I looked up the word for "brother" in other Turkish languages. In Ubzek it is aka. And in Volga Tatar the corresponding word is abi. The word "kardesh" sounds suspiciously similar to the Armenian word kardash which means stone carver. So could this possibly be a loanword from one of the Indo-Iranian languages spoken in the region?

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    Turkish kardeş (“sibling (brother or sister)”, there is no distinction between brother and sister in Turkish) is from Ottoman Turkish قرداش‎ (qardaš/qardeš, “sibling”), from Old Anatolian Turkish قردآش‎ (qardaš, “sibling”), equivalent to karın (“womb”) +‎ -daş (“fellow, sharer”). karındaş with the meaning ‘pregnant’ which got a semantic shift into modern karnaş and kardeş meaning ‘sibling’ i.e. wombmates from karın (womb, abdomen, stomach-please). Source: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kardeş
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 19, 2020 at 1:30
  • Kinship terms like mother - father - sister - brother - son - daughter are almost always native words, they are never loanwords.
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 19, 2020 at 1:42
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    @YellowSky Even close kinship terms absolutely can be loanwords. Finnish aïti 'mother', for instance, is a loan from Proto-Germanic.
    – Cairnarvon
    Sep 19, 2020 at 5:02
  • @Cairnarvon - Good to know that, thank you. Notice, I did say “almost”.
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 19, 2020 at 11:30
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    So, parallel to Greek ἀδελφός - "one womb"
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 19, 2020 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


Old Turkish (from 8th century on) has kadaş and ka kadaş in the meaning “kinsman”. Anatolian Turkish kardeş results from a folk-etymological reinterpretation of the old word, as if from karın "womb" + daş "sharer". Clauson in his "Etymological Dictionary of pre-13th-century Turkish" argues that ka is a loan from Middle Chinese, and kadaş a derivative of the former. This may or may not be correct, but in any case the form with -r- is very late.

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