[ Etymonline : ] vault (n.1)
[...] Latin volutus "bowed, arched," past participle of
volvere "to turn, turn around, roll,"
from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." [...]

  • Can you elaborate a little on your question? Are you asking how volutus can come from volvere, given the meanings listed at Etymonline?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 29, 2017 at 22:43
  • @JoonasIlmavirta The latter: yes. The former: I accepted the helpful answer below, but please feel free to change my question.
    – user37
    Apr 30, 2017 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


When you turn or (re)volve around something, you move along a curve, like the pencil of a pair of compasses (the pin is the centre). The path traversed could be a full circle, or part of a circle, or a less regular curve. This curve is the result of the action of revolving, and as such it can be expressed by a passive form of the verb, the participium perfecti passivi volutus. This describes a curved appearance. A bow and an arch have curved shapes.

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