[Etymonline:] ... from sub "under" (see sub-) + iungere "to join" (see jugular). ...

[OED:] ... The subjunctive mood was so called because it was regarded as specially appropriate to ‘subjoined’ or subordinate clauses. ...

  1. I don't understand OED's use of scare quotes around subjoined confuse me. How can a clause be ‘subjoined’?

  2. What does *"under" + "to join" a clause mean?

  3. Why was the subjunctive mood specially appropriate to them? I read this Linguistics SE post.


Like many Latin grammatical terms, subjunctive is a calque from Greek. The Greek term is ὑποτακτικόν hupotaktikon, from ὑπο- hupo- "under" and the root of τάττω tattō "to arrange, place in a specified position". "To arrange under" can mean to subordinate syntactically; the mood was given this name because in Greek, subjunctive forms almost always appear in subordinate clauses. Roman grammarians basically just translated the term into Latin, but used iungō presumably because they thought of subordinate clauses as being "joined" to the main clause but on a lower syntactic level ("under").

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