Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2017/December

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Russian 'sorok', Armenian 'čork', Persian 'čârak', Turkic 'kırk'[edit]

It is discussed since at least two centuries: Russian sorok 'forty' seems to be a Tataric intrusion between IE 'thirty' and IE 'fifty'.

Armenian čork 'four' highly resembles Russian sorok 'forty', Persian چارک‏ (čârak) "qaurter", and it's alleged centum-Turkic counterpart kırk 'forty'. But Chuvash is out of every context, when all other Turkic languages have dört/tört ("four"), the Chuvash language has тӑват (tăvat ~ spoken as tauat "four") which is quite similar to PIE *kʷet- 'four', just that the PIE *k turned into a Chuvash *t. The Chuvash form is the only Turkic form which highly resembles Italic quadri- 'quarter', from the same PIE root *kʷet-.

This must be solved, because it is very interesting. Is it IE, Turkic or maybe even Nostratic? What are your opinions? Does anybody have books or academic publications regarding this issue?

Btw, here is a similar case with Russian собака (sobaka), Median σπάκα (spaka), Turkic köpek, all meaning 'dog'. Compare PIE root *ḱwṓ and its relation to PST *d-kʷəj-n, while PST even preserved the centum and satem prefixes *d-k. ToB commented on it as well. --2A02:908:B36:A1C0:0:0:0:1 17:04, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Turkic *ȫ is reflected as Chuvash -ӑва- in many words, and disappearance of *r preconsonantally is also found in other words, it is without reasonable doubt cognate with other Turkic four words.
As for Armenian, our page seems to imply that it is regularly derived from the PIE word. I'm not sure about the details, but I know that *-s corresponds usually to -kʿ and that *kʷ is palatalized into čʿ, I don't know what's the regular outcome of *-tw- is but *t is generally unstable so maybe it contracted into o, thus I'd wager that it is inherited from PIE.
As for сорок, I think that any similarity to *kɨrk is coincidental, the Greek and the Scandinavian etymologies offered in Vasmer both seem more promising. Crom daba (talk) 00:39, 2 December 2017 (UTC)


Seemingly a non-Sino-Tibetan loanword. Hope someone can dig out its etymology. Dokurrat (talk) 16:42, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

It's most likely from Zhuang, which uses the same character in Sawndip. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 20:08, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
@Dokurrat, confirmed with Xinhua Zidian (10th ed.). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 04:30, 8 December 2017 (UTC)


This Swahili word meaning "cardamom" is really bothering me. It clearly is related to the terms I see in Indian languages, but Hindi and Gujarati don't match up quite well enough phonetically. (I'd be curious if Kutchi is a better fit.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:11, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

@Metaknowledge: Tamil ஏலக்காய் (ēlakkāy), Malayalam ഏലക്കായ് (ēlakkāy)? Maybe it's of Dravidian origin? —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 00:30, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Is there a Proto-Dravidian term? I think the Sanskrit एला (elā) is also of Dravidian origin. DerekWinters (talk) 00:50, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: Sanskrit also has diminutive एलीका (elīkā, small cardamom). --Victar (talk) 01:25, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the cognates. None of them seem like a great match in terms of phonetics or history, so I'm still at a loss. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:22, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: Sanskrit एला (elā) > एलीका (elīkā, small cardamom) > Hindi [Term?]? > Swahili iliki seems very compelling to me. @AryamanA, what are your thoughts? --Victar (talk) 21:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
That would be potentially compelling if it didn't have an imaginary step. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:12, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: It's enough to say "perhaps ultimately from {{der|sw|sa|एलीका|t=small cardamom}}". Incomplete, yes, but an etymology nonetheless. --Victar (talk) 22:50, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Victar: (I wrote a response twice and I got an invalid API token error, so I'm going to make this short) Hindi इलायची (ilāyacī) is not from Sanskrit, it's < Persian < Dravidian. I think the Swahili term is borrowed directly from Dravidian (although maybe it could have been a Wanderwort given its spread into Iranian). —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 23:23, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@AryamanA: Ah, OK. So, perhaps: Ultimately from Proto-Dravidian *ēlakāy (cardamom fruit) (compare Kannada ಏಲಕ್ಕಿ (ēlakki)), from *ēla (cardamom plant) +‎ *kāy (fruit). The etymology of mango is similar, from Proto-Dravidian *mā-ng-kāy. --Victar (talk) 02:28, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
@Victar: Yes, exactly! btw, if you ever want to learn about Proto-Dravidian, this is a wonderful book. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 02:34, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
@AryamanA: Thanks! I was reading A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Or South-Indian Family of Languages. --Victar (talk) 02:38, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
@Victar: Dravidian linguistics has come far since then; for example, the "discovery" of the North Dravidian languages (as far north as Brahui in Pakistan) has aided the comparative process immensely. It's definitely still in its infancy, less developed than Indo-Iranian studies, and mainstream Indology still focuses a lot more on Indo-Aryan peoples. @माधवपंडित probably can help as a native Kannada speaker. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 02:42, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge I've compiled a list of descendants from the Proto-Dravidian *ēlakāy. Punjabi ਇਲੈਚੀ (ilēcī) looks like the closest match. --Victar (talk) 17:11, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Yah welcome. --Victar (talk) 02:11, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
See also this, page 83b. --Vahag (talk) 17:59, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
It says "Ind", but does that mean "Indo-Aryan" or "Indian"? —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 14:36, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
It means "Indian (Hindi, Gujerati, etc.)". --Vahag (talk) 15:53, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

