Questions tagged [etymology]

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

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2
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1answer
56 views

Is the Sumerian king list etymologically understood?

While some names in the Sumerian King List contain standard Sumerian words (e.g. "sipad" : shepherd, "dumu" : son, "zid" : true, "en" : king), I haven't found a comprehensive translation/etymological ...
6
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1answer
179 views

Why is the word “wherefore” not “whatfore” and the word “therefore” not “thatfore” and related anomalies

There is a pronominal adverb in many germanic languages that is a conjunction of the descendants of the proto-germanic words *hwar (where) + *furi (for/fore) which means something very similar to "for ...
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2answers
127 views

Are the Paris's names “City of Light” and “Lutetia” connected?

Paris is called City of Light. I wonder whether this name could come from ancient name of the city Λευκοτεκία (Ptolemy). Λευκος in Greek means light or white. And τεκ- root means "stone" (cognates ...
2
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0answers
56 views

Whence אֶת between partners' names?

The word אֶת /et/ is used with the following meanings: In Biblical Hebrew, it means "with". In modern Hebrew it survives, but only with a complement-of-the-preposition pronoun suffix: "with me", "...
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1answer
144 views

Why were there two words for love in Proto-Indo-European?

I did some research on the root of the English word 'love' and the French word 'amour' to attempt to find the roots of them. The farthest I can find back is two Proto-Indo-European words, "Lewb" ...
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138 views

Etymology (?) of the “shush” gesture

I'm curious about the origin of and explanation for the place-index-finger-to-closed-lips gesture. All I've found so far is this unattributed assertion that it dates at least to the era of Classical ...
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2answers
156 views

What is the extent of the 'etymological fallacy'?

Does folk etymology based on contemporary definitions of a word necessarily involve the etymological fallacy? And does the etymological fallacy apply to speech and poetry, or just to argumentation?
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1answer
120 views

Etymology of Slovene vrtnica “rose”. Can it be the Slavic reflex of PIE *wr̥dʰos “sweetbriar”?

Slovene has a word: vrtnica (wiktionary: en, sl) meaning "rose". It resembles the known Proto-Indo-European *wr̥dʰos “sweetbriar”, which gives Persian gul "rose, flower" and Old/Middle Iranian ...
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2answers
170 views
+50

Which semantic shifts befit the legal meaning of 'consideration'?

If I had to guess from Typology by Blank (1999), specialization of meaning? Frederick Pollock. Principles Of Contract. (1902) p. 170. p. 220/400 here.         The name of ...
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1answer
67 views

What does the Na mean in Nahuatl

Wondering what the etymology of this word is, can't find it anywhere. I am looking for the full etymology of the word Nahuatl, but specifically just the Na part.
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3answers
180 views

Etymological Fallacy

What is actually wrong with using Etymology to infer a word's meaning? I mean other than semantics( or more subtle meaning, nuance) of what other use could studying etymology be. I cannot see the ...
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1answer
79 views

Origin of Japanese particles だい(dai), かい(kai)

I was wondering about the origin of these emphatic interrogative particles in Japanese. It seems very likely that they are related to the more typical forms だ and か, but what led to the postfixed /i/? ...
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1k views

Reconstructed PIE grammar? Could we be able to speak in Proto-European?

I'm interested in etymology, so I see often the root of a word shown as a reconstructed PIE root, but is it only a set of words, or could we speak this reconstructed language? (even if it's only a ...
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1answer
100 views

Latin jūs and sūcus, and the words in Romance languages

Why is French jus said to be from Latin jūs or iūs, while Spanish jugo is said to be from the Latin sūcus? I don't know if there's a link between sūcus and jūs, but jus and jugo look like they are ...
4
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2answers
2k views

French letters in English

The English language has a great amount of borrowings from French. But why aren't such letters as "ç"(façade) and "é"(café, protégé) changed if they don't exist in the English alphabet and there are "...
5
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1answer
540 views

What is the meaning of the Latin names of grammatical cases (in general, not in Latin)?

I cannot find any source explaining the Latin names of grammatical cases. I am especially curious in the names of the less common cases, like in Finnish: nominative genitive accusative partitive ...
2
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1answer
126 views

Why does anger has something to do with spleen in both Chinese and English?

