Is there a new Turkic etymology dictionary?

I don't want something like Nişanyan which all Turkic words are Sogdian or Persian origin.

I want something that analyses the words using true rules not only because for example word X is in Avesta, then it is Persian or because word X is in Sogdian Inscriptions, so it is Sogdian without any doubt.

Centuries before Avesta or Sogdian Inscriptions, Turks and Persians/Sogdians were neighbors so it is not true that we come and say because the word exists in Avesta it is 100% Persian.

  • 1
    "All Turkic words" is a bit of an exaggeration.
    – fdb
    Feb 24, 2019 at 13:15
  • A dictionary who writes "Kadın" Sogdian or "Amac" Persian is just useless. Feb 24, 2019 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


Words are not cited as Persian or Avestan loans just because they are attested in texts. Iranic languages have loans as well. If an Iranic word (e.g. birādar 'brother' > Turkish biradar) is without a doubt Indo-European, that is to say it has cognates in Celtic, Greek, Latin, Baltic etc then there is no doubt it is a loan into Turkic. If you're looking to debunk Iranic languages as a source of loans in Turkic languages, then you won't find any help in etymological dictionaries. In most cases, you will find that the attributions are based on rules (regular sound laws) and well known Indo-European vocabulary.

Nevertheless, not all suggested loans are Iranic. There are times where an Iranic source is suspected but not certain. What you can do then is to look at dictionaries covering Turkic languages and see if the word appears consistently in all of them. If the proposed Iranic source has no Indo-European parallels, then the chances are greater. However, there is a possibility that a word attested in both Turkic and Iranic languages has a third source e.g. Uralic or Yeniseian. Then things become even more complex.

I am facing these problems quite often and in those cases there are three books I am using to get an idea.

Oztopçu, Kurtulus, et al. Dictionary of Turkic Languages. Routledge, 2016.

Starostin, Sergei A., et al. Etymological dictionary of the Altaic languages. Vol. 3. Leiden: Brill, 2003.

Wenthe, Mark. Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics: An International Handbook. Vol. 41. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2017. (the parts of the book regarding Proto-Indo-Iranic)

However, note that the Altaic theory is in a stalemate and very controversial. It can be very hard to argue for a word being Turkic based on Altaic reconstructions.

  • The problem is there is not too much inscription/writing for proto-Turkic or old-Turkic languages. so how linguistics can tell a word is Turkic or Iranic? how they are sure? for example, the structure of a word cries that "I am Turkic" but dictionaries says no it is Iranic. Feb 24, 2019 at 18:07
  • 2
    I already explained this. If you have a cognate of the Iranic word in all other Indo-European languages, it is obvious it is Indo-European. Ottoman Turkish birâder 'brother' is obviously from Persian birādar which is found in every single Indo-European language such as English, German, Latin, Slavic etc. Then you have words that their morphology is irregular for Turkic languages e.g. starting with double consonants. Just because you recognize them as Turkic and their modified version sounds like it, doesn't mean they are.
    – Midas
    Feb 24, 2019 at 18:23
  • Of course, words like that are Iranic. but what about words like "Kent"? how they say it is Sogdian while it is only useful in Turkic (and later it went from Azerbaijani to Kurdish) or words like "Kadın" this is obviously from "Xatun", but some say they are both Sogdian!!! Feb 24, 2019 at 19:22
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    @Sina: For Kent there is a post here: linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/7247/… . I don't understand how a word is "only useful in Turkic"? If I remember well there are cities containing kant/kent in ancient times e.g. Μαράκανδα.
    – Midas
    Feb 24, 2019 at 22:03
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    @Sina I do see as well some crazy IE reconstructions from time to time that are annoying (not for Iranic words necessarely). In this case I am not impressed with the IE part of the semantics as it is too far fetched. However, the data in favour of Turkic is not there. The word appears in areas prior to Turkic peoples expansion. Having said that it might not be IE but from a substrate of Sogdian and Turkic.
    – Midas
    Feb 25, 2019 at 7:17

I would suggest Misalli Büyük Türkçe Sözlük prepared by İlhan Ayverdi. You can find the online version http://lugatim.com/

  • Confirmed that it's sane, not ideological, and it's well built eg the search works well. But could be more complete, the etymologies for balkan, lavaš or kedi are not fully discussed, and I could not find entries for major toponyms. Oct 27, 2019 at 14:25
  • You are right, but it is not an etymological dictionary. I recommended it because it's etymological explanations are solid. But it is a normal dictionary.
    – kabraxis
    Nov 2, 2019 at 16:17

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