Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2018/December

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Is this a calque from Chinese? DTLHS (talk) 20:16, 30 November 2018 (UTC)

Since energy transferability is completely different in Chinese, this blend is certainly not a calque. The combination energy transfer is pretty common and found already in 19th-century texts. Likewise for transferability of energy. For energy transferability we have to wait till the 20th century, still preceding the research reported on by Professor Guo and his group by a long time.  --Lambiam 19:22, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

grogram and grosgrain[edit]

Are these just doublets borrowed at different times? Some dicts suggest grogram came from gros-grain. Ultimateria (talk) 03:53, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

The dictionaries suggesting this include Wiktionary. For grogram the Online Etymology Dictionaty dates its use from the 1560s. I have no data on the appearance of the form grosgrain in English. Interestingly, French borrowed grogram (or grogran) back as gourgouran.  --Lambiam 05:32, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Le Trésor gives more specifically “since 1562” for grogram; Oxford Dictionaries gives “mid 19th century” for grosgrain.  --Lambiam 05:45, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

RFV: Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/wandijaną#Etymology[edit]

Is it correct mentioning Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/windaną insinuating it is the origin before the ultimate etym? Or their relationship is simply as cognates? Should we change the tree of *wendʰ- (to turn, wind, braid)? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 08:14, 5 December 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology (from Mainland Chinese). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 23:48, 5 December 2018 (UTC)


The etymology section strikes me as a bit lurid. As far as I can tell most sources state that the cakewalk dance was a post-Civil War dance that was popular after the Reconstruction, though one or two texts confusingly date it to the pre-Civil War slave plantations. There does seem to be consensus that it derived from a plantation dance; some sources state this dance was primarily a way to mock slaveowners, [1] another one that it was imposed by slaveowners but subverted by slaves. [2] ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 09:15, 6 December 2018 (UTC)

Obviously, the etymology section is not intended for a capsule encyclopedic article and should not be used for that. Something like “cake +‎ walk” should suffice. Points of view on who designed or organized cakewalks and who made a mockery of whom are best left to the article on Wikipedia. As to the various senses and their definitions, Collins has a countable sense of “a piece of music” for the musical sense, not the current uncountable “style of music”. I’m only familiar with Golliwogg’s Cakewalk, which is a specific piece of music.  --Lambiam 16:20, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
I utterly disagree. Etymologies absolutely can provide historical details. DTLHS (talk) 16:25, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm with DTLHS on this one. Most people don't care about the actual lexical, surface etymology. It's the historical circumstance that led to words being used in a certain way that are interesting. And even from a lexicographical point of view, it's not at all clear how the current meaning came from "cake" + "walk", so further explanation is necessary. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 16:43, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
There is a difference (or, at least, that is what I think) between providing historical details and including an encyclopedic article, although in abridged form. The current elaborate section fails to shed any light on the sense development from a dance requiring skill and often the subject of a contest – and so presenting a challenge – to something supposedly not presenting a challenge.  --Lambiam 21:59, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
@Lambiam Just edited the etymology. How do you feel about the current text and length? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 09:48, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
It is much improved. I have done some further copy editing, such as replacing the ambiguous term amusing by entertaining, and added some sentences on the sense development.  --Lambiam 11:02, 7 December 2018 (UTC)


  • Old English sēman (“to reconcile, bring an agreement”), Old English sōm (“agreement”).

Souldn't the relation between OE sēman and sōm be specified in the etymology of seem? As it is currently, related by a comma, one cannot infer what their relation is at all (By the way, I'm afraid this is a fault in the general writing style of this section in entries) --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:40, 6 December 2018 (UTC)

The relationship is that they have a common ancestor. It is probably better to write “cognate with” than “akin to”. Most of the etymology info in general is pilfered from various sources that are not always crystal clear about the relation between various forms. Since (unlike Wikipedia) we mostly do not cite our sources when it comes to etymology, it is not easy to check if perhaps the sources were clearer than what ended up here.  --Lambiam 16:32, 6 December 2018 (UTC)


Is the given etymology right/sourceable? Alexander Beider's Origins of Yiddish Dialects notes that Western Yiddish knoblikh (Birnbaum has the same word, written knoblix) and dialectal knoploch are "well correlated with various German dialectal phonetic forms related to NHG Knoblauch", and suggests that the form knobl used in Eastern Yiddish and some other dialects "may be due to hypercorrection: this ending was falsely interpreted as the diminutive plural suffix giving rise to a 'singular' knobl. It is unclear whether this change was internal to Jews, or influence by a similar phenomenon that took place in German dialects of Moravia, Austria and Swabia." (E.g. Swabian has a corresponding form Knobl.)
(Presenting a third possibility, Paul Wexler's Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish stars *knobloch as nonexistent and gives Knobel and Knöbel and "Austrian G knofe 'garlic'" as the Yiddish word's German cognates, but he seems to be mistaken; the Duden relates Knobel to Knöchel, and Knofi is only a diminutive which, like Knof(e)l, ultimately derives from the same source as Knoblauch.)
- -sche (discuss) 21:57, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

To make this even stranger, the entry on German Knoblauch states that the initial kn- arose by dissimilation from kl-, and that the Knob component is cognate with English clove. Knoblauch would then originally literally have meant something like “cloven onion”. Moreover, the same kl-kn- switch is said to have applied to German Knopf. That is incompatible with having Proto-Germanic *knuppô as ancestor, something stated both at קנאָבל(knobl) and Knopf. I find back-formation from (a variant of) Knoblauch more plausible than the presently given etymology.  --Lambiam 00:55, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
Looks like I added this one, but I don't know what my source was, so I'd go with Beider; he's not always right, but he's careful, whereas Wexler is insane. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:27, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

aju/eju/ejò/àju (mother)[edit]

