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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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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