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Questions tagged [etymologia]

For questions about etymology: the history of words in Latin or the change in meaning as the words are loaned into another language.

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Did 'liquidus' or 'liquo' mean 'abolish' and 'destroy, kill'?

I was reading the etymology of the English 'liquidate', when I read on Wiktionary that The sense "to kill, do away with" is a semantic loan from Russian ликвиди́ровать (likvidírovatʹ), ultimately ...
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How does the notion of 'limpidity' explain the etymology of 'liquidated' in 'liquidated damages'?

Paul Davies. JC Smith's The Law of Contract (2018 2 ed). p. 466 I'm trying to understand the etymology of the function words in the definition of 'liquidated damages'. I read Is liquidate(-tion) ...
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1answer
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What semantic notions underlie 'loosen, release' and 'able to pay all one owes'?

To wit, how does 'loosen, release' semantically shift to mean 'able to pay all one owes'? Etymonline on 'solvent (adj.) 1650s, "able to pay all one owes," from French solvent, from Latin ...
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How do the statistics definitions of 'accuracy' and 'precision' relate to their etymons?

Etymonline entry of 'accurate': 1610s, "done with care," from Latin accuratus "prepared with care, exact, elaborate," past participle of accurare "take care of," from ad "to" (see ad-) + curare "...
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What is the connection between figs and pride in the word Caprificus?

I have seen the definitions of caprificus (caper + ficus = goat + fig) include both pride and fig trees /goat-figs. Are goats considered particularly prideful? I would think they would be more ...
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561 views

Prodigo = pro + ago?

According to Wiktionary, prodigo is a verb which etymology comes from "pro + ago". The same is suggested by L&S. However, I cannot see how ago fits here. The conjugation of this verb seems at odds ...
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What is the etymology of the suffix -aster, -astri?

It's been a bit difficult for me to find good information about the etymology of the derivational suffix -aster. De Vaan doesn't seem to talk about it. A number of sources indicate that it is from ...
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Does this NY Times article give a proper etymology of “procrastinate”?

A recent New York Times article about procrastination begins with an etymology lesson: Etymologically, “procrastination” is derived from the Latin verb procrastinare — to put off until tomorrow. ...
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Etymology of Fortasse

The word "fortasse" (meaning 'perhaps') looks like it's two words squished together, but I can't find any etymology for it. Does anyone know where fortasse comes from?
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809 views

Etymology of ambulance

For a while I have been curious about the etymology of the English word 'ambulance' since it seems to be derived from the Latin word 'ambulare' (to walk). This seems a strange origin for the word. ...
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Is “history” a male-biased word (“his+story”)?

In the last International Women's Day I saw some footage showing a poster with the phrase "women making herstory", as opposed to "history". The phrase was playing with the fact that the word "history" ...
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How did vulgus get its ending?

Vulgus "crowd, mob, common people" is a neuter second-declension noun. But unlike most second-declension neuters, it ends in -us, like a masculine. How did this happen? Is there an etymological ...
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72 views

Etimology of the word “σκευή”

What's the origin of this word?Is it indo-european?
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64 views

Etymology of “immediatus”

Context There is an ongoing discussion here on the intended meaning of the word "immediately", as found in the 1950's encyclical Humani generis, by Pope Pius XII. The declaration states: human ...
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71 views

Are “magister” and “majesty” etymologically related?

My teachers are 'Magisters.' My king is his 'Majesty.' My dragon is 'Majestic.' Is there some etymological link between the Latin word for 'teacher' and the words we use for exaltation?
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Did the word “citione” meaning “bump in the head” exist in Latin?

In the Spanish language site someone asked about the etymology of the word chichón (link in Spanish), meaning bump (typically in the head as a result of a hit). The most common theory is that it is ...
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22 views

What semantic notions underlie 'untie, separate' with 'solve, explain'?

From se- (“away”) +‎ luō (“to untie, set free, separate”), solvō originally signified I loosen, untie, undo; free [up], release, acquit, exempt But how did it semantically broaden to signify "2. ...
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Were “meridiem” and “mediam diem” in free variation in Latin?

