Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2017/June

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hieroglyph, hieroglyphic[edit]

In hieroglyph: "First attested around 1598, a back-formation from hieroglyphic [...]"
In hieroglyphic: "First coined 1726 [...]"
That doesn't fit together. Is the adjective younger or is the noun derived from a non-English adjective? - 20:41, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

According to etymonline, hieroglyphic is the older term (1580s in English, so not by much), via Late Latin and Ancient Greek. KarikaSlayer (talk) 00:59, 3 June 2017 (UTC)


There's a plausible theory that the word "Europe" is originally from a Semitic word for "sunset" (occident). Compare particularly Aramaic ערובה (ʿrōbā, sunset, Sabbath eve), but also borrowed Arabic عَرُوبة (ʿarūba, Friday, Sabbath eve) and inherited غُرُوب (ḡurūb, sunset), etc. The theory is supported e.g. by Christoph Luxenberg, but apparently dates back to the classicist Heinrich Lewy and his "Die semitischen Fremdwörter im Griechischen" (1895). Is there a more recent Hellenistic evaluation of this? Kolmiel (talk) 19:40, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

Okay. As long as there no (negative) reaction, I'll add it as a possibility. Kolmiel (talk) 23:08, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

Scandinavian men[edit]

Danish etymology points to ON meðan, Swedish etymology points to GML men. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 12:26, 12 June 2017 (UTC)


  • Entry googol: “Made up in 1920 by the nine-year-old Milton Sirrota (1911–1981), the nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner (1878–1955) who had asked Milton to think of a name for the hypothetical number of 10 to the 100th power. The word was first published in the book Mathematics and the Imagination (1940) by Kasner and fellow mathematician James R. Newman (1907–1966) (see the quotation below).”
  • Entry googolplex: “Like the word googol, googolplex was coined in 1920 by the nine-year-old Milton Sirrota (1911–1981), the nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner (1878–1955). The word was first published and precisely defined in the book Mathematics and the Imagination (1940) by Kasner and fellow mathematician James R. Newman (1907–1966) (see the quotation below).”

In fact, the words googol and googolplex already appear in Kasner’s article New Names in Mathematics (1938), Scripta Mathematica. Besides, how do we know that the word was coined in 1920 rather than 1921 when Milton was still nine years old (i.e., before March 8)? Have a look at my analysis on Jeff Miller’s page (“This fits to the […]”). -- IvanP (talk) 21:32, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

person of size[edit]

Is it really an analogy to person of color? The phrase "of size" is also used in other contexts to mean "of a significant size" (i.e. "large"). --WikiTiki89 15:34, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

I think so, yes...a person of size doesn't necessarily have to be a large person, per se, just an overweight one...a petite woman who is 5' tall can be a person of size if she is overweight, right ? Leasnam (talk) 12:20, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't see your point. Any expression indicating largeness, when used of a person in a euphemistic tone, will obviously mean "overweight". So I don't see the analogy with "person of color" to be necessary. --WikiTiki89 12:44, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, it seems clear to me. person of color is a nice way to refer to someone who is not white, just like person of size is a nice way to refer to someone who is not of normal/healthy weight or bone structure. If I were not already familiar with the term, or a non-native speaker who had never encountered the phrase before, I might think that a person of size was referring to a giant or one of abnormally tall stature. But that's not at all what it means. Leasnam (talk) 12:59, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you would think that, that would more likely be called a "person of abnormal size". I hadn't heard of this phrase at all until I saw the RFD section of "woman of size" and "man of size", which I understood correctly immediately and before looking at our definition. But that has nothing to do with it. The question is do we know for fact, or do we not know for a fact, that this phrase was originally created by analogy to "person of color"? --WikiTiki89 13:42, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I would think that "size" is just euphemistic for "large size", and thus it is "person of" + "[large] size". Andrew Sheedy (talk) 13:49, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
When you say "by analogy with person of color", you're making the claim that someone looked specifically at person of color as a model when they coined person of size. It's just as possible that the mental process used for creating person of color was applied independently to the concept of size to produce a parallel result. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:58, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I vaguely remember when I started hearing this term...it was usually on talk shows (like the OWS, etc.), and I want to say that it was after person of color had taken hold...quite a bit after. According to WordSense, the origin of Person of size is indeed by analogy with person of color [[1]]. Not sure if this is originally from us though Leasnam (talk) 14:05, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Ok, just poking around a bit, It appears the term originated early 90's (possibly late 80s) and was used on the sitcom "Murphy Brown," where a heavyset woman announced, "I prefer to think of myself as a person of size." I can find no book cites prior to 2000. I got this from an article in the NYT published in 1993 [[2]] which states: "On the sitcom "Murphy Brown," a heavyset woman announces, "I prefer to think of myself as a person of size." Karen Stimson, director of Largesse, a group that fights sizism, weighed in with this comment to The A.P.: "Being fat has always meant being downwardly mobile, especially for women. Society discriminates against people of size." The phrase is bottomed on people of color, an 18th-century term for "nonwhites" enjoying new popularity among those not pigmentally deprived. The related noun sizism or its variant weightism has been patterned on racism, sexism and ageism." Leasnam (talk) 14:16, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Nice find! That's pretty good evidence. --WikiTiki89 14:23, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
If we have the entry base on, shouldn't we have bottom on as well? --Barytonesis (talk) 16:43, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
@Barytonesis, created: bottom on Leasnam (talk) 01:50, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! --Barytonesis (talk) 14:51, 27 June 2017 (UTC)


