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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69 views

Are pignus, pinguedo, & piger etymologically related?

Are pignus (pledge), pinguedo (fat), and piger (lazy person) etymologically related? de Vaan p. 465 says: The etymology [of pignus] is uncertain, since one can imagine a meaning "pledge, surety&...
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Formation of ἔλδωρ, a wish

Beekes says that ἔλδωρ/ἐέλδωρ comes from ἐϝέλδομαι, without commenting on the suffix. Is this a case where the agent-noun suffix -τωρ (a.k.a. -τήρ) was applied, but then ἔλδτωρ got automatically ...
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commence < commensa = "joint table"?

M. J. Toswell, Today's Medieval University p. 24 claims a new master would eat at the commensa, the joint table, after his commencement ceremony of stepping upward Does the English word "...
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284 views

Are ἄρσην, ἄρσις and θήλυ, θέσις etymologically related?

In Mt. 19:14, "άρσεν και θήλυ" means "male and female". In music terminology ἄρσις means a stressed/emphasized sound, and θέσις the corresponding unstressed one. Is ἄρσις ...
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Sigillare and sugillare

From signum ("sign") we have a diminutive form sigillum, "little sign", whence in particular: "wax seal made by one's ring print", to close and sign a letter or a box, ...
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What is the evidence for *ḱw > *kʷː in Greek?

It seems to be commonly accepted that Proto-Indo-European *ḱw became something very close to *kʷ in Greek, hence ἵππος (Mycenaean i-qo = *hiqqos?) showing the same develarization as ἕπομαι. The ...
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443 views

Why is ἀτρύγετος = ἀ + τρυγάω + τος "formally not easy?"

Homer uses ἀτρύγετος as an epithet of the sea and sky. The etymology has traditionally been taken to be α participle formed from ἀ + τρυγάω, unharvested or barren, but Beekes says this is "...
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895 views

The Meaning of Scelerisque?

A number of websites translate "scelerisque" from Latin to English as "chocolate." I am skeptical of this claim, as I can find no trustworthy source of confirmation. Rather, I see ...
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Which verbs come from *deh₃ and which from *dʰeh₁?

Latin has quite a few prefixed verbs looking like -dō, -dere, -didī, -ditus (condō, abdō, reddō, trādō, ēdō, etc). I'd previously thought these came from the verb dō, dare, dedī, datus (< *deh₃ &...
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"Paper shuffler" equivalent in modern or ancient Greek

Not really a Paper Shuffler but I am looking for a word that describes a person who knows all the unnecessary details in a business or activity but doesn't really understand the whole idea or the real ...
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In the etymology of 'physics', what is the ultimate Greek root?

The Oxford English Dictionary says the following about the etymology of physics: < PHYSIC adj. (see -ic suffix 2), after classical Latin physica natural science, in post-classical Latin also the ...
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Are Latin words "sidus" (star) and "sudus" (bright) related?

So, are those two words related? If so, how? Is one native and one a loan-word? Or are both loan-words? If so, from which language(s)?
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A question about etymology of the Etruscan word for number eight

An often cited etymology is that the Etruscan word 𐌂𐌄​​𐌆𐌐 (kezp, eight) is a compound word from 𐌂𐌉​ (ki, three) and 𐌆𐌄𐌐 (zep, hand), that it meant literally "three plus the number of ...
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What is the correct vowel quantity for the participle of legō?

In the following, vowel quantities which I am uncertain of, will be marked with both a breve and a macron, so they should not be considered the answer; that is what I am searching for. This whole ...
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In what sense is "securitas" a condition of being "without care"?

This post states that se is a prefix that means "without". Wiktionary coincides on that regarding the Latin word securus, which is described as a compound between se and cura, "without ...
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What are the semantic, pragmatic, or other differences between -tio, -tus, -tura, and other action nouns

Salvete Omnes, While answering this question on a motto related to computers, I was going to question the authority of Vicipaedia's use of words derived from programma, particularly action nouns from ...
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Rentiers in Ancient Greece

I've been looking for a Greek equivalent of 'Rentiers' who exploit the economy by lobbying the state e.g. asking the state to give them subsidies for a certain common good (climate change) but ...
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Which is correct? Eugenius or Eugenīus or both?

