The study of the history of words including their origins and the changes they've undergone through time.

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1answer
44 views

Do “shew” and “eschew” come from the same root?

If so, are they antonyms or did one undergo a lexical shift to become the other? Also, is the /es-/ prefix used as a negator in any other English words, or is this case an exception?
2
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2answers
72 views

Are There Ancient Greek Words Descended From Sumerian?

Does the lexicon of Ancient Greek contain words believed to be of Sumerian origin? If so, can some estimate of their number be provided? Thanks
3
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1answer
52 views

The semantical change of сарай - “saráj” (rus., ukr.) vs. sister and donor languages: pl. 'seraj', srb-cro. 'saraj'

Much like (eng.) saray, the words derive themselves from Ottoman Turkish latinized: saray ("palace", "mansion", "castle"), which itself is derived from Persian سرای ("hall", "dwelling", "mansion", ...
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1answer
77 views

Did 'the' in 'the which' mean anything?

I was advised to repost my original ELU question here. Did 'the' mean anything in the which, compared with the relative pronoun which? OED's entries for the which only redirect to definitions of ...
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0answers
14 views

What underlying semantic notions connect 'comeback' to 'joining' or 'restarting'?

[ repartee (n.) : ] 1640s, "quick remark," from French repartie "an answering blow or thrust" (originally a fencing term), noun use of fem. past participle of Old French repartir [See ...
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1answer
56 views

What can be said about the evolution of syllable stress in related languages?

Remembering a Czech song I once learnt I remembered a short Czech crash course I had and the teacher who said: In Czech, stress is always on the first syllable. This got me thinking and I ...
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1answer
588 views

Do the words “angst” and “anxiety” share a common root?

The English word angst, taken from German Angst, seems to ultimately originate from Proto-Germanic *angustiz. This word has descendants in many Germanic languages, including, but not limited to, ...
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1answer
34 views

What underlying semantic notions connect 'less' to 'not'? [closed]

What underlying notions explain this same semantic shift from 'less' to 'not' (ie: negation)? It appears in all 4 languages below, as evidenced by the Spanish and Portuguese synonymy. I know that in ...
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1answer
50 views

Is the Indian female name “Sati” the same as the self-immolating Hindu goddess? [closed]

I heard about an Indian woman (possibly Hindu) with a given name of Sati the other day. Checking the internet, this site confirmed that Sati is an Indian female name. Is the name "Sati" related to ...
2
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1answer
63 views

How strong was the r/l distinction in Proto-Afro-Asiatic?

The East Asian languages do not distinguish r and l. The PIE had r/l alternation in suffixes: -tlom/-trom, -dhlom/-dhrom, -ter/-tel, -ros/-los. What can be said in this context about Afro-Asiatic ...
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1answer
51 views

Why are raccoons called “washbears” in many languages?

Examples of words that literally mean "washbear" can be found here. This is apparently due to the fact that raccoons just love to wash things so much. But is it just a coincidence that many languages ...
6
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1answer
198 views

Where did the homonyms which retain meaning among languages come from?

Some languages have homonyms which are semantically equivalent to homonyms in other languages. A few examples of this phenomenon: "Morgen" in German and "утре" in Bulgarian can mean either ...
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0answers
42 views

How effective is linguistics at tracking trade routes?

Is anyone aware of any studies done that show the effectiveness of using linguistics as a means of identifying trade between civilizations. I'll provide this example for what I mean: I have been told ...
2
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1answer
68 views

Just a stupid question about possible connection between Finno-Ugric and European languages

So, I've taken a look on some Finnic conjugation and it just seems VERY similar to Indo-European languages. For instance, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/n%C3%A4hd%C3%A4#Finnish . One notices ...
3
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1answer
81 views

Is there a term for words which falsely appear to be related etymologically?

I was doing research into the use of axes in Japanese martial arts. I discovered that the common name for this tool os "ono." I then discovered that is has another name, "masa-kari." If I were to ...
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2answers
67 views

Does the Slavic word rā́dъ have cognates in Indo-iranian?