Italian Walser terms meaning "mother" (not "mom"). Can't find any cognates. Is this just recently-developed nursery language? Or does it descend from some earlier root? Note that möter, muater, and mamma are also attested in these dialects, i.e. aju/eju/ejò/àju aren't the sole terms for "mother". — Julia 02:12, 10 December 2018 (UTC)

Many, many languages around the world have a word like /aja/ for maternal figures, either as an ordinary noun (like “mother”, “grandmother”) or as an endearing term (like “nana”), so yes, it can be considered a lallwort. There appears not to be any Indo-European etymology. The closest I can find is Proto-Germanic *aiþī(n)- ~ *aiþōn- (mother) (cf. Lubotsky 2013), which I don't think is a plausible ancestor for your words, related or not. I would leave their etymologies blank for now; otherwise just call them nursery language / lallworts or say “Unknown.”.  — J​as​p​e​t 01:28, 14 December 2018 (UTC)


Currently swap is divided into Etymology 1 (inherited from Middle English) for the verb, and a request for a separate Etymology 2 for the noun. But according to the OED, both the noun and the verb (as well as a dialectal adverb) come from the same source, Middle English swappe, swappen, with earlier origins "probably echoic" (of striking a blow). Etymonline says the noun came from the verb c. 1620, but OED has citations for the noun in Middle English a. 1400. Are there other sources that suggest separate etymologies? @Rua, DCDuring. Cnilep (talk) 02:47, 10 December 2018 (UTC)

I have nothing to add, except to observe that it is not unusual to have two etymologies for homonym noun-verb pair with ME derivation, because ME or OE may also have had cognate noun-verb pairs. But apparently there is no evidence of such a pair in this case. DCDuring (talk) 04:23, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
I've moved all the Noun senses derived from the verb to Etymology 1, leaving only the obsolete noun sense inherited from Middle English in Etymology 2. Leasnam (talk) 06:08, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Given what Cnilep found, it's not appropriate to have the same etymology for both. I've unmerged them. —Rua (mew) 11:57, 10 December 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. A Manual for Parthian (Arsacid Pahlavi) [in Persian ], Hassan Rezai Baghbidi, PhD. Qoqnus pub. P:199 [pwsg /pusag~pūsag/ : Flowered crown , diadem ] —This unsigned comment was added by Ariamihr (talkcontribs) at 17:05, 10 December 2018 (UTC).

This is probably in response to my rfv-etymology at Persian بساک(basâk). Can Middle Iranian *pusak give Persian بساک(basâk)? @Calak, Victar, ZxxZxxZ. --Vahag (talk) 17:56, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
@Vahagn Petrosyan:, I don't know much about b/p variation in modern Persian, but the etymology, which I cleaned up, is pretty solid. @Ariamihr, please don't reconstruct generic MIr forms like you did. There is a reason we don't allow for MIr lemmas. --{{victar|talk}} 18:52, 10 December 2018 (UTC)

perish the thought[edit]

Is the etymology correct? Isn't it simply a subjunctive with a postposed subject, as in far be it? @Leasnam, Equinox, DCDuring Per utramque cavernam 20:54, 10 December 2018 (UTC)

