Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2018/April

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← March 2018 · April 2018 · May 2018 → · (current)


From modern Greek? DTLHS (talk) 07:33, 1 April 2018 (UTC)

Unlikely, especially since it's cited in polytonic. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 13:51, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
More like confusion due to the use of "Greek" to also refer to Ancient Greek (as noted in Greek itself), while on Wiktionary we only define Greek as Modern Greek and Ancient Greek is treated separately. mellohi! (僕の乖離) 21:59, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
Yes. As someone who studied classics, I'm one of the people who tends to contrast Greek with Modern Greek, and once I made some laugh out loud by (unintentionally) saying, "I've never been to Modern Greece." —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 22:05, 1 April 2018 (UTC)

Istriot and its place in the Romance family[edit]

Is anyone particularly knowledgeable about this obscure and almost extinct language? There are rather few good resources on it that I can find. Even though I've added a lot of words, now that we're doing inherited vs borrowed there are complications. I realize there's no way to know for sure which ones were inherited vs. borrowed from a nearby Romance language like Venetian. There isn't any actual scholarly agreement about where exactly Istriot fits among the Romance families. There seem to be three main possibilities and theories about it:

one, that it is closely related to or even an early offshoot of Venetian (even though there are tons of words that are very close or essentially the same as Venetian, this may be due to loans from it as it was an influential and powerful language in the Adriatic region, and there are some other problems with this though, with the existence of words and features that don't fit into this paradigm);

two, that it is closely related to Friulian/Ladin and is actually a Rhaeto-Romance language, and one strongly influenced arealy by nearby Venetian and a little Dalmatian; there are some aspects of the language that pull it toward Friulian rather than Venetian

three, that it is part of the same sub-family as the now-extinct Dalmatian language (there are a few cases of similar developments between the two, like certain diphthongs I believe, but this seems to be a relatively small set of words; however, it's not impossible that these words may represent the very base core vocabulary for Istriot, whereas most of the rest was loans/influence from other regional Romance languages)

Two of the above families are technically part of the larger Italo-Dalmatian one (though Venetian is occasionally put into Gallo-Romance). It seems like it could just be a mixture or hybrid language of several others. Anyone have any idea what the really basal/core vocab is for this language? Or is there no point in really trying, and we should just use the 'der' template for all of them to be safe? Word dewd544 (talk) 23:12, 1 April 2018 (UTC)


The second etymology suggested origin from either the pig in a poke trick or from suckener. I added reference to OED, which simply treats this a figurative usage of "one that sucks", and etymonline, which specifies either figurative reference to suckling animals or to fish. I didn't see either of the other etymologies in any of the published dictionaries I looked at, but I only looked at a few. Cnilep (talk) 04:32, 2 April 2018 (UTC)

I believe it is derived from a rather old slur that only happened to converge to the current form, but I have nothing to back this up (I frequently ignore these hunches of mine due to the disregard these are met with, thanks a lot). An explanation related to "to suck" could be found in blood sucker, leech. Rhyminreason (talk) 19:05, 2 April 2018 (UTC)


OK, let me try this again. I'd like to have Alanic xln renamed to Sarmato-Alanic and have entries use xln-pro. Alanic and Sarmatian (which has no language code otherwise) occupy a dialect continuum, and neither might be the direct ancestor of Ossetian or Jassic. Alanic would then be made into an etymology-only code, xln-ala. Alternatively, a new language code could be created, ira-sma-pro, and xln removed all together, but I think the former the better option. @-sche, Tropylium --Victar (talk) 20:30, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

