead. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:40, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Not so fast; a fricative pronunciation of delta already in Koine Greek is by no means proven, see w:Koine Greek phonology#Consonants. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:00, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
I would guess this word was borrowed in the 600-1000AD period, hence probably coming from Byzantine Greek. I think we still consider that to be Ancient Greek; certainly, for other Arabic words probably borrowed in the same period, we say Ancient Greek. Benwing (talk) 23:41, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Actually we have a separate code for Byzantine Greek, gkm. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:18, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
On the one hand, WT:AGRC (still) says to consider Byzantine as Ancient Greek, but (it says) only because that's convenient. On the other hand, there was a discussion where there was some support for treating Byzantine as its own language; WT:LANGTREAT says to consider gkm and grc separate languages; and we never did bother to delete Byzantine Greek's code, even when it was supposedly (quoth WT:AGRC) treated as Ancient Greek. Perhaps someone should update WT:AGRC. - -sche (discuss) 03:07, 9 August 2015 (UTC)


Per this source, the Proto-Germanic reconstruction *twinaz (and the variant *twinjaz) is wrong. Instead, the double -nn- of Old English getwinn is original and etymologically identical with English twine and German Zwirn. The reconstruction should therefore be *twiznaz. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:53, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

The link above doesn't show any information on the page... Leasnam (talk) 19:16, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
So what happened to the /z~r/ in tweeling and Zwilling? --WikiTiki89 19:17, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
According to Bosworth and Toller, it is correct. They reconstruct PGmc *tvina, *tvinia to support Old English twinn Leasnam (talk) 19:20, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
According to Philippa 2009, Zwilling is from OHG zwilling, contracted and assimilated from zwiniling, composed of zwinil/zwinal + -ing. —CodeCat 00:47, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
My question was actually if they derive from *twiznaz then what happened to the *-z- in Dutch and German? --WikiTiki89 01:17, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

Long vowel in Latin īsse[edit]

I think the perfect infinitive of in Latin has a long vowel in the form īsse, but is given as short in Wiktionary. I don't recall where I've seen it as long, maybe in Moreland and Fleischer? Benwing (talk) 23:58, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

  1. Definitely long as it is a contraction of ivisse/ iisse. Aperiarcam (talk) 00:07, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic adjective comparative forms[edit]

How do Proto-Slavic adjective comparative forms work?

For an example comparative of *vysokъ is *vyšьjь, or comparative of *soldъkъ is *solďьjь...

But what would be comparatives of adjactives ending in -st like for an example *čęstъ (similar adjactives are *pustъ, *gǫstъ, or *žestokъ) is it *čęstьjь, or is it *čęsťьjь or *čęščьjь?

Or adjactives ending with -s or z like *bosъ or *lysъ is it *lysьjь or *lyšьjь or is it something else? 05:07, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

I fixed your links, that should answer your first question. As for *lysъ, it would probably be *lyšьjь, but I don't know if the comparative exists for this particular word (it doesn't in Russian, as far as I know). --WikiTiki89 15:28, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
OCS has čęstъ com. čęstie, also čęsto com. čęstie / čęšte. So what would be correct proto-slavic form *čęstьjь, or *čęsťьjь or *čęščьjь? 16:58, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Check our entry for *čęstъ, the answer is already there. --WikiTiki89 17:04, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Did kebab come from Persian or Arabic?[edit]

@Benwing, ZxxZxxZ, Dijan, Wikitiki89 Entry for the Persian کباب ‎(kabâb) lists the Arabic كَبَاب ‎(kabāb) as its descendent but according to Hans Wehr the Arabic term comes from the native Arabic geminate root ك ب ب (k-b-b), e.g. form II verb كَبَّبَ ‎(kabbaba) means "to form or roll into a ball". كَبَاب ‎(kabāb) may need some attention - plurals, inflections are not available in H.W.--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:27, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

