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Etymology scriptorium

Welcome to the Etymology scriptorium. This is the place to cogitate on etymological aspects of the Wiktionary entries.

Etymology scriptorium archives edit

January 2020

Minsk/Mensk etymology

Is anyone interested in writing up the etymology of Minsk (ru or be)? Apparently, the more recent spelling with "i" rather than "e" was forced first by the Polish and then by the Russians. Strictly speaking the Belarusian Менск (Mjensk) is no longer just Taraškievica spelling. It's the only spelling used by the Belarusian opposition and any liberal media writing in Belarus. @Benwing, Canonicalization. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:45, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

Russian топ (top of the mast)

Is the claim that it's from English based on evidence or just a guess? Russian seafaring terms are usually from Dutch or Low German if I'm not mistaken, so these languages would be much more likely sources at first sight. Compare also High German Topp, which, like the Russian word, was borrowed from Low German in the specific meaning "top of the mast". 06:47, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

Vasmer has: топ “top of the mast”. From Dutch top or English, Low German top, whence also new High German Topp; see Möhlen 213; Kluge-Götze 622. Cf. то́нить. (топ «верхушка мачты». Из голл. top или англ., нж.-нем. top – то же, нов.-в.-н. Topp; см. Мёлен 213; Клюге-Гётце 622. Ср. то́нить.)  --Lambiam 12:49, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Compare also Polish top for which I did not add an origin. It is possible that it came via English-language piracy outside of Europe but this is less likely. Fay Freak (talk) 14:17, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

English terms calqued from Middle English

Does it make sense for an English terms to be a calque of a Middle English term? I've just cleaned up the etymology templates on undeadliness and now it's being categorised into Category:English terms calqued from Middle English. The pre-existing etymology started "A calque [...] of the Middle English"; all I've done is replace that with a template. I'm not sure if I've done something wrong, the etymology was already wrong, both or neither. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 13:36, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

@AdamBMorgan: You used the template correctly; see Talk:undeadliness for a discussion of why it's considered a calque of the Middle English. That situation must surely be very rare, but it apparently happened in this case. —Mahāgaja · talk 14:08, 2 January 2020 (UTC)


Ety presently reads:

Disputed. Compares, in a cynical fashion, a full moon to the love of a newly married couple, which is sweetest (as honey) before it begins to wane. (16th century)

This is contradictory. The second sentence reads like a definite fact, contradicting the label "Disputed". I don't know whether to remove "Disputed" or add a caveat to the second sentence. Mihia (talk) 22:00, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

If you go through the list of translations, you see that many literally mean “honey month” (Armenian, Greek, Irish, Latvian, Scottish Gaelic, most Slavic languages) and some more are “honey” + a word that can just as well mean “month” as “moon” (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Turkish), while several others are some other compound of “sweet stuff” + “period of time” such as “days” or “weeks” (Danish, Dutch, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian). In Finnish it is the “cooing month”, in German the “glitter weeks”, and in Swedish the “caressing month”. Considering all this, it is more or less obvious that the sense of the component moon is that of a period of time, a month, and not that of the heavenly body Luna with its phases.  --Lambiam 01:49, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Various dictionaries give various levels of credence to the "lunar phases" explanation. Chambers Dictionary is one that seems quite definite, saying "16c: so called because the feelings of the couple were thought to wax and wane like the moon phases" [1]. Personally I feel unqualified to judge. Mihia (talk) 14:07, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
  • FWIW, the "month of mead" derivation comes up so often that I think it bears mentioning, if only to specifically call out that it is not considered to be the actual etymology. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:47, 7 January 2020 (UTC)


Hi all! I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but I think I found an error in Reconstruction:Proto-Semitic/bayt-. Specifically, if I understand the nesting structure correctly, it seems to claim that בַּיְתָא and בֵּיתָא are Hebrew words which come from Aramaic. But I'm pretty sure that those words are only Aramaic words, not Hebrew words. (The Hebrew word should be בַּיִת if I'm not mistaken). Could someone check whether this really is an error, or if I just misunderstood something? Thanks a ton! JonathanHopeThisIsUnique (talk) 08:25, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

