[vault (v.1) :]   [...] from Vulgar Latin *volvitare "to turn, leap,"
frequentative of Latin volvere "to turn, turn around, roll" (see volvox). [...]

I ask not about the meanings "turn" or "turn around" which both verbs share, but only about the meaning of "leap" that appears new to Vulgar Latin and (superficially) unconnected to the notion of to "turn, roll."

  • 1
    wikitionary suggests the "jump" sense of this word comes from middle French volter, which had a notion of “to turn or spin around; to frolic”; separately from the evolution of the noun sense of "vault" which comes from old French volte < vulgar Latin volvitare. So I'm not entirely sure that *volvitare has anything to do with jumping. But this is a comment and not an answer because I don't really know.
    – Calchas
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 19:04
  • 2
    It should be remembered that the frequentative suffix -(V?)t(a)- often indicates not only frequency, but also intensity. But perhaps that has nothing to do with it, as Calchas suggests.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 19:19
  • La Volta ( a dance in which the male assists his partner to leap in very much the same ways as a line-out forward ) was a favourite of Elizabeth I.
    – Hugh
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


This r/latin post assists.

rocketman0739. 1 month ago

It mentions that volutus meant “bowed, arched.” Leaping does create an arched trajectory.

CaiusMaximusRetardus. 1 month ago 

I'm not sure I understand your question, but on what basis is volvitare founded ? The construction of the word doesn't make much sense and it doesn't seem to be attested. The -itare suffix usually denotes an intensive or iterative form, for volvere, it should be volutare.

Volutare means "to turn a lot/often", so I can see why it could mean "to leap" in some specific cases. Think of smoke, for instance, when you blow through it (it turns on itself and goes in all directions), or a rock rolling down a rocky slope.

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