The English word spleen has two meanings in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, an organ near the stomach which produces and cleans the body's blood. a feeling of anger and disagreement. ...
4
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2answers
202 views

*h₁éḱwos > ἵππος, (Aeolian) ἴκκος

(in short) What's the epigraphical support to the Aeolian word ἴκκος ? I can't find it in the (very limited) data I can consult. (full story) The history of the Greek word ἵππος ("horse") can be ...
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1answer
123 views

Can English “dream” be a cognate to Latin “dormatio” and Russian “dröma” “sleep”?

I could not find any relevant information on the internet except the PIE had the root dre- for sleep (Vasmer)
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2answers
153 views

What is the Proto-Indo-European root word for electricity?

When I looked at Wiktionary for the word electricity, I saw that it came from the Ancient Greek word "elektron", and saw that it was possibly from Sanskrit ulka, which came from what appears to be *...
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0answers
54 views

Did the word circle come from the PIE word *kr-kr, which was said to be the Proto-Indo-European word for circular?

When I was reading on Wiktionary, I found something interesting. The word for circle was traced back to a Greek word which was said to be "of Pre-Greek origin". However, I read about the word carcer, ...
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1answer
121 views

Why is it “untenable” and not “untainable” in English?

I am aware that words like "obtain," "retain," and "contain" are related to the root "tenere" meaning "to have." What (if anything) determines if the "ten" goes to "tain" in English? We have words ...
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2answers
160 views

Are there any Latin and (ancient) Hebrew words with common origins?

More generally, is there any compelling evidence for any common roots between early Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic languages? There are almost necessarily some words that are not too dissimilar ...
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1answer
110 views

Where did the word ending ar er ir in Spanish come fom?

When I was learning Spanish, I came across the fact that Spanish verbs have three classes: AR, ER, and IR. I notice that more of them have the AR verb ending. The verb endings are the same in Latin, ...
3
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2answers
132 views

Why can Japanese Godan verbs only have nine possible consonant sounds before the final -u?

The dictionary form of Japanese verbs always ends in a -u syllable. Ichidan (one row or single-step in German) verbs will always end in -る (-ru, e.g. 食べる, taberu, to eat) while godan (five rows or ...
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1answer
237 views

How might one swear in Proto-Indo-European?

Proto-Indo-European is an interesting topic. I'm fascinated by how it spread. But, I wonder how to use curse words. These words, like others, will probably be reconstructed from other languages: Latin,...
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1answer
52 views

The “plague” and its transmission by “fleas”, or “flies”

"fly", Ger "Fliege" (the insect drosophila) could theoretically reflect an earlier *plag. It is linked with "to fly" though, to nobody's surprise. Old English flȳġe, flēoge (“a fly”), from Proto-...
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1answer
88 views

Practical ways to verify etymology

What online resources are available to trace back the origins of words? Ideally, this would be a searchable web dictionary like Wiktionary but listing the etymological chain along with some sort of ...
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1answer
98 views

Could the latin word terrere be related to the Hebrew word תִּירָא (tira)?

The English word "terror" is derived from the Latin "terrere", meaning "frighten". I noticed in reading a passage in Isaiah the Hebrew equivalent of "don't be afraid" which is אַל־תִּירָא ('al tira' - ...
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1answer
102 views

Does etymology have any role in everyday speech?

Does etymology have any role in everyday speech? For example, do common language practices preserve semantic connotations that are influenced by etymology? A simple example from Oxford Dictionary of ...
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1answer
111 views

Do words Deus and idea share the root? [closed]

https://www.etymonline.com/word/idea gives the definition of the idea as "archetype, concept of a thing in the mind of God," I was wondering if they come from the same word.
3
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1answer
337 views

Etymology of “Talo” (Finnish for “house”). Can it be a cognate of Thalamus?

The word Talo in Finnish means house. According to the wiktionary, it might be etymologically related to talas (boat-shelter). I was wondering if the word might have a common etymology with Greek ...
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2answers
2k views

Why is “dyadic” the only word with the prefix “dy-” for “two”?

I learned that the word "dyadic", a word opposed to monadic, is written with a y. My etymology sources indicates it comes from "Dyad", which means "pair", "couple", "double". However, every other ...
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2answers
160 views

Is Latin “ulula” cognate with hindi उल्लू (“ullu”)?

