Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2015/January

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← December 2014 · January 2015 · February 2015 → · (current)

yiddish זיידע etymology

Etymology given currently is of russian, weinreich gives slavic etymology but russian in particular is unlikely: polish and iirc czech cognate went to an affricate (/dzed'/ or some such, also yiddish did not extend that far east until much later, given ubiquity of zeyde it must be earlier (jacobs 2005). Shall I edit the page to reflect this? I'm unfamiliar with editing policies re: etymologies (copied from tea room, I don't know how to move to section)Telmac (talk) 19:08, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

You may be right that it's not from Russian but there are plenty of Yiddish words of Russian or Ukrainian origin. See Appendix:Proto-Slavic/dědъ, which may give a clue to a better origin. It may be Polish or Belarusian or Russian palatalised /dʲ/ may have been perceived as "z", I don't know. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:40, 27 January 2015 (UTC)


The reconstruction som appears dubious in view of Latin esom attested on the Garigliano Bowl, which confirms Varro's esum, and the cognates in Sabellic. See here. (Personally, I'm partial to Schrijver's suggestion that subjunctive forms have intruded into the paradigm, especially considering the Celtic parallels. In this case, esom and perhaps also sumus and sunt, if they are likewise from *esumus and *esunt, would find their natural explanations in the subjunctive with secondary endings, while the subjunctive with primary endings yielded the future.) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:55, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

And yet, som is attested in Old Latin. Analogy could have easily worked in the other direction, too. And I think you're confusing the subjunctive and the optative. Etymologically, the subjunctive continues the PIE optative and had secondary athematic endings only. The PIE subjunctive became the future in Latin, and had thematic primary endings. —CodeCat 23:05, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
som is the predecessor of sum, of course, and assumed to have arisen per aphaeresis from esom. This is now essentially consensus, see the Fortson snippet I linked.
As for the PIE subjunctive, it is attested with both primary and secondary endings, for example in Vedic, and there is no reason why this state of affairs could not be projected back to PIE. (There may have been a semantic difference, but it is unclear from the attestations.) But this is not relevant for my point that the reconstruction som for Proto-Italic is dubious. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:11, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Your link just led to a blank page. Anyway, you can move the entry if you want. —CodeCat 00:30, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
*h₁és- had zero grade in the plural, though, so sumus and sunt probably always had initial s-. Perhaps they are what influenced sum (*h₁esmi would normally have given *em in Latin), just as the singular apparently influenced estis. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:36, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
CodeCat: The Google Books link works for me. Weird. As for the subjunctive endings, see also García Ramón (sorry, German only), who suggests that primary endings are usual in the 2nd person singular (since the addressed person is present) as opposed to secondary endings in the 3rd person singular (no hic and nunc deixis, no imperative value). This article by Beekes on the same subject is unfortunately not available online. There's something strange, though: even Umbrian esu does not show rhotacism. Normally you'd expect *eru. Perhaps esu was influenced by an aphetic form *’su as in Latin.
Angr: Good point about *em, but: The phonologically regular reflexes would actually be (stressed vs. clitic forms) *em ~ *’m, es ~ ’s, est ~ ’st, *mos ~ *mus, *stes ~ *stis, *sent (compare Oscan sent) ~ *sent, so I don't think you can explain the attested forms this straightforwardly. The most attractive explanation of estis is that *stis was taken as an aphetic form (analogous to est ~ ’st) and a new stressed form estis was built on its basis. On the other hand, the subjunctive forms with secondary endings would yield *erum ~ ’sum, *eris ~ *’sis, *erid ~ *’sid (compare SAKROS ESED from the Forum inscription, with a secondary ending, compatible with García Ramón's suggestion!), *erumus ~ *’sumus, *eritis ~ *’sitis, *erund ~ *’sund (keep in mind that the -d vs. -t contrast in verbal endings was eventually levelled out in favour of -t, but not on a phonetic basis), and voilà, you find all the remaining forms directly: sum, sumus and sunt. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 05:34, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

-tas and -tus

Both of these suffixes form abstract nouns. Is there an etymological connection between them? —CodeCat 19:21, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

@CodeCat I've been curious about that. I had wanted to create a PIE page for *-tuHts and was curious whether it should be connected to *-teh₂ts. —JohnC5 (Talk | contribs) 19:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)


I believe the etymology is from teichoic acid- can anyone find a definitive source? DTLHS (talk) 05:27, 9 January 2015 (UTC)


I think this probably came from the diminutive of spark, which was then used as a verb. There is a very strong similarity with the German word Funke, which in the form of Funkel developed the verb of funkeln (there is also a Fünkel and fünkeln). I'm not sure though, and it might be something else. Is there any evidence that an -le would be added onto a verb to make an other verb in the way it appears in the etymology section for sparkle currently? Is this supposed to be a frequentative? 06:28, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

  • I've got an older copy (copyright 1992) of Houghton Mifflin's American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition. This lists the etym as (EN WT links added by me):

Middle English sparklen, frequentative of sparken, to spark. See spark.