There are a couple problems here that I see just from a brief reading of the discussion. You want us to change to a name that is very rarely used instead of a more common one, and also switch to considering it a protolanguage rather than an attested one, despite the fact that it is actually attested (yes, we do that for Proto-Norse, but it is not ideal and is in large part because, as is relevant here, we try to use the most commonly used names where possible). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:19, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply, @Metaknowledge. 99% of the entries I'll be entering will be reconstructions, and most will be derived from Ossetian, not Alanic or Sarmatian borrowing. I think there is a ton of precedence for using alternative names for codes on wikt, but I'll concede that I can't think of any example of using the language code of a dialect to refer to a whole dialect family. I'm not opposed to using ira-sma-pro instead, but I do still think then the xln code should be discontinued, because Alanic, Sarmatian and Proto-Ossetic should all be under the same code. --Victar (talk) 04:13, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
To give an example of what I had in mind for formatting descendant trees:
* Sarmato-Alanic {{l|xln-pro}}
*: Alanic: {{l|xln-ala}}
*: Sarmatian: {{l|xln-sar}}
** Ossetian: {{l|os}}
--Victar (talk) 04:22, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
The proportion that are reconstructions is irrelevant unless it's 100%. When we have mainspace entries, we should avoid assigning them to protolanguages (which are technically hypotheses) wherever possible. We always try to use to the most common, unambiguous name possible, and if you know of any exceptions, we should see if they ought to be fixed. Basically, I think you're conflating the needs of descendant trees and the criteria for determining what ought to be a separate language. Bear in mind that regardless of what codes and names are, you can always structure descendant trees to show distinct dialects or sublects (Crom daba has done this quite fruitfully). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:48, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge, I think you're missing the point of my need. I want to create reconstructions of Proto-Ossetic and Sarmatian. Sarmatian and Alanic are well established as two separate dialects. --Victar (talk) 04:59, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
And if they're dialects, they shouldn't have separate codes. Remember, you can still give them separate lines and reconstructions, when and where those are supported by scholarly sources, regardless of the situation with codes. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:18, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
Exactly, @Metaknowledge, which is why Alanic shouldn't have its own code. --Victar (talk) 07:37, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
Then why did your example above have them with two different codes? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:22, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I tried to indicate xln-ala and xln-sar where etymology-only codes by the dash in them, but I guess that wasn't clear (though I did make that point in my opening statement). We also have oos for Old/Proto-Ossentic, which we could used instead for parent of Alanic/Sarmatian/Ossentic. We currently list it below xln, and I've always considered it a stage between, yet MultiTree seems to use it as their catch-all. Again though, I'm not opposed to using a new ira-sma-pro code. --Victar (talk) 17:34, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
We create etymology-only codes for etymology sections. If there's a language that derives terms from both Alanic and Sarmatian with a meaningful difference between the two, then those codes should exist, but we shouldn't create them just for descendant lists, which can be freely formatted. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:39, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
  • Here's a different idea. Alanic and Sarmatian are both barely attested; from my brief reading of the literature, it seems to be unclear whether or not they represent dialects or fully separate speech communities, and whether they represent the ancestor of Ossetian or a close relative (and given the timescales over which they are attested, they cannot be the same thing as a protolanguage, which is a hypothesis of the most recent common ancestor). The resultant action would be to have separate codes for Alanic, Sarmatian, and Proto-Ossetic, with the former two only in mainspace (in original script, e.g. Greek) and the latter only in Reconstruction space (in normalised form). As always, you can format descendant lists however you like. Does that seem like it would make sense? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:39, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: No, I don't agree with that solution. Whether they exhibit the same exact timeframe is irrelevant and labeling Sarmatian and Ossetic as Alanic is inaccurate. What my sources are reconstructing is a common ancestor of all three of these dialectal branches. See https://ibb.co/jFEnSH. --Victar (talk) 19:01, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
Your response is confusing; I did not suggest labelling Sarmatian and Ossetic as Alanic (in fact, I suggested separating all three), and I was under the impression that Proto-Ossetic is the unattested ancestor of all these languages. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:30, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
Am I understanding this correctly that it is similar to the problem that he have had/are having with Sanskrit and the Prakrits, namely that there is a dialectal continuum between Sarmatian, Alanic, and the unattested ancestor of Ossetian? —*i̯óh₁n̥C[5] 19:24, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
@JohnC5: Not exactly. Sarmatian, Alanic and Ossentic are all largely unattested dialects form a single language of the Middle Iranian period. So what I'm suggesting is that we unify them under a single code and name, and have the dialects differentiated only by etymology-only codes. I'm recommending the name Sarmato-Alanic, which is what I mostly see in literature when referring to them as a whole, but if I had to choose to unify them under one name out of the three, it would be Ossetic, being the only one with modern descendents. What code we use, be it a repurposed one, or a new one, doesn't matter to me. --Victar (talk) 20:26, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: Would you support the idea of unifying Sarmatian and Alanic under Old Ossetic oos (as per MultiTree) with both reconstructed and mainspain entries, and making xln an etymology only code? That should resolve your Proto-Norse argumentment. --Victar (talk) 22:37, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
I see that the name "Old Ossetic" is broadly attested (when spelt correctly), and many sources seem to equate it with Alanic, but that doesn't mean Sarmatian should necessarily be merged as well. If they are indeed dialects as you claimed, then that would be perfectly fine. WP cites EB for the following: "The languages of the Scytho-Sarmatian inscription may represent dialects of a language family of which Modern Ossetian is a continuation, but does not simply represent the same language at an earlier time." If that is true, then Sarmatian should be kept separate. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:29, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge, there is no code for Sarmatian. If we put Alanic under Old Ossetic as part of a dialectal continuum, Sarmatian, as a dialect thought to be very similar to Alanic, should unequivocally be included. Otherwise it defeats the point. --Victar (talk) 23:49, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
I would be in favor of Old Ossetic for the continuum of Alanic and Ossetic and, if it can be demonstrated as true, Sarmatian. In what way can we adjudicate this Sarmatian situation? As mentioned before, I'm getting a little bit frustrated at continuously running across this "continuum problem" (attested languages descending from unattested near neighbors). There's been a fair amount of research saying that the phylogeny of language change tends to be binary in nature, but that depends on how you look at language continua versus dialectally diverse super-languages. I'd be interested to think about the principled use of language continua in our language data (like "oss-cnt" or the like), not just the "substrata" we use in the etymology-only language data. The question is in the utility of such a demarcation, but the inherent assumption of our current n-ary (or perhaps my theoretically binary) branching system tends to omit this subtlety of language change because frequently these continua are not protolanguages and exist clearly in the data... I dunno. —*i̯óh₁n̥C[5] 00:07, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
Ignoring John's tangent... I know there is no code for Sarmatian. That's immaterial; we can make one if we deem it necessary. You claim that Sarmatian is very similar to Alanic, to the point of being a continuum; I know little about this, but found a scholarly source that claims otherwise. Can you respond to that with actual evidence? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:16, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
@JohnC5, Metaknowledge:
  1. "Sarmatian and Alanic represent a dialect continuum" and "it is difficult to draw the line between Sarmatian and Alanic".[S 1]
  2. "Ossetic [...] is the last remnant of the essentially unknown Middle Iranian dialect area that included Sarmatian, and is said to descend from Alanic."[S 2]
  3. "[Ossetic] is the sole surviving descendant of the Northeast Iranian dialects of the ancient Scythians and Sarmatians and medieval Alans".[S 3]
  4. "Deine klare linguistische Scheidung zwischen Sarmatisch und Alanisch aufgrund der Materiallage nicht möglich ist"[S 4]
Even if Alanic and Sarmatian were divergent enough to call separate languages, that distinction isn't apparent in the little material we have, so to reconstruct them separately at this time would be folly. --Victar (talk) 01:20, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, that seems like good evidence for merger. I am now satisfied with having "Old Ossetic" as an L2 header with categorising context labels for the dialects. I would like to wait a couple of days just in case anyone raises an objection, so please ping me with a reminder. Also, please clarify if there are any etymology sections that need to distinguish between the dialects; if not, we can dispense with etymology-only codes and simply remove xln. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:44, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Metaknowledge, if you have a moment, I would appreciate you making these changes. Thanks. --Victar (talk) 03:10, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

