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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
0answers
10 views

What does the prefix 'ab-' mean in the Latin verb 'abundare' ?

abound (v.) early 14c., from Old French abonder "to abound, be abundant, come together in great numbers" (12c.), from Latin abundare "overflow, run over," from Latin ab- "off" (see ab-) + ...
0
votes
1answer
9 views

The PIE root *per- “forward, through” : How did it evolve to mean 'private' ?

[Etymonline :] ... privus "one's own, individual," from PIE *prei-wo-, from PIE *prai-, *prei-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per). ... [AHI :] per1 ... ... from Latin prīvus, ...
0
votes
0answers
8 views

How did the Latin ''putare' evolve into all these diferent meanings?

2. [Etymonline:] ... putare   [=]   "reckon, clear up, trim, prune, settle" (see pave) 3. [Notre Dame:] 4. think, believe, suppose, hold; 5. reckon, estimate, value; 6. clear up, ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Etymology of some personal pronouns in PIE

In PIE we have the following traditionally reconstructed personal pronouns: u̯oe̯ "you two" and u̯ei "we" (inclusive). Brengtson claims that the original forms should be tu̯oe̯ and tu̯ei ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Why are two 'com-' prefixes in 'concomitant'?

[ Etymonline for 'concomitant (adj.)' ] ... from com- "with, together" (see com-) + comitari "join as a companion," from comes (genitive comitis) "companion" (see count (n.)). [ Etymonline for ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

PIE etymology of 'cumber (v.)'

[Etymonline for 'cumber (v.)'] ... The likely roots are PIE * kom (see com-) + * bher- (1) "to bear" (see infer). ... Strangely, Etymonline didn't explain the meaning of the prefix * kom. What ...
-2
votes
0answers
48 views

How does the subjunctive "under' + 'join'?

[Etymonline:] ... from sub "under" (see sub-) + iungere "to join" (see jugular). ... [OED:] ... The subjunctive mood was so called because it was regarded as specially appropriate to ...
0
votes
3answers
50 views

How do participles partake of a noun?

[1.] [Etymonline'] from particeps "sharing, partaking" (see participation). In grammatical sense, the Latin translates Greek metokhe "sharer, partaker," and the notion is of a word "partaking" of ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Why does the 'PREdicate' follow?

[ Etymonline for 'predicate (n.)] ... from prae- "forth, before" (see pre-) + dicare "proclaim," from stem of dicere "to speak, to say" (see diction). Grammatical sense is from 1630s. ... ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

“come” in “become” (English) vs “venir” in “devenir” (French)

In both French and English, the word for become (devenir) includes the word for come (venir), even though the etymologies and words are very different. Why might this be?
-1
votes
0answers
51 views

How does the etymology of 'unless' relate to its modern definitions?

I ask NOT for a formal proof of:  A unless B =  A if not B =  Either A or B . Instead, I wish to know how unless evolved, especially to mean any of these modern definitions? Etymonline and OED don't ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

Online etymology dictionary for English (more explanatory than Etymonline and OED)

Would you please recommend etymology dictionaries for English that MUST be available online (either for free or purchase), BUT subject to the following conditions? 1. Many of the recommendations in ...
-1
votes
1answer
63 views

How did 'piety = piété' and 'pity = pitié' diverge and evolve?

This Quora question motivated this. Do the Etymonline entries below imply that the connotation changed in Old French (and so even before English)? I pose the question also for the equivalent French ...
-1
votes
1answer
29 views

Deceptive affix changes?

I exemplify with the following, but I ask this in general. How can I learn more about affixes that change meaning, especially those that are 'upended into' their antonyms? For example, I was ...
1
vote
2answers
69 views

How does the sense of direction in grammatical terms, relate to their definitions?

declension = the variation of the form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective, by which its grammatical case, number, and gender are identified. Etymonline for `declension {noun}' rechannels to decline ...
-1
votes
0answers
29 views

How did the PIE root *tere- evolve into 'threshold'?

