For example, why is it shown in Wiktionary that the etymology of such words like eat, есть (which means eat in Russian)comes from 3-rd person singular form *h₁édti in PIE? Are they really related or I misunderstood something?enter image description hereenter image description here

  • part of this is just an artefact of different languages using different parts of the inflection paradigm as the citation form. This means you frequently see things like Spanish vivir < Latin vīvō, even though the form vivir desccends from the infinitive vīvere, but here the citation form is standing in for the full inflectional paradigm. I'm not sure about the situation with Balto-Slavic though, the infinitive does look pretty similar to the 3sg active present indicative
    – Tristan
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


The usual dictionary form of PIE verbs is the 3rd person singular, and in this case the implication that the forms are fully cognate is not intended. The infinitive ending reconstructed for Proto-Slavic, *-ti, is traditionally taken to be a locative ending (PIE *-tēi̯) originally, and its resemblance to the PIE 3rd person singular ending *-ti is accidental.

(PIE itself didn't have any infinitives, so infinitives in daughter languages are necessarily innovations.)

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    I'd say the usual citation form for PIE verbs is the root; I don't know if Wiktionary regularly cites 3sg forms, but most sources don't.
    – TKR
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 0:25
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    Do you mean the stem? That's common as well (it's what the IEED does), but the 3rd person singular certainly isn't rare. Roots alone obviously don't suffice to describe most words.
    – Cairnarvon
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 0:59
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    I was thinking of verb-based dictionaries like LIV (or AHD), but of course you're right that the stem formation has to be provided too. Using the 3sg as citation form doesn't seem to be standard practice, though, at least in sources I'm familiar with.
    – TKR
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 2:34

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