@Victar, could you please respond to the query in the last sentence of my last comment? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:39, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge, yes, need the etymology-only codes as well, not for the linguist distinction, really, but for the historical one, i.e. the names of Alanic kings. --Victar (talk) 04:44, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:33, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
Changes look good. Thanks, @Metaknowledge! --Victar (talk) 05:35, 16 April 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Novák, Ľubomír (2013) Problem of Archaism and Innovation in the Eastern Iranian Languages (PhD dissertation)[1], Prague: Univerzita Karlova v Praze, filozofická fakulta
  2. ^ Fortson, Benjamin W. (2010) Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, second edition, Oxford: Blackwell
  3. ^ Kim, Ronald (2013), “On the Historical Phonology of Ossetic: The Origin of the Oblique Case Suffix”, in Journal of the American Oriental Society 123.1[2]
  4. ^ Schmitt, Rüdiger (1989) Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum[3], Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, →ISBN

Circular etymologies[edit]

bunny (in the sense of rabbit): "Probably from bun (“rabbit”) +‎ -y"
bun (in the sense of rabbit): "From bunny?"

Mihia (talk) 20:57, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Etymonline says bunny is from bun, which is of obscure origin but may be from Scots bun (tail of a hare) or French bon (good) or a Scandinavian source. AHD also gives the "tail of a hare" hypothesis. Eric Partridge in Origins says that Scottish bun may be from Scottish Gaelic bun (bottom, butt, stub). —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 21:06, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
Which sound laws are supposed at play in the change from the Proto-Indo-European root to Proto-Celtic to Old Irish, whence the Scottish?
Our etymologies don't typically mention sound laws, but this one currently doesn't name the Proto-Celtic form either and the linked reference is a dictionary without etymologic info (as far as I could decipher). Pinging @MDCorebear (a.k.a. @Reidca), who added the text. Rhyminreason (talk) 20:33, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

Are these buns the same as bonns? At least now they are doubling each other, except that the latter links the Proto-Celtic form, explains it and uses the right PIE notation. Guldrelokk (talk) 15:55, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

Old Irish and thus Scottish Gaelic bun can't come from Proto-Celtic *bundos because of the lenis n (not nn), but maybe they can still come somehow from the same ultimate root. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 17:03, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
Just looked it up in {{R:cel:Matasovic 2009}}; he reconstructs Proto-Celtic *bonus (foundation, base, butt) and offers no PIE etymology for it. So I guess he doesn't think it's related to *bundos and *bʰudʰmḗn and bottom. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 17:40, 16 April 2018 (UTC)


Are Ety 1 and Ety 2 really distinct enough to warrant separate headings? Mihia (talk) 13:35, 7 April 2018 (UTC)

