[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).

[Etymonline for 'propagation (n.)'] ... from PIE root * pag- "fix, join together, unite, make firm" ...

I heed the Etymological Fallacy. But what are some right ways of interpreting the etymology, to make it feel reasonable and intuitive?

How did pro- + PIE root pag- combine to mean the modern definition of 'propagation'?

1 Answer 1


Note that Etymonline there mentions "offshoot" and "multiply plants by layers." There's the key: propagation, in origin, means to "fasten" a branch of a plant into the ground so that it grows "forth" into a new plant.

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