I think it is off. “The thought” is the subject, not the object, just like “the king” in “long live the king”. The whole is a wish, not a command (addressed to whom?).  --Lambiam 21:03, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Oxford Dictionaries online lists the phrase as an example of a set phrase that contains a subjunctive. Here is one more example of a set phrase where the subject follows the verb: be that as it may.  --Lambiam 21:15, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Indeed, thank you. I was looking for more examples of that. Per utramque cavernam 21:30, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
"Let not my sins perish your noble youth." - Beaumont and Fletcher. The Maid's Tragedy (c. 1609) is an example of the obsolete transitive perish. See perish in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911. DCDuring (talk) 21:37, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Whether it is an order or a wish is not determined by the grammar, but by the context, certainly now that it is a set phrase. DCDuring (talk) 21:37, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. But how can we use the fact that we are dealing with a set phrase to determine its intended parsing, as a wish or as a command? Let us examine what books on English idiom have to say.
Now the issue cannot be settled by an appeal to authority, but no source that I have seen even considers the possibility that we are dealing with an order. While not strictly impossible, it seems somewhat implausible. For that to make sense, the person uttering the command has to be addressing themselves, like in a soliloquy.
The first recorded appearance seems to be in the libretto of Handel’s Joshua, Part II, Scene VI. Caleb is speaking to Othniel, a young warrior betrothed to Caleb’s daughter: “Firm to our Faith, it never ſhall be ſaid, That our Allies, in vain implor’d our Aid.” Othniel responds: “Periſh the Thought ! while Honour hath a Name, Iſrael’s, or Gibeon’s Cauſe is ſtill the ſame.” In theory, Othniel could be issuing a command to Caleb, but that does not accord with their relative status. The last recorded use of obsolete transitive perish is from 1619, while Joshua is from 1747. Of course, the phrase may already have been set idiom when it was penned there; there is no reason to think it was coined by Thomas Morell, the librettist. All considered, I have not seen an argument for preferring the parsing of the verb form as a transitive imperative over an intransitive subjunctive.  --Lambiam 09:39, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
I am curious how you determined that the usages you quote were last and first, respectively.
I don't think the two parsings are the only possibilities. It can be either imperative or subjunctive with either a transitive or intransitive verb. The absence of inflection or other marking makes it impossible to determine. Semantically, there is little distinction to be made in the interpretation. The part that I find implausible is the inverted word order required for the intransitive. I don't find any semantic reason to prefer subjunctive over imperative. A synonymous 20th century idiom often in imperative form is "Put that thought right out of your head." DCDuring (talk) 15:40, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
It is generally impossible to ascertain with absolute certainty whether a given instance of recorded use is the first or last; there is always the possibility of a perfect instance hidden in a forgotten file in the Vatican Library, patiently waiting to be discovered. But I imagine that Mrs. Whitney and Smith, had they known of a later instance of use of obsolete transitive perish, would have recorded that instead of, or supplementary to, the one from The Maid’s Tragedy. I have interpreted the statement that this phrase “appeared” in Handel's Joshua as meaning that this was the first known appearance. Perhaps that was not what was meant; since my argument does not rely on this – I wrote that the phrase may already have been set idiom at the time – it is of no consequence to the conclusions.
I don’t quite see how we can have a parsing in which the verb is an imperative for an intransitive sense. What is the grammatical role of the thought in this parsing? It cannot be a subject, since the English imperative only allows an (optional) second-person pronoun as subject. It cannot be an object, since the verb is intransitive. I also have a problem seeing how we can have a subjunctive with a transitive verb. The subject role can only be taken by the thought, as there are no other constituents around. Substituting may destroy for subjunctive transitive perish, we get “May the thought destroy”. That does not feel right.
Above I have given several examples of VS order for the subjunctive. Some more examples: come what may; suffice it to say; so help me God.
Take a passage like this about the hunt for the Higgs boson: “In all cases, agreement would be a confirmation that the Standard Model worked in a new process, and a disagreement would mean either that the Standard Model was wrong or that there was a mistake in the calculation or (perish the thought) in our measurement.” The sense here, and in most cases, appears to be, ”A truly horrible idea!”, with the subtext that one believes it not to be so, but cannot completely rule out the possibility; hence, the aspect of hope. If we try to interpret it as a command, the question is to whom the command is addressed. Who is being ordered to bring the thought to eternal rest? In many cases, as in the Higgs boson example, the context is not a dialogue; there is no you there.  --Lambiam 21:09, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
It can be imperative or subjunctive. To me, the subjunctive seems a better fit ("[Let] perish, the thought" "Let the thought be done away with"). Either way, this construction has led to a lot of re-analysis and it's certainly interpreted now as either subjunctive (rarely by those who know), and imperative, and transitive (see here [3]). How then is the etymology wrong ? It states that it likely began as a subjunctive and morphed into other things Leasnam (talk) 23:59, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
The etymology does not state that it likely began as a subjunctive. It conjectures that the (obsolete) transitive sense of perish arose from an incorrect analysis of its role in set phrases in which the word was the subjunctive of the usual intransitive sense. It also states that the phrase is from the transitive sense – all without evidence. Curiously enough, if the example set phrase of the conjectural misunderstanding is taken as not a mere possibility but as something actually likely, we are presented with the following development:
perish (subjunctive intransitive) the thought (subject) by misunderstanding perish (imperative transitive) the thought (object) modern reanalysis perish (subjunctive intransitive) the thought (subject).
Really?  --Lambiam 08:59, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
No. The imperative is not intermediate (it does not lead to the Transitive). It likely goes as follows: (Subjunctive) to (Transitive and Imperative), with Imperative being the imperative of the Transitive. Leasnam (talk) 04:17, 16 December 2018 (UTC)


I'm wondering if the Hawaiian word hikina is a combination of the verb hiki (to arrive) and the suffix -na. Any thoughts on this? --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 17:04, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

@Lo Ximiendo: Your wondering is correct, from what I've been able to find. :) I've updated the entry. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:11, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
@Eirikr Thanks, Eiríkr Útlendi; that wehewehe website looks pretty interesting. --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 02:15, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
@Lo Ximiendo: I've found it quite helpful for exploring Hawaiian terms. I hope you also find it useful.
Incidentally, do you know much about {{haw-IPA}}? I'm curious if it's ever used outside of ===Pronunciation=== sections. If not, may as well include the bullet point in the template's output, no? Much like what {{ja-pron}} already outputs.
Also, do you have any idea why it's outputting [t] as equivalent to /k/? As far as I've studied, that only applies to certain terms in Kaua'i dialect.
Cheers, ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 08:03, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
@Eirikr, Lo Ximiendo: I'm a little concerned about whether {{haw-IPA}} is ready for primetime, to be honest. I think we should avoid using it until someone can do a careful check of its output against a scholarly reference for Hawaiian phonology, and we might be better off not generating a narrow transcription at all, given how fraught it is. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:02, 14 December 2018 (UTC)


A user on the talk page quite reasonably asks for evidence that this is Celtic and not just a dialectal variant of mom~mum. - -sche (discuss) 18:13, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