This seems to be something like a doublet, two words (in this case, with the same orthographic form and just slightly different pronunciation) that were borrowed separately from more or less the same source. At least, the OED says that the adjective was borrowed from Latin in late Middle English, while the verb is "Of multiple origins. Partly a borrowing from Latin. Partly formed within English" with possible influence from Middle French. Both MW10 and Etymology Online likewise list two separate etymologies, but each is said to come from Latin to Middle English at around the same time. Random House, on the other hand, seems to have only one etymology. Cnilep (talk) 01:34, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

RFV: Middle English -s adverbial genitive > modern -ence[edit]

Can anyone correct me if I'm wrong or improve? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:48, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

It's certainly not the source of the suffix -ence that we have entry for. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 13:13, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
It seems like they meant the -ce in whence, hence, etc. --WikiTiki89 13:57, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
Don't we normally just show the direct descendants, in this case thence, hence, and whence and not their derived terms, eg, henceforth? DCDuring (talk) 15:22, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
Probably. --WikiTiki89 15:26, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 09:48, 18 April 2018 (UTC)


It says that this is derived from Middle English wraulen / wrawlen. Is the change/simplification wr → w regular? Wouldn't [wɹ]/[wr] → [ɹ̠ʷ] have been regular? Tharthan (talk) 23:26, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

It IS irregular. See the etymology of caterwaul, which I think (back-)influenced this word Leasnam (talk) 00:27, 11 April 2018 (UTC)

Proto-Balto-Slavic *seš- to Proto-Slavic *šestь, confused.[edit]

How did the *š (maybe *ś?) and the *s switch places? Was it accidental? I'm no linguist, only amateurishly reading up on Proto-Slavic, but this confuses me. Dreigorich (talk) 22:02, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

Maybe the stem is *śeś- in PBS, according to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/šestъ? Dreigorich (talk) 22:08, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

The PIE numeral seems to have had variant forms. *šestь, šešì, षष् (ṣaṣ) (the onset cluster is preserved in MIA forms, which have ch- < *kṣ-), شش‎ are all explainable as having effects of the RUKI law, they could all be regular developments were they from *kseḱs; 𐬑𐬴𐬎𐬎𐬀𐬱‎ (xṣ̌uuaš‎) points to both *k- and *-w- (seen in some other branches), so some reconstruct *ksweḱs as the original proto-term. PBS six is *(k)šeś then, and its outcomes are all normal. Others just assume a bunch of non-regular developments in a wide variety of languages (like *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s perhaps?). Whatever seems more reasonable to you. Guldrelokk (talk) 05:44, 16 April 2018 (UTC)


How is it a calque from ἐθνικός (ethnikós)? The Russian word means "tongue", the Greek word "tribe, country, nation". --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 12:32, 11 April 2018 (UTC)

Added by User:Wanjuscha. In OCS ѩзꙑкъ (językŭ) also means "tribe". In Russian, it's only preserved in the fixed term при́тча во язы́цех (prítča vo jazýcex), which even follows OCS grammar. In modern Russian язы́к (jazýk) can only mean 1. "tongue", 2. "language". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 12:43, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
Does Ancient Greek ἐθνικός (ethnikós) mean "pagan"? Otherwise it's still not a calque. --WikiTiki89 15:41, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
It does indeed. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 21:31, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
Russian wiktionary usually notes the Greek word that the OCS word was used to translate, Wanjuscha probably took to mean it was a calque (it probably is in some similar cases). Crom daba (talk) 22:40, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
язы́чник (jazýčnik) is in Max Vasmer. It IS a calque of ἐθνικός (ethnikós). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:37, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
Yes; Latin gentīlis has borrowed its "pagan" sense from it. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 09:09, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
Though I wonder where the pagan sense of the Greek word comes from; could it be a calque from Hebrew? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 09:12, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
That's very likely. --WikiTiki89 13:57, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
Incidentally, in all of these cases, if the word existed previously and took on a new meaning because of the influence of a different language, they are technically {{semantic loan}}s, not {{calque}}s (which are new coinages). —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 14:26, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

無名指, безымянный палец[edit]

Both of these words for the ring finger refer to namelessness. Is there any connection here? DTLHS (talk) 21:34, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

