All etymological dictionaries includung Wiktionary and De Vaan’s Etymological Dictionary state the ultimate origin of the Latin adjective idoneus (‘suitable’; ‘sufficient’) is unknown.

I was wondering if anybody had a theory on the origin of this word; I would be glad if someone could shed light on this problem.

Also, De Vaan says:

The morphology can be interpreted as an adj. in -neus to *idō (‘there’?) or *ido-, or as an adj. in -eus to *idōn.

1 Answer 1


I randomly just stumbled upon this over a year old question but here's my take on it:

"Idoneus" has just always sounded very Greek to me, although such a word does not exist in Greek; at least not a word that has a similar meaning to it.

But if we take a look at what De Vaan said, it could be an adj. in -eus to "idon", which does exist in Greek (participle of εἶδον) and translates roughly to "perceive/see/be able to see" (if I'm not mistaken). This doesn't help a lot, but if we look at the origins of εἶδον we get the Sanskrit ancestor "vedyā́", which most likely translates to "knowledge" or "art". With a lot of goodwill this could be semantically at least somewhat close to the Latin "idoneus".

This is just what my gut feeling tells me what could be its etymology. I really don't have any evidence to back up my claim and I know it's kind of far-fetched.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! Given how long the question has gone without an answer, any reasonable guess is a welcome contribution.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    May 10, 2021 at 17:47
  • 2
    εἶδον is from *weid, cognate with Latin video, and cannot be connected with idoneus.
    – fdb
    May 31, 2021 at 22:23

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