Checking the dictionary entries for Eugenius, I was surprised to find different vowel quantities depending on whether it was the adjective or the noun. As you can see from the screenshot above, ...
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Are "pater", "parens", "parturitio", & "partitio" etymologically related?

Are pater (father), parens (procreator), parturitio (parturition), and partitio (partition) etymologically related? Phonetic and semantic similarities lead me to think they might be related. I can't ...
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On the Etymology of the Future Active Infinitive

In Syntax of Plautus, W. M. Lindsay writes: But the earliest form of the Future Infinitive Active, which still survives in some lines of Plautus and has probably been removed by scribes from more, ...
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Is μῆνις cognate with mania?

Pharr (Homeric Greek: a book for beginners, 4th ed.) has on pp. 10 and 281 a statement that μῆνις in Homer would have had an α in most dialects and says that it's cognate with maniac and maniacal. But ...
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What is and is not a possible etymology of "ilex"

The OLD and De Vaan both list the etymology of īlex (gen. īlicis) as unknown. There is also an adjective īlignus/īligneus, which De Vaan says "reflects *īliknos < pre-syncope *īlik-ino-s."...
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How did PIE *h₂énti-h₃kʷós get lengthened to Proto-Italic *antīkʷos?

The word antīquus has a long vowel in the middle, but the proposition ante is short; indeed, if I am not mistaken (it has been a while since I read and wrote about Saturnian), both of its morae are ...
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786 views

'Fomites'? From 'fomes'?

Of the many candidates for 'word of the year', 'fomites' is a semifinalist for sure (with the added flavor of multiple pronunciations). But why the dental '-t-' in the plural? What is the pattern? Is ...
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Why is the root vowels of 'salsus' and 'saliō' from 'sāl' shortened?

Working my way through the Duolingo course, I noticed that salsus has a short root vowel, even though sāl, sālis¹ is long-voweled. The etymology entry on Wiktionary states that the adjective is from ...
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What is the connection between stipula (stalk) and stipulari (to extract a promise)?

How did the meaning of stipulari (to extract a promise) develop from stipula (a stalk), if indeed it did?
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Is Greek ἀρά, prayer, cognate with Latin ara, altar?

Is Greek ἀρά, prayer, cognate with Latin ara, altar? Wiktionary had ἀράομαι, with the etymology pointing to a red-linked ἀρά. I created an entry for ἀρά based on LSJ, but I have no source of ...
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Latin justification for the English word tradent

I was reading the following thread https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/tradent.3819293/ - There it is stated that the English word tradent, according to the OED means Chiefly in Rabbinic Jewish ...
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Was avē truly pronounced with an "unspelled /h/"?

According to the etymology at Wiktionary, avē derived from a Punic word with an initial /h/, and was pronounced as such in the Classical period even though the word was spelt without. Is this claim, ...
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52 views

Etymology of εὔκοπος

This seems to be a koine word meaning easy. LSJ has it and the verb κοπάζω, but the English wiktionary didn't have either. I added both to wiktionary. It seems obvious that the etymology of κοπάζω is ...
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Determining the etymology of words in Latin

I am interested in the etymology of words in Latin. Is there a resource available that could help me determine if a word is specifically from Old, New or Vulgar Latin etc. according to a time it is ...
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Why -ώς in αἰδώς?

The word αἰδώς means awe, shame, or respect. There are related words such as αἰδοῖος. I feel like I ought to be training my brain to recognize inflections in order to get clues as to meaning, but as ...
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What is the relation and history of 'si' and 'sic'?

Lewis and Short tell me that sic comes from si by adding the particle -ce. I can understand sice wearing down to sic, but I do not quite understand how I am supposed to understand the meanings of the ...
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Semantic link between πόνος and πονηρός?