Similar words appear in other languages, like Finnish nimetön and Sanskrit अनामिका (anāmikā). There's nameless finger as well. (I think @Equinox is right on Talk:nameless finger. See this article.) — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 22:31, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
Equinox is definitely right on the talk page; even the source that was quoted in the entry, on which the misidentification with the middle finger was apparently based, goes on to say ‘The nameless finger is that which is next to the little finger’ a paragraph later. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 23:02, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
Isolated talk-page comments always get attention eventually. Thanks chums. Equinox 00:21, 13 April 2018 (UTC)
This is extremely weird, does anyone have an explanation? Guldrelokk (talk) 06:05, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
Interesting discussion here. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 06:38, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
Chinese 無名指 is native. Attested in Mencius (c. 300 BC): 今有無名,屈而不信,非疾痛害事也,如有能信之者,則不遠秦楚之路,為指之不若人也。 (Here is a man whose nameless finger is bent and cannot be stretched out straight. It is not painful, nor does it incommode his business, and yet if there be any one who can make it straight, he will not think the way from Qin to Chu far to go to him; because his finger is not like the finger of other people.) Annotation of that same passage by Zhao Qi (108–201 AD): 無名,手之第四指也。蓋以其餘指,皆有名,無名指者,非手之用指也。 (The nameless finger is the fourth finger on the hand. Named as such since the remaining fingers all bear names, and the nameless finger is not a finger with much use on the hand.) The case described in Mencius above may be a variant of the ulnar claw hand in modern medicine. Wyang (talk) 06:39, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

etymology of nomen[edit]

I strongly disagree with the wording of the etymology section "From Proto-Indo-European *h₁nómn̥ (“name”). The long ō (and spurious g in compounds) is from false association with gnōscō (“know, recognize”)."

We have at least two sources which recognize that it is (g)nosco + men

  • Michel Bréal et Anatole Bailly, Dictionnaire étymologique latin, Hachette, Paris, 1885
  • Charlton T. Lewis et Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1879

They should be stated and put forth as a first etymology.

In my humble opinion, and given the compounds agnomen, cognomen, it MUST be (g)nosco + men and - maybe, secondarily - assimilation with INE-PIE *h₁nómn̥

What is interesting is the comment from Bréal & Bailly on the sense "people" (nomen Romanum, the Roman nation) and we have two semantic evolutions:

  • recognition, sign of recognition => name
  • known persons (French connaissance : knowledge & acquaintance), people we know
    C. Octavium in familiam nomenque adoptavit C. Octavius was "recognized as" family member
    Crispum C. Sallustius in nomen ascivit - id.

The Latin *(g)nomen is closer - IMHO - not to INE-PIE *h₁nómn̥ but to znamę (*(g)nosco <=> znati

we have the nearly exact semantic equivalents (here in Czech)

  • znamení, sign, something which allows recognition
  • známý, known, a know person, an acquaintance

--Diligent (talk) 21:16, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

Unfortunately, you are relying on obsolete sources. As a general rule of thumb, don't trust Latin etymology claims made before the 20th century. The etymology as it stands is correct, and if you compare the evidence (cognates in other Italic languages) instead of relying on intuition, which can easily lead you astray, you will see this. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:22, 14 April 2018 (UTC)
Would *gnosc-men > *gnōmen make sense within Latin at least? I think this is phonologically clear, not sure about the morphology. It would not be inconceivable that there were at some pre-Latin stage both *nō̆men 'name' and *gnōmen 'known', and that some of the less obvious usages of nōmen directly continue the second.
The long vowel, as an aside, is these days often derived also by reconstructing instead *Hnéh₃mn̥, which also helps with Germanic *namô. --Tropylium (talk) 21:32, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
Not much, it doesn't, since the a of Germanic *namô can't go back to eh₃ but only to a short vowel like o or interconsonantal H. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 11:15, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

See Reconstruction talk:Proto-Indo-European/h₁nómn̥ --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 21:37, 15 April 2018 (UTC)


RFV of etymology 1. Wyang (talk) 00:26, 15 April 2018 (UTC)


Is there any more detail to be had as to why the Old English word for father was selected to refer to this? Were the birds called this in Old English? - -sche (discuss) 08:04, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

This is a modern coinage. The best I can figure out from the explanation in West Frisian Dutch in the original article (the relevant part is on p.7 of the pdf), they chose an old West Frisian word for ancestor or progenitor, and decided that the Old English word would be the closest equivalent for English. Possibly relevant: in the English article, it says that the faeder's plumage is probably the original male plumage from before the normal male ruff evolved the exaggerated ornamentation known today. Chuck Entz (talk) 09:31, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

himmel etc.[edit]

The recent anon may have been pretty uncivil about these, but they have a point: modern Scandinavian has loads of (Old) Low German loanwords, and this definitely appears to be one of them. This is sourcable for at least Swedish on a quick checkup. Would anyone have any factual objections to stating the same about the others, too? I think the claim that these "derive from Old Norse but are influenced by German" would at minimum need citations as well. --Tropylium (talk) 20:31, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

Grim Reaper[edit]

