A number of Slavic languages have the word "cena" meaning "price":

Slovenian, Slovak, Polish cena, Russian цена

I wonder whether it is related to the word cent

  • 1
    Wiktionary claims they derive from different paths back to different PIE roots. Jul 20 '15 at 22:52
  • 3
    Surely, Anixx, you are aware that "cent" is the French word for "one hundred". Where do you see a semantic connection?
    – fdb
    Jul 21 '15 at 7:37
  • Ok, cent is supposed to be the Latin not the French word for "100". Jan 28 '19 at 1:00

Slavic cena comes from Proto-Balto-Slavic kaina (which is still kaina in Lithuanian). IIRC the word originally meant something like "penalty, punishment, retribution" (see Ancient Greek ποινή "penalty, redemption"; also τίνω "to pay a price, be punished").

English/French cent come from Latin centum (in the meaning "1/100 of something"), which comes from ḱm̥tóm "hundred". So, English/French cent are actually related to Slavic sto "hundred".

  • Latin "centum" means "one hundred" not "one hundredth". The American English "cent" is probably a contraction of "centime".
    – fdb
    Jul 25 '15 at 23:12
  • See etymonline, it does stem from centum: "Middle English meaning was "one hundred," but it shifted 17c. to "hundredth part" under influence of percent". It's the other way around, French centime stems from cent on analogy of décime. I didn't mean that Latin centum itself means 1/100; I meant the English/French used it that way.
    – carsten
    Jul 26 '15 at 17:13
  • etymonline is not a reliable source. You can look it up in the OED where it is explained as in my comment.
    – fdb
    Jul 26 '15 at 17:25
  • In any case, cent ultimately stems from centum, and that's what matters ITT.
    – carsten
    Jul 26 '15 at 17:47
  • In France the usage of "centime" starts from the introduction of the decimal monetary system under Napoleon (before, it was non-decimal); meanwhile the earliest mention of "cent" in the US in the meaning of a currency is year 1782. I think confusion of "cent" with "per cent" makes a lot of sense, and easily explains OED's examples from 1600's (not-currency related) Centime in English is a borrowing from French (OED-confirmed), so it's a post 1800's word (OED-confirmed).
    – carsten
    Jul 26 '15 at 18:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.