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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1answer
80 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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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188 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 ...
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168 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 ...
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490 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 "...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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? ...
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357 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 ...
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1answer
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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. ...
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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 ...
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167 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 ...
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195 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?
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1answer
174 views

Etymology of the place name Chattaroy

I'm not sure if this is the correct place to ask this question, but my parents grew up in Chattaroy Washington, and I'm curious what the word's origins are. I've done a little searching and I can't ...
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2answers
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Is there a term for the diminishment of intensity of meaning over time?

I can only imagine this has been asked before, but the closest I found in a search had to do with translation and slang. Sorry if it's been answered! My question is about the watering-down of English ...
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4answers
766 views

Why did English “man” and Latin “homo” take both the senses “gender-neutral human” and “male adult”?

Why did English "man" and Latin "homo" take both the sense "gender-neutral human" and "male adult"? According to etymonline.com, English "man", and incidentally Latin "homo" (which originally meant "...
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Is Japanese “subaru” related to Russian “soberu” and Latin “conferre”?

Is Japanese "subaru" related to Russian "soberu" ("I'll put together") and Latin "conferre" ("to bring together")? I think both Latin and Russian words derive from Proto-Indo-European "com bheroa̯" "...
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How do we get from Greek τρόπος to French trouver?

The French verb trouver (to find/think) can trace its ancestry back to the Greek word τρόπος, which means a turn, manner, style, or figure of speech. Is there any logic to this seemingly disconnected ...
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137 views

Do we know anything more about the semantic shift of “with” in Middle English?

The Wiktionary page on the English word "with" < *wi says that the meaning of "with" shifted in Middle English to denote association instead of opposition. The latter sense is still present in ...
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“yotta” in Greek and Armenian

The Armenian word for seven is "yotta", which sounds suspiciously similar to the Greek prefix for a factor of one septillion (though AIUI it comes from the ancient Greek word for eight, not seven). Is ...
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Do “wise” and “wissen” share the same root?

A cursory search shows that the English adjective "wise" and the German verb "wissen" descend from the same root: the PIE *weyd- ("to see, to know"). I found this by using Etymonline to search the ...
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250 views

Turkish “Yaz” vs. Azerbaijani “Yaz”

In some Turkic languages (like Turkish and Kazakh), the word Yaz means Summer, while in other Turkic languages (like Azeri, Chuvash and Yakut) the very same word means Spring. The Old Turkic meaning ...
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292 views

What is the etymology of Sicilian “vanedda”?

This question arises from my research on Si maritau Rosa, a Sicilian song, where I found what seems to be a clear diminutive of vanedda, that is vanidduzza. Nowhere do I find that word directly, so I ...
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497 views

Etymology of Romance words for Marriage [closed]

There are a few different Romance etyma with the meaning 'marriage'. Some are derived from Latin casa 'house', some from mater 'mother', and some from mas/maris 'man': L casa [+ -mentum] > CA ...
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114 views

Degemination and prenasalization together: how common?

I have a couple of examples of degemination and prenasalization of the same geminate affricate/stop in Calabrian: "menzu", which should have evolved from "mediu(m)" through "mezzu", or maybe this ...
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5answers
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Etymology/Origin of surname Szakal

after carefull consideration I have decided to put my question here. I contacted several people well-known in history/antropology of languages and so on. Nobody answered or wasnt willing to help. ...
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How did ìritu evolve from digitus?

The Latin word for "finger" is digitus. In Italian, I assume the "gi" was lost, perhaps via some lenition of the "g" to *dijitus and then j was lost, giving *dītus, or perhaps accusative *dītum, ...
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184 views

Is “Qadaqan” Mongolian or Turkish? [closed]

In Persian, the word Qadaqan (q is an uvular stop consonant, i.e. having the same place of articulation as the French r) means "emphasis" and "illegal", in some Persian dictionaries it is mentioned as ...
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453 views

Is /ɡ/ Germanic and /dʒ/ French in English ge-/gi- words?

I've recently noticed that in English words starting with "ge-" or "gi-", when the "g" is pronounced /ɡ/, they tend to be etymologically Germanic, while the words where the "g" is pronounced /dʒ/ tend ...
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To what extent has Middle Chinese been reconstructed?

