There are two words for moon in Proto-Indo-European, *lówksneh (cognate with 'lunar'), and *méhns (cognate with 'moon' and 'month'). I think that *lówksneh means "a shining moon" and is more common, and *méhns means "a measuring moon" in the sense of a month. I noticed that the Latin descendant for *méhns means "month", while luna in Latin means moon.

  • 13
    What is your question, exactly? – Draconis Mar 22 at 17:12
  • Why are there two words for moon and is that what they probably meant? – Number File Mar 22 at 17:29
  • Very speculative, but "méhns" could come from an eariler "meh", cognate with "measure" - only a comment, I don't dare post this as a serious answer. – ngn Mar 22 at 19:48

In PIE we have

mee̯ns - month

mee̯not(s) - Moon (crescent)

mee̯ros - large, grown

mee̯tis - measurement

mee̯dos - remedy, treatment (> medicine, medic)

mee̯dhi̯os - middle

mee̯trom - measurement tool

All these words are cognates.

We also have

louksna̯ - Moon

leukos - light

leukstrom - lamp

These words are cognates as well.

You can see that the root mee̯- had separate derivatives which meant both a month and the Moon.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    "related" more than "cognate"... cognate usually refers to words in different languages that descend from the same word, which doesn't apply to a word family in one language. – curiousdannii Mar 23 at 13:31
  • 2
    @curiousdannii hmm I first time see this definition. I use "cognate" for any words derived from the same root. – Anixx Mar 23 at 13:34
  • Maybe you're right. For example Wikipedia says "the English words dish and desk and the German word Tisch ("table") are cognates". Still feels odd and uncommon to me to talk about cognates only within one language rather than between two or more languages. That page also notes there is a specific term, doublet, for two words in the same language that have a shared origin. – curiousdannii Mar 23 at 13:37

The idea that *meH1- "to measure" is the same root as *meH1- "moon, month" has a parallel in Tocharian В yarm, AB yärm ‘measure’, Hittite arma ‘moon’.

| improve this answer | |
  • which is a possible cognate of year? – Anixx Mar 23 at 13:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.