I recently found out the origin of the verb 'bring' as being derived from bher- (carry) and enk- (to go to) and how they fused together and came into Germanic as *bhrengk- then coming down into English as 'bring'. I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a way I could find out what other reflexes (if any) that *enk- had been preserved in any sort of form?

Given it's a verb of motion I imagine it would have been able to be freely used metaphorically and potentially have been applied to many roots which I think could easily exist in modern languages. Is there a resource you know that might supply this information?

Is this the only reflex of it that we're all aware of? Can anyone point to any other words that contain this? I've got quite a steady knowledge of historical linguistics but I've never gone back to any period further than Germanic or Latin so here's to diving back a bit deeper!


The classical dictionary of Proto-Indo-European roots is Julius Pokorny's Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Older prints can be found on line if you look around. The Linguistic Research Centre of the University of Texas has a website based mostly on Pokorny where reflexes can be looked up from roots.

These are the examples they give of English reflexes (there are no doubt more) of enek̂-, nek̂-, enk̂-, n̥k̂- (*henek-), which meant something like "to reach, obtain; to carry (only found in Greek)":

  • enough
  • near
  • neighbour
  • nigh
  • oncogenesis
  • oncology
  • pice

As you can see, this is nowhere near complete, and no intermediate stages are given (unlike in Pokorny). Note also that Pokorny is not always correct and sometimes even speculative—that is, even more so than prehistoric linguistics normally are. Note further that the UoT sometimes misinterpret Pokorny; and sometimes they cite a reflex consisting of several roots, of which only a minor one represents the root you searched for. The lemma in Pokorny is very long.


This paper gives some reflexes of *nek- / *enk- which support @Cerberus's answer.

  • *kom- '(intensive)' + *nek- -> Gmc *ganakh- 'suffice' -> Goth. ganos, ON gnogr, OE genog, Ger genug, ModE enough
  • Late PIE *enk- -> Gk onkos 'burden, mass, tumor', Skt aṃśaḥ 'part'
  • 1
    Mark, I changed the link directly to the PDF since the one that brought to Google Books wasn't working. Check if it's the same and if it works well on your side. :)
    – Alenanno
    Feb 10 '12 at 10:13
  • Perfect! Eheh :D
    – Alenanno
    Feb 10 '12 at 16:13
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    Ah, yes. I see! Things seem so obvious when you see a connection between them. I would not have made the association between nóg (Icelandic) and enough (English) even though they both mean 'enough'. Once you see Old Norse (gnogr) then it sort of fits in as an intermediate step. But, one thing I would like to ask about is the 'nek' part. Because the original was about 'enk' and your answer included information on 'nek', am I to take from this that we're talking about a metathical process of the same 'enk-' root?
    – Alxmrphi
    Feb 12 '12 at 15:40
  • As @Cerberus points out in his answer below, Pokorny gives the etymon as enek̑-, nek̑-, enk̑-, n̥k̑- 'to reach, obtain'. Greek and Sanskrit, for example, inherited the enk̑- form. Whether these are due to metathesis, epenthetis, or deletion I don't know. Feb 12 '12 at 16:23

Starling gives the root (e)nek' with one meaning "to reach" and the other "to bear".

For example, Russian word принести (transliterated as "prinesti"; to bring) is traced to it.

  • Thanks for the comments. It's good to get the links to these sites that I can use in the future. One thing that is a little bit odd for me to see is the 'bear' meaning already present in the enk- root. Since 'bring' was from bher- (obviously 'bear') and had the same meaning, the 'bring' connection made perfect sense as a collective understanding based on the split of its constituent parts but here it would look like bher- and enk- had the same meaning, which sort of sheds a new (potential) light on the question. But, it also meaning 'reach' and having that sense of movement fits in well, also.
    – Alxmrphi
    Feb 12 '12 at 15:45

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