It's a good thing I checked before just writing grim +‎ reaper, because I ended up having to do a lot of research about this, and it's definitely more than just a sum of its parts. The reaper part isn't that complicated, at least relative to grim. I'm pretty confident that "reaper" comes from a metaphor comparing collecting souls to reaping grain, since the Grim Reaper carries a scythe. This metaphor arose during the outbreak of the Black Plague, and was connected to the depiction of Father Time with a scythe, which came from a conflation of the Greek gods Chronos (time) and Cronus (the harvest, carried a scythe), but that's probably unnecessary extra detail. I can't figure out for sure where "grim" comes from, though. "Grim" as relating to death might come from Grímr or Grímnir, two of the names of Odin (a Norse god representing death) which meant "Masked/Hooded One." There's a word in Old English, grima (mask, helmet/visor, or ghost/apparition), that's related to this. Grim was also a word in Old English, and meant "fierce" or "terrible." "Grim Reaper" isn't attested before 1872 on Google books, but "grim Death" is used starting in the 1600s, and it seems "grim" was often used to refer to or describe the personification of death for quite some time before "reaper" was added. I can't really find many uses of "grim" connected to the personification of death that go back before the 1600s, except for this one Shakespeare quote from the poem "Venus and Adonis":

Look how the world's poor people are amaz'd
At apparitions, signs and prodigies,
Whereupon, with fearful eyes, they long have gaz'd,
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies :
So she, at these sad signs, draws up her breath
And sighing it again, exclaims on death.
Hard-favour'd tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean,
Hateful divorce of love (thus chides she death)
Grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm, what dost thou (925-933)

(Notice that death is referred to as "grim" and also said to be a ghost. It also mentions apparitions, which is one of the Old English definitions of grima, but I don't think apparition is used in reference to death here, although I'm not sure.) Google books doesn't have much stuff from before the 1600s, though, so I'm not sure if "grim" actually wasn't used in association with Death before then or if it's just not on Google books. However, I did find one and only one website (of doubtful credibility) that said that "the Grim" was a common name for death going back to the 13th century, but the page didn't cite any sources, and I can't confirm it with Google books because searches for "the Grim" just turn up books with sentences like "the grim [noun]." Right now, I think that the "grim" in Grim Reaper is either an obsolete kind-of loanword from Old Norse "Grímr" or "Grímnir," the names for Odin meaning masked or hooded, or just a conversion of the meanings of the Old English noun grima to the adjective grim, but both of these would require a second sense of Old English grim meaning either "masked/hooded" or maybe "ghostly." Unless we can confirm that "grim" was related to death going back this far, all of this stuff is irrelevant. Can someone who knows more about Old or Middle English give me their opinion on whether this is a possibility? Also, is anyone able to verify whether "grim" or "the Grim" were at all related to the personification of death before the 1600s, or at least direct me to somewhere where I can find out? I have a bunch of links from Google Books I can put here if anyone wants to look, and if you want more etymology information for "grim" or related terms, see grim, grima, *grimmaz, *grīmô, grime, grimace, and grimoire (maybe). —Globins 02:20, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

The articles grime and grim give different roots, so for masked there is also "grimmr", grimace to compare. I would compare "grammar" (from graph, cf. scrape, scratch, carve, etc.), too. If graph is related to gram-, the perhaps scribe is a hint at grim- in a similar meaning? Thoth, an Egyptian diety of death, was pictured as a scribe along with the "book of death", after all. At least, Terry Prattchett picked that up in his stories with "Death", but I don't know whether that's in direct analogy to egyptian mystics (as with the "Ankh" lending it's name to a city) or just indirectly, mediated by Old or Middle English folklore. Rhyminreason (talk) 14:32, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
PS: Your quote seems to attribute Shakespear to the 10th centuty, confusingly.
PPS: G-Books won't be much help for "Old English", if you search with the "english" setting. also consider pseudo latin for mystic texts (as if to appear ancient, or international). Anyway, it only goes back to 1500. For such early dates, the database is highly likely severely incomplete, I guess. Rhyminreason (talk) 14:39, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
In the quote I was showing the line numbers of the poem, not the years. Also, I did some more research, and I found out that Shakespeare used the phrase "grim death" in The Taming of the Shrew ("Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image"), Edward III ("...Nor half a halfpenny to shun grim death"), and King Lear ("And pale grim death doth wait upon my steps"), which suggests that the expression probably already existed at the time. These probably use the "fierce/cruel" sense of "grim." I also found one source that claims that Shakespeare coined "grim death." I looked through the Old English text of Beowulf and found many uses of "grim" (as well as grima) but none of them mentioned death, so I think it's reasonable to assume that "grim death" wasn't used until Middle English at the earliest, but at the latest some time before Shakespeare. —Globins 02:47, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
I found a relevant quote from earlier than Shakespear:
  • "Grimmiger tilger aller lande, schedlicher echter aller werlte, freissamer morder aller guten leute, ir Tot, euch sei verfluchet!" (author unknown - Der Ackermann aus Böhmen. early 15th century)
Cf. grimmig, tilgen and Tod.
There's an english wikipedia article, the german one has the quote ([de], [en]).
Considering Beowulf, could gren- become grim in ME by sound laws? Following one theory on the etymology of w:Grendel, Grinning Death would be relevant considering the ambiguous nature of the vanitas symbolism.
Also ambiguous, an Ackermann (acres man) uses a scythe. Rhyminreason (talk) 17:39, 19 April 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 04:44, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

