I have found a funny coincidence going through etymology. I found that the word occult comes from the same root *kel as hell. I feel like that is a spooky coincidence. The word *kel in PIE means to conceal, and the occult and hell are “concealed” in similar ways. Is this true?


It is indeed true!

Proto-Indo-European *ḱel "conceal" > Proto-Germanic *haljō "concealed place" > Old English hell "underworld" > English "hell"

Proto-Indo-European *ḱel "conceal" > Latin *ob-celō > occulō "conceal" > occultus "(that which is) concealed" > English "occult"

  • I thought so. Saw the same thing Dec 7 '19 at 19:03
  • 2
    The derivation of "hell" from *ḱel is widely, but not universally accepted. oed.com/view/Entry/85636?rskey=uzK3oW&result=1#eid
    – fdb
    Dec 8 '19 at 0:26
  • @fdb That would make a good answer!
    – Draconis
    Dec 8 '19 at 2:56
  • @Draconis you misunderstand the purpose of the comment. You are supposed to bring that information into your post in order to improve it.
    – user64742
    Dec 8 '19 at 5:21
  • @TheGreatDuck No, I know, but I'm saying this question might benefit from another answer. Fdb could potentially provide much better information about the other viewpoint than I could, especially since I hadn't heard of this theory before and can't access the OED at the moment (though I have no doubt there's good information there).
    – Draconis
    Dec 8 '19 at 5:31

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