In a poem of Hafez I found a pun based on the double meaning of دریاب, at once the present (or aorist) stem of دریافتن, and another word for دریا, meaning "the sea". Now it would be great to know, whether these words share a common ancestry or not, since the pun, where the sea is pictured as a receptacle, at least shows a possible confluence of meaning.

If you have the answer, would be great to also learn, how you found it, since I do not know any solid reference for New Persian etymologies.

1 Answer 1


The word for “sea” occurs across the board in Iranian: Avestan zraiiah-, Old Persian drayah-, Middle Persian drayā(b) (also: zrēh), New Persian daryā; probably cognate with Sanskrit jrayas- ‘expanse’.

The NP verb daryāftan is of course dar + yāftan, so it is not connected with the word for “sea”, except as a poet’s pun.

  • Thks. How about the second part of the question, where do you get these informations from? So as to not having to ask every single etymology...
    – zwiebel
    May 2, 2014 at 12:27
  • Unfortunately, there is no still no comprehensive etymological dictionary for Persian. I have a card index (started in the pre-computer era) compiled over the years from a large variety of primary and secondary sources.
    – fdb
    May 2, 2014 at 12:41
  • Alright, so I keep on asking you! ;-)
    – zwiebel
    May 2, 2014 at 16:12
  • Asatrian's Etymological Dictionary of Persian should be published (soon?) iedo.brillonline.nl/dictionaries/content/persian/index.html
    – Alex B.
    May 2, 2014 at 21:32

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