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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21 views

Do the Turkic languages have "-ia" suffix/ending to denote countries or abstract notions?

Both the Indo-European and Semitic languages have a combination of suffix+ending -i-a, which can be applied to form country names. It also conducts the feminine gender. The IE and Semitic suffixes are ...
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origin of the word "de" in the name of Tycho de Brahe, Danish astronomer

I am conducting a little research about the origin of the word "de" in a version of a name of the Danish astronomer "Tycho Brahe", namely: "Tycho de Brahe". Here is what ...
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Etymology of the Turkish word "rüzgâr"

In Turkish rüzgâr means "wind". From the looks of it (especially the long â vowel which is not native to Turkish) it seems to be of Persian origin: "روزگار". Some sources verify ...
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A word can be a sword? [closed]

I was reading a book today and I saw for the first time that "word" and "sword" differ for just one letter. Is it related to the fact that "words" can wound as much as &...
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59 views

What does Axel Schuessler mean by "area word"?

My son's studying Chinese. His teacher asked how 念 semantically appertains to its components 今心. I don't speak Chinese, and he had no idea. Then we resorted to Wiktionary that refers to Axel ...
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96 views

How do new function words develop in a language?

It's very understandable how new content words emerge in a language, since we can see it happening constantly in the modern day. On the other hand, I have trouble imagining the process by which a word ...
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etymology of "a" being used as a prefix to mean "not" [closed]

Was merely curious about the origination of "a" being use as a prefix to mean "not", as in atypical or asymptomatic. I have only done a cursory search for an answer, but I figured ...
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223 views

What is the origin of a Hungarian word cápa (shark) [closed]

The word for shark in Hungarian is cápa. Quick search for its origin didn't bring me anything. Probably there are some Hungarian sources, but I don't know the language, unluckily. As Hungary is a ...
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Etymology of "kipos", the greek for garden

Consider the following ancient greek word: κήπος This means "garden". 'Horto' is the latin. 'Jardin' in french is obviously the root for garden, but the links between Latin, Greek and ...
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Why is the Croatian word "pjena" (foam) spelt with "je" as if it were from Slavic yat, rather than "i", as it is from Slavic "y"?

Why is the Croatian word "pjena" (foam) spelt with "je" as if it were from Slavic yat, rather than "i", as it is from Slavic "y"? We know it is from Slavic &...
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What is the etymology of the maghrebi interjection "شاه" (chah or cheh)?

At least in the Maghreb, there is a word to say "serves [somebody] right!", i.e. "!شاه" or "ccah!" in Berber form. I'm struggling to find its etymology. Although it might ...
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Is there a common ancestor between the Hebrew לבן ("lavan", white) and the English "albino"?

I noticed these two words share the same central consonants, and wouldn't it be fascinating if the l-b-n semitic root has a common source to the English "albin-" as in albino and albinism? I ...
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Relationship between "גולגולת" (skull) and "גלגל" (wheel)

Both "גולגולת" (skull) and "גלגל" (wheel) are listed, on Wiktionary, as coming from the shared root ג־ל־ג־ל. All of the other words except for גולגולת have clear relationships to ...
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Middle English: y or ȝ

Lately I've been looking up the Middle English of many Modern English words via Wiktionary. It was my understanding that by this point in the history of English ȝ was in heavy use. Yet these ...
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How did wið shift to denote association rather than opposition?

Millar doesn't expound the semantic shift at all, but Wiktionary tries to. But wið is a functional morpheme, that at large change with less probability. So why did it shift "to denote association ...
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What is the name of the phenomenon of the subsequent semantic convergence of a borrowed cognate? [closed]

What is the name of the phenomenon of the subsequent semantic convergence of a borrowed cognate? For example, similar occurs in for the borrowed Latin 'video', which, however, of course, is original p....
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Are PIE *yóh₁r̥ "spring, summer" and Proto-Turkic *yāŕ "spring, summer" cognates?

