Good morning,

I am a scholar from a different field, trying to gain insight into the etymological connection between aura and aurum (air and gold). How do they relate?

I have found a connection through *h₂ews- (dawn, east), but I am not sure if I can go so far as to conclude that both terms derive from it, although wictionary does.

Michiel de Vaan (Brill Dictionary of Latin Etymology) seems more hesitant.

Any opinions? Thanks a lot in advance!

P.S. Bonus question: Whats's with auris, ear? Same root as well? Thanks! :-)

  • 1
    Why not asking it in the Latin StackExchange?
    – Quidam
    Apr 10 '20 at 12:38
  • 2
    @Quidam. We are here and we are there. But who is down-voting this excellent question?
    – fdb
    Apr 10 '20 at 12:55
  • I don't know, it has been flagged by someone for closing it, probably to move it on the Latin SE?
    – Quidam
    Apr 13 '20 at 7:38

The Latin aura is a loan from Greek αὔρα, for which the original meaning (still in Homer) is “morning mist”. In this case the connection with the Latin aurora “dawn” and aurum *glow > “gold” is not difficult semantically, all deriving from an IE root *h₂ews-. On the other hand, auris “ear” is generally assumed to derive from a different IE homonym *h₂ews-. Is that satisfactory? I have my doubts.

  • 1
    This raises an interesting issue about the prevalence of homonyms/phones. Apr 10 '20 at 12:29
  • @BertBarrois. Yes, exactly.
    – fdb
    Apr 10 '20 at 12:40
  • Thank you! That's really helpful. So to break it down: (1.) I can see clearly, how aura derives from αὔρα, which comes from *h₂ews- (2.) I understand, that aura and aurora are evidently connected and both stem from *h₂ews- But I am still unsure about aurum. Mainly because *h₂ews- is not listed as a reference in the Latin Etymologic Dictionary. Or did I read it wrongly? Thanks again!
    – sachaq
    Apr 10 '20 at 17:30
  • 1
    @sachaq. de Vaan derives aurum from *h₂e-h₂us-o-, with *h₂us- (zero-grade of *h₂ews-) and reduplication. Others have given slightly different explanations.
    – fdb
    Apr 10 '20 at 18:06
  • @fdb Ah, perfect! Know it makes sense! So if I quote the lemmata aurum and aurora in de Vries (and aura from an Ancient Greek etymological dictionary, I would have sufficient proof for the etymology, right? Or is there a better or more common source I should cite?
    – sachaq
    Apr 10 '20 at 21:35

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