You misunderstood and the formatting is mistaken too: Here “Hebrew” stands for “Aramaic in Hebrew script”, as you can also see from its being linked to an Aramaic section and lacking a borrowing arrow →. Imma change it. Fay Freak (talk) 14:24, 5 January 2020 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. An IP had formerly added "compare {{cog|pt|espancar}}" to the etymology at spank, which was fishy (especially in light of the same IP's "compare {{cog|lt|villa}}" to the etymology at Arabic بَلَد(balad)), but I'd still like to see whether it's possible that they're in fact cognates. Plus, the etymology at espancar is from a user with a history of adding iffy etymologies. I'm not very familiar with Romance languages, so bear with me, but does the meaning of the es- prefix actually work here? —M. I. Wright (talk, contribs) 17:05, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

Online dictionaries that give an etymology agree in principle with our current etymology es- + panca + -ar :
A commonly found definition in Portuguese dictionaries is: “Dar pancadas em”.  --Lambiam 17:44, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Looks like that settles it, thanks. I suppose there's no chance of a borrowing in the other direction, either, from Portuguese to English? Funny how these coincidences appear. —M. I. Wright (talk, contribs) 19:03, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
The user who added it did not imply borrowing from Portuguese. The {{cog}} template implies a common root, which is doubtful. A simple "compare" is innocious, and much better than the etymologist's last resort, as currently stands: "imitative". 03:52, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
I disagree that it is much better – I think it is in fact definitely worse, as the similarity is quite likely purely coincidental.  --Lambiam 11:36, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
Almost all other edits by the anon who added this at spank have been undone as being unsound.  --Lambiam 11:53, 11 January 2020 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. The user who added it was only briefly active in 2017, but they had a habit of (1) mistaking Arabic roots for actual, concrete words, and (2) recording what seemed to just be pet etymologies — and with ostensible sources, but the problem was that the citations always turned out just to be links to the definitions of supposedly-related words, which did nothing to corroborate the alleged etymology lol. See edit history at لَيْسَ(laysa) and إِيَّا(ʾiyyā) for particular examples.

Regarding the etymology in question... it just doesn't make any sense if you consider what the form of the original word would have to have been. And I'm not sure how a word supposedly regularly derived from some root would be able to conveniently incorporate the same ending alternation as in أَنَّ(ʾanna)/أَنْ(ʾan). —M. I. Wright (talk, contribs) 19:58, 7 January 2020 (UTC)

One of the references given by the user, Almaany, mentions a verb لَكِن(lakin, to stutter) on the same page as لَٰكِنَّ(lākinna, but) because they're homographs, but didn't say anything about لَٰكِنَّ(lākinna, but) being derived from a root for "broken speech".
Nor does the other reference, page 3013 of Lane's Arabic–English lexicon, currently available here. It actually just lists لُكْنَة(lukna, an impotence, or impediment, or a difficulty, in speech or utterance) and لٰكِنْ(lākin) under the لكن‎ header without saying anything about the etymology of لٰكِنْ(lākin). Unless Lane assumes that words with the same three letters can never be etymologically unrelated.
So neither of the references that the user provided seem to support the etymology. It could be his own theory or come from some other unspecified source. The etymology doesn't seem plausible either: why would someone use a word related to "broken speech" as a conjunction "but"? — Eru·tuon 22:21, 7 January 2020 (UTC)


Can someone please clarify how the Modern English words one and once came to be pronounced with a /wʌn/ sound, while the words atone, alone, and only are all pronounced like /əʊn/ or /oʊn/? The etymology section of the atone article claims that atone "lacked a stressed vowel" and so did not undergo diphthongization. However, the entries for Middle English oonly and allone have pronunciations with a stressed "-one". So, it seems to me that the explanation on atone does not hold water. Is there an alternative explanation available? BirdValiant (talk) 07:03, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

