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

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PIE root streig- : How to reconcile 'To stroke, rub, press'?

Source: streig- = To stroke, rub, press. European root I heed the Etymological Fallacy, but what are some right ways of interpreting these three opposing definitions, so that this PIE root ...
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18 views

PIE root *trep-: 'trepidation' vs 'trope'

[Etymonline for trepidation (n.) :] ... from PIE * trep- (1) "to shake, tremble" ... , related to * trem- (see tremble (v.)). [Etymonline for trope (n.) :] ... from PIE * trep- (2) ...
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30 views

Where does the word “kitsch” come from?

While a lot of sources on wiktionary for instance agree that "kitsch" comes from dialectal german word "kitschen", the meaning of this word is different between wikitionary pages (in the french ...
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21 views

'dispose' vs 'dispose of' & « disposer » vs « disposer de »

[Source:] [D1.] dispose (v.) - (a) to arrange in order; (b) to lean toward or incline (typically used as a past participle). ... [D2.] dispose of (phrasal v.) - (a) to throw away or discard; (b) ...
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39 views

Etymology of English suffix -logy

I excerpt OED, which I read because I want to understand this etymology. -logy, comb. form ... These Greek words for the most part are parasynthetic derivatives; in some instances the ...
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1answer
25 views

What are the blanket or general terms representing these linguistic pitfalls?

Are there collective, sweeping official terms that comprise linguistic traps such as these? Etymological fallacy Folk etymology False friend False cognate False etymology
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3answers
46 views

Spelling Similarities in English and Spanish but not in Italian and Spanish

The spelling of the word 'admit' has a ⟨d⟩ in both English and the Spanish equivalent, admitir, but not in Italian ammettere. Why is the ⟨d⟩ absent in the Italian equivalent?
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26 views

Could “scratch” be derived from the same PIE source as “card” and “chart”?

I found the following entries on Wiktionary (emphasis mine): carte French noun card chart; map menu card English From Middle English carde (“playing card”), from Old French carte, from Latin ...
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66 views

Why are placenames considered to be a valid way of identifying a substratum?

I've been reading about different methods used in linguistics, and I've been puzzled by the usage of placenames in identifying substratums in modern languages. Just because some language and its ...
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1answer
51 views

What is the origin of the Persian word شكر meaning Sugar?

Google says the word Sugar originates from سكر in Arabic. Yet the classic dictionary القاموس المحيط says the word comes from شكر in Persian. Any help with the etymology of the Persian word شكر?
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334 views
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140 views

root of the word Virt

Originally "virtual" comes from Latin virtus, which can be translated like "force", "ability", "fact". Why nowadays in many languages word derived from "virtual" mean something exactly opposite - ...
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2answers
128 views

Is it arabic name for Austria نمسا borrowed from Proto-Slavic?

Can someone cite reliable source about Serbo-Croatian (Proto-Slavic) etymology of Arabic word for Austria نمسا (nimsa)? It's sounds very dubious for me. I suppose that we have no evidence of intensive ...
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67 views

Why in all languages the word “samovar” is borrowed from Russian? [closed]

India, Iran, Turkey all have ancient traditions of samovar-making. Yet In Persian, Kashmiri and Turkish they call the device by a borrowed Russian word "samovar" (self-boiler in Russian). I wonder, ...
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73 views

Why do peoples(Europe, Asia, Africa, etc) call “God” in very similar ways? [closed]

UK: dieu(the motto on passport - French)/deity(English word) China: tien(Chinese Wade-Giles... t->d) South Africa: modimo(o->əʊ) New Zealand: atua(Maori... t->d) North America: tirawa(Pawnee... w->u ...
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1answer
64 views

How to understand etymology derived from obscure languages?

This ELU answer corroborates the helpfulness of etymology while heeding the Etymological Fallacy. Since I'm interested in French (which is derived from Latin), I can sometimes apply it to help ...
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36 views

Why does 'gauche' connote negativity in English and French?

gauche = {adjective} unsophisticated and socially awkward: 1. Why does gauche connote negativity? I read but won't replicate Etymonline here because it doesn't explain its negativity in English, ...
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41 views

connection between Castor (one of the Διόσκουροι) and the animal (beaver)?

