Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [etymology]

The study of the history of words including their origins and the changes they've undergone through time.

-2
votes
0answers
49 views

*volvo* meaning life [closed]

I remember an artist in a show talking long and wide about Sweden, Ikea and their approach to life. I very distinctly remember because it concluded in a song about how life is good, featuring volvo ...
-2
votes
1answer
96 views

Do animal names correspond with verbs that have to do with their use to humans or their observed behaviour? [closed]

In an earlier question here I used an example of animal names versus words (often verbs) that have rather similar spelling and can be linked by observations of behaviour or the functional use to ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Etymology : Paedology vs Pedology [closed]

Pedology vs Paedology: Two words with Two different meaning completely different from one another. What is the etymology for each word?
5
votes
1answer
82 views

What linguistic impact, if any, has the the Roman three name naming system left on modern Romance and European languages?

The ancient Romans had a three name system (tria nomina): praenomen, the birth/given name; the nomen, like a family name but marking the person as belonging to a specific gens; and the cognomen, of ...
1
vote
2answers
103 views

Are Hindi: muskān and Russian: usméška cognates? (Noun smile)

This is what I've found so far: Noun Hindi: मुस्कान f (muskān) Russian: усме́шка (ru) f (usméška) Verb Indo-Iranian: *smáyati Proto-Slavic: smьjati (*smijàti) PIE: *(s)meyh₂- English: Smile
-1
votes
3answers
133 views

Etymology of a word “Egg” in different languages [closed]

I would like to know translations, transcription and etymology of the translations of a word "Egg" in different languages. I prefer to have answers given in the following form: Translation ...
3
votes
3answers
172 views

Have linguistics found any evidence that Semitic languages influenced Germanic languages or vice versa (in ancient times)?

Have linguistics found any evidence that Semitic languages influenced Germanic languages or vice versa (in ancient times)? BACKGROUND: I suggested to a forum of linguists that a certain Semitic word (...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

Axioms in English: If we try to find the root meaning of every English word in the dictionary,which word will we land on the most [duplicate]

Assume an alien has landed on Earth and wants to learn English with the help of an English Dictionary. He looks up the meaning of "the". Meaning of "the": "denoting one or more people or things ...
-1
votes
1answer
61 views

The letter V in German, its sounds and visual symbolism [closed]

The word Fotze (cunt) has the irregular spelling Votze, which is usually explained as a reference to the denotated part. But comparing Vater (father), I don't know any reason why hat wouldn't be Fater....
4
votes
2answers
243 views

PIE *kom 'with, side by side' or PIE *ḱóm?

wiktionary: Proto-Indo-European/ḱóm - Etymology Perhaps from *ḱe. Adverb *ḱóm beside, near, by, with AHD-IER: kom Beside, near, by, with Is the initial consonant a plain k ...
-3
votes
2answers
208 views

What is the etiology of the word for ‘pyramid’

Etiology as the origins study in linguistics is meant here to find the origin for the European words for the Egyptian pyramids. It seems there is no acceptable answer to this question, leaving a lot ...
0
votes
0answers
51 views

Fortition or Lenition as semantical markers

Is there a term for phonetic change relative to a change in meaning, for example a hard consonant becoming soft relative to a technical term that attains a diminutive sense? Curses for example sound ...
4
votes
2answers
80 views

How did Gk. ταινία “band, ribbon” come from PIE *tn̥-yā- < *ten- “to stretch”?

AHD-IER (Watkin, 2011) P93 gives PIE *tn̥-yā- for Gk. ταινία: Suffixed zero-grade form *tn̥-yā‑. taenia; polytene, from Greek tainiā, band, ribbon. while EDG (Robert Beekes, 2010) P1444: ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

Can we use etymology to determine the nature of synchronic semantic and morphosyntactic differences between (near-)synonyms?

I've recently joined a discussion in which some of the participants insist that if one doesn't understand the nature of the difference between two or more words (the ones discussed by us are synonyms ...
-1
votes
1answer
72 views

Is there truly no semantic notion that underlies the prefix 'for-'?

McWhorter, J. PhD Linguistics (Stanford). What Language Is (2011), pp. 87-88. Both McWhorter overhead and Etymonline avouch no single semantic notion that can underlie all of for-'s meanings. ...
-1
votes
1answer
120 views

How did 'man's time on earth' semantically shift to mean the 'earth' itself?