I can see a stressed /oː/ turning into the diphthong /oʊ/, but in my book /wʌ/ is not a diphthong and requires a different explanation (dialectal? influence of Scots?). So the whole sentence is dubitable, not only as a proffered explanation for the pronunciation of atone.  --Lambiam 09:11, 11 January 2020 (UTC) Moreover, I do not believe that the ‹o› in ‹atone› was unstressed, and it did undergo diphthongization to /oʊ/ and /əʊ/, making the challenged statement even more incomprehensible.  --Lambiam 09:19, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
I replaced the note with a pointer to one and added a referenced note there. - -sche (discuss) 11:06, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam, -sche: Thanks for removing the bad explanation. The question still remains, though: why did people in western England suddenly start pronouncing one with a /w/? Is there some deterministic linguistic explanation available somewhere? Or, was it just some random development? Was it, as I have always imagined, started by some particularly handsome and popular 14th-century English bumpkin who liked to add a little flair to his speech? BirdValiant (talk) 19:12, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
I wonder if it might be evidence of a phonological process similar to the epenthetic rhotic /r/ that appears between vowels at certain word boundaries in some dialects? See also w:Linking_and_intrusive_R#Intrusive_R. Perhaps historically there was an "intrusive W" that only appeared at word boundaries? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:24, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Essentially the same theory, the insertion of a glide before a word-initial vowel in some varieties of Middle English, and more specifically a rounded back glide /w/ before a word-initial rounded back vowel, is presented (with some evidence) in this 2013 blog posting. I wonder if this is related to the process /u/ → /ju/ as in the pronunciation of use.  --Lambiam 20:00, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
The pronunciation of oak with a /w/ mentioned there is also mentioned by Upward & Davidson (as a "non-standard development from OE long A") and hence our entry. Besides the form with /w/, oak has a form with a different intruder and a different vowel: yack (compare old Scots yik/jɛk in the DSL). So does oat, which besides being in ME as wote and in the EDD's citations as w(h)oat/wut, is also found in the EDD as yeat/yett/yit (Scots yit/jɪt/jət/jet). One is also found in dialects as yan/yae/ya(h) and Scots yin/jɪn/jən/jɛn. None of the other words mentioned as having w forms seem to have y/j forms that I could spot, and they also don't appear to be as old as the w forms (which go back to Middle English). Nonetheless, perhaps front vowels in these words / these reflexes of this OE vowel attracted a /j/ in some dialects even as back vowels attracted a /w/? - -sche (discuss) 04:58, 25 January 2020 (UTC)
Especially if it appeared initially bewteen word boundaries, and was subsequently rebracketed as part of the word, the distribution of /j/ vs /w/ would align with the point in English Historical Linguistics, volume 1 (2012, ed. by Alexander Bergs, Laurel J. Brinton), page 99, that "to avoid two vowels becoming adjacent, some varieties of English have the option of inserting a sonorant consonant. [...] the glide /j/ is inserted after a front high vowel (e.g. I see [j] it), /w/ is inserted after a back high vowel (e.g. too [w] old) and an r-sound is inserted when a non-high vowel-final word is followed by a suffix or a word that is vowel-initial (e.g. I saw [r] it)." - -sche (discuss) 05:34, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

Well, an inter-vowel epenthetic /w/ would imply that the word "one" was commonly used after words ending in a vowel, but, surely it occurs equally if not more commonly after words ending in a consonant. So, doesn't seem to really explain it. According to the Cent. Dict, the "prothesis of w" was "due to a labializing of the orig. long o, occurring in several words, but not generally recognised in spelling" ... the Cent. Dict also cites the form wone from early mod. Eng. - Sonofcawdrey (talk) 12:02, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic *haliþaz

@Holodwig21, Mnemosientje, Anglom Kroonen reconstructs this as a consonant stem *haleþ- ~ *haluþ- (which would be *haliþs in our notation). That seems to be confirmed by Old English hæleþ, which has some consonant stem forms. The entry should therefore probably be moved. I'm puzzled, however, by the OE byform hæle, which lacks the final consonant in the base form but retains it in the inflections. It echoes ealu and also the paradigm we have reconstructed for *mili, but both of those are neuters and therefore would have had no ending in the nominative-accusative singular, causing the loss of -t in Pre-Germanic. The "hero" word on the other hand is masculine, and would have had no endingless forms that could have lost the final consonant. Perhaps analogy with these neuter nouns in Old English is the explanation. —Rua (mew) 13:00, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

Going off my theory on the discussion page, if the word was originally a neuter consonant stem, and then even more parallel to *hafud(ą), then the nominative singular would have become *halu(d), the loss of word final d would explain the OE form. Anglom (talk) 03:21, 9 January 2020 (UTC)


Dutch. RFV of the etymology, which differs in strange ways from reference works. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 13:52, 8 January 2020 (UTC