Both "meridiem" and "mediam diem" seem to have carried both the meaning "midday" and "(the) south" in Latin, if their Romance descendants are any indication. From "meridiem", we get apparently ...
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Is the third person passive perfect of a verb a source of nouns, e.g. “benedictus” from “bendico”?

I always get confused with benedictus. It Christian prayers, it is found both as a noun and as a (passive) verb, e.g. benedictus est. When est is omitted (not uncommon in Latin, it seems), both look ...
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A translation for 'stirrup'

I have to translate the word 'stirrup' into Latin. Since the Romans (famously) rode without stirrups I can find no useful classical reference and have decided to use stapes, which is used by ...
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382 views

Why is it Iuppiter rather than Iuppater?

Iuppiter comes from the vocative of the Indo-European *dyeus-patēr, cognate with Zeus in Greek. However, as *a > a in Latin and 'pater' survives elsewhere in Latin, one would expect Iuppater. How has ...
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Is 'datus' used for a date in Latin?

In many languages the word for date (a specific day, such as January 2, 2019) seems to come from the Latin participle datus: we have the English "date", the Italian "data", the Swedish "datum", and ...
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Where does “lascīvus” come from?

Lascīvus ("wanton") looks to me like it comes from a verb, with the -sc- and the -īv-. However, I don't know of any verb like *lascō. Lewis and Short connect it to other words starting with la- ...
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Origin of “lunatĭcus”

In Spanish we have the word lunático with the following meaning: One who suffers from madness, not continuous, but at intervals. This word comes from Latin lunatĭcus. According to Lewis & ...
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Unde “Laelaps”?

Laelaps was a mythical hunting dog that could always catch its prey. The name comes from Greek λαῖλαψ, "hurricane". But where does this word come from? LSJ doesn't provide an etymology, and ...
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Why did the Ro­mans per­ceive dark­ness, ᴛᴇ­ɴᴇ­ʙʀᴀᴇ, as a plu­ral count noun?

Why did the Ro­mans per­ceive dark­ness, te­ne­brae, as a plu­ral count noun? [Per­se­us cor­pus-search ref­er­ence] Or per­haps the bet­ter ques­tion is: what spe­cial nu­ance is con­veyed by the ...
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how to interpret ‘formosus’ via its morphological components

The adj. formosus can be decomposed as follows: forma + -os-us where forma means ‘shape, form’ and -os- ‘with abundance’. However, when the two notions come together, the whole, which literally ...
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114 views

on the word–analysis of ‘viridis’

According to OLD, the adj. viridis derives from the verb vireo, but nothing is mentioned about the suffix that turns the verb to the adj. Could anyone tell about the suffix that transforms the verb ...
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68 views

On the etymology of “conundrum”

The word conundrum "sounds" very Latin (or at least, it does not sound English enough to me). Yet, it seems its origin is unclear. Wiktionary states: A word of unknown origin with several variants, ...
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Where did the Latin language get its infinitive verb endings from?

Some time ago, a user in the Spanish language site asked if the Spanish verb endings -ar, -er and -ir had a special meaning. I then answered that the endings do not have any meaning by themselves, at ...
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Is Nietzsche's proposed etymology of “bonus” (good) correct?

In the first treatise of On the Genealogy of Morality, §5, Nietzsche proposes the following derivation of bonus (good): I believe I may interpret the Latin bonus as "the warrior": assuing that ...
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What does con- in “conceptus” mean? How does it relate to “a thing conceived”?

Why Do Languages Change? (2010) by R. L. Trask (1944-2004). p. 105. (Latin conceptus is literally ‘with-taking’) Does the prefix con- truly mean “with” here? But Etymonline says that it's "...
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How did 'et' and 'iam' compound to signify “even” in 'etiam'?

How does "and, also" + "now, already" compound to signify "even"? I don't understand how combining the notions of "and, also" + "now, already" can yield "even". Wiktionary:
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Does *meditari* mean “measure”?

