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Questions tagged [etymology]

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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Why does Ancient Greek "metá" mean both between and after?

μετά means two very different things. Are there any other examples in world languages of a word for "between, with" being colexified with one for "after, next to"? I find it very ...
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1 answer
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Is verus (true) etymologically related to viridis / vireo (green / to be green)?

Is verus (true) etymologically related to viridis / vireo (green / to be green)? The closest to this that St. Isidore in his Etymologies p. 124 says: Switches (virga) are the tips of branches and ...
Geremia's user avatar
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Does "iugiter" have any descendants in English?

Does the Latin term iugiter (or jugiter) have any descendants in English, even remote ones? It is morphologically similar to judge, but the two don't seem to have any etymological relationship.
Doubt's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why is the infinitive of "possum" "posse", and not something like *potesse or *potere?

I suppose that the infinitive of "possum" once was *potesse, but that the 'e' in the second syllable got lost, so it went from *potsse to "posse". But why did the 'e' in the second ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
4 votes
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81 views

Why do emasculatus and effeminatus mean the SAME thing, despite being formed the SAME way with OPPOSITE morphemes? [duplicate]

The etymological constructions of emasculatus and effeminatus are identical: emasculatus < ex- + masculus + -atus effeminatus < ex- + femina + -atus Since masculus and femina are opposites, ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
122 views

Have these Greek letters been related to these Latin/English letters?

Was each following Latin/English letter originated from, cognate with, or related to the Greek letter given after the Latin/English letter? Latin f and Greek phi Latin h or e, and Greek eta Latin j ...
Tim's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
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What are the Greek or Latin words for these SI prefixes?

Smith's Greek and Latin Roots gives the etymology of a few SI prefixes. For example, tera- is from Greek teras ("monster"), deci- from Latin decem, and micro- from Greek mikros ("small&...
Tim's user avatar
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-1 votes
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Why aren't English "house" and Latin "casa" considered cognates? Latin 'c' corresponds to English 'h', and Latin 's' corresponds to English 's'

So, why are linguists so sure that Latin "casa" and English "house" are false cognates? Latin 'c' does correspond regularly to English 'h' (as in "centum"-"hundred&...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
892 views

Is there a relationship between καθαιρέω ("destroy") and καθαίρω ("purify")?

καθαιρέω and καθαίρω look remarkably similar and seem to have similar meanings: "destroy" and "purify/purge," respectively. It came as some surprise to me, though, that I couldn't ...
brianpck's user avatar
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Origin of /h/ in ἅζομαι (házomai), ἁγνός (hagnós), ἅγιος (hágios)

According to Wiktionary: ἅζομαι (házomai) ← PH *haďďomai ← PIE *h₁yáǵyeti ἁγνός (hagnós) ← PH *hagnós ← PIE *h₁yáǵnós ἅγιος (hágios) ← PH *hágijos ← PIE *h₁yáǵyos I am aware of Proto-Hellenic /h/ ...
Arfrever's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why do so many names end with -us?

This is probably a simple question, but why do so many ancient Roman names (both first and last) end in "-us"? For example: Marcus Aurelius, Josephus Flavius, Julius, Maximus, Hadrianus, ...
Lo ani's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
328 views

How did Αμμόχωστος become Famagusta?

Hope I found the right place to ask and we can avoid a migration to Linguistics or History SE Wikipedia says it is Αμμόχωστος that developed into Famagusta (original Famagouste in French). How did it ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
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Has any etymologist entertained the possibility that "carpa" (carp) and "carassius" (crucian carp) are related?

As far as I can see, "carpa" (carp) appeared in Late Latin and it is usually considered to be a borrowing from an unattested Gothic word for that fish. "Carassius" also appeared in ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
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Greek/Latin lexical or compositorial correspondences

I'm always intrigued by lexical correspondences and kinships and the underlying etymology (where it is not completely obvious, of course), such as between English town and German Zaun, English war and ...
Lumi's user avatar
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Has any etymologist entertained the possibility that "anas" (duck) and "anser" (goose) are related?

The word "anser" (goose) is usually derived irregularly from Proto-Indo-European *gjhh2ens, with an unexplained loss of 'h' at the beginning. I am wondering, has any etymologist considered ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
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1 answer
109 views

Are the German word "machen" (to make) and the Latin word "machina" (device) related?

Are the Latin word "machina" (device) and the German word "machen" (to make) related? There is no obvious etymology for the Latin word "machina". 'ch' shouldn't occur in ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
9 votes
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188 views

Why do we say "misogyny" and not "gynemisia"?