Does this suffice as a source? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 02:01, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
I split the entry to show the etymology of the words which coalesced in Modern English as sparkle. Leasnam (talk) 17:17, 12 January 2015 (UTC)


The etymology given, "French chancellerie, from Late Latin cancellaria, from Latin cancellarius, from cancellus (“lattice”) (English chancel), from cancelli (“grating, bars”) (from which cancel (“cross out (with lines, as in a latticework)”)), from the lattice-work that separated a section of a church or court.[1][2]" makes sense, but I wonder why a chancery would be named after this. Or is it meant to mean crossed out as in the frame-ruled paper copyists may have used. Any experts in the area able to shed light on this? Muleiolenimi (talk) 02:02, 13 January 2015 (UTC)


I think we have a problem here. The "food and beverage" and "council; assembly" senses have completely different etymologies according to my Oxford, but our entry as it stands does not state this. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:36, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

The Finnish -inen suffix

@Tropylium I've always been puzzled by the inflection of this suffix and other words declining like it, which has -nen in the nominative singular but -s(e)- in the remaining cases. I wonder how something like that could originate. Northern Sami has -laš, which is similar to Finnish -lainen (< -la + -inen), but it could have been loaned from Finnic rather than inherited. However, the Sami suffix has -žž- as the strong-grade consonant, which, if it's not borrowed, would have to represent something like Proto-Samic *-Nś- (with N being some kind of nasal). It's conceivable that this cluster is somehow also ancestral to the Finnic form, but I have no idea and I could be totally wrong. —CodeCat 21:44, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

To this day no one knows for sure why the nominative is suppletive. All the oblique case forms of -inen with -ise- are however thought to come from, yes, an adjectival suffix *-ńćV, which is also the source of e.g. Finnish -isa and Northern Sami plain (: -žža-). The longer form -laš is essentially a half-calque: la + inenla + š. --Tropylium (talk) 01:18, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. Are there any uses of this suffix outside Finnic and Samic?
The only mention of more distant cognates I've seen in sources is that some exist, but I don't know which ones this would be exactly. I checked a couple handbooks I have around and at least Mordvinic, Permic and Hungarian do not seem to have any widespread adjectival suffixes that would seem to descend from this. (Which is not to say that cognates could not exist in fossilized form, or in other meaning.)
Also, what can be said about nainen; is it from the root of naida like the etymology currently says? A combination of verb + -inen is kind of unusual, it's normally attached to nouns as far as I know. —CodeCat 01:34, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
The stem for 'woman' is naa-, cf. naaras. Evidently the verb, then, is derived using the frequentative -ia. --Tropylium (talk) 05:48, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

pizda, *pьzděti

Is there relation between the words? And what's origin of Proto-Indo-European *psd- (Derksen:431)? —Игорь Телкачь 23:47, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

The PIE word is more usually listed in its e-grade *pesd-. I don't know if its anterior etymology is known, but it's presumably related to *perd- of the same meaning; perhaps one was originally a euphemism for the other. I don't know if or how pizda is related; it seems somewhat unlikely both phonologically and semantically. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 00:25, 20 January 2015 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Tea room/2015/January#forecastle.

That etymology seems doubtful to me. Is this not "fore-" + "castle" as aftcastle is "aft-" + "castle"?

I don't know much of Anglo-Norman vocabulary, but did they borrow the "fore-" prefix or did they use some variant of "front" or something that looks like it? Tharthan (talk) 19:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Sounds like a calque claim that was not quite written out in full detail. --Tropylium (talk) 00:06, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
But then what is it calqued from? —CodeCat 00:38, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
…Nevermind, at the time of that comment the etymology claimed derivation from Anglo-Norman. --Tropylium (talk) 22:05, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, "castle" certainly is a Norman word. But it's telling that Dutch has a word with the exact same components: voorkasteel. —CodeCat 22:09, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Castle existed in Old English as well, if I do recall correctly. I am almost certain that some form of the word was attested in it at some point or another. Tharthan (talk) 21:47, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
I think they may have been trying to adapt etymonline, which has:
  • c.1400 (mid-14c. as Anglo-French forechasteil), "short raised deck in the fore part of the ship used in warfare," from Middle English fore- "before" + Anglo-French castel "fortified tower" (see castle (n.)).
This version doesn't try to say it came from Anglo-French, just that it was first attested in that language, but someone looking at the relative dates would be tempted to assume that the earlier attestation must mean it was the origin. The choice of fore rather than a French equivalent suggests to me that it probably originated as English, with technical vocabulary taken from French. I'm sure there was a lot of code switching, with the same people talking about the same things in different languages as the circumstances required, and I would guess that such people would be more likely to be writing in French than English. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:34, 26 January 2015 (UTC)


