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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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How did 're' + 'torquere' semantically shift to mean retort an argument or accusation?

p 1811 on Oxford Latin Dictionary (2012 2 ed) doesn't expound the semantic shift from 1 to 3b below. I read Etymology on "retort". I don't wrestle or fight, and don't understand Definition ...
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5 votes
2 answers
464 views

The etymology of "astrigmentum"

As I understand from several sources (e.g) it's meaning is kind of lace/straps. Apparently its a of a medieval origin (encountered that word in Luis Vives 16h century). But I struggle to see how this ...
d_e's user avatar
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Why are these insects prophetic?

In English, a "mantis" is a type of predatory insect. They're also called "praying mantises" because of the shape of their forelegs. The name seems, quite transparently, to come ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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Did Latin ever have a rule of lengthening vowels in monosyllables ending in /s/?

I was surprised by the following portion of "Exceptions to rhotacism", by Kyle Gorman (2012): Latin has a bimoraic minimal word requirement, implemented by a process of Subminimal ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
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abortio < ab- (away from) + orto (rising)?

Is the etymology of abortio (n.) or aborior (v.) from ab- (away from) + orto (rising), in the sense that it abruptly cuts off the progress ("rising") of something?
Geremia's user avatar
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3 votes
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¿Was "grosso modo" popularised from Latin or Italian?

Grosso modo is a phrase of Latin origin, meaning "approximately". The phrase has been adopted in many languages (like English, French, Dutch, etc), as the referred link testifies. The ...
luchonacho's user avatar
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9 votes
5 answers
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Does D/L variation go back to a dl cluster?

As outlined here in “Indo-European *d, *l and *dl” by Tim Pulju, there’s a hypothesis going back to Hamp 1972 that the l in Latin lacrima and d in the archaic variant dacruma both represent a dl ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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6 votes
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Are concubine and concupiscence ultimately related?

Phonetically and semantically, it seemed clear to me that concubine and concupiscence should share a root; however, Wiktionary (1, 2) and Etymonline (3, 4) both point to different Latin roots. ...
MichaelChirico's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
351 views

Why is *salāta feminine? What was the original noun it is modifying?

OED traces the "salad" family of words (Portuguese salada, Fra. salate, Spa. ensalada, Ita. insalata etc.) to spoken Latin *salāta, from the verb salāre. One notices that salāta as well as ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
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Is "tribuo" derrived from "tribus" or vice versa?

According to Wiktionary, the verb tribuo comes from tribus. But further search led me to this etymological dictionary, which in turn cites Forcelleni on those two entries; On tribuo Forcelleni writes ...
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How did the fourth declension neuter dative singular become different from the non-neuter ending?

Usually, when a neuter case ending is different from the non-neuter ending in the same declension, the difference is in the nominative or accusative case (e.g. -us and -um in the second declension ...
Pizgenal Filegav's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is there a relationship between the word amor (love) & mors (death)?

I recently read in a book that there is an etymological relationship between the Latin words amor & mort but no citation is given. Looking at an online etymological dictionary (Wiktionary) did not ...
Tibaq's user avatar
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Where does the -τ- come from in the oblique stem of some Greek neuter nouns with nom/acc sing forms in -ς?

I just learned that some Greek neuter nouns of the third declension with a nominative/accusative singular form ending in -ς have oblique stems in -τ-, which surprised me. I expected τ-stem neuter ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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How does the subjunctive "under' + 'join'?

[Etymonline:] ... from sub "under" (see sub-) + iungere "to join" (see jugular). ... [OED:] ... The subjunctive mood was so called because it was regarded as specially appropriate to ‘subjoined’ ...
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What exactly does the prefix 'in-' signify, in 'impartire'?

It seems that the Latin verb impartire (more commonly impertire) means "to share with another, to communicate, bestow, impart". The English verb impart comes from this. What does the prefix in- mean ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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An introduction to Latin etymology?

I've never studied etymology, but I find myself interested in how words came into Latin and how Latin gave rise to words in other languages. There are many sources for finding the etymology of a given ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
272 views

Does Latin allow the letter K in suffixed words?

Does Latin allow the letter 'k' in suffixed words? Actually, I'm explaining a phenomenon in which English spelling changes... Consider the following examples: Likeable, shakeable, makeable - these ...
Decapitated Soul's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
151 views

Is there an etymological connection between "comitia" and "comes"?