The Greek prefixes phobia and philia are commonly used in many words, such as 'gynephilia' and 'androphilia'. Why is 'miso' (from the Greek μῖσος) primarily used as a prefix in words such as 'misogyny'...
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8 votes
1 answer
110 views

Why is the inflection of supellex so weird?

The noun supellex takes the stem supellectil- in declined forms. The -il- part seems related to the suffix -ilis as in fragilis, but it disappears in the nom. sg. form. (By the way, the expected nom. ...
Kotoba Trily Ngian's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
157 views

Why is the infinitive of "fero" "ferre" and not "ferse"?

The 'r' in Latin infinitive endings "-are", "-ere", "-ĕre" and "-ire" is explained as coming from Proto-Indo-European 's', by 's' turning to 'r' in Latin ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
67 views

Explanation for legi and dilexi having different perfect stems?

Is there any explanation for why the perfect stem of lego is legi, but the stem for a word derived from it is dilexi? It seems that other related words like adlegi and sublegi follow the expected ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
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2 votes
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Is there a meaning behind 'mater' and 'pater' beyond mother and father?

I ask because i vaguely remember pater, the latin root for father, also having the meaning 'to protect' or 'to lead'? A fairly thorough google search has yet to substantiate that so I might have just ...
user14310's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
808 views

What's the story behind "vernepator cur"?

NPR and many other sources on the Internet say that vernepator cur is Latin for "the dog that turns the wheel." Apparently, the phrase vernepator cur was really in use in England at one time ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
110 views

Etymology of Acolyte

Why is the Greek word ἀκολουθος borrowed into Latin as acolythus and not acoluthus? Compare Θουκυδιδης and Thucydides.
user67637's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why is the Latin word for plum so close to the name of Damascus?

The Latin word for plum is damascena, and the capital of Syria is Damascus. Are these names related? Why is Latin word for plum so close to the name of Syrian capital? Did Damascus have good plums in ...
Snack Exchange's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
119 views

How did ἄρρην turn into αρσενικός?

The Greek word for male is αρσενικός. From the Greek Wiktionary page: αρσενικός < (κληρονομημένο) αρχαία ελληνική ἀρσενικός < ἄρρην / ἄρσην I translated it with Google Translate: male < (...
Snack Exchange's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
187 views

How would you properly translate "of the Gods" into Latin?

I am trying to translate the phrase "of the gods" into Latin. Google translate says it would be deorum, however I am skeptical of the accuracy of Google translate, other sources say it is ...
Devon Grant's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
221 views

How did 15th century Dutch “Van Lanckvelt” correspond to neo-Latin “Macropedius”?

The 15th-century Dutch humanist Georgius Macropedius was originally named Joris van Lanckvelt, and his adopted Latin name is generally described as a direct Latinisation of that, without further ...
Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
170 views

Why is "uenetus" a colour name?

I recently came across the following entry on Wiktionary for the adjective "uenetus": of or pertaining to the Veneti; Venetian blue, blue-green, sea-blue Why and how is this adjective ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is Latin qui a descendant or predecessor of Persian که (kë)?

Backstory: There is French "qui", whose use is alligned with Turkish "ki". As a Turk, I guessed we might have imported the word. It had been resting at the back of my mind for ...
cbugk's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
144 views

Rēapse or reāpse?

reapse is a univerbation of rē and eāpse, the archaic form of ipsā. It is macronized as rēapse in Lewis & Short's and OLD, but as reāpse in Gaffiot, Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar and ...
Kotoba Trily Ngian's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
691 views

Why sōns but absēns?

The present participle of esse was (at one point) sōns, presumably from *h₁sonts. However, when a prefix is attached, it becomes -sēns, as in absēns and praesēns. I'd always figured this was a relic ...
Draconis's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
160 views

Funny Latin book about etymology and grammar

Are there funny Latin books about the etymology of words, like Word Perfect by Susie Dent for English etymology, or Have You Eaten Grandma? by Gyles Brandreth for English grammar?
Arunabh Bhattacharya's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are the words catastrophe and atrophy related?

For context; I am an absolute noob with etymology. But I recently had a thought that made by blood run cold. Q: Are the words "catastrophe" and "atrophy" related? Looking at ...
David Raveh's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
96 views

Is the Etruscan word for lake, "tisś", derived from the word for water, "thi"?