I found a source which gives the PIE origin: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/ielex/X/P1589.html But it only lists Slavic reflexes. Are there related words in Persian or Sanskrit? Wikipedia ...
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0answers
51 views

The etymology of Sanskrit jāla 'web'

I am looking for an etymology on the Sanskrit word jāla 'web'. What is the origin of it? I am trying to find a parallel in other Indo-European languages but no luck so far.
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1answer
52 views

When did the colloquial term “up north” and “down south” begin?

When did the colloquial phrase "up north" and "down south" begin to be used? I am trying to find more information for a book I am working on that takes place around 1830 and am not sure if this was in ...
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0answers
43 views

How to practically apply Grimm and Verner's law to english and Spanish

I am a beginner in linguistics and don't know many details about the field of study in general, but, for a beginner, is there anything that shows how english and spanish are related through those laws ...
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1answer
57 views

How did 'of' absorb so many meanings?

[OED:] The primary sense was ‘away’, ‘away from’, a sense now obsolete, except in so far as it is retained under the spelling off (see off adv., prep., n.1, and adj.). All the existing uses of of ...
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3answers
206 views

Verner's Law and 'ge-'

Verner's Law says that voiceless fricatives, when immediately following an unstressed syllable in the same word, underwent voicing. The Germanic prefix 'ge-' as in German 'genug' or English 'enough' ...
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1answer
98 views

Is there any english version [online, PDF] of the following?

Is there any english version [online, PDF] of the following?: Mayhofer, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen. I had downloaded one but unfortunately it was in German language which is ...
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2answers
82 views

What is the underlying meaning of the English 'of'? [closed]

TL;DR: What is the semantic field or the big picture behind the English 'of'? I seek an explanation like this which exposes the underlying semantic field of ‘tally’. Addendum: of (as a ...
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3answers
232 views

The origin of the term 'verb'

References tell me that the term 'verb' originally means 'word'. This is easily understood by usages such as 'verbal abuse', 'verbal agreement', 'he's very verbal', etc. That said, of all the various ...
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1answer
149 views

Why are some sea mammals called “sea pigs”?

Recently, I learnt that the literal meaning of the main written Japanese form for dolphin, "海豚", is "sea" and "pig". The Japanese person mentioning that noted that he didn't know for sure why that was ...
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1answer
228 views

Why should etymology stop where it does?

There are many words whose origin is traced through Middle English and/or French to Latin or Greek, and then it just stops there. Case in point: the word "etymology" itself: 1350-1400; Middle ...
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1answer
74 views

What is the meaning of “Mar”? [closed]

I am wondering what is the meaning of ," Mar" part of some words such as Margarita, Maria, Martin? I appreciate your answer! Thanks in advance! Margarita
2
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1answer
88 views

Origin of words [closed]

I'd like to know how words originated. I'm not talking about etymology. For example, an etymology web site says the word "love" came from PIE(Proto-Indo-European) "leubh". Then how "leubh" originated? ...
3
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2answers
103 views

Why does Greek have 'aorgesia' and 'aorist' rather than 'anorgesia' and 'anorist'?

The Ancient Greek words ἀοργησία aorgesia "a defect in the passion of anger" and ἀόριστος aoristos "without boundaries" both start with the "alpha privatum," the negative prefix cognate to English un- ...
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1answer
64 views

How was the Anglo-Norman spelling of 'demesne' 'merely graphic'?

[OED:] The Anglo-Norman spelling demesne of the law-books, and 17th cent. legal antiquaries, was partly merely graphic (the quiescence of original s before a consonant leading to the insertion of a ...
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2answers
79 views

Kai as a Frisian diminutive of Gerhard, Nicolaas, Cornelius, or Gaius

On this website, it is mentioned that Kai might be considered as a Frisian diminutive of Gerhard, Nicolaas (Nicholas), Cornelius, or Gaius. I can see the relationship between Kai and Gaius (Caius, ...
2
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1answer
87 views

Etymology of “iron” - semantic change

I have run into something weird about the etymology of this word. Wiktionary gives some details. It claims that it descends from PIE *h₁ésh₂r̥ (blood) via Proto-Celtic, and cites two sources to back ...
2
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1answer
76 views

The origin of the two usages of “certain”

Question What is the origin of the combination of these two meaning types in a single word, which we seem to find in some related languages? Type A: a certain teacher / ein bestimmter Lehrer / ...
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1answer
85 views

Why are the Turkeys name in reference to other cultures?