In the Roman Republic, the word comitia was used for the various popular assemblies (e.g. comitia centuriata). I can't find any clear indication online as to its etymological roots. I was wondering ...
Brecht Savelkoul's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
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What creative pursuits can I follow using the Latin Language?

While we're stuck in quarantine I have plenty of time to create. Here's what I've tried doing so far: Helping answer easy questions on the Stack Exchange Translating songs into Latin/Writing songs in ...
Nickimite's user avatar
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1 answer
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Valerius and Valentinus have the same root?

Valerius is derived from "Volesus" or "Volusus", which in turn is derived from "valere", to be strong. Valentinus is derived from "valens" meaning "healthy, strong" So "valere" comes from "valens"?
Ark25's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
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Crocodile vs. cocodrile: where does the "r" belong?

We are all familiar with crocodiles. We know, love, and recognize them in many European languages: German: Krokodil French: crocodile Portuguese: crocodilo Russian: крокодил But perhaps it comes as ...
brianpck's user avatar
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3 votes
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Where does au-fugiō come from?

Hittite has a verbal prefix u- that indicates motion away from something. Kloekhorst connects it to Latin au-fugiō, "to flee from", saying they both come from PIE *h₂-u-. However, I'd always thought ...
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2 votes
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Etymology of the name Laurentius

Laurentius is a Latin name that means "From Laurentum" (a city near Rome). It is possible that the place name Laurentum is derived from the Latin laurus ("laurel"). The Greek form Λαυρέντιος (...
Ark25's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Word parsing in Latin declensions

I'm trying to parse a few sets of Latin words divided into the categories: perfect participle, present participle and gerundives. I'm struggling a bit. Particularly with gerundives. For instance, in ...
hugo1620's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
323 views

1783 Document - Dominum, Domino and Domina

I have a family document from 1783 in which an unmarried son is referred to as Dominum Conradinum (last letters of surname)...um, and the father is referred to as Domino Jacobo (last letter of surname)...
Curtis's user avatar
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Gender and etymology of name "Herena"

I found that Herena is the name of a Christian saint from the 3rd century. Virtually nothing is known about Herena's life, but my question is about the name: Is it a feminine name or masculine, or ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
155 views

Could lacio and ἕλκω be related?

Would it be at all possible for Latin lacio "pull, lure" (cf. illicio, laqueus, lacesso, lacto) to be related with Greek ἕλκω "draw, pull"? Wiktionary suggests no cognates of lacio are known, so there ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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Translation of ab and de in Greek,

How would one best translate ab and de from Latin to Greek in order to capture the different nuances? In Greek both are usually translated as από. I am trying to capture the nuances so I am using ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
321 views

What's the "Caly" in "Calydon"?

In Greek mythology, there was a terrifying monster known as the Calydonian Boar. It was called the "Calydonian Boar" because it was a monstrous pig that terrorized the town called "...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
140 views

How did 'apo-' shift from signifying 'off, away' to 'because of'?

What notions underlie 'off, away' and 'because of'? ἀπό - Wiktionary Etymology From Proto-Indo-European *h₂epó (“off, away”). Preposition ᾰ̓πό • (apó) (governs the genitive) ...
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2 votes
3 answers
263 views

How did 'folding' semantically shift to mean 'reply'?

I seek more details and other opinions than Cerberus's answer that cited Lewis & Short on what notions underlie folding and replying. As to why folding (back) came to mean uttering (back), I ...
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9 votes
1 answer
680 views

Which name came first, Lucius or Λουκᾶς?

The etymology of the name Luke is commonly said to be the Latin name Lucas, itself from Lucius, from the praenomen Lucius, from the root Lux (gen. Lucis). [A separate etymology says Λουκᾶς/Λουκανός, ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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What is the etymology of "chorāgus"?

Lewis and Short indicates that "chorāgus" is from Greek χορηγός (Doric χορᾱγός), which LSJ says is a compound of χορός and ἡγέομαι. The entries for choragus in the Oxford English Dictionary and a ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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What is the etymology of Laches? (The Ancient Greek name.)