If there is evidence for Proto-Brythonic *mamm, the answer should be affirmative, at least for Welsh, but it would strengthen the case for Irish too. So where did this proclaimed etymology come from? @Anglom?  --Lambiam 19:17, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
Good point: if it's used in places where the local non-English language also uses mam, we could perhaps still say "Possibly reinforced by...", even if it's also possibly just a natural development from baby-talk, as Chuck points out it might be. - -sche (discuss) 06:39, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
I think you're slightly misinterpreting what they said. In a way, words like mama are a sort of onomatopoeia: they represent what babies tend to utter in the earlier stages of their speech development. Although these words can be affected by sound changes over time, they also tend to reemerge in their original form from time to time. See, for instance Proto-Indo-European *ph₂tḗr, which changed to Proto-Germanic *fadēr, and eventually ended up as English father- but now coexists with pa and papa.
If I understand User:Luxipa's argument, the point is that these forms in different dialects are what you get when you filter the sounds produced by the babies through the phonotactics of the dialects. In other words, it's not that the word has undergone historic sound change as the dialects have developed from older stages of the language, it's that the language-independent sounds of baby talk have been repeated by people with different accents. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:51, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I think that's what I mean. Babies all around the world seem to say [mä, mäm, mämä]; even though there may be some variation. Now my point is that when you try approach this baby utterance in the three dialects (North America, southern England, northern England), "mom" vs. "mum" vs. "mam" is exactly what you would get. In North America, short "o" is open, unrounded, and even often centralised, whereas short "u" is rather closed. In northern England "o" is rounded and too closed, but short "u" fits well. Southern English also has a rounded "o" while "u" is [ʊ], so they chose "mam". I don't have any further insights into the question, it's just that this pattern doesn't seem arbitrary. Luxipa (talk) 10:24, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

सूनु (Etymology 2)[edit]

The second etymology of Sanskrit सूनु (sūnu) derives it from सूते (√sū, to beget, produce, yield) and lists the definition “one who presses out or extracts the soma-juice”. This √sū is clearly a descendant of PIE *sewH- (to give birth), but I noticed that its descendant meaning of “to extract a juice” in Sanskrit is semantically much closer to *sew- (to pour), which is considered a distinct (though probably related) root from *sewH- mainly because it does not appear to contain a laryngeal. The lengthening in सूनु (sūnú) most likely points to a laryngeal, so it'd be hard to argue a derivation from *sew- rather than *sewH- despite the apparent semantic difference. Luckily, *sewh₂- (to pour out, rain, press out, extract) is mentioned here and covers the meaning of “to squeeze out” far better than what *sewH- is given credit for (namely just “to give birth”), so it appears to be the best candidate for the origin of सूते (√sū), and on the surface it seems identical to the entry listed currently as *sewH-. However, there is still a problem: *sewH- is reconstructed as either *sewh₁- or *sewh₃-, but not *sewh₂-. Therefore, assuming the aforementioned reconstructions are correct, they cannot be merged into one etymology, unless the laryngeals here are two separate extensions (*-h₂ and *-h₃?) of an original *sew-. This is what I now suspect to be the case, albeit hesitantly.

(Probably also related are Sanskrit सुनोति (sunóti, to press out, extract), Proto-Slavic *sunǫti (to thrust, shove) (note the meaning “to pour out” in several descendants), Sanskrit सुवति (suváti, to set in motion, create (etc.)), and PS *sovati (to shove) (related to the aforementioned *sunǫti via Proto-Balto-Slavic *śūˀ- ~ *śauˀ-) — are these from *sew-, *sewH-, or both? If *sewH-, it would appear to support an original meaning of “to eject” as well as “to produce, give birth” for this root.)

Anyway, I apologize for the somewhat protracted post. I'm still not sure what to do about the original subject of my inquiry, the second etymology of सूनु (sūnu). I've checked several etymological dictionaries, none of which list a gloss like “one who extracts soma” for the word (e.g. here and here (p. 1118, top of column 2)). I am exhausted and any input would be appreciated.  — J​as​p​e​t 01:02, 14 December 2018 (UTC)


Quite an interesting character. I wonder how it came to be. Could it possibly be related to ? Johnny Shiz (talk) 00:46, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

They are in the same phonetic series (according to Zhengzhang (2003), Old Chinese Phonology), with and as the other members. If the information given at is correct, this is ultimately based on the phonetic .  --Lambiam 05:16, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Judging from the ancient glyphs, it appears to be semantic and phonetic . Johnny Shiz (talk) 14:53, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
That is undoubtedly correct, but perhaps some of the characters that came to be used as a phonetic are historically compound themselves with a phonetic of their own – a phonetic of a phonetic, which then contributed indirectly to the phonetic aspect of the second generation of compound characters.  --Lambiam 17:37, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

口 means 'sounds like', ㄎ is used in texting and wechat to represent 'kekeke' or snickering, and 又 can mean 'again'[4]

read together it comes across something like 'the word for again that sounds like ke' Longpinkytoes (talk) 14:58, 5 January 2019 (UTC)


Apparently, semantic + phonetic ? Johnny Shiz (talk) 01:33, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Again, see Wiktionary:About Chinese/phonetic series 2.  --Lambiam 07:12, 17 December 2018 (UTC)


Wikipedia says that this landmine is named for the sword claymore. Can someone source it if it's true? Ultimateria (talk) 19:29, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

