From *wers we get English war, worse, worst.

From *wert we get English versus, verse, version, vertex, vortex, vertical, revert, invert, divert,..., worth, -ward, weird.

From *werb/p we get English warp, wrap, reverberate, envelop(e), develop, overlap, lap.

The Wiktionary etymology entry for "war" has

Compare Latin versus (“against, turned”), past participle of vertere (“turn, change, overthrow, destroy”). More at worse, wurst.

This seems to suggest a relation between PIE *wers (root of war, worse) and *wert (root of versus and possibly wurst). I'm also asking about *werb since it is so similar to *wert in sound and meaning.

Are any of these 3 roots actually related?

  • The relation is that they are three PIE roots that seem to resemble one another in phonological shape.
    – jlawler
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 18:21
  • @jlawler added where i got the question. do you think that wiktionary entry is mistaken?
    – Colin
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 18:51
  • That comment doesn't really help... I don't know if Wiktionary just happens to be wrong or what, but the point the poster seems to be making there is that if 1) "worse" is from *wers, 2) "versus" is from *wert (through "vertere"), but also 3) "worse" is related to "versus", which is Wiktionary's claim... then *wers must also be related to *wert.
    – LjL
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 20:31
  • @LjL that comment came before I added the wiktionary citation.
    – Colin
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 21:21
  • Wikitionary is obviously not a one person thing, you can't apply a=b and b=C so a=C here. Because b and C might have been contributed by different people. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 1:02

1 Answer 1


The currently fashionable theory is that *wer is a root, and -s, -t, -b are "extensions". What is still missing is an explanation of what exactly the function of these "extensions" is supposed to be.

  • 4
    could you point me in the direction of any references?
    – Colin
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 19:15
  • 1
    @Colin. This, perhaps, as an overview: iling.spb.ru/confs/root_extensions.pdf
    – fdb
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 10:03
  • Very interesting--but it doesn't seem to bear directly on this issue.
    – Colin
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 2:32
  • Those are abstracts from a workshop. There's mention of: *werh3dh- > PGrm *(s)wor-dh- "to observe" on p. 25; IE root enlargements *-s- and *-d- on p. 29; again *-dh- on p. 31, as "clusters of plain voices [sic!] stops + laryngeals", stating the obvious comparison to *dheh1- next to other scenarios; Agentivität vs Inagentivität, without cited examples (p. 34); preverbals modifying verbal aspect perfect vs imperfect in Germanic vs Balto-Slavic and Celtic (p. 36). A few highly respected names in there, many bibliographical references; certainly underlines the answer's noted uncertainty!
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 15:22
  • I'd go one step further and try to isolate *-r- e.g. as L re "back, again", rota "wheel"; which of course leads to reductio ad absurdum, if we are thus left with *w-, but that's not unreasonable and allows further comparisons; too many, alas.
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 16:00

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