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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148 views

What underlying semantic notions connect 'mēnsa' to the PIE *me-?

[U Texas :] Pokorny Etymon: 3. mē-, m-e-t- 'to measure' Semantic Field: to Measure [...]   Italic:   Latin:   mēnsa [ Wiktionary : ] a table a table of food; meal, course, ...
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Is there a (cultural, religious etc?) reason, why equus and aequus are nearly homophones?

Equus: (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈe.kʷus/, [ˈɛ.kʷʊs] Aequus: (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈae̯.kʷus/, [ˈae̯.kʷʊs] Is this similarity coincidental or do they have a common origin? Are there any specific ...
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What is the semantic field of 'cȳma'?

[ Wiktionary : ] Etymology From the Ancient Greek κῦμα ‎(kûma), from κύω ‎(kúō, “I am pregnant, I conceive”). *κυμαί ‎(*kumaí), the first-declension nominative plural form which would give ...
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Why is there an “o” in “controversus”?

Apparently, contrōversus comes from the preposition contrā- + versus. So why does it have "ō" instead of "ā"? I checked Lewis and Short, but it doesn't explain the development of this vowel. I also ...
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Etymology of English words “mother” and “father”

Usually, it's easy to tell whether a word has Latin or German ancestry. Water ("wasser") clearly comes from German, whereas aquatic ("aqua") clearly comes from Latin. But what's harder for me to tell,...
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What did the prefix 'de' mean in: de- + lacere?

[ Etymonline : ]  [...]  from Late Latin deliciosus "delicious, delicate," from Latin delicia (plural deliciae) "a delight, allurement, charm," from delicere "to allure, entice," from de- "away" (...
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698 views

Unde “-cundus”?

I have learned that there is a suffix -cundus, found in words like fecundus, jucundus/jocundus, and rubicundus, which means something like "full of" or "characterized by." It seems to often be ...
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What is the origin of the 3rd-person plural perfect ending “-ēre”?

Laudavēre is an (apparently older) alternative to laudaverunt. What is the origin of this ending? Is it connected with any other known endings or affixes? Clackson & Horrocks say it is from an ...
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What did 'prō' mean in 'prōrogō' ? What is its Semantic Field?

[ Etymonline : ]   [...]   from Latin prorogare, literally "to ask publicly," from pro "before" (see pro-) + rogare "to ask" (see rogation). Perhaps the original sense in ...
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When did the word “ly” enter the Latin language and where did it come from?

In an answer to this question, I gave examples of the word "ly" in Medieval Latin. This leads me to wonder when the term entered the language and where it came from? Because it resembles the article ...
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What underlying semantic notions connect 'campus' to the PIE root *kam-p- (to bend)?

Univ. Texas's page on kam-p-   'to bend' states: 'Semantic Field: to Bend'. Then I saw campus (plain, campus, open field) listed, but what semantic notions underlie it and 'to bend'? I can ...
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What semantic notions underlie 'paene' to the PIE root 'pē(i)-' (to hurt, scold, shame)?

Reading the etymology of fiend propelled me to read Univ. Texas's page on the PIE etymon     pē(i)-, pī-     'to hurt, scold, shame', whose Semantic Fields are stated as: to ...
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How did 'ad' + 'hūc' compound to get its meanings?

[ Adverb   adhūc : ]   Etymology     ad "to" + hūc "here" so far, thus far, hitherto, still [2.1] again; [2.2] furthermore; [2.3] moreover; [2.4] besides (used in scholastic debates to ...
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What does 'iconic' mean in the context of the reduplication in Latin 'carcer'?

incarceration (n.) "fact of being imprisoned," 1530s, from Medieval Latin incarcerationem (nominative incarceratio), noun of action from past participle stem of incarcerare "to imprison," from ...
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What is the semantic field of derivatives of 'prae-' + 'emere'?

[3.] premium (n.)   c. 1600, "reward given for a specific act," [2.] from Latin praemium "reward, profit derived from booty," [1.] from prae- "before" (see pre-) + emere "to buy," originally "to ...
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Evolution of the meaning of sacramentum

I am interested in the development of the word sacramentum, from the classical to the current ecclesiastical usage. The Lewis & Short entry lists the following meanings: I A. Jurid. t. t., the ...
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Is the -que in quinque at all related to the conjunction -que?