Hindi उल्लू /ʊl.luː/ (derived from Sanskrit उलूक /uluːka/) appears superficially very similar to Latin ulula (both meaning "owl"). Are these words cognate?
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55 views

Understanding the etymology of Persian “farāmoş”, to forget

I'm having a hard time understanding the etymology of the Persian verb farâmuš kardan, meaning to forget in Persian. The infnitive kardan is often used to make verbs from nouns and adjectives, so for ...
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1answer
111 views

How did the cross-linguistic univerbation 'nothing/not/none/no + less' semantically shift to signify 'despite'?

Several European languages have (false?) cognate adverbs with the meaning of 'nevertheless' (and 'nonetheless') built from words meaning "nothing/not/none/no" and "less". despite something that ...
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2answers
92 views

Etymology of the word “šowhar” in Persian

I am looking for etymology of the word شوهر in Persian language, I looked in wiktionary and two other dictionaries but found nothing. šowhar means "husband" in modern persian. https://en.wiktionary....
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1answer
88 views

What is a good etymological dictionary for the Persian language?

There are dozens of etymological dictionaries for Persian, has somebody compared them, and if yes could you recommend me a good one?
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1answer
90 views

Was there a Proto-Germannic root of “miskunn”

I was not able to find an etymology of ON "miskunn" within PrG. Is the first syllable a prefix "mis-" indicating any "wrong kunn, lack of kunn" or a deformed "midi-" as in E "com-passion", G "Mit-leid"...
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3answers
188 views

Common root 'to gather' and 'together'

I just saw this insightful and touching video by John Green where he makes the connection between 'to gather' and 'together'. One could say "let's gather at the bus stop" for instance, causing the ...
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1answer
82 views

How did 'sitting' semantically shift to mean 'properness'?

What semantic notions underlie 'sit' and 'properness'? The following words for propriety hail from the Proto-Indo-European *sed- like Spanish & Portugese sentar French seoir English 'sit well' ...
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1answer
138 views

What semantic notions underlie PIE *meh₂d- ('wet') and Proto-Germanic *matōną, *matjaną (“to feed, eat”)?

I was reading the etymology of amadouer when I lighted on these attested morphemes: Etymology From Middle French amadouer (“to coax, lure”), from a- + *madouer (“to lure, give food to”), from ...
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429 views

Is the Malay “garam” (salt) related to the Latin “garum” (fish sauce)?

The Malay/Indonesian word for salt garam is surprisingly similar to the Latin word for the Roman fish sauce garum. Since garum was made from fermented salted fish, is there an etymological ...
7
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1answer
206 views

Are English 'gay' and Norwegian 'gøy' cognates?

Norwegian gøy means "fun" in both Bokmål and Nynorsk. Does this word have anything to do with English gay? Wiktionary says gay comes ultimately from Proto-Germanic ganhuz "sudden" via Old French gai ...
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1answer
71 views

The Methatesis in “scope” vs “to show”

I would like to hear some ideas that can explain Greek *σκέπτομαι, σκοπός "watcher, look-out, spy, mark, goal" from Proto-Indo-European *skep-ye-, from a metathesis of *speḱ-. Cognate to ...
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3answers
191 views

Why is the word “idiot” so similar between multiple languages?

Weird question, granted, but I was just looking around on Google Translate and I noticed that the word "idiot" is basically the same across quite a few languages, here are a few examples: Italian: ...
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2answers
1k views

Origin of “boor”

The Talmud frequently calls an individual a "boor". Two examples: It has been reported: If one has learned Tanach and Mishnah but not Talmud, Rabbi Eleazar says he is an ignoramus [am ha-aretz]; ...
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3answers
228 views

good references for old indo-European languages

what enjoy the most is to trace back the words right to their origin. i had little study on Mazandarani(tabari\tapuri) dialect spoken is Mazandaran province of Iran. traced back some words to their ...
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53 views

Finding roots and cognates online

I'm studying linguistics and I want to know if there's an option for having several translations at once? For example, I enter "word" as an English entry and I get the below output: German: word1 ...
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3answers
163 views

Is there a specific linguistic term for the following practice of constructing new words/characters?

I have in mind examples such as the Scheingallizismus (lit. appearance of Gallicism) in German which are words/phrases constructed from French origins but are themselves unknown in French speaking ...

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