If I had to guess, the Arabic looks like a folk etymology; ar:w:كباب more or less dismisses an Arabic etymology. I would cast my stone in favor of a Turkish derivation, and apparently ultimately some sort of Semitic origin (Akkadian or Aramaic, neither Arabic nor a Semitic cognate of كَبَّ ‎(kabba)). The English kebab seems to have come from Ottoman Turkish, if not Persian; it certainly did not come via Arabic. Aperiarcam (talk) 06:51, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Also, I haven't found a plural form for كَبَاب ‎(kabāb). The inflection is regular and triptote (here is an example of the accusative case being used). Aperiarcam (talk) 07:02, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
WP has this to say, with reference:
According to w:Sevan Nişanyan, an etymologist of the Turkish language, the word kebab is derived from the Persian word "kabap" meaning "fry". The word was first mentioned in a Turkish script of Kyssa-i Yusuf in 1377, which is the oldest known source where kebab is mentioned as a food. However, he emphasizes that the word has the equivalent meaning of "frying/burning" with "kabābu" in the old w:Akkadian language, and "kbabā/כבבא" in w:Syriac language. (Nişanyan Sevan, Sözlerin Soyağacı, Çağdaş Türkçenin Etimolojik Sözlüğü, Online, Book.)
Another reference claims the Kitab al-Tabikh contains an earlier mention of the dish. - -sche (discuss) 07:51, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. I was more interested to know if the Arabic term was borrowed from Persian (or other language) or is native Arabic word. Hans Wehr dictionary doesn't specifically say the term is from native Arabic root letters but lists the term under the related root letters (as usually done with words from the same root). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:31, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
I've modified the English, Turkish and Persian entries. - -sche (discuss) 20:32, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia is misrepresenting Nshanyan, who does not even mention the Persian word. See Nshanyan's website. There is no Persian word "kabap" meaning "fry". The languages of the region, including Persian, borrowed the word from Arabic. The Arabic itself may be a native formation or a borrowing from Aramaic. I have expanded كباب with sources. --Vahag (talk) 20:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)


ius and Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/h₂yew- say jus came from ævum, but w:ius says it came from jugum. Lysdexia (talk) 17:42, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

No one says that ius comes from aevum or from jugum; that would be silly. We do say that the PIE root that ius comes from itself comes from the same root as aevum. Cal Watkins, whose scholarship I tend to believe, takes it back only as far as *h₂yew-, without claiming that *h₂yew- comes from *h₂ey- as we do. I don't see any possible way it could come from *yewg-, and I've removed that bit of nonsense from the Wikipedia article. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:06, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
The etymology comes from De Vaan 2008, I've added that to the entry *h₂yew- accordingly. —CodeCat 19:58, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
I had expected you would say that. By a quoted word I meant its meaning, where the word's root's meaning is identical to the root's reflex's meaning. Lysdexia (talk) 02:02, 18 August 2015 (UTC)


Why did the proto‐Germans invent a new word for blood? Why didn’t they use the ones from Proto‐Indo‐European? --Romanophile (talk) 12:49, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia (w:Germanic substrate hypothesis), some linguists estimate that a third of Proto-Germanic vocabulary is not derived from Proto-Indo-European. I think I remember reading a hypothesis that this new vocabulary was brought by sailors who spoke some other language. Maybe *blōþą was one of those borrowed words. —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 13:12, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Blood is also the sort of thing that could be subject to taboo avoidance and thus replacement by another word. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:50, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Appendix:Proto-Germanic/blōþą suggests a possible PIE derivation which doesn't sound that implausible to me (although I'm no expert): that it derives from the same root as bloom (see Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/bʰleh₃-), presumably first as a verb describing the process of bleeding. Early PIE seems to have had two different roots for blood – *h₁ésh₂r̥ (the root of the Latin sanguis) for blood inside the body, and *krewh₂ (the root of raw) for spilled blood – so it seems plausible for a third root to emerge that covered both meanings (especially given that both roots eventually evolved distinct meanings in Germanic: *h₁ésh₂r̥ became iron, *krewh₂ became raw). Poetic use "bloom" to mean "bleed" is still quite common. Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Are we sure that sanguis derives from *h₁ésh₂r̥? The Wiktionary-voice etymology is clever but I've heard there is a dispute about this. References would be nice. Benwing2 (talk) 09:26, 27 August 2015 (UTC)


Is this in fact cognate to Boden? I can't find a source that links them, although chaff (German-language references which gloss *podъ as 'Boden') means I may have missed something. The editor who added that has been sloppy about linking German and Slavic terms in other places; see e.g. the recent edit history of Kaiser and for that matter hrob, where German is interpolated into the middle of a list of Slavic relatives. - -sche (discuss) 07:45, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

ak, auk[edit]