@Poketalker, Eirikr. —Suzukaze-c 05:38, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
Looks like Carl Daniels entered the original incorrect etymology more than 11 years ago, likely based on a naive analysis of the spelling. A check of JA sources shows that the 足袋 spelling is wholly unrelated to the derivation.
I'll have a go at fixing the entry. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:42, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
By any chance, is there an early attestation of the "foot + bag" kanji spelling? ~ POKéTalker (ŦC) 21:42, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
If the Japanese Britannica is anything to go by, regulations arose during the late Ashikaga period (late 1200s, early 1300s) on when people could wear tabi, but it's not clear to me if that entry's mention of 足袋御免 (tabi gomen, literally tabi permission) is a spelling from that period.
Searching the online corpus provided by the University of Virginia, the earliest I found was in 好色五人女 (Kōshoku Gonin Onna, “Five Lustful Women”), apparently dating originally to 1686.
According to the JA WP article, the 足袋 spelling appears in the 11th century, but the text explains that the reading at that time is uncertain. There also aren't any sources listed, so I cannot evaluate the claim myself. I therefore chose to omit this from our entry. If you can find a source, feel free to add the information. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:48, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

米國, 米国[edit]

RFV of the etymology. It seems it is firstly used in Illustrated Treatise on the Maritime Kingdoms, see [4].--Zcreator alt (talk) 11:01, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

Ugh. Our existing dubious derivation was added in June 2010 by Spencer.vdm (talkcontribs), who has a grand total of 45 Wikipedia edits, and three Wiktionary edits. Their last MediaWiki-site edit ever was the incorrect 米国 (Beikoku, USA) etymology.
@Zcreator alt, please update the relevant entries with the much-more-academic research you've found. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:59, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

Old French miracle[edit]

The etymology used to say "borrowed from Latin". I removed the word "borrowed", because I'm not sure how we know that. What would the outcome have been of an inherited Latin mīrāculum? Would it not have been the same? --WikiTiki89 13:35, 17 April 2018 (UTC)

Never mind. There was Old French mirail (see fr:mirail). --WikiTiki89 13:41, 17 April 2018 (UTC)

Hawaiian and Maori ū, Proto-Polynesian derivations[edit]

An anon recently changed the etymon at Hawaiian ū and Maori ū from Proto-Polynesian *huhu to Proto-Polynesian *susu. The Hawaiian entry at Wehewehe specifically gives the source as the former, with /h/ rather than /s/. Does anyone have access to other references that could elucidate which is correct, Wehewehe or the anon? For reference, it's clear from the text of the print dictionary that they're using PPN to mean "Proto-Polynesian". ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:46, 20 April 2018 (UTC)

Maybe @Metaknowledge might know something. --WikiTiki89 17:32, 20 April 2018 (UTC)
@Eirikr Thanks for the ping, Wikitiki. The anon is right, and Wehewehe is wrong. Never trust their PPn reconstructions; they reconstruct based solely on Hawaiian. In this case, *h and *s remain unmerged in Hawaiian, but because *h produces Ø, an exceptional deletion of either phoneme would make the Hawaiian evidence appear to support *h. There is no need to go down such a path, because we have other Polynesian languages that maintain them unmerged and do not undergo a deletion, like Samoan, which clearly points to *susu. That's just to show that internal evidence requires this — but the clincher is the outgroups (e.g. Malay susu), which then predict this from the higher-level reconstructions as well. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:51, 20 April 2018 (UTC)
Thank you. "they reconstruct based solely on Hawaiian" -- oofda, that's quite a flaw in methodology.
So if I've understood this correctly, any *huhu form is, at oldest, an Eastern Polynesian innovation? Or if Rapa Nui has /s/, then Central Eastern Polynesian? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:53, 20 April 2018 (UTC)
Rapa Nui does not have /s/ in this word. So yes, we could reconstruct an Eastern Polynesian *huhu, but I see it as being more parsimonious to posit an exceptional deletion in Eastern Polynesian. Either way, I suppose it deserves a mention in the entry. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:44, 20 April 2018 (UTC)
Thank you again. I realize I was unclear -- I wasn't advocating for an additional step in the etymology so much as just trying to increase my own understanding. That said, /s//∅/ obsolete or nonstandard characters (∅), invalid IPA characters (∅) seems a bit odd as a one-step phonetic development, whereas /s//h//∅/ obsolete or nonstandard characters (∅), invalid IPA characters (∅) makes more sense (to me, anyway), so perhaps there's value in adding something about that. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:25, 20 April 2018 (UTC)
There clearly has to be a separate *huhu stage; the question seems to be if this was regular development from *susu and later irregular deletion of the resulting new *h, or if there was first irregular Eastern Polynesian lenition and later regular deletion of old *h. (Even regular explanations would be theoretically possible — e.g. dissimilation to something like *suhu, then assimilation from that to *huhu; but that would require supporting data.) --Tropylium (talk) 11:50, 21 April 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

