Is verus (true) etymologically related to viridis / vireo (green / to be green)?

The closest to this that St. Isidore in his Etymologies p. 124 says:

Switches (virga) are the tips of branches and trees, so called because they are green (viridis), or because they possess the power of persuading (vis arguendi)

Truth (veritas) and the spoken word (verbum) are persuasive and powerful, too; cf. Quodlibet q. 12 a. 20.

He also mentions (ibid.) in this context that "Whips (verber) are so called, because when they are wielded, they strike (verberare) the air." Well, so do a spoken word (verbum); "The verb (verbum) is so called because it resounds by means of reverberation (verberatus) in the air" (ibid. p. 45).

Is verus of a different origination than viridis / vireo?

See my previous question "Are vir and virgo etymologically related?", in which St. Isidore shows that virgo is related to viridior (in the sense of "fresher", like a green sprout, virga).

  • Down-voter(s), please explain your vote.
    – Geremia
    Commented May 18 at 2:21
  • 1
    Potential explanation of downvotes: you don't give a good reason why you think these would be related. In your last question, you provide a source (St. Isidore) who remarks on the possibility of the connection, which gives the question its raison d'être, but here you just give two words without any context.
    – cmw
    Commented May 18 at 3:12
  • 3
    Yeah, it's the same as most of your previous etymology questions: no reason given for why you think they could be related, and no evidence of any effort on your part to find out if they are. (And again, Isidore certainly doesn't show anything, he merely claims it.)
    – Cairnarvon
    Commented May 18 at 3:41
  • 1
    In light of the comments and votes, I closed this question for now. If you edit to add detail, it can be reopened. Did you check the etymologies of these words anywhere, even on Wiktionary? If you do that and share the conclusion you draw from it, you have the kind of good reason to ask this question that the previous commenters ask for.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented May 18 at 4:13
  • 2
    @Geremia You did give links but you did not give thoughts. What does that source say on their etymology and does it suggest that the words are related? In general it helps greatly with reception of a question if you explain how you tried to solve the problem yourself and describe what you think about it after attempting to solve it.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented May 18 at 10:20

1 Answer 1


These two words don't seem to be related. It's generally a dangerous game to assume word relations based on the similarity of final forms. Not all "r's" are created equal, and every vowel tells a story.

Here are the etymologies given in Wiktionary. You might also consult a more authoritative source, but since your question doesn't seem to be motivated any doubts about the proposed etymology, I won't dig further.

From Proto-Italic *wizēō, from Proto-Indo-European *wiséh₁yeti, from Proto-Indo-European *weys- (“to increase”). See also Old English wise (“stalk, sprout”), Old Norse visir (“sprout, bud”), Lithuanian veisti (“propagate”).

I am not trained in linguistics, but the shift from *wizēō to vireo seems to be due to rhotacism, whereby "z" becomes "r."

From Proto-Italic *wēros, from Proto-Indo-European *weh₁ros, from *weh₁- (“true”). See also Old English wǣr (“true, correct”), Dutch waar (“true”), German wahr (“true”), Icelandic alvöru (“earnest”), Proto-Slavic *vě̀ra (“faith/belief”).

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