I know that Ancient Greek lost its labiovelar consonants at some point before alphabetic writing caught on. We know of the labiovelars' previous existence mostly because of different reflexes in different dialects, such as Attic τε next to Doric κε (and Latin que and Mycenaean qe).

However, all the examples I can think of are syllable-initial. In particular, I can think of Greek words whose stems end in labial, dental, and velar consonants; are there any attested words whose stems (used to) end in a labiovelar?

(I'm specifically looking for consonant-stem nouns and verbs here, so e.g. ἵππο- wouldn't count, even though the pi does come from an earlier labiovelar: the stem really ends in ο.)

  • AFAIK there is no "Doric κε". You may be thinking of the particle κε = ἄν, but that's not related to τε.
    – TKR
    Aug 26, 2020 at 22:51
  • @TKR I vaguely remember it being attested as cognate with τε, but LSJ doesn't list it. I'll see if I can figure out where I got that from.
    – Draconis
    Aug 26, 2020 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


Sure. Some examples:

  • ὄψ 'voice', cf. Skt. vacati 'say'
  • ὤψ 'eye', cf. Lat. oculus
  • χέρνιψ 'basin for washing hands', from root of νίζω 'wash', cf. Skt. nenekti 'id.'
  • λείπω 'leave', cf. Lat. linquō
  • ἀμείβω 'exchange', cf. Lat. migrō
  • σέβομαι 'revere', cf. Skt. tyajati 'abandon'
  • νείφει 'snow', cf. Lat nix, nivis

(I'm listing thematic verbs here even though one can analyze these as having a stem that ends with the thematic vowel. If you're specifically looking for athematic forms, perfect mediopassives like λέλειμμαι could be cited instead for some such verbs.)

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