I'm studying Plato, but am ungreeked. Does the Ancient Greek name Laches have a known or suspected etymology? My searches have only turned up the modern legal term, related to the Latin word laxo. ...
papyrus's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Did "sanctifico" ever mean "to make the sign of the cross"?

The Spanish word "santiguar" means "to make the sign of the cross". So for instance, when a Catholic enters a church, s/he "se santigua" (s/he makes the sign of the cross on her/himself). According ...
luchonacho's user avatar
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1 vote
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Is "mobile (vulgus)" used to refer to a "mob"?

According to Wiktionary, the English term "mob" (as in group of people) comes from the Middle English "mobile", which comes from the Latin "mobile (vulgus)" (a moving crowd). Is this meaning attested ...
luchonacho's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
1k views

On the origin of the name "culture" ( possible confusion between "cultura" and "cultus")

The context of my question is a philosophical reflection on the concept of culture in the anthropological sense. The anthrological concept of "culture" dates from Tylor: culture is “that complex ...
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6 votes
0 answers
191 views

Why does "urgueo" exist as a variant of "urgeo"?

The rule I learned for the pronunciation of the digram "gu" before a vowel in Latin was /gw/ after "n", vs. g + vocalic u anywhere else. But I just discovered the exception urgueo /urgweoː/. This is a ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
814 views

What did "quid pro quo" originally mean?

The phrase quid pro quo means "what for what" in Latin, but that makes very little sense to me. Wikipedia hints at the original meaning having to do with substitutions. That makes sense, as pro can ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
71 views

Is there a tool/website to see which non-Latin words are derived from a given Latin word?

One way I use to learn Latin vocabulary is to seek for derived Spanish/English words which meaning I know. For instance, gressus derived into egresar and ingresar, Spanish words which mean to exit ("e[...
luchonacho's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why was 'haemophilia' created to mean 'A constitutional (usually hereditary) tendency to bleeding'? [closed]

Is this auto-antonymy? I'm guessing so, as humans who love blood undeniably wouldn't want to lose it! If not, which type of semantic shift according to Blank's 1999 typology? OED and haemophilia - ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
369 views

Is "ex-" (old, past) seen in Latin

I just really don't know where English ex-, as in "ex-friend" exactly came from. So far I havent seen such meaning in Latin (or Greek), but I know little. It would bolster the following idea,...
vectory's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

Difference between dexter/sinister and rectus/laevus?

Is there a difference between the pair dexter/sinister (right/left) and rectus/laevus? I was only aware of the pair dexter/sinister until recently, when I learned that chiral molecules in molecular ...
WillG's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Origin of "Interficere"?

I don't understand the etymology of interfacio: inter + facio. How it became "to kill"? What is the link between "to do between"?
Quidam's user avatar
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-1 votes
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How could Dalmatian "anca" derive from Latin "hanc hodie"?

The semantic derivation from hanc hodie "this here day" to "also", "even" etc. does make no sense to me. The editor who added the etymology to wiki/anca and a many other languages, that share this ...
vectory's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
238 views

Etymology of the adjective ‘idoneus’

All etymological dictionaries includung Wiktionary and De Vaan’s Etymological Dictionary state the ultimate origin of the Latin adjective idoneus (‘suitable’; ‘sufficient’) is unknown. I was ...
Lypyrhythm's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
650 views

Origins of the adjective ‘inanis’

According to Wiktionary and De Vaan’s Etymological Dictionary, the etymology of the Latin adjective inanis (‘empty’; ‘worthless’) is unknown. I was wondering if anybody had a theory on the origin of ...
Lypyrhythm's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
104 views

How did 'licentiare' semantically shift to mean employment dismissal?

I was researching the etymology for the French licencier, and Wiktionary refers to Latin licentiare. I can't see it exhibited in Oxford Latin Dictionary (2012 2 ed) but Latdict does. Please see the ...
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2 votes
0 answers
74 views

What evidence is there of a short vowel in the first syllable of "vallum"?

Two sources that I've come across indicate a long vowel /aː/ in the first syllable of the word vallum 'palisade wall' (that is, vāllum). This form is given in The Latin Language, by Charles E. ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
290 views

Origin of “haru-” in “haruspex”

I am trying to understand better the etymon of the first part of the word haruspex. The Wiktionary entry and other sources mention «haru- (“intestines”)», but there seems to be no Latin word *haru or ...
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