Is the Etruscan word for lake, "tisś", derived from the word for water, "thi"? The Etruscan word "tina" (a type of a vessel) is, as far as I know, thought to derive from &...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
86 views

Are the Etruscan words "tisś" (lake) and "tusna" (swan) related?

Are the Etruscan words "tisś" (lake) and "tusna" (swan) related? I can imagine the word for swan coming from the word for lake, as swans live at lakes.
FlatAssembler's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
204 views

Are the latin root word "dis" and latin words "bis" and "duo" synonyms?

On etymonline, it is stated that the prefix "dis" is related to the latin words "bis" and "duo." Can it be correct to say that all three words are/were synonyms to each ...
user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
132 views

Conditions for development of sonus medius

Background It is fairly generally accepted that all Proto-Italic short vowels in medial (= unstressed, but non-final) syllables largely merged on the way to Classical Latin as *e (further developing ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
247 views

Anyone know where "immorito" comes from?

Just checking since the dictionaria gugulabilia seem to (very occasionally) include immorito (glossed here as "causelessly"; here as "undeſervedly") but never whatever intermediate ...
lly's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
94 views

How is rego(long) in English a cognate of rogo(long) in Latin?

Keller's Learn to Read Latin says that rego(long) in English is a cognate of rogo(long) in Latin. I found that rego(long) in English means registration. How is it a cognate of rogo(long) in Latin? I ...
Tim's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
81 views

Why are some English words considered as derivatives of Latin pars, while others as cognates?

Keller's Learn to Read Latin says Derivatives Cognates pars parcel; parse; part pair; par; compare I was wondering why some English ...
Tim's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
95 views

Is the Croatian dialectism "regast" (full of cracks) related to Ancient Greek ῥαγή ("rhage", crack)?

What do you guys here think, is the Croatian dialectism "regast" ("full of cracks", in the Kaikavian diealect) or "regav" ("wrinkled", in the Donji Miholjac ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
146 views

Are different meanings of quam and -quam related?

In Keller's Learn to Read Latin, I found that quam has several meanings: quam is the singular feminine accusative form of qui (interrogative or relative adj, what, which) quam (interrogative or ...
Tim's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
150 views

Are Croatian "bura" (northern wind) and Latin "borealis" (northern) related?

So, are Croatian "bura" (northern wind) and Latin "borealis" (northern) related? Obviously, they cannot come from the same Indo-European root, as Croatian 'b' (from Proto-Indo-...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
783 views

Are Latin "laevus" (left-hand side), Croatian "lijevo" (leftwards), and English "left" (in the sense "side") related?

Are Latin "laevus" (left-hand side), Croatian "lijevo" (leftwards), and English "left" (in the sense "side") related? They definitely look like they could be ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
588 views

Is Ἀχιλλεύς actually from ἄχος and λαός?

As I mentioned in a previous question, I've been taught that ancient authors associated the name Ἀχιλλεύς (and its many variations) with ἄχος ("pain") and λαός ("people"). After ...
Draconis's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
74 views

"Words of rustic origin" like "anser"

According to Allen in his Vox Latina, initial h- "was omitted...in words of rustic origin", like anser. No doubt anser originally had an initial h- (cf. Sanskrit haṃsas, "swan"; ...
cmw's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
398 views

If the Latin word for goose, "anser", really comes from Proto-Indo-European *gjhh2ens, where did the *gjh disappear? Why didn't it change to 'h'?

If the Latin word for goose, "anser", really comes from Proto-Indo-European *gjhh2ens, where did the *gjh disappear? Why didn't it change to 'h', as in "homo" (human) from *gjhmo?
FlatAssembler's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
86 views

Why is the letter C so spoiled in many languages? [duplicate]

So in some Romane languages, C makes a /k/ or /s/ sound and a k or ch sound in Italian? How did that all happen?
Akshat Goswami's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
350 views

Why aren't Latin "sanguis" and Greek "haima", both meaning "blood", considered to be cognates? Latin word-initial 's' corresponds to Greek 'h'

Why aren't Latin "sanguis" and Greek "haima", both meaning "blood", considered to be cognates? The meaning is, as far as I know, exactly the same. And they sound alike. ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
108 views

Is praeter formed by adding prefix prae- to stem inter?

The Oxford Latin Dictionary Says praeter prep., adv. and con}. [prae-; for term. cf. INTER1] Does it mean that praeter is formed by adding prefix prae- to stem inter? How shall I understand ...
Tim's user avatar
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