Early corruption of French aveugler (“to blind, to delude”),

from aveugle (“blind”),

from the Old French avugle (“without eyes”),

from Latin ab + oculus (“eye”).

The in- might be from other a-/en- variations found in Middle English, which was then latinised into in-.

The sound change from Latin aboculus to Old French avugle is difficult for me to deduce, so I wonder whether it is regular and is there any other example like this?

  • 2
    Are you talking about *b->v and/or *c->g? I know nothing about Romance languages, but intervocalic lenition is a very common process so these changes seem unsurprising. Aug 1, 2013 at 7:00
  • 1
    The c->g is easily explained by the loss of the first /u/ in oculus, leaving /-okl-/; the proximity of the voiced /l/ would normally voice the /k/ to /g/. Like b->v intervocalically, this is unsurprising.
    – jlawler
    Aug 1, 2013 at 16:13
  • @jlawler, Hi! Thank you for your answer, I still wonder the change from L. /o/ to OF. /u/, is this conditional or non-conditional?
    – archenoo
    Aug 2, 2013 at 6:08
  • Vowels vary. A lot. Most etymologies rely on consonants, unless there's a demonstrated vowel relation like Grimm's Law or Umlaut. A change from [o] in one language to [u] in a successor, with this many syllables reforming around it, over the course of a millennium, is not surprising and in fact is rather conservative. Certainly it needs no special explanation.
    – jlawler
    Aug 2, 2013 at 17:13
  • Take a look at cnrtl.fr/definition/aveugle (scroll down to EÉTYMOL. ET HIST.)
    – Alex B.
    Aug 5, 2013 at 3:38

3 Answers 3


aboculus to aveugle is totally regular and not very complicated development (i.e. can be explained by three or four processes that do not intertwine)

1) lenition of obstruents intervocallically gives you b>v and k>g

2) post-accentual vowels being elided results for both u>0

3) in a closed syllable, short stressed o>oe (today spelt ; but this did not go through /u/)

All these changes occur in myriad other examples (sudor > sueur; opera > oeuvre, etc.)

The rendition avugle may be just freak of transcription or it might be dialectal (in some dialects, even accented short o>u, which was typically reserved only for the unaccented one) and the grapheme might represent /u/ sound, not /y/.


French vocabulary can be roughly divided into 3 groups:

  1. Native French words which can be traced back to Vulgar Latin. These words usually have the largest amount of phonetical changes (as they are most ancient): oculus > œil.
  2. Early loanwords from Latin. These words aren't traceable to Vulgar Latin, they were reborrowed to French from Medieval Latin, two already coexisting languages. These words have fewer phonetical changes than the first group. I think this is the case with aboculus > avugle (but I'm not entirely sure).
  3. Late loanwords from Latin. This group of words underwent almost zero phonetical changes. This is the case with, for example, ocularis > oculaire.

It didn't.

"veigle" means tool : handle.

Something you can handle as to make it a tool for a certain (personal) aim or purpose. Therefore

{ in+veigle } yields a direct meaning of: to [ utilize something : someone ] in its original sense.

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