In Turkic it seems to be related to the word for "half" (yarım in modern Turkish). The semantic development looks more likely into the direction half->spring rather than the opposite.
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Is there a name for the type of word that the word, “scarecrow,” is? (a transitive verb conjoined with its object)

The English word, “scarecrow,” spontaneously came to mind the other day, and I realized just how similar this word is to other words and phrases in other languages. For example, there are many ...
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Languages or Dialects Wherein Rain/Cloud and Tear/Cry are Cognates

Are there any languages or dialects wherein at least one of the words for rain, (rain)drop, or (rain)cloud is a cognate of at least one the terms for tear(drop) or cry(ing) ? or (rain)clouds are ...
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Why is the proto-italic reconstruction of "corpora" "*korpezā"?

I was studying rhotacism and I came across the word corpora (plural of corpus). I would reconstruct the proto-italic form as *korpoza, but I saw the entry on Wiktionary and it says that the actual ...
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Mechanism(s) as to how the pronunciations of「也」and its Old Chinese "homophones"/phonetically-derivative glyphs drifted to the modern range of sounds?

In my question https://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/47777/meaning-of-early-written-versions-of-%E5%9C%B0-and-etymology, I learned that the modern character for "earth, ground"「地」(dì) ...
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In what sense are terms for "white/shining" and for "swamp/marsh" "semantically connected" in many languages?

Although a closed question, reading THIS we find a link to Wictionary with the text: From Proto-Albanian *baltā (“marsh”), hypothetically from a Proto-Indo-European *bʰolHto- (“white > marsh”), a ...
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Is the word for "brother-in-law" in Germanic languages related to the Aramaic/Syriac גיס?

Here is the word for "brother-in-law" in various modern Germanic languages: schwager (German), shvugger (Yiddish), swaer (Afrikaans), svoger (Norweigan/Danish), sogor (Croatian), zwager (...
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Compound English word with most etymologies

There are many English words with two different core etymologies, often Latin + Greek. For example: Claustrophobia – from the Latin claustrum meaning "confined space" and Greek φόβος (...
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Prefix a(n)- in Sanskrit and English

In learning about the three Buddhist marks of existence - referred to by the Sanskrit words anatman (lack of permanent self), anitya (impermanence) and dukkha (suffering) - I was interested to learn ...
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Is Medea not the root of media?

Google definitions states that media has it roots in: late 19th century: shortening of modern Latin tunica (or membrana ) media ‘middle sheath (or layer)’. This really did not make much sense to me, ...
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68 views

How were “bratrъ/bratъ” and “sestra” formed in PSl?

The PIE r-stem words seem to have lost the final -r in PSl: OCS mati, dъšti, and how some words which had -r (and -l) in final position preserve this consonant in the middle of words in slavic?
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Origin of Italian plurals

Some sources say that italian plurals come from the nominative case, so "italiano" has the plural "italiani", and "italiana" has the plural "italiane". However ...
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What is the etymology of Wanona (said to be the name of Kullervo's sister meaning "weeping")?

Tolkien coined the name Wanōna (also Welinōre, Wanōra, Oanōra) in his Story of Kullervo. It's totally possible they belong to Tolkien's constructed languages. But I think the etymology is still ...
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Why is the word "war" in Romance languages predominantly of Germanic origin instead of Latin?

I wonder why in all Romance languages the word "war" ("guerra", with their multiple intonations) is a term that comes from Germanic languages, and that no modern language resembles ...
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How did the romance languages' feminine/masculine genders develop?

How did French, Spanish, Italian, end up with gendered nouns? The Wikipedia page Proto-Indo-European nominals says Originally, there probably were only an animate (masculine/feminine) and an ...
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Distinction between Chemistry and Alchemy in Arabic and Farsi languages

According to Wikipedia, in Europe the semantic distinction between the rational science of chimia and the occult alchimia arose in the early 18th century. So it seems like there was a need to separate ...
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In Search of an Etymological Name Database

Do such things even exist? Attempts at searches turn up rather limited and uninformative sites dedicated to parental demographics, and that's not what I'm looking for. Specifically, I'm looking for a ...
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şapka and шапка - which way did the hat travel? [closed]

The russian and turkish words for hat : şapka and шапка are very similar. It makes me suspect that one language borrowed it from the other. Which way did the hat travel?
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What is the origin if the "i" in "Sanskrit"?