I noticed that quinque ends in -que. I asked my teacher if this was sheer coincidence or so reason for it. He didn't know but he thought it was coincidental. I, however, think that they probably share ...
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How does the gerund 'bear' or 'carry'?

[ Etymonline: ] 1510s, from Latin gerundum "to be carried out," gerundive of gerere "to bear, carry" (see gest). In Latin, a verbal noun used for all cases of the infinitive but the nominative; ...
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Is llama lama or glama?

I went to a zoo today, and I noticed that the scientific name of llama is Lama glama. It seems to me that both lama and glama are latinized versions of "llama". Why were two different versions of the ...
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What underlying semantic notions explain the meaning of 'toward' for the prefix 'in-'?

[ Etymonline :]  [...] invitare "invite, treat, entertain," originally "be pleasant toward," from in- "toward" (see in- (2)).   [...] I am conjecturing that entry by an object in a target ...
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How does 'versus' metaphorise plowing in Ancient Rome?

[ Etymonline :] from Latin versus "a line, row, line of verse, line of writing," from PIE root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). The metaphor is of plowing, of "turning" from one line to ...
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Quare dicitur “poeta” et non “pœeta”?

"Why is it "poeta" and not "poeeta" in Latin?" This question occurs in the Harvard University Catalogue of 1872-73, but I haven't been able to find the answer. The reason I would expect "pœeta" is ...
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Beaver and Pollux?

Castor and Pollux are famous mythological twins. Castor is also the genus of beavers. This makes me wonder two things: Are these two Castors related in any way? Was this double meaning observed in ...
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What underlying semantic notions connect 'luctor' to the PIE root *leug ‎(“bend, twist”)?

[ Wiktionary :] From Proto-Indo-European *lugsos, from *leug ‎(“bend, twist”). Cognates include Ancient Greek λύγος ‎(lúgos), Lithuanian lugnas, and Old Norse lykna. Etymonline does not expose the ...
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Does “comperendinare” really mean “to adjourn for three days” (or similar) and if yes, how do we know this?

According to my (German) Latin dictionary (Stowasser), comperendinō means to summon for the third-next day of court (für den drittnächsten Gerichtstag vorladen). It always struck me as bizarre that a ...
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What underlying semantic notions connect 'sī' to the PIE root *se (to Own, Possess)?

Preface: Wiktionnaire's etymology supports U Texas's below, but Wiktionary's assigns sī to a different PIE root: *só. I am conjecturing that Wiktionary is incorrect. [70% down the page] sī conj if ...
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What underlying semantic notions connect 'studere' to 'to put in, put aside, spare, keep'?

[ Etymonline on 'etui (n.)' : ] 1610s, also ettuy, etwee from French étui, Old French estui (12c.) "case, box, container," back-formation from estuier "put in put aside, spare; to keep, shut up, ...
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When is “diēs” masculine, when is it feminine, and why can this word take different genders?

Wiktionary goes into it a bit: Diēs is an exceptional case of a fifth declension noun since it is both used in the masculine form and in the feminine form, instead of just feminine like the rest of ...
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Is the prefix 'de-' redundant in 'delimitare'?

This inspired this question; I should verify whether the prefix really means something. delimitare "to mark out as a boundary," from de- + limitare, from limitem, limes "boundary, limit" (see ...
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What (if anything) does the prefix 'de-' mean in *defallere?

This inspired this question; I should verify whether the prefix really means something. *defallere from Latin de- "away" + fallere "to deceive, to cheat; to put wrong, to lead astray, cause to be ...
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What (if anything) does the prefix 'op-' mean in 'operīre'?

This question inspired the following: I should verify whether the prefix really means something. I quoted the French version of Wiktionary because the English version does not state the Latin etymons (...
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Meaning and etymology of ūrīnor and ūrīna: “to dive” comes from “pee”?

Starting from a Bart Simpson prank call, I looked for "urinator" in Wiktionary, and suddenly found myself faced with the Latin meaning of the word, that is, ūrīnātor meaning "diver"...
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Evolution of the meaning of Tollere?