Does meditari have a meaning like "measure"? Using Google (I don't know which dictionary it's quoting), I see ... However I don't think I'm seeing that in a Latin dictionary, e.g. Lewis and Short or ...
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57 views

Nihilominus and nonetheless, related?

I find the word nihilominus remarkable. Like many Spanish or English words, the meaning can sort of be deduced from the meaning of the words making the composite (e.g. paraguas in Spanish, whiteboard ...
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71 views

How did 'interesse' shift from meaning 'to be between' to “to concern, make a difference, be of importance”?

What semantics notions underlie the original meaning as stated by Etymonline literally "to be between," from inter "between" (see inter-) + esse "to be" (from PIE root *es- "to be"). with ...
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950 views

Does the word “negotium” literally mean “not otium”?

Spanish word ocio (English: 'leisure') and negocio (English: 'business` among other meanings) come from Latin otium and negotium. Spanish ocio also gave ocioso, as in estar ocioso (English: 'to be ...
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What is the difference between nego, ignoro, and nescio?

Trying to understand the subtle differences between the three words "nego", "ignoro", and "nescio". This question is not about the meanings in modern English, but the original meanings of the ...
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709 views

Etymology of “salarium” and its connection to salt

It has been asked before both in the English Language & Usage site and the Spanish Language site about the etymology of salary and salario, respectively. In both cases, this site was mentioned as ...
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140 views

Audio and video… and tango?

Audio and video are two (apparently XX-century) concepts. Both take the same form as 1st-person sing., present tense Latin verbs. Wiktionary articles for the English words (audio, video) assert that ...
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'videlicet': How did “it is permissible to see” semantically shift to mean “that is to say”?

How did 1 beneath semantically shift to 2? Etymonline: viz. 1530s, abbreviation of videlicet [2.] "that is to say, to wit, namely" (mid-15c.), from Latin videlicet, contraction of ...
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If arm is 'arma', why is unarmed 'inermis' and not 'inarmis'?

I came across the Spanish word 'inerme', which comes from Latin inermis and means unarmed. Since the Latin word for arm is 'arma' and the preffix 'in' indicates negation, it is clear that the form '...
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What is the etymology of the word “anterior”?

I am looking for the etymology of the Latin adjective "anterior" (which is also a Spanish word, with the same meaning). Neither Wiktionary nor L&S provide hints on its etymology. It seems ...
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67 views

Where does strīx come from?

Ovid's Fastī for June 1 relates a story about strīgēs, witches who could transform into owls and magically sap the life of infants. There seem to be two forms of this word, strīx, -gis and strīga, -ae....
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How the Greek word “oikonomia” got meaning of “thrift”?

Some dictionaries seems to include the word "thrift" at the end of definition for oikonomia (good examples here and here): Greek oikonomia "household management, thrift. I would like to know the ...
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What does Geryon have to do with singing?

One of the Labors of Heracles involved a three-headed giant named Geryon (Γηρυών). I've never seen an explanation for this name, but at first glance it would seem to be connected to γηρύω "to sing" (...
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Are there well-assimilated Latin words from Semitic languages?

I've generally assumed that Latin words coming from Semitic are usually transformed by Greek: even Elissa is a Greek transcription of the original. But this answer indicates that the well-attested ...
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Latin etymology of the English word “pulchritude”

I working on a literary piece and trying to find the first known use in Latin of of "pulcher" (feminine pulchra, neuter pulchrum, comparative pulchrior, superlative pulcherrimus), e.g., "first known ...
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Where does titulus come from?

Is the word titulus a diminutive, or does the -ulus do something else? Do we know where it comes from? L&S mentions that the ti- is related to τίνω and τιμάω, but that does not help me much. I ...
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Does mentula (“penis”) derive from the same root as mens (“mind”), and if so why?

The Latin word mentula isn't properly defined in the Lewis & Short dictionary, but it does show up on Latin-Dictionary.net and Wiktionary. Both those dictionaries define mentula as "penis". But ...