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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9
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1answer
458 views

Does the verb “amare” come from the babble word for “mother”?

Wiktionary gives us the following etymology of amare. Probably from Proto-Indo-European *am-a-, *am- (“mother, aunt”), a lost nursery-word of the papa-type. Compare amita (“aunt”), Old High German ...
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151 views

What “ment” means in “incrementum”

What "ment" means in "incrementum"? On Wiktionary I have found meaning of only first parts of the word.
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Can infans refer to children who can speak?

The word infans means basically "speechless", as the connection to the verb fari immediately suggests. One specific meaning of this word is a small child (III in the linked L&S entry). I assume ...
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Are “vir” and “virgo” etymologically related?

Are vir and virgo etymologically related? St. Isidore says, in his Etymologies p. 242, that virago and vir are related: A ‘heroic maiden’ (virago) is so called because she ‘acts like a man’ (...
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Is ulula a diminutive?

Is ulula (an owl of some kind) a diminutive? It looks like one, but I'm not familiar with a Latin word looking remotely like ula. The word appears to be onomatopoetic to some extent, but it's hard to ...
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Homo Novus vs Novus Homo

To my surprise, the English Wikipedia article about the concept of homines novi is called Novus Homo, not homo novus as I would expect. I have been taught that Latin order is almost always ...
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159 views

Does the Latin nosco come from Greek?

Does the Latin verb nosco come from Greek, or did the shared root (cf. γιγνώσκω) end up in Greek and Latin separately? According to Wiktionary, it seems to be the latter case, as the free dictionary ...
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602 views

What is the word for “reason” and what resonance does it have in Roman culture?

I find it interesting that the French expression avoir raison shares an etymology with the English words "reason" and "rational". In a post-truth political era, it is refreshing that the French ...
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307 views

Origin of supine form?

Where did the supine form originate? It seems strange that for there to be a verbal noun with only accusative and ablative forms. This, at least to me, suggests that there was once other forms, ...
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202 views

From “competo” to “competition”

I was looking at the origin of the English word "competition" and it seems to come from the Latin competitio. Yet, this word comes from the Latin competere, which is the present infinitive of ...
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440 views

Is there an exclusive word for octopus in Ancient Greek?

I was having the great "octopuses vs. octopi" debate with a scientist friend the other day, and decided to check the lexicon. The only entry I could find relates the word to measurement, either of ...
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How did '-met' + 'ipse' + '-issimus' compound to mean <the same> (in *metipsimus)?

[ Wiktionary for *metipsimus :] Etymology [0.] From -met (emphatic suffix) + ipse (“himself”) + -issimus (superlative suffix). Adjective *metipsimus (feminine *metipsima, neuter *metipsimum); first/...
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What semantic notions underlie <the same> (in *metipsimus) and <even> (in 'même')?

[ Wiktionary for 'même' :] Etymology [3.] From Middle French mesme, from Old French mesme, earlier meïsme, [2.] from Vulgar Latin *metipsimus [= the same], [1.] from Latin -met [emphatic suffix] ...
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Why did Romans refer to the ring finger as a “medicinal finger”?

In the response to another question about the names of the fingers in Latin, we learned that the ring finger is often referred to as a digitus medicus or digitus medicinalis: a "medical/medicinal ...
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Is the prefix “di-” more Latin-like than “bi-”?

Question. (1) Is there anything close to scientifically-meaningful to say about whether the prefix "di-" is more Latin than the prefix "bi-", when indicating two-ness? (2) Are there published ...
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Etymology of axioma and axis

Is it possible that "axis" and "axioma" (English "axiom") derive from the same etymological root? From a superficial search, it at least seems possible that the PIE root *ag "to move" (i.e. axiom: to ...
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On the etymology of “violin” and “vitula”

Several English etymological sources say violin is from Latin vitula. A vitula/vitulus is a calf. But why was the instrument named after a calf? But some sources say this vitula may be from vitulari "...
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Is there a Ancient Greek or Latin equivalent to “steely eyed”?

I'm looking for parallel idioms related by vocabulary and/or meaning. This is in reference to a question on Mythology regarding the "gray eyed" translation of an epithet of Athena: Why is Athena “...
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About the formation of the word “euthanasia”

The etymology of euthanasia is pretty straightforward, as this site shows: Early 17th century (in the sense ‘easy death’): from Greek, from eu ‘well’ + thanatos ‘death’. What is less ...
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360 views

Etymology and pronunciation of words ending in “-iasis”

Unfortunately, I don’t own any Latin or Greek dictionaries or etymological texts, but I tried to research this topic on the internet. Here is what I found: Perseus: words ending in “iasis” in L&S ...
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Etymology of Nausicaa?

There was an interesting question on Lit regarding a proposed meaning of Nausicaa as "burner of ships". Although I don't have an issue with the ναῦς/κάω hypothesis, I suspect κάω is more likely used ...
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A semantic question about αὐτόματος

Here is a question related to the one I asked about an hour ago: As an adjective, the main meaning of αὐτόματος is self-willed, but as a noun, it primarily means accident or chance, according to this ...
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About αὐτόματος

According to the wikipedia article on this word, it is composed of αὐτός and ματος, which seems to be derived from "the proto-Indo-European *méntis ~ *mn̥téys (“thought”)." My question is simple: Is ...
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Why is it “dare” and not “dāre” when most first conjugation verbs spell like “amāre”?

Why does dō conjugate differently from other first conjugation verbs in that you find a short a where otherwise you might expect a long ā? BACKGROUND Examples: amāre (dare), amārī (darī), ...
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What would be the etymologically Greek spelling of 'misogynoir'?