John McWhorter PhD Linguistics (Stanford). Words on the Move (2016). p. 190 Bottom. World began as wer-eld, where wer p. 191 Top was that "man" word and eld meant "old," as in age. Wer-eld ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

How did 'narrow' semantically shift to mean 'strong'? [closed]

John McWhorter PhD Linguistics (Stanford). Words on the Move (2016). p. 101.   So, one answer to the observation "But wasn't it nice to have a way to express that concept?" is: not really, and ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

How often are dictionary etymologies wrong?

How often are the etymologies in dictionaries incorect? Sometimes when reading a dictionary I see a derivation of a word which contradicts my intuition. For example I read that "ball" comes from ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

Are there any words which have the meaning 'Hello' or 'Hi' with Turkic origin? [duplicate]

In Turkish we say Merhaba or Selam when we want to say Hi to someone but both of these words have Arabic origin. I know that the same goes on with the other Turkic languages like Azerbaijani, Kazakh, ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Genocide vs. genticide [closed]

I was interested in understanding the origin and meaning of the word "genocide" and went to the Online Etymology Dictionary where it says that "The proper formation would be genticide." Why would the ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

How did « admettre » semantically generalize to signify 'confess'?

McWhorter, J. PhD Linguistics (Stanford). The Power of Babel (2003). p. 32 Bottom.   Semantic drift has an especially visible effect on combinations of roots and prefixes or suffixes, and this ...
1
vote
3answers
127 views

Gold in French, light in Hebrew

I am fascinated by questions of linguistic relation between Hebrew and the Romance Languages, but I feel here I may have stumbled on a false connection and would like to be properly put in my place. ...
4
votes
5answers
328 views

Why aren't linguists formally trained in etymology?

McWhorter, J. PhD Linguistics (Stanford). Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue (2009). p. x Bottom.   Yet my impatience with the word fetish of typical popular treatments of The History of English is ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Is it possible for two Semitic (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew) words with the same triliteral root to have different origins?

Learning Arabic, I see some examples of triliteral roots from which words with apparently different meanings are derived. Example: ف ط ر (f-ṭ-r) "to break apart or tear": فَطَرَ • (faṭara) (maybe ...
2
votes
0answers
97 views

Did modern Farsi lose its casual word for yes?

Hobby linguistic learner here. Farsi naturally shares a lot of simple words with other Indo-European languages: German for [daughter]: "Tochter" / "doxtar" (دوختر) English for [bad]: "bad"/"bad" (بد)...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Does Sanskrit निस् • (nis) “out, forth, away” come from PIE *ni- “in; down?” with meaning shift from “in” to “out”?

निस्·nis "out, forth, away" > nirvana "to blow out, extinguish; out of breath?" नि·ni "down, back, in, into" < PIE *h₁én "in; down?" My question is whether these words are from the same PIE root? ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Phenomenon or phrase describing the understanding of words out of context

E.g. The phrase 'I love you' is common. If the word 'love' was replaced by an unrelated word (i.e. 'radiator') then the sentence 'I radiator you' would be meaningless. But if the word radiator was ...
-4
votes
1answer
46 views

Why say “PC vs Macs” [closed]

What's the origin of the pharsing since Macs are personal computers and PC stands for Personal Computers but is used to refer to windows-powered computers? I apologise if I used the wrong tag.
2
votes
1answer
95 views

The origins of PIE *-nt- and *-to-

I have learned that English present participle suffix -ing and past participle suffix -ed came from PIE *-nt- and *-to- respectively. I have two questions about them. (1)Were these also used to form ...
7
votes
4answers
483 views

Why are the reconstructed forms of PIE root in Etymonline and Wiktionary different?

I found PIE roots described in Etymonline (or American Heritage Dictionary) and Wiktionary are quite different. For examples: agō: *ag- (Etymonline), *h₂eǵ- (Wiktionary) laxō: *sleg- (...
4
votes
2answers
258 views

What are cognates of “fuck” in other Indo-European languages?

I am not asking for translations, but how the word itself is related to words in other languages and what those words have come to mean like how "shit" is related to "science". I would really ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the meaning of the number 2 in Proto-Indo European reconstructions? e.g. As in *tewtéh₂, meaning “people” or “tribe”

I am a writer doing some research into ancient languages for a story I am creating. Despite having done some formal and informal study on linguistics (I am familiar with a phonetic chart) and informal ...
2
votes
0answers
47 views

Do we have an Intonation “etymology”?