This result on Google Books seems to confirm it. However, if I judge this book by its cover (and title), this information could have been ripped straight from the Wikipedia page, which had this information before the book was published. —Globins 03:03, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
The word “Trivia” in the book’s title does not do justice to the depth of information, which goes far beyond that found in the Wikipedia article – at least for the text in the section “Where did the idea for the CLAYMORE MINE come from?”. It cannot have been ripped large-scale from Wikipedia. Nevertheless, it is possible that the specific snippet of etymology, that the mine was named after the Scottish sword, was copied from Wikipedia. While not conclusive, two things make this look less plausible in my eyes. First, Wikipedia spells the Gaelic name as claidheamh-mòr, with a hyphen, where the book has claidheamh mor, spelled as two separate words. If that info had been copied, you’d expect the hyphen to have been copied along. Second, author Rottman offers an explanation why MacLeod chose this name, entirely absent from Wikipedia, namely that both weapons cut a wide swath through the enemy.  --Lambiam 08:17, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
Can we cite Google Books previews? I'm not sure it's enough evidence anyway. Ultimateria (talk) 02:50, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
Rottman's "wide swath" smells like folk etymology, though inventor MacLeod's (now deceased) use of the word claymore seems very plausible. DCDuring (talk) 13:23, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
Following Merriam-Webster's lead, I've added the inconclusive "possibly named for the sword claymore". Ultimateria (talk) 17:47, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

yellowhammer and ammer[edit]

Yellowhammer's etymology (yellow +‎ ammer) and the etymology of ammer (from the second part of yellow-ammer, a variant of yellowhammer) are circular. Merriam-Webster gives an entirely different explanation, deriving it from Old English yelambre, which seems better than either one we have. —Globins 23:52, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

You misread it: yelambre is early Modern English (that spelling would be impossible for Old English, since y was like German ü), and the Middle English *yelwambre and *ambre are unattested. It's not significantly different from our current etymology when it comes to the Old English. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:59, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
Oops. I'll add that to the etymology on the page. —Globins 02:09, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm kind of reluctant to change the listed etymology on ammer because of how detailed it is. There is a source, although the link is broken. Can anyone confirm any of the information it gives? —Globins 02:50, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
There is a related term in Old English: clodhamer (probably the "fieldfare"), whose second element is the "hammer" of 'yellowhammer'--the same word as amore (a.k.a. emer, omer), so the addition of the h may be much older, originating in Old English times and surviving unrecorded till Modern times. I'm not too sure about the alleged shout-out to the German term as the reason why ammer is more "favored"...Leasnam (talk) 17:43, 25 December 2018 (UTC)

Cambalala and rambarara[edit]

I've been wondering if Zulu cambalala and Kinyarwanda rambarara could be related. They have a similar meaning and the sounds show the proper correspondences other than the click in the Zulu word (but historically clicks were added to much of Zulu vocabulary). I'll probably go check some more dictionaries and try to find more cognates, but this is just something interesting I wanted to bring up. Smashhoof2 (talk) 22:49, 17 December 2018 (UTC)


I just protected this due to an edit warring brewing up here over whether this word is originally Slavic (a source for which is given) or not. I'm not an expert on Albanian etymology by any means, so this probably needs more attention from someone more experienced in that field. — surjection?〉 19:09, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

I'd appease him and have both etymologies. The user doesn't seem to be of a crazy nationalist type, he wrote some etymologies that derive Albanian words from Slavic or Latin. Crom daba (talk) 23:15, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Based on the IP's comments here, the IP (who is against the Slavic etymology) seems a bit crazy at least (if the comments are translated correctly); comments about how the "PIE hypothesis" is wrong and how Orel was supposedly paid by the Yugoslavs to claim every word came from Slavic etc. — surjection?〉 08:52, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I've misread the history, IP does seem to be crazy. For what it's worth, the Slavic etymology is also supported by Orel. Crom daba (talk) 10:49, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
Looks a lot like Nemzag,who normally geolocates to Belgium- perhaps they're going to school in Germany? Chuck Entz (talk) 14:54, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
If lëndinë means “land” and ultimately comes from a PIE word meaning “land” (whence also English land), it seems somewhat implausible to me that it is a derived term of a word lëndë meaning “matter, substance, timber”. I get confused. What is health grass?? English land is stated to come from Proto-Indo-European *lendʰ-, which is said to mean “land, heath”. But the entry for *lendʰ- gives its meaning as “loins” and does not list land as a descendant. Independent from the question regarding lëndinë, something is wrong there.  --Lambiam 07:25, 19 December 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the Finnish etymology. All languages on this page derive ananas ("pineapple") from the name of the fruit except Finnish, which supposedly takes it from the taxonomic name. This seems unlikely in my opinion (which isn't worth much because I don't know much about Finnish). —Globins 21:38, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

I don't think the etymology should be any different from those of other European languages, albeit I don't know the exact languages the word visited in-between, but it's ultimately from that same Tupi word through either Spanish or Portuguese. — surjection?〉 21:47, 18 December 2018 (UTC)


The etymology is, whenever given, usually seen as from Dutch spook, but the vocalism is somewhat odd; the expected outcome would be *spo(w)ku. Would a borrowing or influence from German Spuk (e.g. via Moravian missionaries) be preferable? (English spook isn't a very likely origin or influence, as it wasn't common in the early 19th century and spoekoe was already used in a Sranan text from the 1840s.) ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 09:57, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