PIE *kʷis > *kʷís[edit]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but *kʷis should be moved to *kʷís. If no one objects, can someone run a bot to point all links to the new entry page? --Victar (talk) 00:02, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

If you just move it and keep the redirect, there's no need for a bot to change existing pages. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 11:36, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Why do we need to mark accents on monosyllabic PIE words? --Tropylium (talk) 13:58, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Tropylium: Sanskrit किः (kíḥ) exhibits the accent, as do all other PIE pronouns: *éǵh₂, *túh₂, *swé, *só, *éy. --Victar (talk) 18:36, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
That doesn't answer the question. There's nowhere else for the accent to go, so it's superfluous to mark. --Tropylium (talk) 18:56, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Tropylium: Call it a stylistic preference than, if that better suits you. --Victar (talk) 19:07, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
If you assume that every word must have an accent then yes, it's superfluous. But what if there is a distinction between accented and accentless, as appears to be the case for certain function words in PIE? Proto-Germanic *immi and *sindi must come from accentless forms. —Rua (mew) 19:18, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I still think it would be preferable for us to treat PIE accent as a strippable diacritic, like pitch accent marks in Serbo-Croatian or macrons in Latin and Old English. Then we could write {{m|ine-pro|*kʷís}} if we wanted to and it would still link to *kʷis. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 21:43, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: I could just do that. --Victar (talk) 18:36, 7 December 2017 (UTC)


The current-listed Chinese sense smells like a neologism to me. Is that sense a neologism? (How early can that sense be attested?) Dokurrat (talk) 18:29, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

جيب,‎ جیب[edit]

Who has borrowed from whom?

The word is old in Arabic, it is used as “neckline” and “opening in garment” in the Qur'an. Thinking about the raiments the Arabs wore, the meaning “pocket” could easily have developed from this; a word “gayb” meaning “pocket” is given as Ge'ez from Arabic by Wolf Leslau. Whereas the Persian is stated to be from an unattested Middle Persian – btw there is a transcription needed in the Persian entry. Sounds like an invention of Indo-Europeanists. diff has removed all the etymologies from the Arabic. However some words still refer to the Arabic as origin, as ჯიბე (ǯibe). And Petar Skok says the word is ultimately from Arabic. However I do not know what or whom to trust. I am confused. Palaestrator verborum (loquier) 20:06, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