Recently I was thinking about a language I'm currently learning and its similarities with my own native language. While I assume grammar to change considerably depending on language it came to mind ...
1
vote
1answer
165 views

Can these new etymological pairs of PIE roots be true?

I find a paper containing new lists of cognates on PIE root level, and don't know such phenomena or rules are convincing or not, the list follows below: 1. The voiceless stop vs. voiced aspirated ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Origins of “Mark” as “symbol” [closed]

friends! How is it going? : ) I've been conducting a heavy research on the word "mark" for the past month, but unfortunately I'm far from being a linguist, so I lack decent resources... hahaha I ...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

How is chapter related to head?

In several languages, the word for "chapter" (a self-contained unitary text of a book) comes from the word for "head": In Latin, "capitulum" (literally "small head") comes from caput (head). This ...
-1
votes
1answer
60 views

Is 'good bye" from an Asian origin?

The Thai ไป,-'Pị' as used in 'di pi' and the English 'good bye' sound the same and mean the same. Is there a known etymological link?
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Etymology of the unit “Marc” (German►English)

Friends! First of all, thanks for your time and help. I'm conducting a research on the word "Mark", and before I explain all I know so far, let me tell you: The goal is to trace the connection ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

Etymology of the words ''Wave''

Do the words Wave(English) Welle(German) Vague(French) have the same Etymology as Val(Serbo-Croatian,Slovenian),Vlna(Czech,Slovakian),BолнаVolna. All these words mean the same thing-Wave. but I ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

What's the difference between לזכור and להיזכר in Modern Hebrew? [closed]

In Modern Hebrew, the words לזכור and להיזכר both mean "to remember" and they both come from the root 'זכר'. As an English speaker, it's as if there were two words, "remember" and "remomber" and there ...
4
votes
2answers
120 views

'm' in the words meaning first person

I have read in a book about the theory that explains why in many languages pronouns meaning first person contain letter 'm' (e.g. me, moi, меня, mich) and pronouns describing second person contain ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Are the English words “essence” and “essential” related to the Spanish word “ser”?

I always think of the Spanish verb "ser" being related to "essence", which can be contrasted with the verb "estar", which is related to "state". "Ser" is also a noun with various meanings including "...
1
vote
2answers
200 views

Does the French word for Friday, “vendredi”, come from the Latin “Veneris” or the old Norse “Vanadis”?

When looking up the etymology of the French vendredi online, I can only find the suggestion that it comes from the Latin Veneris (Venus). However, the English, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish and ...
6
votes
1answer
107 views

What is the relation of PIE *wers (“to confuse, mix up; to beat, thresh, grind”), *wert (“to turn, to rotate”), and *werb (“to bend, to turn”)?

From *wers we get English war, worse, worst. From *wert we get English versus, verse, version, vertex, vortex, vertical, revert, invert, divert,..., worth, -ward, weird. From *werb/p we get ...
-1
votes
1answer
58 views

Is there an etymological relationship between Cartesian and words like carte? [closed]

"Cartesian space" refers to a coordinate system that is sometimes referred to as a map. It is named after René Descartes. Meanehile, the french word for "map" is "carte." Is there any relationship? ...
-1
votes
1answer
143 views

Elusive etymology, false cognate?

So I just stumbled upon this beautiful word, Eleusinian(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries), named after a Greek town. Given they had a history of cool initian rites, and all the jazz ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

is there “i” suffix that makes verb from noun, in latin or its ancestors? etymology of tio(n) suffix [closed]

Wiktionary says on PIE -h₃onh₂-: Descendants Italic: ... Latin: -iō (from *-i-h₃onh₂-) (e.g. legiō (“group of selected people”)) Latin: -ō (e.g. Nāsō (“having a conspicuous nose”), poss. ...
0
votes
2answers
130 views

The origin of a common word for tongue/language?

It seems that a lot of Indo-European languages use a common word to denote both a language, and the tongue (body part). In French, the same word is used for both aspects (langue). It is also the case ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

What determines how a language creates new words? For example, is it likely for English to continue to create new words from Latin in future?

In particular, I'm curious about the phenomenon where a language creates most new, modern words using a dead ancient language, rather than its existing, living original word roots. One example is ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

How did “will” lose the meaning “want” in English?

Will used to mean want (and sometimes still does) but in other Germanic languages, such as Dutch and Norwegian, the cognate still means want. What was different about English to cause this?