Also, English effectively already ceased to influence the Sranan lexicon in the second half of the 17th century, when the colony moved from British to Dutch hands. Only after WWII do we see a new influx of English terminology. Given that the word has a /uː/ vowel in both English and German, one may assume that they inherited this from a common ancestor, which perhaps also led to a descendant in Dutch with a /uː/ vowel, surviving in some dialect as a variant, next to the /oː/ of standard Dutch, and finding its way from there to Sranan. Of course, this is purely hypothetical, but afaik the influence from the Moravian mission on the lexicon has been almost negligeable.  --Lambiam 22:27, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
Apparently spoek (/spuək/) survives to this day in West Frisian as well as in Low German dialects spoken in the Netherlands.  --Lambiam 22:47, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
The etymology of spook itself is odd. If it indeed comes from a Germanic form with long ō, you'd expect it to be reflected with oe instead. Limburgish has spoeak, which reflects Middle Dutch sharp-long ôo, originating from Germanic au. —Rua (mew) 19:04, 25 December 2018 (UTC)
@Rua EWN says that Middle Dutch possibly borrowed it from Middle Low German, which has spōk and spūk, whereas NEW derives it from Proto-Germanic *spauka. The current etymology was given by an anonymous user. diff ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:37, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam A dialectal variant is possible, although spoek and spoeck seem to be very rare from the 16th century on, though it is used by Jan Vos and Jacob Campo Weyerman. Do you know anything on the dialect of Dutch speakers in colonial Suriname? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:40, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
@Lingo Bingo Dingo. I have no clear information on the dialect mix of Dutch speakers in early colonial Suriname. After Amsterdam, the strongest influence on the WIC and the Sociëteit van Suriname was from Zeeland, but this may not have been reflected in the composition of the settlers. Also, although most European settlers were of Dutch origin, they were a minority among the plantation owners; there were actually more German and (Portuguese-speaking) Jewish owners. It is generally assumed, in the absence of Portuguese, English or Dutch cognates, that Sranan Tongo bosi was borrowed from German Bussi. So perhaps spuku actually comes straight from German Spuk.  --Lambiam 19:43, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
Okay, I have made a borrowing from German the main etymology. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:41, 4 January 2019 (UTC)


The IP users and say (diff1, diff2) Punjabi ਮੈਂ (maẽ) is from Ancient Greek με (me). Seems highly dubious to me; I recall not many examples of pronouns being loaned, and the nasality isn't explained. Appendix:Indo-Aryan Swadesh lists gives the Hindi मैं (ma͠i), whose entry says the Punjabi is cognate. I'm not gonna edit war over this though because I'm not an Indo-Aryan expert. — Eru·tuon 10:57, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

The same character seems to be responsible for supposed Greek etymologies of ਮੂੰਹ (mū̃h), ਅਸੀਂ (asī̃) and اسیں(āsỹ). Given the daftness of the latter pair (how did the shift from 2 sg to 1 pl go?) those contributions are completely unreliable. I'd recommend to revert on sight. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:59, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
Also ਕਦੋਂ (kadõ), کدوں(kdṽ), ਕਦ (kad) and ਆਪ (āp) (and the fruitcake also edited ਇਹ (eh)). ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:06, 19 December 2018 (UTC)


Alemannic German word meaning "throat". Apparently cognate with German Rache, from Old High German rahho, hrahho. Normally initial "chr" in Alemannic indicates the OHG is "kr". I don't know much about sound change laws but I thought that initial Proto-Germanic /xr/ and /r/ both evolved into the same "r" sound in descendants (except for Icelandic). Is it possible that the initial /xr/ survived in this word? — Julia 23:33, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

The entry Chrache states that it is cognate with Rachen, which apparently stems from Proto-Indo-European *kreg- (to caw, crow). This might explain the Alemannic initial “chr”. If so, it is not cognate with Rache, stemming from Proto-Indo-European *wreg- (to drive).
That said, the entry Rachen also states it is from Middle High German rache, which in turn states it means “revenge”. One of these two must be wrong, but I don’t know which one.  --Lambiam 18:06, 20 December 2018 (UTC)


Is this related to ruleta? What is the connection with roulette if there is one? The RAE has no etymology. DTLHS (talk) 02:19, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

In a Google search for ruletero I find hits in which the word seems to be used as an adjective with a meaning like football (soccer) used as a modifier, as in equipo ruletero = football team. Both this and the noun are doubtlessly related to ruleta, but how? Perhaps it is metaphorical; for football, from how the ball is kicked around like the ball in a roulette, and for the cab driver, from how they cruise randomly around like a roulette ball, in search of clients.  --Lambiam 16:46, 20 December 2018 (UTC)


Is there really a suffix "-inal"? Ultimateria (talk) 02:40, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

The stem of Latin altitudo is altitudin- (as should be obvious from its declination), and English altitudinal is from Latin altitudinalis, from altitudin- +‎ -alis, just like Latin originalis is from origo with stem origin-.  --Lambiam 07:07, 20 December 2018 (UTC)


"Cognate with Proto-Slavic *radъ." Is this plausible? DTLHS (talk) 06:36, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

@DTLHS, I've updated the etymology of the Persian entry. I hope that helps to answer your question. --{{victar|talk}} 08:33, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

Setting Old Anatolian Turkish as an ancestor of Azerbaijani[edit]

Currently, Wiktionary uses a taxonomy according to which the nearest ancestor language of Azerbaijani is Proto-Oghuz. This is incorrect. The nearest ancestor of Azerbaijani is Old Anatolian Turkish, which is shared with Turkish and its intermediate form Ottoman Turkish. It is thought that Old Anatolian Turkish developed into (Old?) Azerbaijani and Ottoman towards the end of the XV-th century. The impracticality of the current taxonomy (besides its incorrectness) is that Azerbaijani etymologies cannot be linked to Old Anatolian Turkish using {{inh}}.


