Michiel de Vaan's Etymological Dictionary of Latin has for PIE:

a̯ei̯os copper


a̯eimos imitation, substitute

a̯imea̯ image, copy

All three words seemingly have the same root a̯ei̯-

Are these two words related? Did the word for copper initially mean "fake gold"?

  • 2
    Fake gold even today is often made from mostly copper.
    – Baz
    Oct 3, 2013 at 14:03
  • 2
    Where are you getting the latter two words? It's generally good practice to link to a source when you cite PIE reconstructions, since authorities don't all agree on forms or meanings.
    – TKR
    Oct 3, 2013 at 16:48
  • 1
    @Tom Recht it is from Lubotsky's etymological dictionary of Latin language.
    – Anixx
    Oct 4, 2013 at 1:40
  • 1
    @Anixx, never heard of this dictionary before. Surely, you meant to say de Vaan 2008? Alexander Lubotsky is the series editor. iedo.brillonline.nl/dictionaries/content/latin/index.html
    – Alex B.
    Oct 4, 2013 at 13:09
  • @Alex B. yes...
    – Anixx
    Oct 4, 2013 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


Copper being one of the earliest metals known to humans (it's the main component of bronze), I should rather think that if they are indeed related, there must be a simpler link related to smithery — and, by extension, artifice. We still talk of forgeries.

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