Middle High German ouch, whence modern auch, is listed as deriving from ak via Old High German oh, but also as deriving from auk via ouh. None of the references I've found (see entries) mention the two roots merging (in OHG/MHG). Is that nonetheless what happened, or what's going on? - -sche (discuss) 03:20, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Seems to me more like a case of ouch displacing och. Benwing2 (talk) 09:22, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
OTOH ak -> oh seems strange, I'd expect ah. Benwing2 (talk) 09:23, 27 August 2015 (UTC)


See Talk:boar. - -sche (discuss) 16:43, 26 August 2015 (UTC)


I heard someone trying to argue that the word "pussy", meaning coward, was not sexist because it was not derived from "pussy", meaning a woman's genitals, but instead from pusillanimous. Is there any evidence of this? It seems like it at least could be true, but I've never researched word etymologies, so I don't know how to find out. --Arctic.gnome (talk) 07:11, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

I think it's most likely to have come from the word for "cat", and the OED agrees . There is after all the similar (if less offensive) pussy-cat, and the English language associates cats with cowardice and meekness in quite a few ways - see kitten, scaredy cat, pussyfoot. pusillanimous isn't pronounced like pussy, which makes a clipping unlikely. However, trying to argue whether or not a word is sexist based on what it meant 100 years ago is what's known as the etymological fallacy – what matters is the way it's understood now. So for example, when Jay-Z raps "This ain't a ho in the sense of having a pussy [woman's gentials]/but a pussy [coward] having no goddamn sense, tryna push me"*, he's clearly linking the two meanings regardless of what the OED says. It ultimately doesn't really make much difference where it came from, if people now associate the word with women. Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:19, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
(*) Incidentally, that verse suggests a meaning of ho which we don't have, apparently meaning a cowardly or subordinate man. It would be difficult to cite though. Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:19, 31 August 2015 (UTC)


Not 颱風? —suzukaze (tc) 07:22, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

Merriam-Webster favors 大風, but they think the word is from Τυφῶν ‎(Tuphôn) and corrupted by the Sinitic root (the opposite of what most of us think). OED says "tai fung (big wind)"; presumably this is also a statement in favor of 大風, which is read "tai fung" in Hakka. Any phonetic evidence would be drawn from the southern Chinese dialects, so the superficial resemblance of the Mandarin form to the English word is a red herring. Personally, I find it all a bit dubious, because the Chinese word presumably went through Persian, then Arabic, and the resulting word was potentially influenced by Τυφῶν ‎(Tuphôn) before it entered European languages, and certainly influenced after. I would give up on any phonetically-oriented etymological investigation and default to 大風 per the lemming rule. Aperiarcam (talk) 08:24, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure why the Chinese word would have to go through that many intermediaries -- the Portuguese were quite active in the Chinese-speaking world around the time of this word's first apparent use in English, listed by the OED as the 16th century. Also, 颱風 (specific to the “typhoon” sense, as opposed to just 大風 in the “big wind; windstorm” senses) is also read in Hakka as thòi-fûng, and in Cantonese as toi4 fung1, raising the possibility that the purported Portuguese purveyors of this term might have confused the two Chinese terms, at least with regard to the initial vowel. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:15, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

From F. Corriente (2008), Dictionary of Arabic and Allied Loanwords. Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Galician and Kindred Dialects, page 457a

tifò (Ct.), tifón (Cs.) and tufão (Pt.): was prob. first acquired by Pt. during the initial explorations of the Indian Ocean, < Ar. ṭūfān "flood; hurricane", and phonetically contaminated by Gr. typhṓn, name of the mythical monster causing volcano eruptions and hurricanes.

--Vahag (talk) 21:50, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

etymonline.com thinks Tiphon "violent storm, whirlwind, tornado" is attested in English since the 1550s (from Greek typhon), earlier than the "Asian hurricane" sense. I wouldn't take their word for it, but it's worth looking into. - -sche (discuss) 22:42, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

September 2015

chow mein[edit]

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

I think that version of the etymology dates to when we split Chinese into all the dialects, and changed Chinese to Mandarin as the default when we didn't have any dialect specified. It looks like the etymology originally said "Chinese", and pinyin was used as the romanization just because we did that for all the Chinese entries. I'll leave the question of which lect the English word came from to others who know more than I do. I will say that The Mandarin form doesn't fit all that well. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:57, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Illyrian entries[edit]

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

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

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

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

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