This is an essay, not an etymology, and an IP just removed the Sumerian part of it with an edit comment say it wasn't true. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:00, 20 April 2018 (UTC)

I've removed that first paragraph which wasn't even about the word. For the rest, @Vahagn Petrosyan? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 19:29, 20 April 2018 (UTC)
See Asatrian, page 22ff for the scholarly etymology. I am not willing to summarize it here myself. --Vahag (talk) 19:36, 20 April 2018 (UTC)
So, the claim is that in 600 CE "kwrt" designated nomads, or other social status, not ethnicity, and that term likely derived from a name of the Kyrtian, a tribe as far as I can tell, not from the Karduch. And beyond that, reconstruction was impossible.
Without reading its sources, the reason against a relation of "Kurd" to the Karduchoi would be that the Cyrtii are simply preferred (now I mixed upthe English and Greek designations, like the author did). Whether the designations could have a common origin is illusive, there and, I guess, in the other sources as well. The mentioned source, "Cambridge History of Iran .." (see Asatrian p. 25), holding on to the idea, if that's still the case, is enough reason to ask for caution. There's the general problem, that nomadic nature complicates the search sufficiently.
It's not clear, to me, why e.g. "kwrt" from 600 CE (cf. p. 23), if designating nomads, should not at the same time have ethnic connotations; After all, ethnicity is pretty hard to define. While the Iranians might have arrived later, that alone doesn't rule out ancestry of "(Indo European)" descent to the "Kyrtians, as well as the Karduchs" (p. 27). According to footnote 33, the author doesn't actually know what language they spoke, so the apparently different origin of the Proto-Kurdish dialects is fairly irrelevant. And that "the ethnonyms of these two people escape any interpretation on Indo-Europan (Iranian) linguistic grounds" is a fair warning, but hypothetical. On the other hand, if their original language is not known, a common origin can't be ruled out, once more.
Overall, a name as Origin is not satisfying, because that name then is still unexplained. What was that about Sumerian clay tablets, as per the first IP edit, which a second IP edit removed? w:Kurds even sources such a claim, but mentions that the link to the Kurds is not secure. More importantly, I find the link that was removed from our etymology to Sumerian "kur" as Mountain interesting, which we don't actually have there. Rhyminreason (talk) 23:54, 20 April 2018 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic *ulbanduz, *elpanduz (camel) and Gothic 𐌿𐌻𐌱𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌿𐍃 (ulbandus)[edit]

So *ulbanduz is a good morphological match for Gothic ulbandus, but not a single published source seems to even mention this as a possible PGmc form. (Re: sources I've found and used, see the references at 𐌿𐌻𐌱𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌿𐍃 (ulbandus) as well as Kroonen - who doesn't list any PGmc word for camel, it seems - and Köbler.) I've found the etymology of the Gothic word to be very uncertain and mired with problems (it isn't even claimed by all sources to be an inheritance from Proto-Germanic at all and literally every theory seems rather speculative in some way or another), so to keep the Proto-Germanic entry as it is (it seems so sure of itself! even without sources..!) may be a bit misleading. Should *ulbanduz be kept despite the lack of sources, and if so, should it be edited somehow to reflect its uncertain status? Beyond the Gothic word, I am not competent enough at historical linguistics to judge whether the other descendants listed at *ulbanduz might formally match that reconstruction.

The only PGmc reconstruction I've found is in Lehmann (and Köbler, who refers back to Lehmann), who claims *elpandus (= our *elpanduz, I guess?) as the Proto-Germanic etymon. Regrettably, that reconstruction doesn't really match the Gothic form at all (as others, e.g. Jaan Puhvel, have pointed out; see refs at the got. entry). It seems like *elpanduz could at most explain the West-Germanic forms. Should the entry have a {{lb|gem-pro|West-Germanic}} label? especially as we're claiming it derives from Late Latin!

Anyway, this has all been very confusing. What do y'all think? — Mnemosientje (t · c) 21:26, 20 April 2018 (UTC)

There’s some additional discussion that might be relevant on pages 13 and 20 in this paper, although I guess it mostly follows Puhvel. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 10:06, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

Roots meaning bend, "shelter"[edit]

I was just reading camp, campus, and Swe. kur and have to ask whether those are related by their roots, and if someone can please fix those, while we are at it. Not to mention that I'd like to know whether those roots could be related to "Kurd". Rhyminreason (talk) 23:57, 20 April 2018 (UTC)