According to Wiktionary, the verb tribuo comes from tribus. But further search led me to this etymological dictionary, which in turn cites Forcelleni on those two entries; On tribuo Forcelleni writes it is from triubus, however, as observed by the referred dictionary, Forcelleni has "circular argument" since on tribus he says it might come from tribuo ("... or because the tribes paid tribute").

But this dictionary is now almost 200 years old, I wonder whether this issue was settled down in our days? or at least have more probable conjecture.

  • I never heared of the dictionary, is THIS an abbreviation perhaps? Please give the title, linkrot is a ting you kno
    – vectory
    Sep 21 '20 at 7:22

De Vaan's Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages traces tribus to Proto-Indo-European *tri-dʰh₁-u- 'tripartite division' > Proto-Italic *triþu- 'tripartite entity, trinity', and lists tribuere as a derivation, along with tribūnus and tribūtus and a few more obvious ones. He doesn't say it, but PIE *tri- is the zero-grade form of *tréyes 'three', and *dʰh₁- is the zero-grade of the verbal root *dʰeh₁- 'to do, put, place'. Compare also Sanskrit trídhā 'threefold', from the e-grade of that root.

He also doesn't spell out why a word meaning "tripartite" should come to mean "tribe", but it's presumably because the Roman people were traditionally divided into three tribes: the Ramnes/Ramnenses, Tities/Titienses, and Luceres/Lucerenses, usually taken as corresponding to the city's Latin, Sabine, and Etruscan populations, respectively. (Why the Umbrian cognate trifu then also meant tribe/people, though, needs explanation.)

  • Tities :D The problem with the tri-partite div. is that it has all the hallmarks of a folk ety. Describing folks, it is literally a folk etymology. Might be why DeVaan left it out, besides it being well known in any event
    – vectory
    Sep 21 '20 at 7:28

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