The history of the Ancient Greek word κάστωρ (beaver) is unclear. It may be : a foreign loan-word (? Sanskrit कस्तूरी kastūrī, “musk”) a Greek word meaning "shining (animal)" from καίνυμαι ...
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67 views

Etymology of Greek Enualios

Enualios or Enyalius (Ἐνυάλιος) is, in Homer and other Greek authors, either an epithet of the war god Ares or else the name of a separate god, the son of Ares and brother or partner of Enyo (whose ...
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1answer
96 views

Origin of “Eridanus”: Indo-European or Sumerian?

With the discovery and decipherment of ancient Babylonian and Sumerian texts in the 19th century a theory was offered that the name of the river constellation Eridanus, which appears in the poem ...
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106 views

New Etymological Knowledge

If a scholar or layperson wanted to submit a discovery of the origin of some obscure word or phrase not previously known, what would be the criteria they should follow acceptable to the academic ...
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608 views

Is there any link between the word 'eight' and the word 'night'

When writing a text message with my phone, I often write "good n8" to say good night. Yet, I notice that this could also work in many other languages, or if not, it's pretty close. For instance : ...
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2answers
105 views

Comparing writing systems by ease of encoding/decoding information

Considering the variety of systems of writing, the ease with which someone can receive written information in one system of writing is not precisely identical to that of any other, and I am curious to ...
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147 views

How do we get “four” when it doesn't follow Grimm's law?

I understand how Grimm's law has resulted in pairs such as duo / two, tri / three, penta / five. But how do we get "four"? I looked it up in the dictionary and the IE root is ‌‌kwetwer- Why doesn't ...
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3answers
139 views

Etymology of basic numerals (number words)

When speakers of a language coin words for one, two, three, four, etc., for the first time, where do they come up with the forms? Are there any common methods used across language families? Pirahã ...
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2answers
140 views

Etymology of Demeter

Can the name of the Greek goddess Demeter come from PIE word for tamer, dōma̯tēr (especially given the Aeolic form of the goddess' name, Δωμάτηρ)? I am interested in both whether it is possible from ...
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97 views

Etymological reason behind Lao's many seeming variants for “stairs”?

I'm in Laos studying Lao on my own and came across the fact that different sources have slightly different words for "stairs" and the SEAlang Lao dictionary has even more: ກະໃດ - 15 Google results ...
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170 views

Two questions about Sappho's name

The Greek poeter Ψάπφω/Ψάπφα beared an interesting name, probably not Greek. I have two questions, about the first and the last letter of her name : (1) what was the value of the initial Ψ ? This ...
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1answer
90 views

Was there s-mobile in the PIE root for dog?

I have noticed a striking similarity between the French word chien meaning dog and Russian word щенок "puppy", the both words pronounced exactly the same way except the deminutive suffix -ок in the ...
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3answers
177 views

“Episode 78” machine mistranslation etymology

This post on Rocket News 24 described a Google Translate bug, in which さよなら大好きな人 was translated into "Episode 78". This bug is still live as of the time of writing, and you can replicate it ...
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185 views

Is there any language where there exist words for smells not connected with smelling objects?

Is there any language where there exist words for smells not derived or already disconnected from words for smelling objects? For instance, those derived from verbs, of obscure etymology, or not ...
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188 views

In which languages does “right” mean both a direction and “correct” (or another positive meaning)? [duplicate]

In Islam right direction symbolize good things and I realize that phenomenon in some languages (English, Russian). Are there other languages like this and where does this phenomenon come from?
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302 views

πίστις & ἐλπίζω related linguistically?