Πόνος means toil or suffering, while πονηρός, derived from it, can mean either that someone toils under oppression or else is knavish, base, or evil. What is the semantic link between toil/suffering ...
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Why did so many Romans name their children after ordinal numbers?

Why were so many praenomina ordinal numbers or apparently derived from ordinal numbers? A few examples: Octavia Minor (Augustus Caesar's older sister) Octavia Major (Augustus Caesar's older half-...
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What is the the etymology and origin of the word/name Calvus?

Doing research (the question was also asked here as well) I came across the name having a French origin meaning "bald". However, I also came across that the name has a connection to the ...
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Did "interpolare" mean "polish up" or "polish among"? Why wasn't sup- used?

Does inter- mean "up" as Ayto vouches below? Is Etymonline wrong that inter- means "among, between"? Why didn't Latin use sup-, the prefix for "up", here? interpolate [...
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Why did Latin prefix a(d)- to vis(um)?

In other words, why didn't visum itself shift to mean "opinion"? What does ad- contribute to this semantic shift? advice [13] Like modern French avis, advice originally meant ‘opinion’, ...
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How does "send to" mean "allow to enter"?

Ayto doesn't expound the shift from "send to" toward "allow to enter"? I don't understand the "hence". admit [15] This is one of a host of words, from mission to ...
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How did "dis-" contribute to the meaning of "directus"?

Ayto doesn't expound how *addrictiāre shifted to mean "direct something, such as a letter, to somebody". address [14] Address originally meant ‘straighten’. William Caxton, for example, ...
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Where does -ι- come from in derivatives of ἅλς (ἁλιάετος, ἁλιαής, ἁλιανθής)?

Many compounds or derivatives of the Greek word ἅλς hals "salt, sea" seem to be built on the form ἁλι- hali-: ἁλιά(ι)ετος "sea-eagle", ἁλιαής "blowing seaward", ἁλιανθής &...
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Create new word: super + portare

I want to create a new word by analogy to "support" with the prefix super-. According to Google the modern English word "support" comes from Latin supportare and is composed of sub-...
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950 views

frater < "fere" + "alter"?

Is the etymology of the word frater from fere (almost) + alter (another), in the sense that a brother is more closely related to his sibling than another, unrelated person? St. Isidore's Etymologies (...
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Is ὀργίζω, to anger, cognate with ὄργια, a secret rite or ritual?

Is ὀργίζω, to anger, cognate with ὄργια, a secret rite or ritual? Wiktionary has a red link from the uncommon modern word to a not-yet-existing page for the ancient word (with accents). It seems at ...
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Why is "porticus, porticūs" a feminine fourth-declension noun?

The fourth declension was one of the less common inflection pattern for Latin nouns, and the vast majority of fourth declension nouns are masculine nouns ending in the deverbal abstract noun suffix -...
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120 views

Are there ever separate number and case markers in Latin?

It seems to me that in Latin the case endings in singular and plural have very little in common. For an example of singular–plural pairs: puella–puellae, puellam–puellas, puellae–puellarum, puellae–...
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Where does the final -ς in genitive feminine singularis -ᾱς/-ης/τῆς come from?

The declination pattern for the case endings, as well as the article ὁ, ἡ, τό, seems to fairly closely match that of the grammatical endings you find in Latin: Case Latin Greek Latin Greek Latin ...
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What is the etymology of the Scythian word "hezios" meaning "covered"?

Pliny the Elder claimed, in the 6th book in the 19th chapter of "Naturalis Historia", that the name "Caucasus" comes from Scythian "kroi hezios" meaning "snow-...
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When did "si" become the standard word for "yes" in the Italian peninsula?

I am aware that classical Latin did not have words for "yes" and "no" in the same sense that English does. I know that they could express the idea of "yes" by either ...
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What's up with 'ubī'?

Just noticed, with respect to this question about 'which' and the five 'wh-' question words, that there's kind of a similar but reverse sort of situation in Latin. It looks like of all the ...

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