I'm currently studying Japanese and Korean for professional reasons and have become very interested in Middle Chinese as the hearth of substantial vocabulary in many East Asian languages. Recalling ...
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268 views

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é?

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é? Considering the two following examples: modern French état ("state; status") and été ("been"). Both derives ultimately ...
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297 views

Difference in translating Sanskrit words कोप​ [kopa] and क्रोध [krodha]

Translationg the terms makes a semantic rendering important. The English resourse translates क्रोध [krodha] as 'anger' wrath, passion, etc.' with the same definition for कोप​ [kopa] plus defining it ...
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Why can “autarchy” be spelled with an “k” while other words not? [closed]

English has a set of words with "ch", coming — more or less directly — from the Greek language. They all have a /k/ sound. character charisma psychology choreography archive Just to name a few. All ...
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What are the historical origins for the naming of the word 'function' in its mathematical context? [closed]

I tried to look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Function_(mathematics) but couldn't see anything. The reason why I was curious to ask is because this word just doesn't make any sense for what it ...
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Languages where smells are heard

In Russian, one can use the verb слышать ([ˈslɨʂətʲ], "hear") with both sounds and smells, though it's more common to use чувствовать ([ˈt͡ɕustvəvətʲ], "feel") for smells. Example from Wiktionary: ...
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Are German Rahmen and English frame cognates, and if so, where does the f come from/how did it get lost?

The German word Rahmen, which means frame (something you can put a picture in), looks like it could be cognate with frame if one could explain the initial f in English (or its loss in German). Is ...
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123 views

what is the etymology of Hebrew word lasse‘irim לַשְּׂעִירִם

Why would this be translated as a demon/goat? I'm also unclear as to the lemma. Is seems unrelated. Is it שָׂעַר
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857 views

Etymology of Sanskrit नारक / नरक [nāraka / naraka]

If the word नर [nara], sometimes represented as नार [nāra] primarly means 'man, human, person' and the word नारक / नरक [nāraka / naraka] means 'hell', 'infernal' and/or 'inhabitant of hell', then ...
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What is it called when a word is used based on an extant definition which no longer actually applies? e.g. “dial” with phones

It was difficult to phrase what I mean in an accurate and precise way here. This is similar to a fossil word, but fossil words are words which have fallen out of general use except where they are ...
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3answers
211 views

Languages having same word to denote “count” and “think”

In Tamil, there is a single word எண்(eN) which means 'count', 'number', 'think'. I am wondering if this is unique to Tamil? I am wondering if the other old classical languages have a similar word.
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857 views

Is “hand” etymologically related to “five” in many world languages?

This ScienceAlert article, which republishes an article from The Conversation written by Caleb Everett (the son of the linguist Daniel Everett) makes the claim that "hand" is etymologically ...
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437 views

Etymological origins of the Hindi word Afeem

I have been trying to find the origins of the Hindi word अफ़ीम "Afeem". It means opium. The Rajpal Hindi Shabdakosh gives the origin of "afeem" as Arabic: https://hi.oxforddictionaries.com/परिभाषा/...
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201 views

Is there a known reason for the position of the stress in “concupisc-” words in English?

The words concúpiscent, concúpiscence, concúpiscible seem to be irregularly stressed (at least, according to their dictionary pronunciations; regularized pronunciations apparently have been heard "in ...
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111 views

Origin of the word addiction

I have heard the root of the word addiction is "to be enslaved" but what I'm seeing is "addico" "to be devoted". Is there any truth to "to be enslaved"?
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Why does Greek “ναι” mean “yes” while it comes from a PIE root meaning “no”?

According to Wiktionary, the Greek word ναι comes from Ancient Greek ναί, which is a variation of νή, which comes from Proto-Indo-European ne, which means no. Why can a word have the opposite ...
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2answers
3k views

Morphology vs Etymology

Morphology is the component of grammar that builds words out of units of meaning(morphemes) where a morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of language. Etymology is the study of the origin of words ...
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745 views

Origin of the word/root 'del'

As I was contemplating the Norwegian word "del," which means "part" or "portion," it occurred to me that there is the same root in Russian, and that it means the same thing. I looked up "del" and "...

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