e in the descendants reflects /eː/ in Persian, which suggests it is probably a genuine Persian word. --Z 20:29, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I also thought that. Arabic /aj/ can come from that vowel in Persian. But do we have two words in Arabic then or one? Is it that a “neckline” word mixed its semantic range into the “pocket” word or do we have one word with an “opening in garment“ meaning from the beginning from which more special meanings derive, “pocket” in Persian and Arabic, which alone has been given to Geʿez, and “neckline”, “hollow” and “bosom”, “sinus” in Arabic?
However still it is disturbing that in Arabic the word is so early while the Persian claims a non-attested predecessor (still the transliteration of the Modern Persian is lacking as I write; I could think it is not current which is why the Persian editors do not know its transliteration). Palaestrator verborum (loquier) 20:42, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
The connection to Polish szew and Russian шов (šov) seems very dubious to me. These come from the verb Proto-Slavic *šiti, which according to the current etymology section comes from Proto-Balto-Slavic *sjū́ˀtei, from Proto-Indo-European *syuh₁-. --WikiTiki89 20:48, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Right, Persian ǰ comes from PIE /ɡ/ as I see. The etymology in the Persian looks nonsensical this way. I’d like to know who has set this etymology into the world. Palaestrator verborum (loquier) 21:34, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
diff by @Irman has. No hits on Google Books for this or similar etymology, though PIE guys are assiduous and have like reconstructed all IE languages, unlike it is for Semitic. Palaestrator verborum (loquier) 21:39, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I'd go with Arabic, I've flipped through some Iranic material I have and found nothing in Gharib (Sogdian), Benzing (Kwarezmian), Morgenstierne (Pashto), Mayrhofer...
Connection with šav is of course total nonsense as noted above. Crom daba (talk) 23:06, 7 December 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup#araba.

An anon added an alternative etymology which doesn't look right to me. I'm no expert, but the new etymology needs verification and most of all a cleanup. --Robbie SWE (talk) 18:28, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

See Fedotov's Etimologicheskij Slovar' Chuvashkogo Jazyka Tom II page 284 --2001:A98:C060:80:7070:6FDD:6A44:22CC 11:42, 8 December 2017 (UTC)

Wiktionary doesn't accept Altaic, but we do mention it. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:52, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
'Altaic' doesn't need to imply a genetic connection, merely that it belongs to a prehistoric layer of shared Turco-Mongolo-Tungusic lexicon.
However in this case, the comparison with Mongolian араа (araa) is spurious, the meaning of the word is 'cogwheel' not 'wheel' and it proceeds from the sense 'tooth'.
The Chuvash form is real and it should date to before the 13th century judging by the raising of *a, but it isn't attested in Old Turkic.
@ZxxZxxZ, Palaestrator verborum, do you have anything on the etymology of عرابه, عربة. ?
Crom daba (talk) 23:08, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
The Arabic عَرَبَة (ʿaraba) exhibits a perfectly clear native pattern and a cogent derivation; it is a singulative noun (ـَة (-a)) formed of a verbal noun عَرَب (ʿarab), عَرْب (ʿarb) from عَرَبَ (ʿaraba, to be fledged, to flow sharply), and also the primitive meaning of عَرَبَة (ʿaraba) is swift river. From there chariots moving forward like a river. See the root in Freytag’s lexicon:
Freytag, Georg (1835), “عَرَبَ”, in Lexicon arabico-latinum praesertim ex Djeuharii Firuzabadiique et aliorum Arabum operibus adhibitis Golii quoque et aliorum libris confectum (in Latin), volume 3, Halle: C. A. Schwetschke, page 129
The other languages show the specialization typical for loanwoards. But more important from the semantic side is: It is unconceivable why the Arabs should have borrowed the word for “wain”. Because how did the Arabs live in relation to the exterior world? By caravans. The Arabs are the people one regards if one thinks about commerce by carriages. They have invented own words from their own sources because this is how they have lived before presumable contacts.
And I have the word in other semitic languages: Remarkably Akkadian with the same developments 𒆭𒊏 (erēbu, to come in, specifically of money, goods, caravan, month, season, water: to come in , to arrive , to flow in (?)) – this is now listed at غَرَبَ (ḡaraba) instead, and the dictionary lists for Akkadian also “9) sun: to set”. This is an interesting mixup in the languages or dictionaries of *ʿaraba- and *ġaraba- that should be disentangled – the Ugaritic 𐎓𐎗𐎁 (ʿrb, enter) listed at غَرَبَ (ḡaraba) seems misplaced as in Ugaritic the two consonants do not merge, the meanings in the entry are contradictory. @Wikitiki89 @Crom daba. Palaestrator verborum (loquier) 00:25, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
That's very informative, thank you. I consider the Altaic proposition falsified. Crom daba (talk) 01:01, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

Susan and related words (zšn, שושן, ܫܘܫܢܬܐ, سوسن, շուշան, etc.)[edit]

We seem to have two competing hypotheses of the origin of these words circulating on Wiktionary: one claiming an origin from Egyptian zšn and one from Proto-Semitic *šūšān-.