Can anyone shed more light on the origin of this term? (Can anyone identify the supposed Pali etymon?) - -sche (discuss) 00:05, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Dunno about Pāli, but Sanskrit has mūla 'capital'. --Tropylium (talk) 17:11, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks for that. I've amended the etym at moola from Pali to Sanskrit accordingly. So far, this seems like the most likely.
FWIW, I think I might have some Pali materials around the place somewhere. I'll poke around my bookshelves and see what I can find. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:48, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Pali has it too; see [1] at the bottom of the page (sense 6). Nevertheless I find it kind of difficult to believe that a Sanskrit/Pali word is the source of this 1920s American slang word. I bet it's something more prosaic like mo- from money plus sense 3 of -ola. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:08, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the Pali link. Re: source, I'll grant you that either Sanskrit or Pali seem too antique to be likely as the immediate ancestor of the English. Ultimate ancestor, sure, but something more recent would be needed as the vector. That said, mo- + -ola would be odd in that both have /o/, while moola has /u/. Given that this term likely arose in a purely verbalized context and not in writing, I'd expect /mo/ + /ola/ to become /mola/. /mula/ arising only makes sense to me if the term were coined in writing as ⟨mo⟩ + ⟨ola⟩. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 00:28, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Given what's currently listed at moola#Etymology, and the known histories, it seems most likely that the English arose from the Romani, which in turn derived from the Sanskrit. Does that seem reasonable? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 18:19, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

my word

In the last days of the month and with the danger of being forgotten in the next month's Tea room chat, the ety of my word says it's from an oath but not references. I would understand it's an euphemism for My Lord, but as it seems their <o> (of word and lord) are pronounced in a different way. Could it be? Anyway, a reference for ety?. Sobreira (talk) 11:06, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't have a source for the etymology, but I can confirm that word and Lord are pronounced differently. The two words do not rhyme. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:40, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Chambers agrees that the older form was upon my word, and one's word can be an oath or promise (e.g. giving one's word that one will repay money). Equinox 13:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah, so it's not a minced oath. It's sort of like "I say!", or "I swear..." in a sense. That's good to hear. We should probably update the etymology at my word, then. Tharthan (talk) 14:14, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
my word already says "From upon my word, an oath", and has done for years. I think it's correct to call "upon my word" an oath, even if it's not explicitly religious in nature - like "on my life" or "on my mother's grave", it's pledge of honesty that uses something dear to the speaker as a token. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:53, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks to y'all! Sobreira (talk) 10:26, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Kurdish qaz and the like

How exactly can qaz and its counterparts in other Iranian languages (Persian, Pashto, Ossetic) descend from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰans-? Especially in view of the regular, expected Avestan reflex (which matches Indo-Aryan perfectly), this doesn't make any sense. The explanation as a Turkic loanword is the obvious alternative. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:27, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

You are right, of course. Those are Turkic borrowings. I have made Appendix:Proto-Turkic/Kāŕ with references. --Vahag (talk) 18:51, 31 January 2015 (UTC)


Out entry says overlip ("upper lip") derives from Old English oferlibban, but that's a verb meaning "outlive". I think the old, non-specialist reference (Webster) which claims oferlibban as the etymon of overlip is simply in error. (It might even be a dord-style error, where the etymology was meant to go with the entry overlive, where it would have been correct.) The Old English words for lip were lippe/lippa, but oferlippe doesn't seem to have existed, so I'd like to just replace the etymology with something equivalent to what underlip has, mutatis mutandis. - -sche (discuss) 04:29, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:27, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
I also can find no attestation for Old English *oferlippe/*oferlippa, nor for any declined forms; only Middle English overlippe, which I have added to the entry. Certainly, oferlibban as an origin for this word is completely wrong. Leasnam (talk) 01:26, 1 February 2015 (UTC)