I couldn't help but wonder, while reading this verse from the Lord's Prayer, whether ῥύομαι might be cognate with the English verb rescue.

καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

And lead us not into temptation,
But rescue us from evil.

Matthew 6:13

The entry on etymonline.com did not suggest anything of the sort. It claims that rescue derives from the Latin verb excutere but stops short of making any connections to Greek.

rescue (v.)
c. 1300, from stem of Old French rescorre "protect, keep safe; free, deliver" (Modern French recourre), from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + escourre "to cast off, discharge," from Latin excutere "to shake off, drive away," from ex "out" (see ex-) + -cutere, combining form of quatere "to shake" (see quash). Related: Rescued; rescuing.

I thought there might be more to the story. Would anyone here happen to know whether ῥύομαι is cognate with rescue? If not, I would be equally interested in learning what PIE root or stem ῥύομαι descends from.

1 Answer 1


The words are unrelated: there's no way to connect ex-cutere with ῥύομαι. The Latin word is based on quatio "shake", which has a Greek cognate πάττω "sprinkle".

The etymology of ῥύομαι is a bit messy. It's part of a family of forms which include ἔρυμαι, ἐρύομαι, εἴρυτο and others (all with the same meaning). These seem to go back to a PIE root such as *ueru-, which also yields the English word wear and German wehren "defend". But there are some doubts about this because of the lack of evidence for digamma in Greek, and other etymologies have been suggested.


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