The Dutch word 'mooi' (beautiful) doesn't seem to have a clear etymology nor any cognates. Does anyone have theories or ideas for possible origins or cognates?

It seems to have caused Dutch 'schoon' to shift from 'beautiful' to 'clean', when compared to Flemish Dutch 'schoon' still having that meaning and German 'schön'.

I think it was already attested in Old Dutch, so perhaps it's of substrate origin? Anyway, I'm curious to hear your ideas. Anyway


1 Answer 1


Wiktionary has a rather plausible etymology of mooi:

From Middle Dutch moy, from Old Dutch *mōi* (“nice, pleasant, clean”), from Proto-Germanic *mawjaz (“clean, washed”), from Proto-Indo-European *mou-io- (“washed”), from Proto-Indo-European *mū-, *mew(ə)- (“to wash, wet”). Cognate with Middle Low German moie (“nice, sheen”) (Low German moi (“pretty, good, nice”)), Middle Low German mūten (“to wash the face”), and possibly to Latin mundus (“clean, neat, elegant”).


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