I have noticed that appear reduces to a Latin parere

appear (v.) Look up appear at Dictionary.com late 13c., "to come into view," from stem of Old French aparoir (12c., Modern French apparoir) "appear, come to light, come forth," from Latin apparere "to appear, come in sight, make an appearance," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + parere "to come forth, be visible." Of persons, "present oneself," late 14c. Meaning "seem, have a certain appearance" is late 14c. Related: Appeared; appearing.

You see, they say that it stems from parere, which means to come forth or be visible. Yet, I see that this meaning of parere contrasts with readiness that is said to be meaning of the word when we look at the roots of the the other English words

preparation (n.) Look up preparation at Dictionary.com late 14c., "act of preparing," from Latin praeparationem (nominative praeparatio) "a making ready," noun of action from past participle stem of praeparare "prepare," from prae "before" (see pre-) + parare "make ready" (see pare). Meaning "a substance especially prepared" is from 1640s.

repair (v.1) Look up repair at Dictionary.com "to mend, to put back in order," mid-14c., from Old French reparer "repair, mend" (12c.), from Latin reparare "restore, put back in order," from re- "again" (see re-) + parare "make ready, prepare" (see pare). Related: Repaired; repairing.

How is that possible? Are the two meanings, be visible and ready, reducible to each other?

pare (v.) Look up pare at Dictionary.com "to trim by cutting close," c. 1300, from Old French parer "arrange, prepare; trim, adorn," and directly from Latin parare "make ready, prepare, furnish, provide, arrange, order; contrive, design, intend, resolve; procure, acquire, obtain, get; get with money, buy, purchase" (related to parere "produce, bring forth, give birth to"), from PIE *par-a-, suffixed form of root *pere- (1) "produce, procure, bring forward, bring forth," and derived words in diverse senses (source also of Lithuanian pariu "to brood," Greek poris "calf, bull," Old High German farro, German Farre "bullock," Old English fearr "bull," Sanskrit prthukah "child, calf, young of an animal," Czech spratek "brat, urchin, premature calf"). Generalized meaning "to reduce something little by little" is from 1520s. Related: Pared; paring.

1 Answer 1


The key here is the difference of one letter between the verbs. "To come forth, be visible" is parere; note that the antepenultimate (next to next to last) vowel is an "e." But in "make ready," the antepenultimate vowel is an "a." This is because the former is a second-conjugation verb and the latter a first-conjugation verb. The forms in question here are the infinitives, but when the verbs are conjugated they begin to look quite different:

"I appear" = pareo; "I make ready" = paro
"I appeared" = parui; "I made ready" = paravi

and so on.

Things are actually even more complicated than that, because there's another verb spelled parere but pronounced differently. Parere meaning "to appear" is pronounced pah-RAY-reh, while "to give birth" is pronounced PAH-reh-reh. It looks even more different:

"I give birth" = pario
"I gave birth" = peperi

You could make a sentence with all three of them as follows:

Parta parere paravi.
"After I gave birth, I got ready to appear."

Now, whether these three verbs are etymologically related, I don't know—it could very well be that they share some sort of root meaning from which they all developed—but pareo, parere comes into English as "appear," "appearance," while paro, parare comes into English as "prepare," "preparation." (Pario, parere shows up in "parturition," though I can't think of any other words that come from it other than "post-partum," which isn't really English—it's Latin for "after having given birth."

  • Neat sentence 'with all three.' Clearly, post partum. (the supine), and pariturus (irreg.) 'about to bring forth,' are active; but strange that the past participle, partus, parta, partum means (active) 'having had children,' as well as passive, 'having been born.'
    – Hugh
    Sep 5, 2016 at 15:24
  • For partus as "having had children" I imagine something like "having been delivered of children." I have no idea whether that's just coincidence, though, or whether there's actually some linguistic relation between the two. Sep 18, 2016 at 17:06

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