I asked this at another language Stack Exchange but was directed to here instead. I wasn't too sure how best to phrase the title of this question, so hope I can better explain it in this body. For ...
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Etymology of “ingeniōsus” and “ingenuus”

Can someone please explain how these two words, ingenuus ingeniōsus both deriving from gignō, come to mean what they respectively do? BACKGROUND According to Wiktionary, ingenuus is made of in- +‎ ...
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What is the origin of the “veneration” meaning of dulia?

The word dulia comes from the Greek doulia (meaning "slavery" or "servitude"). But in Catholicism, the word has taken on a theological meaning, as described in the Catholic Encyclopedia, "signifying ...
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How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é?

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é? Considering the two following examples: modern French état ("state; status") and été ("been"). Both derives ultimately ...
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243 views

Unde “partes orationis”?

Which prior meaning of pars does pars orationis draw from? I'm wondering if just as the notion of grammatical "person" makes (I think) an analogy with roles in drama (the roles of the speaker, the ...
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Why would 'quamquam' have been employed in school debates?

Wiktionary in English lacking information on etymology, I must cite the French version of the French verb 'cancan', but omit the other impertinent etymology hypotheses: (Bavardage) (1821) [3.] ...
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Who first associated μαντεία with μανία?

From Cicero's De Divinatione I.1: Itaque ut alia nos melius multa quam Graeci, sic huic praestantissimae rei nomen nostri a divis, Graeci, ut Plato interpretatur, a furore duxerunt. (My trans.) ...
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256 views

Why does 'a' change to 'i' in verbs derived from 'habere'?

The verbs derived from habere usually have an 'i' in the stem rather than an 'a'. For example, adhibere, exhibere, inhibere, and prohibere, leading to the modern English verbs adhibit, exhibit, ...
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240 views

Dioscuri and Discord

I'm trying to explore if there is any plausible connection between these words. I find them to be somewhat similar in English, where one might carelessly drop the initial "o". I believe there is ...
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768 views

Did Romans distinguish between black and blue?

Did the Romans distinguish between black and blue? Or, more generally, what do we know about their color system? I was wondering because many of the modern Roman languages use either Arabic or ...
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337 views

Why does “inferus” have /f/ rather than /d/?

I found various sources indicating that the Latin word inferus (or infer) comes from a Proto-Indo-European form like *n̥dʰer, the source of English “under” and Sanskrit adhara, adhas. (The Sanskrit ...
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454 views

Etymology of Otho

Is there a currently accepted etymology for the name Otho? Lewis and Short suggest it comes from the Greek Ὄθων, which I suppose they mean comes from ὄθομαι, but how good is that suggestion? There's ...
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What semantic notions underlie 'octopus or cuttlefish' with 'nasal tumours'?

polyp (n.) c. 1400, "nasal tumor," from Middle French polype and directly from Latin polypus "cuttlefish," also "nasal tumor," from Greek (Doric, Aeolic) polypos "octopus, cuttlefish," ...
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364 views

How should particle names ending in -on be treated in Latin?

There are many particle names ending in -on in English: electron, muon, lepton, proton… How should these particle names behave in Latin? My impression is that the electron and the proton came ...
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42 views

What semantic notions underlie 'well, pit, shaft' and 'to cut, strike, stamp'?

pit (n.1) "hole, cavity," Old English pytt "water hole, well; pit, grave," from Proto-Germanic *puttjaz "pool, puddle" (source also of Old Frisian pet, Old Saxon putti, Old Norse pyttr, Middle ...
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Development of the figurative meaning of derivare

If I understand correctly, derivare means literally "to lead water from a river" (from rivus). L&S gives examples of this literal meaning, but it also lists figurative uses. Only the figurative ...
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What semantic notions connect “to turn, turn around, roll,” to “bowed, arched”?

[ 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." [...]
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Is ῥύομαι cognate with rescue?

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 ...
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Which is the logic behind “Aloysius” Latinisation?

Wikipedia states that Aloysius is: ... a Latinisation of the names Louis, Lewis, Luis, Luigi, Ludwig, and other cognate names (traditionally in Medieval Latin as Ludovicus or Chlodovechus), ...
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How does “φωνέω” + “ικός” = φωνητικός

The word "phonetic" has a extra t (phone + ic = phonetic). Etymologically it seems that it is related to ancient Greek morphology and phonology. Where does this extra t come from?
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How many of Latin words became part of English and Spanish?

For example, if we were to take one of the most used Latin dictionaries (Lewis and Short?), and find out the percentage of total entries that have made it one way or another into English and Spanish, ...
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382 views

Why is the supine called “supine”?

I think I understand most Latin grammatical terms in relation to what seems to be their etymology in Latin: cases from nominare, accusare, genus, dare, auferre; tempora from praesens, perfectum; ...
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340 views

Is there any connection between “ave” (as in Ave Cesar) and “aveo”?

Ave, as in Ave Caesar, has the meaning of "hail". Yet, according to Wiktionary, it is also the "second-person singular present imperative of aveō". Now, aveō is a verb which means either "I desire", ...
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128 views

Is there a connection between modus and (adverbial) modo?

Lately I've come to dread coming across the word modo. Is it going to be an adverb meaning "just a moment ago" or "only (this and nothing more)", or a noun for "a way of doing something", "a musical ...
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673 views

How do the verbs do and δίδωμι come from *deh₃-?

I was a little surprised to find that the PIE root of do and δίδωμι is *deh₃-, not *do-. How did we get the "o" vowel sound from eh₃? I don't actually know how to pronounce h₃, but I'm assuming that *...
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How did “status quo” get its meaning?

A literal translation of status quo would be, "the state in which". I think this touches on the present-day meaning of the phrase, but I think most would agree that it does not fully capture it. I am ...

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