  • Regarding the former hypothesis (origin from Egyptian), this apparently goes back to this 1892 paper by Adolf Erman. Erman simply comments, ‘Die sem. Worte sind entlehnt zu einer Zeit, als das ägypt. Wort schon wie im Kopt. šôšĕn lautete.’ So this would have be a rather late borrowing into Semitic, sometime during or after Late Egyptian (post-1300 BCE or so, possibly later). Is such a date plausible? Are the Semitic words attested earlier than this? (Also in support of this hypothesis is Černý, referencing this paper.)
  • Regarding the latter hypothesis (origin from Semitic), unfortunately I’m not very familiar with the Semitistic literature; any help/sources/info would be appreciated. Presumably the Egyptian word would in this case be cognate via Proto-Afro-Asiatic *susan-. Proto-Semitic *š, however, is generally not considered to regularly correspond to Egyptian z or š but only to s, making cognacy unlikely. Perhaps the Egyptian word was an early borrowing? It would have to be a prehistoric one if so, since zšn is already attested in the Old Kingdom. Tracing back the sound changes in Coptic ϣⲱϣⲉⲛ (šōšen) implies Old Egyptian */ˈzaːçVn/ (with unknown short vowel V), which seems a rather poor fit for a borrowing from Proto-Semitic *šūšān-. So I’m not sure what to make of this. Would the similarity of ϣⲱϣⲉⲛ (šōšen) to the Semitic words just be a coincidence?

All in all, very puzzling. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 08:20, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

As another point of interest, the Akkadian term 𒋗𒊭𒉡 (šūšanu) given at *šūšān- is claimed by the the Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago to originally mean ‘horse trainer, groom for horses’ and to be a loan from Indo-Iranian aśva-śani, so it likely shouldn’t be on that page at all. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 13:49, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Well, after digging around a bit, I’ve found that the source of the Proto-Semitic etymology is StarLing, who in turn gets it from Orel and Stolbova’s Hamito-Semitic Etymological Dictionary, that the Akkadian word was mistranscribed, and that even there in Orel and Stolbova it suggests the Semitic was possibly borrowed from Egyptian. Orel and Stolbova attribute the š in the Egyptian word to dissimilation. All very well, but they mistakenly write the z in the Egyptian word as an s, which wasn’t the case until Middle Egyptian. With an original z instead of an s (as attested in Old Egyptian), the possibility of deriving this from a Proto-Afro-Asiatic *susan- is not really there. Given all the above problems with connecting the Egyptian with the Semitic if the former isn’t a borrowing, the most likely option seems to be that it is one. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 16:19, 13 December 2017 (UTC)


Dubious etymology. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 19:42, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

Concur; it's garbage. I'm going to replace it with something from Beekes 2009. mellohi! (僕の乖離) 19:54, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
@Hillcrest98: thank you. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 21:24, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

Italian palanca[edit]

What's the semantic link between "money" and "board"? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 22:34, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

My first association (helped by superficial similarity) is with bank, which went through shelf > table > money change's table > bank > money (slang), perhaps skipping the bank sense in this case, but this is just guesswork. Crom daba (talk) 09:44, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Democracy is simply "people-think" as in "consensus" ?[edit]

Demos is clearly "people" in the Eleni. What about -cracia/-cracy? Its actual meaning seems to be vaguely defined. Similar in form to -gracia, as in grace. One definition points to an idea of substance at the literal root of cracia. In essence its just what people think, isn't it? Where substance is a lateral reference to thinking. -Booksnarky (talk) 06:13, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