The article on the Latin word rex says it comes from Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/h₃rḗǵs, whereas the French and German Wiktionary articles claim it's a deverbal of regere. --Espoo (talk) 14:39, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

I think we're more likely to be right. Considering the cognates it has, it's unlikely to have been an intra-Latin coinage. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:40, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
@Espoo, @Angr we had a debate on the French wikt; the deverbal is sourced. Both are right: it is a deverbal and a INE root shared with other languages. As a minimal addition, I'd mention the link to rego --Diligent (talk) 06:43, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
@Diligent, i couldn't find the debate. Could you please provide a link? --Espoo (talk) 10:44, 20 August 2017 (UTC)


A gloss in the etymology would be helpful to me. Thanks. Germyb (talk) 02:31, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Pavel in Slavic languages?[edit]

I have a question about Pavel (Paul) in Slavic languages, particularly West Slavic ones like Czech, and Polish Paweł. Did these derive from Old Church Slavonic or were they just local adaptations of the Latin Paulus? The East Slavic entries like Russian and Belarusian are listed as having a Greek intermediate, as expected (Biblical names like these usually came through Old Church Slavonic, or from the Byzantine Greek missionaries, and the presence of the 'v' corresponds to the Greek form). Word dewd544 (talk) 22:08, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Phonologically, it is possible that West Slavic languages got the word directly from Latin (the presence of v is not necessarily from Greek), but chronologically it makes more sense to me that it was borrowed in the time of Late Common Slavic from Greek, perhaps with two alternatives *pavьlъ and *pavъlъ. --WikiTiki89 17:58, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
That's what I was thinking. And apparently, Old Church Slavonic was actually standardized for a mission by Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia (where Czech Rep. and Slovakia are today), and acquired some West Slavic features on top of the predominant South Slavic basis. But then it later became prohibited in Moravia by the Pope, who favored Latin. Word dewd544 (talk) 23:53, 20 June 2017 (UTC)


What's the etymology of this one? Is there something related to the idea of a seahorse turning into a dragon in some folktale? ばかFumikotalk 11:25, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Or perhaps something left behind by a dragon turning into a seahorse? Chuck Entz (talk) 13:37, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
According to a number of references, otoshigo means "(nobleman's) illegitimate child" (google books:"otoshigo" child), and the term is referring to the dragon-like seahorses as the bastard children of dragons, since (as ja.WP comments) they resemble dragons: "ほとんどの魚は前後に伸びた姿勢をとるが、タツノオトシゴ類は体を直立させ、頭部が前を向く姿勢をとる。この姿が竜やウマの外見に通じることから「竜の落とし子」「海馬」「龍宮の駒」、あるいは"Seahorse"などの名前がつけられたものとみられる。" - -sche (discuss) 20:23, 20 June 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 11:44, 22 June 2017 (UTC)


fassen + -ung

What part of the etymology do you want to discuss? —CodeCat 19:30, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Added to the entry. Leasnam (talk) 23:15, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Etymology of Hungarian végre[edit]

It seems, based on the meaning, that the word "végre" ('finally, at last') is simply the sublative form of the word "vég" ('end'). Is this the case?

I updated the etymology. According to the reference material, it is "A vég főnév megszilárdult ragos alakulata." --Panda10 (talk) 14:01, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

bogus < [hocus-]pocus[edit]

Agree. Lysdexia (talk) 10:43, 24 June 2017 (UTC)


Could we have more details on the etymology of aloe? Does aloe have a conflation of etymologies?

