Why does the Italian word for comedy, "commedia", have a double 'm'? It comes from Latin "comoedia", with a single 'm'.

1 Answer 1


The prefix com- is fairly common in Latin—but specifically before a labial consonant, not before a vowel. (Before a vowel it becomes co- instead, as in coalescō.) As a result, comm- is much more common than com-.

So I assume it gained a second m under the influence of terms like commozione and commenda, which come from com- attached to a root starting with M.

  • cf. Wiese 1904 Altitalienisches Elementarbuch, who also explains it with analogy but from the cases with ad-, con-, in- and sub-, "Durch Einfluß der unter 2. besprochenen Assimilationen bei Worten, die mit a-, co-, i- beginnen: ammen, commedia, immagine; hierher gehört auch ommettere durch Einfluß von commettere." (pp. 60-61) archive.org/details/altitalienisches00wiesuoft/page/60/mode/2up
    – Alex B.
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 15:24

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