To take, accept.
[2.] b. dogma, dogmatic; chionodoxa, Docetism, doxology, heterodox, orthodox, paradox,
from Greek dokein, to appear, seem, think (< "to cause to accept or be accepted").

How did "to cause to accept or be accepted" evolve into to appear, seem, think ?
The connection or relationship escapes me.

  • 1
    If you convince someone that A is B (i.e, you cause them to believe it), then they will perceive B when they experience A. And people are very easy to convince; Loftus showed that people's eyewitness memories can be adjusted in any direction desired, just by asking the people different questions about sometfhing they experienced. Just the questions, mind you.
    – jlawler
    May 22, 2015 at 19:53
  • 1
    I think the book you need to read, that will come closest to answering the kinds of questions you're asking here, is Buck's A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages. Its subtitle is "A contribution to the history of ideas", and the first sentence in the introduction is "How do we get our ideas?" It's organized like a thesaurus, around large topics, like "Agriculture, Vegetation" and "Sense Perception". Each chapter has around a hundred meanings, and for each one there is a short history of the parallel developments in all I-E languages. Paperback.
    – jlawler
    May 23, 2015 at 18:58
  • @jlawler Thanks for the advice. Sorry if my questions forced you to repeat it because I remember seeing it first at linguistics.stackexchange.com/q/12110/5306. In fact, I've acquired that book and am reading through it. But sometimes, I still fail to draw the connection myself.
    – user5306
    May 24, 2015 at 3:00
  • 3
    Good. Remember to think of metaphor when you experience these failures. Any meaning that doesn't refer directly to the human body and body movements is likely to be metaphorical; you can almost always trace abstract meanings back to some metaphoric extensions. That's because that's all we have -- the only thing humans come equipped with is a body, and that's the only thing you can depend on others to have and understand. So it's the basis for most meaning. Lakoff and Johnson put it nicely.
    – jlawler
    May 24, 2015 at 14:51
  • @jlawler +1. Many thanks. Should I ask a new question to which you can answer with these helpful comments? They are valuable and would help other readers, but we can leave them as above if preferred.
    – user5306
    May 24, 2015 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


What semantic notions underlie the PIE root 'dek-' with the Greek 'dokein' (to appear, seem, think) ? : asklinguistics

xarsha_93 12 days ago 

There are still linguistic metaphors in which sight or perception in general is understanding, so if someone convinces you of something you might say "I see what you mean" or the phrases "to see the light / the error of their ways".

It's not a big leap to go from something appearing a certain way, to then being understood or accepted as truth, and then causing to understand or be accepted as truth.


It seems to work like this: when something takes your attention, really grabs you, you take it in. Karl Rahner in Spirit in the World, studying Thomistic epistemology, divides his work into two parts, sense and understanding. He says that sense is reciprocal, and this claim finally makes sense to me, twenty years later, after two readings, from the discussion of the PIE root *DEK here. This can only apply to direct sense impressions. If someone else causes you to take something, they've manipulated you: overridden your freedom. If they show you something and it takes you, and you take it, then the thing itself did the taking/being-taken, not the person who showed it to you.

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