@Booksnarky: This is a dictionary, not an encyclopedia or a public forum. If you want to know what democracy is, read definitions first, then some other materials of your choice. If you're not happy with our definitions, you can discuss them at WT:RFT. It's a wrong place for your philosophical questions, that's why it was removed earlier. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:20, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
@Booksnarky: What the people want to say to you: You either know English badly or are not very smart. If you would deal more with philosophy, you would not talk about things like “idea of substance”, “in essence”, “lateral reference to thinking”. That’s not how people think. So please read some philosophy. Read George Berkeley or David Hume for example, to name some English-language philosophers. Really, do it, it helps. Palaestrator verborum (loquier) 06:03, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Read the etymology at democracy, which clearly explains that democracy means "rule by the people". It looks to me like you're ignoring the actual etymology (by pretending that things are "vaguely defined") so you can speculate without interference from the facts. The history of language and words is a fascinating subject, but it won't tell you anything about what people mean when they say something, nor will it lead you to any deeper meanings underlying what people think. There are plenty of examples such as "nice" where the meaning has changed beyond recognition from what etymology would suggest. You're basically using the wrong tool for the job and looking in the wrong place. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:29, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
The request was for the etymology of -cracy/-cracia/-crasia. The pat definition of "rule by the people" doesn't address the decomposition of democracy and its containment of /-crasia. Thank you for the serious responses. And I "know English" fine-ly, thanks, and don't honor the incivility.Booksnarky (talk) 04:49, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@Booksnarky: See -cracy. It's from Ancient Greek -κρατία (-kratía). —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 12:15, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
The palatalization of the t in such environments and the transformation of -is to y is the expected outcome in the transition from Latin to Old French, and these words ending in -cracy regularly have corresponding words ending in -crat and -cratic. As I said, this is all very basic and well established- you just choose to ignore the obvious. Being able to speak modern Greek doesn't give you a license to rewrite the history and usage of words derived from Ancient Greek. As for the quality of your English: it's not nearly as good as you think it is, and the fact that you use words in ways that nobody else does adds a layer of gibberish that makes it harder for others to understand you. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:14, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

nước miếng[edit]

RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 20:50, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

@Fumiko Take, PhanAnh123 Some relevant discussions I found:
  1. “Tiêng (?) nước tôi - Tiếng Việt mến yêu”, Kiến thức ngày nay, số 926, ngày 1-5-2016, tr. 11-12.
    Đồng hóa là hiện tượng hai âm khác nhau nhưng đứng gần nhau, âm này đã bị âm kia đồng hóa, là làm cho âm này giống với nó, như chỉ trỏ thành chỉ chỏ, rũ liệt thành rũ riệt (đống hóa âm đầu), phản ánh thành phả ảnh, tự vẫn thành tự vận, nước miệng thành nước miếng (đồng hóa thanh điệu), y nguyên thành y nguy, cà dái dê thành cà dế dê (đồng hóa vần).
  2. Nguyễn Cung Thông, “Tản Mạn Về Tiếng Việt ― Hiện Tượng Đồng Hoá Âm Thanh” (phần 1)
    Ngoài ra một dạng chữ Nôm dùng 𠰘 chỉ miệng cũng như miếng (nước miếng), do đó ta có cơ sở để đề nghị nước miếng là nước miệng, nhưng đã bị ảnh hưởng của thanh sắc (nước) để cho ra dạng nước miếng hiện nay.
Not sure if they are reliable, but may be helpful. Wyang (talk) 14:35, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
The first one cite some instances that might be considered "common misspelling" (chỉ chỏ, phản ảnh) and it doesn't cite any other source; itself seems to be an excerpt, but no original author's name is given. The second seems a little more convincing, although as many references as it cites (and as terribly unreadable as it is), none is credited as directly proving the theory it offers. The given etymology does seem probable though, although I'm still curious if it has any link to miếng. Not to discredit @PhanAnh123 entirely, but he seems to make sloppy errors (like the typical Southerners' confusion between hỏi and ngã) quite often. ばかFumikotalk 15:01, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
I think PhanAnh123 probably has a source when he wrote the etymology. He does err occasionally (like all of us!), but he has been instrumental in expanding the Proto-Vietic/PMK etymology and Vietnamese language coverage here. I quite like his work, finding his etymologies oftentimes a pleasure to read. Wyang (talk) 15:32, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Chill out, I of all people should know that humans make mistakes. It's just that his mistakes are often so fundamental that they make me doubt his judgment. Think of it like this, if a guy who said "for all intensive purposes" made bold claims about the English language, would you find it doubtful? ばかFumikotalk 17:22, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Category:Thai terms derived from Hainanese[edit]

@Octahedron80, Iudexvivorum, how do you know that these terms are specifically from Hainanese and not any other variety of Chinese? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 22:25, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

@Justinrleung: Personally, I rely on these notes. --iudexvivorum (talk) 00:11, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
As above. However, if it seemed to relate with many cognates, it could be superseded by Middle/Old Chinese. (So it would disappear from the Hainanese category.) --Octahedron80 (talk) 03:06, 13 December 2017 (UTC)