1. Glottologue uses a somewhat different taxonomy, which, however, also reflects the fact that Azerbaijani and Turkish shared a nod between diverging from Proto-Oghuz and evolving into different languages. Consider the following taxonomy (somewhat simplified):

  • Oghuz -> East Oghuz -> Turkmen;
  • Oghuz -> West Oghuz -> Azerbaijani, Gagauz, Rumelian Turkish, Turkish.
Thus, "West Oghuz" corresponds to Old Anatolian Turkish.

2. Citations in scholarly literature:

  1. Turan, Fikret (1998) Syntactic and Semantic Aspects of Postpositions in Old Anatolian Turkish, in Turcica (30), page 297:
    Old Anatolian Turkish shows a rich and curious class of postpositions which are essential for the understanding of overall syntax of pre-Ottoman Anatolian Turkish and its successor dialects such as Ottoman Turkish, modern Turkey Turkish and Azerbaijani Turkish.
  2. Yılmaz, N. Demir-Emine (2002), “Ottoman Turkish”, in The Turks, Part 3, Ankara 2002:, pages 853-867.
    In the Old Anatolian Turkish we are able to observe the development of kanı, kankı, and hangi in the modern Western Oguzca (Turkey Turkish), hansi in Azerbaijan Turkish, angı in Gagauz Turkish; on the other hand, in the Eastern Oguz Turkish (Turkmence) we can trace the development of haysı along with y.
  3. AZERBAIJAN viii. Azeri Turkish in Encyclopedia Iranica
    The early Azeri texts are a part of the Old Ottoman (=Old Anatolian Turkish) literature (the difference between Azeri and Turkish was then extremely small).
  4. Konur, E.(2015), Azerbaycan Türkçesinin Fonetik Özellikleri, İstanbul: Edebiyat ve Sanat Akademisi
    Eski Anadolu Türkçesi döneminde Azerbaycan Türkçesinin ayrı bir yazı dili hâlinde teşekkül etmediği fakat Azeri ağzının kısmî özelliklerinin çeşitli eserlerde yer aldığı müşahede edilmektedir.
    translation: It is observed that during the period of Old Anatolian Turkish, Azerbaijani Turkish did not exist as a separate written language but the partial features of the Azeri dialect were included in various works.
  5. Akar, Ali (2014) Eski Anadolu Türkçesi Ders Notlar,
    Eski Anadolu Türkçesinin dil özelliklerine bakıldığında Hazar ötesinde konuşulan Oğuz-Türkmen ağız özellikleri ile Anadolu’da oluşturulan yeni yapıların bir sentezi çıkar arşımıza. Bu dilin uzantılarına günümüzdeki konuşma dillerinde, ağızlarında rastlarız. Bu dil, Anadolu, Azerbaycan, Suriye ve Irak’ı kapsayan geniş bir alanda yazılmış ve konuşulmuştur.
    translation: When we look at the language features of Old Anatolian Turkish, we find a synthesis of the new structures created in Anatolia with the Oghuz-Turkmen dialectal features, which are spoken on the other side of the Caspian Sea. We come across the continuation of this language in spoken languages and dialects of today. This language has been written and spoken in a wide area covering Anatolia, Azerbaijan, Syria and Iraq.
  6. Гузеев, В.Г. (1979) Староосманский язык [Old Ottoman (=Old Anatolian Turkish) Language], Москва: "Наука"., page 14:
    Язык памятников, созданных в восточной части Анатолии, обнаруживает черты, сближающие его с современным азербайджанским языком
    translation: The language of the texts written in eastern Anatolia demonstrates features bringing it together with the contemporary Azerbaijani language.

Considering this, I propose to set Old Anatolian Turkish as an ancestor language of Azerbaijani. Allahverdi Verdizade (talk) 18:33, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support I don't know much about this, but the literature snippets are convincing. Crom daba (talk) 12:18, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
It’s not my area of expertise, but I too find the citations, from appropriately diverse sources, convincing.  --Lambiam 18:36, 24 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. (If anyone disagrees, please speak up...) - -sche (discuss) 23:42, 26 December 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology:

From *bʰiH-ti̯o, from *bʰiH-.

the given etymology above is not referenced, the ESSJa says that it is from *biti + *-čь.

ESSJa is correct, *ti̯V cannot produce *č (and why would we even want to project this to PIE?). Crom daba (talk) 15:32, 29 December 2018 (UTC)


Doke says that this noun is derived from the verb nqaba. However, the UCLA Phonetics Archive has a page (http://archive.phonetics.ucla.edu/Language/XHO/xho_word-list_0000_01.html) which suggests that the origin of the same word in Xhosa is Nama ǂhâb "cliff". This complicates the origin of this word because it seems unlikely that the verb is derived from the noun (but I wouldn't rule it out). It's also possible the verb and the noun are unrelated. --Smashhoof2 (talk) 20:42, 26 December 2018 (UTC)

Every now and then what seems to be one word with different senses is actually a set of true homonyms with different etymologies. Is it possible that sense 1 (fortress) is from Nama and the other senses from the verb?  --Lambiam 21:00, 26 December 2018 (UTC)


Has it really entered Greek through French? The etymology could sure use some clarifying. --Robbie SWE (talk) 18:01, 28 December 2018 (UTC)

Why do you find that hard to believe? DTLHS (talk) 18:02, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
It happens often. Ancient Greek *νοσταλγία (*nostalgía) is unattested; the term was coined (1678) in Scientific Latin from Greek roots, borrowed in French, then went from French to Modern Greek. Per utramque cavernam 18:12, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
Personally, I don't find it hard to believe at all. I just wanted to grant the anon who deleted it, the benefit of the doubt. Nonetheless, any additional explanation and/or source could help make the etymology perfectly clear. --Robbie SWE (talk) 18:35, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
I guess the English etymology needs improvement. DTLHS (talk) 18:37, 28 December 2018 (UTC)

შიგ აქვს[edit]

The expression შიგ აქვს (https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%83%A8%E1%83%98%E1%83%92_%E1%83%90%E1%83%A5%E1%83%95%E1%83%A1), or equivalent შიგა აქვს (pronounced šiga akvs) are widely used in Georgian slang to say that someone is insane/crazy/nuts or is acting in an illogical, insane way.