[ Etymonline for 'threshold (n.)' ] Old English þrescold, þærscwold, þerxold, etc., "door-sill, point of entering," probably literally "something to tread upon," with first element related to ...
-1
votes
0answers
25 views

Evolution of Proto-Germanic *pleg-, 'pledge', and 'plight'

Foreword: Of the two dichotomous noun homonyms 'pledge', below I ask only about that derived from Proto-Germanic. (For the Latin, please see ELU.) Etymonline on 'pledge': [1.] pledge (v.) = ...
-1
votes
0answers
52 views

How did the PIE root *sag- evolve into 'hegemony'?

[ Etymonline for 'hegemony (n.)' ] 1560s, from Greek hegemonia "leadership, a leading the way, a going first;" also "the authority or sovereignty of one city-state over a number of others," ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

Etymology of 'commode' into French and then English

[ Etymonline for 'commode (n.)' ] 1786, "chest of drawers," earlier (1680s) name of a type of fashionable ladies' headdress, from French commode, noun use of adjective meaning "convenient, ...
-1
votes
0answers
11 views

How did 'To produce, procure' evolve to mean the separate 'parer' and 'to pare'?

[Etymonline for 'pare (v.)'] "to trim by cutting close," c. 1300, from Old French parer "arrange, prepare; trim, adorn," and directly from Latin parare "make ready, prepare, furnish, provide, ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

'stock' : How did 'to push, stick, knock, beat' evolve into 'tree stump'?

[Etymonline for 'stock (n.1)'] Old English stocc "stump, post, stake, tree trunk, log," also "pillory" (usually plural, stocks) ... from PIE *(s)teu- (1) "to push, stick, knock, beat" (see steep ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

How did 'forth + fasten' evolve into 'propagation'?

[Etymonline for 'propagation (n.)'] ... from propago (genitive propaginis) "that which propagates, offspring," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + * pag-, root of pangere "to fasten" (see pact). ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

How did 'sensuality' evolve to connote lechery? Does 'sensualité'?

Is the French feminine noun sensualité asexual? The English noun is sexual. Why? I heed the Etymological Fallacy. But what are some right ways of interpreting the dchotomy, to make it feel reasonable ...
-2
votes
1answer
26 views

How does PIE root dhē- 'to set, to put', evolve to mean 'thesis' ?

[Etymonline for 'thesis (n.)':] late 14c., "unaccented syllable or note," from Latin thesis "unaccented syllable in poetry," later (and more correctly) "stressed part of a metrical foot," from ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

'scorn': How can a human have horns?

I'm trying to understand both the etymology of 'scorn', (which derives from) that of the Old French 'escarn'. So I'm trying to understand both. [Etymonline for 'scorn (n.)' :] c. 1200, a ...
7
votes
3answers
80 views

Why does word-initial upsilon always have a rough breathing?

How did a rough breathing develop before all words starting with an upsilon in Ancient Greek? This is a commonly noted fact about the distribution of these sounds (or rather spellings), but I’m having ...
-1
votes
1answer
33 views

Etmology of Old French 'entreprendre' : How did 'between' evolve into 'under' ?

enterprise (n.) early 15c., "an undertaking," formerly also enterprize, from Old French enterprise "an undertaking," noun use of fem. past participle of entreprendre "UNDERtake, take in hand" ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

Etmology of Old French 'escorgier' : How does 'bind' evolve to mean 'whip'?

scourge (n.) c. 1200, "a whip, lash," from Anglo-French escorge, back-formation from Old French escorgier "to whip," from Vulgar Latin excorrigiare, from Latin ex- "out, off" (see ex-) + corrigia ...
-1
votes
0answers
20 views

Relationship between PIE root sed- (= 'to sit') and 'to cede'?

1. [Source:] sed- = To sit. 2. [Etymonline for 'cede {verb}' :] ... from PIE root *sed- (2) "to go, yield" ... I heed the Etymological Fallacy, but what are some right ways of ...
-1
votes
2answers
40 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
26 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) ...
4
votes
0answers
56 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
27 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) ...
1
vote
1answer
43 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
39 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
0
votes
3answers
58 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?
0
votes
0answers
28 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
71 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
59 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?
5
votes
3answers
354 views
4
votes
2answers
149 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 - ...
3
votes
2answers
136 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
73 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, ...
-2
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
67 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
45 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
44 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
69 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
106 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
111 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 ...