One of my favorite Latin words is Tollere because it means both "to raise" as in to lift off the ground, as well as (more poetically) "to raze" or destroy/take away. Are there any commentaries on how ...
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Apicius' “sp[h]ondyli vel fonduli”

Apicius' de re coquinaria (Roman recipe book believed to have been compiled in the 4th/5th century CE) contains, in the book 3 "cepuros" on vegetables, a paragraph (XX, recipes 115 to 121) entitled "...
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What underlying semantic notions connect 'strēnuus' to stiffness and rigidity?

[Wiktionary :] From Proto-Indo-European *ster- ‎(“stiff”). [...] Etymonline's entry for 'strenuous' (adj.) references Etymonline's entry for 'stern' (adj.) which states the same PIE root as above. ...
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How does the prefix 're-' connect with the semantic shift of 'recredere'?

[Etymonline:] Old French recreant "defeated, vanquished, yielding, giving; weak, exhausted; cowardly," present participle adjective from recroire "to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance," ...
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On the etymology of “discipulus” and “disciplina”

I am interested in the origin of the words discipulus and disciplina, which have found their way into many modern languages, e.g., in the English words disciple and discipline. Unfortunately, there ...
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Quomodo “cochlear” a “cochlea” est ortum?

Cur cochlear a cochlea est ortum? Quomodo connectuntur? In Anglicum liberaliter traductum: What do spoons have to do with snails?
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Why might “Philosophiae Doctor” (the source of “Ph.D.”) have been preferred over “Doctor Philosophiae”?

The English abbreviation Ph.D. comes from the Latin for Doctor of Philosophy, which I understand would be either Philosophiae Doctor or Doctor Philosophiae. I know word order is flexible in Latin, ...
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What underlying semantic notions explain the etymology of 'pravus'?

[Wiktionnary in French for 'pravus' (adj.) :] De l’indo-européen commun *pra[1] (« penché ») qui n’existe qu’en latin et dans les langues celtiques. Pokorny rattache à ce radical pratum (« prairie, ...
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What are the origins of the two Latin names for boron, borium and boracium?

On Latin Wikipedia, there are a number of chemical elements with two Latin names, e.g. boron being borium and boracium. (Another example being nitrogen: nitrogenium or azotum.) What is the etymology ...
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How else might the Latin 'torrere' have shifted semantically to mean 'rushing, roaring (of streams)'?

[Etymonline] [...] from Latin torrentem (nominative torrens) "rushing, roaring" (of streams), also "a rushing stream," originally as an adjective "roaring, boiling, burning, ...
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What underlying notion connects “a fall or leap” to 'prae' + 'caput'?

[precipitation (n.) :]  [...]  Latin praecipitationem (nominative praecipitatio) "act or fact of falling headlong, haste," noun of action from past participle stem of praecipitare "fall, be hasty,"...
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What is the semantic field of 'exigō' ?

[exact (adj.)]   exigere "demand, require, enforce," literally "to drive or force out," also "finish, measure," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + agere "drive, lead, act" (see act (n.)). [Wiktionary:] ...
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What underlying notion connects “roll” (in “volvere”) to “leap” (in “*volvitare”)?

[vault (v.1) :]   [...] from Vulgar Latin *volvitare "to turn, leap," frequentative of Latin volvere "to turn, turn around, roll" (see volvox). [...] I ask not about the meanings "turn" or "...
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How does ‘pontifex’ connect to the significance of bridge building as pious work?

From the Online Etymology Dictionary: pontifex (n.) member of the supreme college of priests in ancient Rome, 1570s, from Latin pontifex "high priest, chief of the priests," probably from ...
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How did “spina” shift semantically from “thorn” or “prickle” to “backbone”?

From the online etymology dictionary (boldface mine): spine (n.) c. 1400, "backbone," later "thornlike part" (early 15c.), from Old French espine "thorn, prickle; backbone, spine" (12c., Modern ...
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Does “ad” have its origin in Hebrew/Semitic languages?

The sources I've read usually say that 'ad' (i.e., in 'ad infinitum') is derived from Proto-Indo-European *ád ‎("near, at"). However, they don't refer any Semitic origins. But here's an excerpt from ...

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