The current etymology reads:

From Old English alwe (fragrant resin of an East Indian tree), from Latin aloē, from Ancient Greek ἀλόη (alóē, aloes), from Hebrew אֲהָלִים, ultimately from a Dravidian language; reinforced in Middle English by Old French aloes.

And the definitions read:

  1. (in the plural) The resins of the trees Aquilaria agallocha and Aquilaria malaccensis, known for their fragrant aroma.
  2. A plant of the genus Aloe.
  3. A strong, bitter drink made from the juice of such plants, used as a purgative.

However, senses 1 and 2 are very different plants; aloeswood (Aquilaria) are eudicots, whereas the Aloe are monocots.

aloes (Aquilaria)

Mentioning of the ultimate source for aloe being a Dravidian language in the etymology section of aloe presumably stems from the reference to Tamil அகில் (akil, a kind of fragrant wood, Aquila), Malayalam അകില്‍ (akil‍), etc. made in some works. This is the etymology for Sense 1, and certainly seems plausible. The loan history for this sense appears to be:

Related to agalloch, eaglewood, agarwood, gharuwood, etc.

aloe (Aloe)

This is more elusive. This plant (genus Aloe) has highly similar names in the major European and Asian languages, suggesting extensive borrowing and popularity in the past. Historically, the sap was extracted from the plant and boiled down into a black mass, and this was the main form of aloe used in Europe and Asia for medicinal purposes. Hanbury and Flückiger's Pharmacographia (616) considers the source to be Classical Syriac [script needed] (ʾelwai).

Ancient pharmacopoeias and records often attributed the origin of aloe to the island of Socotra off the coast of Yemen, and this is undoubtedly not baseless―Sung's The History of Aloe (2006) comments that “From the ecological nature of the aloe plant, aloe originated from the Africa and the history of its use dates back almost 6000 years”. A recent phylogenetic and evolutionary study on Aloe species produced astonishingly similar results (e.g. Figure 2 of the article).

The loan history in this case seems to be:

For potential source-level cognates, compare Jud. ʕalyā, which is more likely a Hebraism. Cf. also Syr. ʕalway, ʔelway, Gez. ʕalwā, ʔalaw, etc. ‘aloe’. The root meaning may be “leaf”. Interesting cognates:

  • Arabic: أَلْوَة (ʾalwa, aloe)
  • Chinese: 蘆薈 (MC luo ʔuɑiH). This phonetic borrowing was reetymologised as meaning “black-assemble”.
  • Nepali: एल्वा (elwā, aloe)
  • Persian: الوا (alwā, ilwā, aloe)
  • Sanskrit: एलुकम् (elukam, a particular medicinal substance)
  • Syriac: ܥܰܠܘܰܝ (ʿalway, aloe, [ʿlwy]),

Wyang (talk) 15:49, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

Indo-Aryan agaru, eluka, Dravidian [3] might be useful. —Aryaman (मुझसे बात करो) 04:12, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

French senestre[edit]

Is this a word that was taken straight from Middle or Old French, or preserved in that form, as opposed to undergoing a completely natural evolution to modern French (I would think it would be *senêtre)? The Norman form, s'nêtre, seems to have evolved naturally. Since the French is a dated term and also refers to heraldry, something associated with the Middle Ages, I wonder if that's the case... The TLFi doesn't seem to have noted anything about it, oddly. But other etymological dictionaries of other languages, when listing cognates, seem to specifically mention it as Old French. I'm thinking I should just use the {{|der}} tag on the modern French for now to be safe. Word dewd544 (talk) 20:12, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

Anyone else interested in Celtic?[edit]

I recently bought a copy of Karin Stüber's The Historical Morphology of n-stems in Celtic, not realizing I already owned a copy. Would anyone care to buy the spare copy for €16 (I paid €22) plus postage? Send me an e-mail if so. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:52, 25 June 2017 (UTC)


A gloss or two in the etymology of prowess would be helpful. Germyb (talk) 01:48, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Done Leasnam (talk) 15:19, 27 June 2017 (UTC)


Created article in error, title was assumed to be PEMDAS not PEDMAS (not an acronym)

Please change the article PEDMAS to PEMDAS Linked via BOMDAS article —This unsigned comment was added by ‎ (talkcontribs).

