I am looking for etymology of the word شوهر in Persian language, I looked in wiktionary and two other dictionaries but found nothing.

šowhar means "husband" in modern persian.



2 Answers 2


The Persian word has cognates in many IE languages, most meaning father-in-law or brother-in-law: German Schwager, Gothic swaihra, Latin socer, Greek `εκυρός, Sanskrit śvaśura-s, Russian свёкор, Lithuanian šešuras, Welsh chwegr, Albanian vjehërr, Armenian skesrayr

See Pokorny’s entry for su̯ekrū́- .


Persian šōhar (šawhar) seems to imply Iranian *xšawdar-, and the parallel form šōy would be from the nominative *xšawdā, presumably an actor noun from the verbal stem *xšawd- “to wash, to become liquid”, as in Persian šustan, šōy- “to wash”, or Avestan xšudra- “fluid, semen”.

  • I looked up Ger schütten "to pour" because of "xšudra- “fluid, semen”", and found Low German schütten "protect" (Ger schützen), which I immediately recognized. If I may refer to house, PIE *(s)kew-s-, PIE *(s)kew- "cover, hide" (that is "protect"), vs. house-band. However obvious the parallel may be, it's not recognized in husband anymore, might not have been in showhar, and perhaps was not original either, even if legal guardian is still a connotation in living memory. Linking "[expended] fluid" maybe difficult, but seeing these as completely unrelated would be short-sighted
    – vectory
    Aug 4, 2019 at 11:41
  • Thank you for explanation. I didn't understand the difference between *xšawdar and *xšawda, are they PIE roots of šôhar and šôy respectively and is šoy then only a diminutive of šowhar? What's the exact function of adding a -r suffix ?
    – anonymous
    Aug 9, 2019 at 17:11
  • And also could you give sources or links to this findings? I couldn't find a serious and complete etymological dictionnary for Persian.
    – anonymous
    Aug 9, 2019 at 17:13
  • 1
    @user25137. The connection between šōhar and xšudra- goes back at least to Horn. See also (somewhat differently) Hübschmann, Persische Studien (1895), p. 82.
    – fdb
    Aug 10, 2019 at 10:17
  • 1
    @user25137 Sanskrit kṣodas- “flowing water”.
    – fdb
    Aug 15, 2019 at 15:38

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