What is the origin if the "i" in the language name "Sanskrit" (instead of "Sanskṛt"). Is this an epenthetic vowel inserted by English-speaking authors or by Hindi-...
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Why did the softness of the L in the OCS word "велми" reflect so unpredictably into today's languages?

The OCS word "велми", meaning "very" and surviving in several Slavic languages today, is quite a conundrum to me in terms of how it has reflected into the living languages of today....
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How did the "c" in "et cetera" end up being pronounced like an s sound?

I was discussing an odd pronunciation of etc. with a friend when he told me that technically the most correct way to pronounce it based off Latin pronunciation rules would be something more like et ...
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Ultimate Etymology of "Ides"?

I recall reading somewhere that Latin idus "ides, 15th day of the month/full moon" was ultimately derived, via Etruscan, from Sumerian itu "month". Is this plausible, or is it ...
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How is the Filipino expression “salamat” related to the Arabic?

Salamat in Filipino means “thank you”. In the Arabic form, the word is in the feminine plural salāmat سلامت from the singular salāmah . Salamat in Arabic is equivalent to peace and blessings (a ...
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Are infinitives in descendant languages and 3rd-preson singular forms of verbs in PIE related?

For example, why is it shown in Wiktionary that the etymology of such words like eat, есть (which means eat in Russian)comes from 3-rd person singular form *h₁édti in PIE? Are they really related or I ...
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What is the the etymological origin of the name Calvin?

Doing research (question was also asked on The Latin StackExchange Website) I came across the name having a French origin meaning "bald". However, I also came across that the name has a ...
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pronunciation of word origins [closed]

there are many sources for indo-europian languages' etymology but I don't know where to find one which shows the pronunciation of the word's origins. for example, I can't understand how the given ...
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The connection between ركن and corner [closed]

The arabic word ركن /rukn/ and the English word corner /ˈkɔɹnɚ/. Is there any connections between them?
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What is the difference between a borrowed and a derived Word in Linguistics?

When looking at Etymologies of words, I noticed that there are "borrowed" words and "derived" words. "Borrowed" is, I think, just taken from a different language, but ...
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What is the origin of "property" meaning physical things that are owned?

In another forum I was reading this answer which makes the following (unsourced) claim: Locke's way of putting it was that the material a person gathers and develops through labor are a property of ...
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Can the PIE roots with similar meaning and difference in gʷ/w and gʷʰ/w in fact be related?

For instance, I wonder whether roots *gʷʰér- "burn, heat" and *wer- "burn, heat" are related, as well as *gʷer- "mountain, height" and *wers- "mountain, height"....
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Linguistic significance of my name? [closed]

I’ve always asked my mother how she chose the spelling of my middle name RēNeé but she simply didn’t know the reasoning behind it because it was a middle name that had been passed down to the females ...
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Connection between “wiseguy” and the Cantonese slang 古惑仔

"Wiseguy" can mean a made man in the mafia or a smart ass who acts like they are smarter than others. What I find interesting is that the Cantonese/Chinese slang term 古惑仔(Gu Wac Zai) has ...
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Is Proto-Uralic piŋз "hand, palm" related to PIE pn̥kʷstis "fist", pénkʷe "five"?

There was Proto-Uralic piŋз "hand, palm": https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pivo#Etymology_2 I wonder whether it was related to the PIE words.
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How do compound verbs develop?

There's a very interesting (to me at least) example of compound verbs, in this wiki page on Serial Verbs: सत्तू खा लिया sattū khā liyā parched.grain eat take.pfv "...

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