The Tocharian word empreṃ 'truth' is often marked as being of unknown etymology. I cannot find a lot of commentary on it except from that it could be a middle Iranian word meaning 'confidence'.

So, my first question is if there's any good proposal on a PIE root for this word?

My second question is more like checking the validity of my idea that the word might derive from PIE *per- 'cross, pass through'. The reason I am suspecting this is because Greek has πεῖρα ‘test, research, experience’ deriving from the same root. If that semantic development occurred in Greek, then truth, test and experience are very relevant to each other.

  • I don't have any empiric evidence, I just find it funny to note how things crop up if fresh on my mind: yesterday I read a suggestion to compare Sumerian EM--glossed at least once "göttliche Ordnungen von ewiger, unveränderlicher Geltung" (divine order of eternal validity)--with Sanskrit mana. That was V. V. EMELIANOV in IACM 2014, where V. BLAŽEK is a frequent contributor, who also rather recently contributed to a joint effort book touching up on exchange between Tocharian and other groups (review in JIES 2018). I haven't read it, don't know wheter it mentions emprem at all.
    – vectory
    Feb 24, 2019 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


Your question is highly technical. You implicitly quote Adams' dictionary (1999:92). Apparently, Adams rejects that emprem. could derive from *en+bher an intensive particle (*en) + to bear (*bher). As far as I understand Adams, the particle normally surfaces as e-, rather than em-. Now, coming to your idea, how do you explain Tocharian B emprem. with *en and *per? What's the pre-form?

  • 1
    I did not have Adams in mind. I read this elsewhere and I could actually not verify the validity of the statement, therefore I didn't even mention more details. So you guessed right, I was thinking of *en + *per. Greek has words like ἔμπειρος 'experienced', hence the parallel. I need to check Adams commentary to understand why he considers e- and not em-.
    – Midas
    Feb 24, 2019 at 18:14

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