This is stemming from a question on BH-SE. Are faith (πίστις) and hope (ἐλπίς) related linguistically? Is it at all possible that ἐλπίς is actually el/eli + πίστις or something + faith? If not, is ...
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162 views

What is the origin and meaning of the word/name “Idora”? (Shortened)

I have been researching the word "Idora" for a couple years now in hopes of discovering the meaning as it applies to the defunct trolley park "Idora Park" formerly in Youngstown, Ohio. "Idora Park" ...
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Ei (egg in German) and eye; Auge (eye in German) and egg

Is it known if there was some weird flipping of [Ei (egg in German) and eye] with [Auge(eye in German) and egg] that happened historically or do you think the apparent similarities are coincidence?
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164 views

Before being borrowed by Europeans, was “hurricane” ever pronounced with an initial “f”?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Spanish works about the New World in the 1500s wrote the word we spell in modern English as "hurricane" alternatively as "huracan" or "furacan". A ...
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117 views

Origin and meaning of the surname “Babjak”

I have a question regarding the surname "Babjak". I've been researching its origin and meaning for a while now, but I haven't found anything substantial. As far as I know, it traces its roots to ...
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154 views

Why are the plural and singular first person forms of the verb “go” so different in the Romance languages?

In many Romance languages, the first person plural and singular forms are completely different: French (aller): je vais, nous allons Italian (andare): io vado, noi andiamo Catalan (anar): jo vaig, ...
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5answers
170 views

Can words have multiple, different origins

In the yoga context, it is common for gurus to give multiple origins of a specific word in order to 'dig' a deep meaning. For example, let us take the word मन्त्र. Here is a first explanation ...
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45 views

Help me unpack this Classical Greek word? [closed]

ἁλιπτοίητος Liddell and Scott seem somewhat uncertain how this links to other Greek words, though they affirm the reading as "driven by fear across the sea." My Greek is rusty, and I don't know that ...
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85 views

Might Mongolian “хэл” and Proto-Fiinic “*keeli” be related?

I was just listening to some Mongolian and it struck me that the word for "language", хэл, is quite similar to the Estonian word for "language", keel. I know it's not accepted that these languages ...
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92 views

Is there a compilation of the various etymologies of the words for “library” across Europe? [closed]

The various European languages (as a geographic entity, and excluding the Uralics) present an interesting distribution in their words for "library". In particular, English, Irish, Welsh, Basque, ...
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132 views

Is Ursus arctos a tautology?

It seems that the both words in Latin name for brown bear, ursus arctos originate from the Proto-Indo-European word a̯rtcos, "bear". Is this a tautology?
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59 views

On the etymology of Ankara / Phrygian Άγκυρα

I am wondering whether the Phrygian city "Ankara" (today capital of Turkey) meant really "anchor" in Phrygian? We know it means anchor in Greek, a sibling language to Phrygian with many isoglosses, ...
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108 views

Translation of “Beowulf”

In the brief span of time I have studied this ancient poem, particularly verses 1829-30, I have read several translations. While observing each individual rendering of the text, it was evident to me ...
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45 views

Etymology of Ancient Greek deictic -ī

In Ancient Greek, a deictic particle -ī can be attached to demonstratives to strengthen the "this here" meaning: e.g. houtos "this one", houtosī "this one right here". What is the origin of this -ī? ...
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1answer
109 views

“Torpedo compartment” for glove compartment?

In Turkish, the glove compartment of a car is called "torpido gözü", the literal translation of which is "torpedo compartment". None of the dictionaries I have access to has an etymology for the ...
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133 views

Meaning of the root “ject”

What does the root "ject" mean? It occurs in words such as "subject", "object", "project", "injection", "surjection", "bijection". As far as I know these words came to English from French and, in ...
4
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2answers
148 views

Is there a PIE feminising noun suffix?

I was wondering whether anyone knows the Proto-Indo-European equivalent of the Greek suffixes -ina (-ίνα) or -issa (-ισσα), or whether PIE has any different feminising suffixes that work similarly?
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266 views

Are “arithmetic” and “rhythm” related?

The online etymology dictionary says that arithmetic comes from Greek arithmos, from PIE *re(i)- "to reason, count" and gives as cognates English "read", Old High German "rim" "number", Old Irish rim ...