I was looking at the etymology of the Romanian word comoară ("treasure", "hoard", "pile of precious things") and it seems based on the widespread Slavic form komora, meaning "room", "container", "chamber" and other semantically related notions. But I cannot find a case where this or a related form would mean "treasure", on the model of the Latin thesaurus and Greek θησαυρός, with this basic semantic coincidence or transfer between content (treasure) and recipient (treasury, box, strongbox).

I was thus very surprised watching an Italian movie where a seemingly slang or invented word in the romanesco dialect means "strongbox" but sounds close to Romanian comoară. All that leads nowhere though, as it seems.

Therefore, I am still intrigued: is the Romanian word the only member of that group of words in Eastern Europe which means "treasure"? ---no matter the ultimate supposedly Latin origin of all of them - from camera---

It is to be noted that:

  • the word kamera (Romanian camera) present in many Slavic languages, including Russian, has to be considerd separately, as a neologism equivalent to the Italian word camera - usually including the somewhat ”modern” meanings of ”room” (sometimes in a technical sense), ”legislative body” and ”photographic camera”

  • Bulgarian kamara seems to be not one word, but three different words, although similar in form: one, pronounced 'kamərə, means “legislative body” and is of Turkish origin; a second one is an archaism, has the same pronunciation, means “chamber, vaulted room” and is of Slavic origin; a third one is pronounced kɐˈmarə, means “pile, heap” , ”a load”, ”a ton of” something, and supposedly is of Greek origin. This might be the only case that looks close to the Romanian one: that transfer from generic-Slavic ”chamber” (camera/komora) to ”a pile of stuff” (kamara-'kamərə`) seems based on (mediated by) Romanian ”pile of gold” (comoară).

(By the way, how solid is the Latin etymology for komora in Polish, Czech, Macedonian etc? Are these forms recent neologisms -like kamera is-, or are they old Slavic forms - even if ultimately from Latin? - Couldn't there be a direct Proto-Slavic < PIE origin?)

  • 2
    PIE *kh₂em- “to bend, to curve” > Proto-Balto-Slavic *kam- > Proto-Slavic *kǫ̃- as in *kǫ̃-tъ “corner” (Ukrainian кут (kut), Bulgarian кът (kǎt), Czech: kout), so the direct derivation of komora from PIE *kh₂em- is highly unlikely.
    – Yellow Sky
    Mar 28 at 20:17
  • @YellowSky - But komora is old word in Slavic languages (e.g. Polish), right? - unlike kamera.
    – cipricus
    Mar 28 at 21:18
  • 2
    Yes, komora is a borrowing into Proto-Slavic from Latin or Greek, it can be seen by the a > o correspondence.
    – Yellow Sky
    Mar 29 at 11:25
  • @YellowSky - This is clear to me now. I think I will have to edit the question and remove my "doubts" about this part, and let the focus on the main part as put in the title. My interest is whether the Romanian word could be a reflection of the Greek, Latin and Neo-Latin structure but under the Slavic form, or whether that structure is in fact rather common, also present in Slavic languages (although I wasn't able to find it).
    – cipricus
    Mar 31 at 16:15


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