Introduction After being literally translated into english, the name of the Turkey (bird) follow some interesting pattern. In english, they are called "Turkey". In turkish, they are called "Hindi". ...
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22answers
563 views

Is English the only language to use “You're welcome”?

I've read on a few websites that English is the only language where it's accepted to say, "You're welcome" in response to someone thanking you. Other languages tend to use variances of "it was ...
1
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1answer
83 views

Meaning of “Elin”

Elin is supposed to mean "Woman of Intelligence" in Sanskrit see http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Elin. However, I was not able to verify this independently in Sanskrit dictionaries on the web ...
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1answer
85 views

Etymology of the tribe-names Latins, Lydians, Latvians, Lithuanians?

According to some ancient historians (e.g. Herodotos, Dionysius of Halicarnassus) and poets (e.g. Virgil) there was some ethnic relation between the people of the East Coast of Asia Minor (where Troy ...
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0answers
60 views

Are these Kazakh words considered borrowings (from Russian?) or onomatopoieias?

These three words are very similar in English, Russian and Kazakh. At least the Russian set is considered inherited from PIE. English - Russian - Kazakh crush - крушить (krushitь) - қырш (qyrsh) ...
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1answer
68 views

Are English crush and Russian крушить related?

I wonder whether English crush and Russian крушить (krushit', "to crush") related?
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1answer
77 views

Does the etymology of 'affricate' consist with its meaning? [closed]

affricative (n.) 1879, perhaps via German, with -ive + Latin affricat-, past participle stem of affricare "rub against," from ad- (see ad-) + fricare "to rub" (see friction). Source: p 40, ...
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1answer
89 views

Why is the Frontal plane called the 'Coronal plane'?

Preface: Beware that Spanish (eg: los planos coronales) and Portuguese also derive from the Latin corona; so this question transcends English etymology. ...
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2answers
209 views

How did the name for st Peter become to be rendered as “Peter” in English, and why is not rendered as “stone” or “rock”

As I understand it, in the original bible passage, Jesus says to Peter "And I tell you that you are Petros, and on this petra I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" And ...
1
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1answer
58 views

“Dexenoethnic exonyms”: typological studies, references and/or resources?

By "dexenoethnic exonym" (my own coinage for the purpose of this particular question) I mean an ethnonym/glottonym derived from a name originally applied to a (language of a) different ethnic group, ...
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0answers
102 views

What explains the sound development from Latin -vi- to French -dg- ?

abridge (v.) [...] from Old French abregier "abridge, diminish, shorten," from Late Latin abbreviare "make short" (see abbreviate). The sound development from Latin -vi- to French -dg- is ...
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0answers
42 views

Is the ellipsis behind 'such as' grammatically correct?

[OED] 7. a. With correlative as pron. (see AS conj. 17), Middle English also as that, taking the place of Old English swelce, swá. such as = Of the kind or degree that; the kind of (person or ...
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2answers
128 views

What explains the differences between doublet verbs that differ by a prefix?

The differences in meanings of doublet verbs such as 3-6 below: Are there any resources that investigate the big picture behind them? I abhor to memorise, and prefer to understand, such ...
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1answer
42 views

Does '-ous' imply no interruption, and '-al' the possibility of interruption?

I already know that 'continuous' is stronger than continual, but that both derive from the same Latin etymon continuus. These answers on ELU evidence this difference, but does not explain the cause. ...
2
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1answer
143 views

Why is the past participle of the French « lire » « lu », but « rire » « ri »?

Phonologically,« lire » and « rire » sound like a minimal pair, with the first letter as the only difference. So what might explain the difference between their « participes passé »? Their etymons ...
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1answer
62 views

How does a rule explain how « à chef » evolved into « achever »?

Etymonline refers to the "An Etymological Dictionary of the French Language" by Auguste Brachet, translated by G.W. Kitchin, Oxford, 1878. Its entry for achever, on page 152 of 558, states: For f ...
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2answers
120 views

Online etymology dictionaries for French, beyond CNTRL?

Are there etymology dictionaries for French available on the Internet? To wit, what's a French equivalent of http://etymonline.com/? I already know about TLF informatisé (TLFi), but often, it does ...