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

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96 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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1answer
59 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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2answers
146 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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2answers
289 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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0answers
88 views

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

I apologize if I have included too many details. This is a 150+ year mystery that has many pieces. I have included some of what I have discovered in hopes of aiding anyone who is interested in helping ...
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4answers
1k views

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?
3
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2answers
146 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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3answers
66 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 ...
2
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1answer
129 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
154 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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41 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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2answers
78 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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0answers
81 views

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

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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2answers
114 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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0answers
46 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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0answers
101 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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0answers
39 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
90 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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1answer
109 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
129 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?
3
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1answer
196 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 ...
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1answer
79 views

-anus vs. -inus in (Classical) Latin

Latin has some suffixes that turn nouns into adjectives. But there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to which suffixes get applied to which nouns. For example: felis->felinus canis->caninus ...
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2answers
116 views

Word elements relating to ancient deities [closed]

Are there word elements, including suffixes, from Old English or other languages that have been linked to their ancient deities and the people that served them, to which these elements are still in ...
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1answer
98 views

Why is October the tenth month even though Octo means eight?

And it's not only that! Novem is Latin for nine, and Decem is ten, and yet the months are eleventh and twelfth respectively. What's the origin of that? Why are the months called the way the are ...
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2answers
145 views

Etymology of Agamemnon and Priam

What is the etymology of the names of the kings from the Iliad? Besides these two, I would be also interested in the etymology of the names of the other heroes from the book, such as Hector and ...
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338 views

Why do so many languages have a phase like “so-so”?

Many languages seem to have some sort of repeating and/or singsong equivalent of the phrase so-so: Arabic: نصف نصف (nisf nisf) Chinese: 馬馬虎虎 (mǎma hūhu) Greek: έτσι κι έτσι Hebrew: ...
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2answers
62 views

Etymology of “ნარიყალა” and “Нарын-Кала”: Mongolian? Turkic?

There are ancient ruins of fortresses in Tbilisi and Derbent which share a name. In Tbilisi there is ნარიყალა Nariqala and in Derbent there is Нарын-Кала Naryn-Kala. The story of the name ნარიყალა ...
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1answer
64 views

original sens of ἑκηβόλος, an epiklesis of Apollon

I was very surprised to learn (in LSJ s.v. ἑκηβόλος) that ἑκηβόλος originally meant "attaining his aim" and not "far-shooter" as I always thought. If the Liddell-Scott-Jones recalls the later ...
3
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2answers
137 views

Are Armenian գունդ (gund) and Sanskrit गिन्दुक (ginduka) related?

I was just looking at the words for "ball" in many languages. I noticed that Armenian has a word գունդ gund and Hindustani has a word गेंद / گیند gẽnd. I didn't spot any other language with a ...
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2answers
86 views

Hebrew to English connection through linguistics?

On the website, "Edenics- Where Language Began" it is mentioned that the Hebrew word 'zinoot'(fornication) a Zayin-mem word have influenced the English sin". Since the z and the s are closely ...
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5answers
172 views

Can the Anglo-Saxon words 'sind, sinder, sindon' have origins from older languages?

Examples I have found are: Sindh from India; zindiq(a heretic) from Arabic; and zeen + deen or zin+din (compare to sindon) which is from Hebrew meaning 'leaped the law'; and Sin/Shin is the 21st ...
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1answer
78 views

Similar reuse of roots across languages and language families

I have noticed that the Latin vici means both road and conqueror. Interestingly, in Hebrew the root כבש is used for both כביש (road) and for לכבוש (to conquer). I see a few different reasons why this ...
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1answer
101 views

Is the Proto-Indo-European “ǵenh₁-” (to produce) related to “gʷḗn” (woman)?

I noticed a possible connection between the Ancient Greek "γυνή" and "γένεσις". I think semantically a relation between the two terms is plausible. Unfortunately I don't know enough about PIE ...
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0answers
63 views

Sources for etymologies of Ancient Greek proper names and placenames?