The Middle Dutch Dictionary at the Geïntegreerde Taalbank lists Middle Dutch boetse as a variant of Middle Dutch bootse, originally meaning “bump” but later applied to a sculptural model or more generally a sketch or design; see their entry for Dutch boots. The entry for Middle Dutch bootse also states that the word virtually died out in Dutch but related forms (na)bootsen and boetseren were reintroduced via French bosse. Koenen (1899), however, derives nabootsen from bootse, boetse; as far as I could see his is a lone position.
I find it hard to believe in Latin bozza. Le Trésor has two entries for the verb bosseler, both transitive. Bosseler1, defined as meaning “to deform by deformations/bumps/weals”, is said to derive from Old French bosse, in turn from (Vulgar Latin) *bottia of obscure origin (but evidenced further by Italian boccia and Provençal bossa; see also our etymologies at Middle French bosse, Old French boce and Italian bozza). Bosseler2, defined as meaning “to form a deformation/bump/weal”, is said to derive from Old French bocer or bocier. I do not quite understand the difference between these definitions.  --Lambiam 21:47, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *perunъ

The etymology at the reconstruction page conflicts with the one given at Polish piorun. If the former is accurate, is there no relation whatsoever to Latvian pērkons? — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 16:53, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

I was wondering about that too. According to Wikipedia's etyl on Perun:
Perun is strongly correlated with the near-identical Perkūnas/Pērkons from Baltic mythology, suggesting either a common derivative of the Proto-Indo European thunder god (whose original name has been reconstructed as Perkwunos), or that one of these cultures borrowed the deity from the other. The root *perkwu originally probably meant oak, but in Proto-Slavic this evolved into per- meaning "to strike, to slay". The Lithuanian word "Perkūnas" has two meanings: "thunder" and the name of the god of thunder and lightning.
Their etyl on Perkwunos seems to convey the same converged meaning, both "oak" and "to strike." DJ K-Çel (talk) 04:03, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

Ukrainian жінка

There was a request for an etymology there, and I did my best. Please make further changes in needed.Kevlar67 (talk) 17:22, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

Modern Greek χύμα (chýma, loose, at bulk)


Not mentioned by Beekes. Is this related to Ancient Greek χέω (khéō, I pour)? DJ K-Çel (talk) 20:57, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

According to the Greek Wikipedia it is, just like its cognate χυμός (chymós, juice).  --Lambiam 08:27, 11 January 2020 (UTC)


Moved to a u-stem because of a single Gothic form, but I think it should be moved back to *þurnaz. Every single descendant except the Gothic term is an a-stem. Every single cognate's declension class is cognate to the Germanic a-stem declension class. It seems that the u-stem form is a Gothic-exclusive innovation, rather than the Proto-Germanic changing the class from an inherited a-stem to a u-stem with North and West branches reverting it to a-stem again. mellohi! (僕の乖離) 20:59, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

It doesn't seem to be as straightforward as it looks. There are by-forms in several languages with an unlowered u, and Old English even has a form with umlauted y. Those can't be explained from an a-stem. —Rua (mew) 21:08, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
I would stand corrected and accept the notion of *þurnuz and other related forms existing in PGem, just not the assumption that *þurnaz was itself derived from the u-stem. mellohi! (僕の乖離) 00:27, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
@Mellohi! I've been reevaluating this and looking at the evidence more closely. The Old Dutch by-form with u is invalid, as it's in a derivation that has umlaut. I've sent Old English þyrn to RFV. What remains is mostly a-stem inflection, but there are some anomalous forms as well:
  • OHG dative plural dornin, dornen, possibly also accusative plural dorne? These are i-stem forms.
  • OD nominative plural thorni, also an i-stem form.
  • OS dative plural thorniun, ja/i-stem form. Also the i-stem nominative plural form torni in a gloss.
These may be remnants of an u-stem paradigm, since u-stems tend to become i-stems in these languages. But they may also be a distraction. I can't really tell. —Rua (mew) 13:02, 20 January 2020 (UTC)


Etymology-related edit warring seems to have started here again with an editor restoring what seems to be (sourced) nonsense. Could someone more familiar with the topic take a look? — surjection?〉 17:30, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