The literal translation of the expression is "he/she/it has it/something inside" or "he/she/it has shig/shiga". Most Georgians, if asked, will say that it refers to having a penis inside a vagina or anus. It is unclear why having a penis inside a vagina or anus might be associated with reduced mental capacity.

However, another version of the expression's origin is that it is derived from the hebrew word שִׁיגַּע‎ (shigá, “drive mad”). Most likely it was introduced by Georgian Jews, many of whom spoke a dialect of Georgian called Qivruli, aka. Judeo-Georgian, which was mutually intelligible with Georgian but included a large amount of Aramaic and Hebrew words - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaeo-Georgian. Not surprisingly, Georgian slang still employs some words with hebrew origin, for example, "goiym" is very common in Georgian informal speech and means someone with an inferior sense of taste and style.

Notably, the word meshugge (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/meshugge) that is commonly used in English is also derived from שִׁיגַּע‎ (shigá).

To the best of my knowledge, this version of the etymology of შიგა აქ which obviously makes more sense than the penis version has not received due attention from the public or the academia, so it would be great if the linguistics enthusiasts here would consider it. —This unsigned comment was added by Shota59 (talkcontribs).

I have removed the part that referred to penis. The arguments are convincing - Georgian slang does have some words from Hebrew (ნაშა (naša), ბაითი (baiti)) but I am not sure. Why would აქვს (akvs, to have) be in the phrase rather than არის (aris, to be) but hey it could have been misinterpreted even in the early days. Dixtosa (talk) 20:05, 30 December 2018 (UTC)

Honestly I think both versions should be there, instead of none, to paint a full picture. However I don't know the rules of this platform, so if printed sources are a strict must, then probably you're right to remove the common version in case there's no written source for it.

An obvious interpretation is that it refers to having something in one's head, the vulgarity developing from the offense meant and a phantom etymology with penises and anuses was devised to explain the inherent vulgarity. Crom daba (talk) 00:12, 31 December 2018 (UTC)
In most places it is more of an insult to tell someone they are empty-headed (compare Italian testa vuota, Dutch leeghoofd, Finnish tyhjäpää and Spanish cabeza hueca). Are Georgians an exception to that rule?  --Lambiam 07:53, 31 December 2018 (UTC)
If I'm reading the usage note correctly, it is used interrogatively 'Do you have it [brains] inside [your head]?', I don't speak Georgian or even know much about it, but this seems like a common pattern for offensive questions. Crom daba (talk) 13:55, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
Technically it is a question but in fact it is a rhetorical question (I'm a native speaker of Georgian). A better translation would be: "You have it inside, don't you?" suggesting that one indeed has it inside, or at least has been behaving in a way that would suggest that they have "it" inside. Having it inside would imply being stupid and insane, while not having it would imply being sane. This is precisely why I think the Judeo-Georgian explanation makes more sense because it is hard to understand why having something (a penis as every native speaker would tell you) might be associated with stupidity or insanity. This expression is very unlikely to be about having a brain inside one's head because the intonation and the wording suggest that "it" usually is not inside, and having it inside is an extraordinary condition rather than the usual one.
Yeah, this information makes my theory unlikely. Crom daba (talk) 02:44, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
P. s. sign your posts with four tildes (~) please.

First time I hear it has anything to do with the head.


this source [5] has the word listed in a regular dictionary, not one dedicated exclusively to nautical terms, in the year 1819. this distinction being made since dictionaries of industry-specific jargon could be seen to be more lenient where the jargon could be mistaken for obscene language. this page [6] doesn't give a date for the earliest use, but implies the word wasn't considered obscene prior to around 1700. this could mean that the word simply meant 'cleft' until it became widespread as a nickname for human anatomy (being used as a nickname for other anatomy seems to bolster this idea)

the presence of ropes large enough to be made of smaller ropes, and thus have clefts that needed naming, should date back to 1571–1862 [7] and when da Vinci (1452-1519)[8] draughted a design for a rope making machine [9] in the late 15th century he plausibly desired to automate a practice that was already commonplace, yet arduous, during his lifetime.

if the naming of the part of a rope was inspired by the nickname for human anatomy, then large ropes should first appear after the word became obscene (1700), or the term should disappear from dictionaries prior to the Age of Sail (1571), yet neither of these are the case.

tl;dr: there is a 129 year gap from the beginning of the Age of Sail (and the existence of large ropes), that the 'c' word was not yet being used in a context considered obscene, and a 119 year grace period after the 'c' word became obscene that 'cuntline' still appeared in mainstream dictionaries in print.

all of this to say: if 'cuntline' seems to have been given a grandfather clause when the first syllable became obscene, perhaps there is an obvious, and good reason for this. Longpinkytoes (talk) 16:14, 5 January 2019 (UTC)