I know the word cuncti/ae/a means "all", but then I came across the word cunctare or cunctari, alternatively, which means "to hesitate".

Do these two words share a common etymology to some extent?

  • No "narrower" a view than to suggest CAP & CAPE, COP & COPE, MAT & MATE, are related: vowel sounds are meaningful. Sep 21 '19 at 2:18

Probably not.

According to Lewis & Short, cunctus "all" is a contraction of coniunctus "bound together", from con- "together" and iungo "to bind". Iungo is from Proto-Indo-European *(H)iug- "yoke". But De Vaan does not mention this etymology; he only says cunctus may be a contraction of concitus, from con- and cieo "to move, incite". He adds that Ernout & Meillet reject this etymology. Cieo is from Proto-Indo-European *keih2- "begin to move", according to De Vaan.

Cunctor "hesitate" is from Proto-Indo-European *ḱ(e/o)nk-(eie-) "to hang, falter, hesitate", according to De Vaan and Philippa, and it is cognate with English hang.

So the two words are probably not in any way related.

  • 1
    I think, it's an interesting phenomenon that langages build nearly identical word-stems without any relation in their meaning. Like the word 'malum', which has (I think) at least 3 different meanings (bad, apple and mast of a boat). Is there a linguistic term for such words? Jul 10 '16 at 1:35
  • You could call them homonyms or false cognates? The process is convergence, as in convergent evolution. Mast is mālus, -i, so most forms are identical.
    – Cerberus
    Jul 10 '16 at 2:12
  • 1
    mălus “bad” is not a homonym either of mālus f. “apple” or of mālus m. “mast”, though the three words are homographs.
    – fdb
    Jul 11 '16 at 10:17
  • @fdb: Oh, well, if you use the narrow definition, then, yes.
    – Cerberus
    Jul 11 '16 at 13:03

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