Yes, Victar can surely answer your nonsense claim. --Meatbowl (talk) 17:54, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
I have removed it again. This is a waste of everyone's time: Altaic is banned, but the above editor, who has gone through multiple socks, wants to introduce as much of it as possible in this one entry's etymology (when all it should really do is point to the Proto-Turkic, where further etymological wrangling is more appropriate). Meatbowl, if you edit war again, you will be blocked. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:06, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
You failed the topic. The content you just aggressively removed is dealing with Hittite and Uralic, not Altaic. Do you consume something special? --Meatbowl (talk) 18:17, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
As Metaknowledge said, Altaic is banned, and Hyllestedt's theory is absurd. I've moved the etymology to Turkic *arpa, created a PIE entry for *h₂élbʰit, and cleaned up Iranian *arpacyaH. --{{victar|talk}} 02:42, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
On a related issue, Ancient Greek ἄλφιτον (álphiton) is listed among the descendants of Proto-Indo-European *h₂élbʰit, but its etymology section lists Proto-Indo-European *h₂elbʰi- as ancestor. The latter form is not mentioned or linked to anywhere else. The page for Proto-Indo-European *h₂élbʰit does mention an alternative form *h₂élbʰi.  --Lambiam 09:12, 13 January 2020 (UTC)


RFV of Old Norse sterkja. It's not in Köbler's dictionary, where the verb with this meaning is styrkja. —Rua (mew) 16:21, 12 January 2020 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology: "Likely derived from French bayer (“to yawn”), analogously formed as “chaos” (from Ancient Greek χαίνω (khaínō, “to yawn”))". Etymological standard works give a secondary role to bayer at best, and it at least requires some explanation why a non-agent derived from a French verb would take the suffix -erd. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 09:07, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Even disregarding the suffix, it is already unlikely that a Dutch noun would be derived immediately from a French verb. One would expect either a Dutch verb or a French noun as a stepping stone. Dutch baaien exists but not as a verb and with an unrelated meaning. There is a French noun bayard, which has the unrelated sense of “stretcher” and appears to be etymologically unrelated to bayer.  --Lambiam 09:34, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
I have changed the etymology and added a reference for that. The WNT etymology is from 1895, that is a little too old for strange speculative etymologies. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:24, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

sporter (Dutch)

RFV of the etymology. I'm a little unsure of the etymology. Sporter can be attested for 1890 [2] and I haven't found an older attestation for sporten yet (it can be traced to the 1890s). If there are no older cites it seems at least possible that sporter was borrowed from English (a much more common word in the nineteenth century); sporten could then be independently borrowed or back-formed. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:18, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

The participle gesport occurs in the Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad of 16 May 1892 ([3], on p. 2 near the end of the column “Haagsche Kroniek”). In view of the close proximity in time of these (rare) attestations, the mere fact that the agent noun is spotted earlier in print than the verb is hardly an argument against the default hypothesis that the former is a regular derivation from the latter.  --Lambiam 09:49, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Why should that be the default? At the very least the dates should mean the etymology should include both options without a strong preference, no? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:24, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

LSJ underscored space

Does anyone know why there is a space with an underscore in the middle of the word ῥαγο constituting the first part of ῥα_γοειδής? It's erroneous Greek, but maybe it has some hidden meaning in this dictionary's entries. --Espoo (talk) 17:09, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

It should have been a macron over the α, thus: ῥᾱγοειδής. See this mirror.  --Lambiam 17:41, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks! --Espoo (talk) 19:45, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic *maþlą (meeting-place)

Is this related to *mōtaną (to be allowed)? cf. Kroonen p. 358. DJ K-Çel (talk) 22:03, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Yes, as your source explains. — Mnemosientje (t · c) 20:56, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
I tried adding it in, but was reverted and Rua noted: mōtaną has the wrong consonant *t, which comes from PIE *d. Germanic *þ on the other hand must come from PIE *t.
I don't dispute this, but I still trust Kroonen's connection. I'll try again with a little more cautious wording. DJ K-Çel (talk) 05:04, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
You have to show how the suffix -tlo- caused that PIE *d to yield a pre-Germanic *t, which is what Kroonen claims. Your etymology did not make sense on the surface which is why Rua reverted it, as indeed Grimm's law precludes a correspondence between the two if the mentioned change due to the suffix -tlo- is not taken into account. The template you used for Kroonen was also not correct: you used {{R:gem:Kroonen:2012}} instead of {{R:gem:EDPG}}. — Mnemosientje (t · c) 11:09, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
@Rua, Mnemosientje The thorn in *maþlą is not root-original; it is rather suffix-original. Kroonen implies that root-original d regularly dropped in front of tl. Here's another paper of his he wrote after publishing the EDPG reiterating this sound law in an implied form. *maþlą even explicitly appears. mellohi! (僕の乖離) 15:34, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, that was what Djkcel and I were both getting at. Hadn't noticed the paper though, that further adds to the point — Mnemosientje (t · c) 16:01, 16 January 2020 (UTC)


Should this be added? https://www.dwds.de/wb/Eidam : möglicherweise mit griech. á͞isa (αἶσα) ‘Anteil, Schicksal’, íssasthai (ἴσσασθαι) ‘Anteil erlangen’ zusammenzustellen.