I'm not convinced PEDMAS is a mistake. Division and multiplication are not ordered with respect to each other, so PEMDAS and PEDMAS are equivalent. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:25, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

queen - quean[edit]

What explains the two different outcomes of the same Middle English word? @Leasnam? --Barytonesis (talk) 10:35, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

I assume you're referring to quene ? If so, they're not actually the same word: the one from OE cwēn originally had a long vowel, so it should be written in Middle English as quēne. The other was originally a short vowel (Old English cwene) and therefore should be written Middle English quĕne. Later on, because the vowel in quĕne was e and in an open syllable, it became long (/ˈkwɛːne/) while quēne was raised to /ˈkwiːne/. The same process can be seen in Middle English mete, where one ends in English meet and the other in meat. In early Modern English, ea was pronounced as /ɛː/, so queen and quean had different pronunciations. Only in later Modern English did ea become /iː/ thus making the formerly distinct sounds identical Leasnam (talk) 13:43, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
To expand on that: given the wild variation in ME orthography, it's hard to say "the same word" with a straight face- see quean (note "when" among the variants) and queen Chuck Entz (talk) 14:07, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, they've always had distinct meanings in English (Old, Middle, Modern), which carry over even to this day Leasnam (talk) 13:21, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

Latin apo[edit]

Should be moved to apiō, or possibly to *apiō (only mentioned in the work of Festus Grammaticus, probably in the infinitive apere which is ambiguous regarding the conjugation type; but I trust rather {{R:De Vaan 2008}} in reconstructing it as apio than {{R:L&S}} as apo). Cannot stand as is anyway, should be probably labeled as a hapax legomenon. --Barytonesis (talk) 22:30, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

Yes. Sihler gives *eh₁p-, "grasp, take", and "not attested in Greek" (despite the similarity to ἅπτω). Says apio to be given by Paul.Fest. and to have perfect ēpī, hence coēpī (> coepī, and perhaps with influence from coeptus < *co-apto-). He mentions the rarity of this case showing initial ap- from *h₁p- as being before a stop. Apio would be from *h₁pyóh₂ with the difficulty of having some transitive verb thus formed (for *h₁épyoh₂). -GuitarDudeness (talk) 22:49, 28 June 2017 (UTC)


I believe that these two etymologies are distinct enough that they should be listed separately:

Etymology 1. Either Arabic, or an Arabic and Spanish compound. The guad- or guada- (cf. Guadiana, Guadalajara, etc.) is the Castilian Spanish transliteration of Moorish وادي‎ wādī‎ ("river"), from Arabic وادي wādī‎ ("valley"; "ephemeral riverbed"). The -alupe or -lupe is of less certain origin, but is generally believed to be either from the Latin lupus ("wolf"), yielding something along the lines of wadi lupus ("wolf river"); or else from the Arabic phrase اللب al-lubb (idiom. "the hidden"), thus وادي اللب wādi al-lubb ("the hidden river").

Etymology 2. A name revealed by our Lady to St. Juan Diego. Most likely a direct borrowing from etymology 1. But some believe that the revealed name may have actually been some similar-sounding phrase in the Nahuatl language (the most notable possibility being Coatlaxopeuh ("she who crushes the serpent"), from coatl ("serpent") + xopeuh ("to crush"; "to stamp out")), subsequently rendered as "Guadalupe" by association with an earlier apparition which is derived from etymology 1.

(Etymology 2 is the more prominent one in the Americas, especially in Mexico.)

Etymology 1's definition should include:

  1. the Río Guadalupe, a river in Extremadura, Spain
  2. Guadalupe, a town in Extremadura, located near source of that river
  3. a miraculous statue of our Lady, found near that river, after our Lady appeared to Gil Cordero (not to be confused with the image or apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico (see etymology 2))
  4. the Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, built at the site of the apparition
  5. Guadeloupe (overseas department of France)

Etymology 2's definition should include:

  1. Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, who appeared to St. Juan Diego and requested that a church be built in her honour
  2. a miraculous image of our Lady, given by our Lady to St. Juan Diego, as a sign, that the bishop may believe him
  3. the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, built near the site of the apparition
  4. a female given name
  5. (rare) a male given name
  6. Guadalupe (island off Baja California) 17:24, 29 June 2017 (UTC)


The headword line says it's masculine, but the inflection table is for neuters. And aren't r/n-stems always neuter? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:13, 30 June 2017 (UTC)

Yes, they are. —CodeCat 18:22, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
I thought PIE had just animate and inanimate. --WikiTiki89 17:06, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
In terms of inflection that's mostly true. Masculine and feminine inflect identically. But they are usually formed from different stems. —CodeCat 17:10, 3 July 2017 (UTC)