I am trying to understand better the etymon of the first part of the word haruspex.

The Wiktionary entry and other sources mention «haru- (“intestines”)», but there seems to be no Latin word *haru or the like (apart from derivate words such as haruspex, hariolor etc.). Wiktionary and Lewis-Short mention older roots, from Faliscan, Sanskrit, Proto-Indoeuropean etc., while Lewis's Elementary Latin Dictionary tantalisingly records “HAR-”, but I can't find other references to this root as such in that book.

Are there more modern, more complete explanation of the haru- root?


1 Answer 1


According to de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages:

PIt. *xaruspek- 'diviner', *χαriο-. It. cognates: Fal. harasp[ex] , harisp[ex] [nom.sg.] 'haruspex'.

PIE *ǵʰrH-u- 'intestines'. IE cognates: Skt. hirā 'vein', Lith. žarná 'intestine, hose', Oic. gǫrn 'intestines* < *ǵʰorH-nh2-

Fal. is Faliscan.

According to Wiktionary the cognates are zarna gǫrn zorrë Garn χορδή all originating in *ǵʰer-.

Other related Latin words according to Wiktionary are hīra "empty gut" and hernia "protruded viscus".

  • 1
    Re: *χαήο- Isn't there a typo in your quote? In my copy, I have *χαriο-
    – Alex B.
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 23:43
  • By the way: what is "hose" in this context?
    – fdb
    Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 9:59
  • 1
    @AlexB. Sorry for the OCR error, I fixed most of them, but this one remained. Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 10:05
  • @fdb Hose in this context is a rubber pipe, a garden hose, firefighter's hose - Schlauch, hadice,... Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 10:09

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