There are good etymological dictionaries for Ancient Greek: if you're searching for the origin of a word, you'll probably find information in Frisk, Chantraine, or Beekes. But if you're looking for ...
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2answers
256 views

Is “Kent” of Turkic origin or Indo-European?

In Turkish there is this word Kent which means city. Some Turkic city names have this as suffix, like Başkent and Tashkent. In Azerbaijani the same word, with the spelling of Kənd (Kand) means village ...
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2answers
147 views

Etymology: Arabic falaha, German pflügen, English to plough

Could there be some connection between Arabic falaha meaning to till the soil and German pflügen, Pflug or English plough, to plough?
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1answer
110 views

Etymology of Latin suffix -ālis

What is the etymology of the Latin suffix "-ālis" (and related forms like "-āris") as in "nātūrālis"? Do we know any corresponding suffix in other Indo-European languages?
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32 views

periodontal v. paredonte

It was a bit surprising to me that even modern medical terms are not all the same across Europe. Periodontal in English is parodonte in French, German and many others. Both peri- and para- are valid ...
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1answer
70 views

Etymology of persian دریا

In a poem of Hafez I found a pun based on the double meaning of دریاب, at once the present (or aorist) stem of دریافتن, and another word for دریا, meaning "the sea". Now it would be great to know, ...
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1answer
86 views

Use of Arabic script for Farsi

Some of the letters of the Arabic script do not represent any native Persian sounds and thus are used only for Arabic loans. Therefore, e.g., there are four "z"-sounds in the Farsi script, ز ض ظ ذ. ...
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1answer
132 views

Some common features of unrelated languages: Turkish and Persian

This is somehow related to the question Are some languages known to have taken grammatical features etc rather than just lexicon from their substrate languages? In the area of today's Turkey, Iran ...
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1answer
82 views

Turkish loanwords in persian or the other way round?

It is quite obvious that there are a lot of Persian loanwords in Turkish. Some words, though, I cannot easily figure out which way they travelled. Take for example trk. küçük, frs. kucak. I have ...
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2answers
120 views

What is the etymology of the Hebrew word יָלַד

What is the etymology of the Hebrew word יָלַד, transliterated, yalad. The Hebrew Lexicon offers no etymology. This is an effort to research the linguistics pertaining to a question on BH-SE, How ...
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2answers
256 views

In PIE are words for two and for hate connected?

In PIE we have du̯is twice du̯iteros second du̯oi̯os twofold du̯eiplos double etc, with the root du̯ei̯- At the same time we have: du̯eiros fearful du̯eisos hated with seemingly the same ...
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2answers
210 views

Is there any etymological motivation for “I-slam”, “I-srael”, “Mu-slim” and “I-smael”?

Background Looking at old German orthographies, the long-s (ſ) spelling of the following five words (and I have not found any others so far) contradicts the spelling systematics of all other words: ...
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92 views

Is there any borrowing between the word “Park” and the Arabic word “Bark”?

The Arabic word "Bark" comes from the root B-R-K ب ر ك which means stopping, and staying still, and all of its words branches from it. The word "Bark" بَرْك in particular means herd of camels sitting, ...
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3answers
278 views

Can the word “prairie” be derived from the arabic word “barary”

I've found a great similarity between the two words and their meanings. "Barary" براري in Arabic is the plural form of "Barr-īyah" بَرِّيَّة, from the word "Barr" meaning land, with the nisbah suffix ...
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111 views

Diachronic sources of negators

What are some examples of negators that have a known (or even conjectured) etymology? What kinds of non-negative meanings can develop into negative meanings? The etymologizable negators I know of all ...
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2answers
115 views

They for “he/she”

How did the word "they" come to represent "he or she"? For example, "They forgot their coat" can be used to represent a single person of either sex.
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2answers
125 views

Two words for “now” in Russian [closed]

There are two russian words for "now": сейчас and теперь. How does the use of these words differ? Is one of them more formal than the other? Which one is the most commonly used word? ...