And should it be aiþį̄? --Espoo (talk) 19:43, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

Latin imito

I have found a possible etymology for this lemma. One author has it from Ancient Greek "ειγματω" ("resemblance"), itself apparently from "ειγμα" + "ατος" (apparently an abbreviated form of "απατός"="only"). See that here, near the bottom of the page: https://books.google.com/books?id=F1TaEAHjy1QC&pg=PA68&lpg=PA68&dq=etymology+of+Latin+%22imito#v=onepage&q=etymology%20of%20Latin%20%22imito&f=false I would like feedback on this, as I am thinking of adding the etymology.

The usual form is passive; see imitor, which supplies a plausible etymology. When Ancient Greek terms containing γμ are imported into Latin, it is normally changed it to ‘gm’ (dogma, paradigma); the substitution of ‘i’ for α is also very strange. Is the term ειγμα(τω) attested? It is not in LSJ and also not in Gaffiot.  --Lambiam 18:14, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
If so, it would be from ἔοικα (éoika) / εἴκω (eíkō).
/a/ > /i/ is not unheard of: see machina, balineum, trutina. This would point to it being an old, unlearned borrowing, which might also account for the consonant cluster simplification.
Honestly though, this doesn't sound very convincing. Canonicalization (talk) 21:18, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

Gothic ???????????????????????? (sniwan)

@Holodwig21, Mahagaja, Mnemosientje Any idea how to explain the past singular forms? The w ~ h alternation is quite weird. Usually such a thing comes from an old PIE labiovelar, but there's only two possibilities:

  • if PIE kʷ, then PG would have hw in the present tense and past singular, g in the past plural (due to adjacent u), and w in the remaining past.
  • if PIE gʷʰ, then PG would have g in the past plural and w in all remaining forms.

Neither of these seem to be what we find in Gothic. We should perhaps also entertain the possibility that Gothic -auh- reflects older -uh- in these forms. Given that all the attestations are of the present and past singular, we can't really tell for sure if this is a class 5 strong verb. The only other verb of this shape, ???????????????????? (diwan), is attested only as a past participle. —Rua (mew) 09:02, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

I honestly have no idea. Gary Miller in his 2019 Gothic grammar in a paragraph about Verschärfung states regarding this word:

Finally, the split between Goth. sniwan* ‘come upon; hasten’ (§5.8) from *snew-an and *snewwan (OE snēowan) ‘make haste, hurry’ (cf. ON snǫggr ‘quick’) is difficult to explain. Kuryłowicz (1967: 448; 1968: 331) accounts for the split by means of the absence in Gothic of zero grade forms *snuwum, *snuwans (assuming str 4) to trigger gemination. Rasmussen (1990: 430) invokes a paradigm split: the lack of gemination in Gothic is taken from an anteconsonantal form *snewʊ- while the geminated alternant is taken from antevocalic *sneuH- (cf. LIV 575). e laryngeal in this root is corroborated by Serbo-Croatian. Jasano (1978: 85) reconstructs an original paradigm *snewwan, *snau, *snæࣙwum, *snuwanaz (< *sneuh1-e/o-, *snouh1-h2e/-e, *snuh1-ono-). Old English selected the Germanic thematic present, Gothic rebuilt the present from the preterite (Harðarson 2001: 31f.; cf. Neri 2016: 19).

I am not that good with PIE so I leave it to you to determine whether that is of any use. (The reference to §5.8 is to a short discussion of the forms of the word in the part of the grammar that is about class 4 strong verbs.) Apparently some people think it may have been class 4 strong, including Miller. — Mnemosientje (t · c) 09:50, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Wulfila.be has the following to say on the matter:

Form snau-h: enclitic -uh or "überschüssiges h"...? Cf. Braune/Heidermanns 2004, §62.A4: Auch überschüssiges h kommt vereinzelt vor: z.B. [...] snauh 1.Ths. 2,16 (st. snau, doch vielleicht angehängtes -uh § 24 A.2).

So the -h may be a clitic or somehow a random überschüssig extension as well. — Mnemosientje (t · c) 10:21, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Also ???????????????????????????????? (faursnau) is attested so it is almost definitely just a clitic and not part of the stem — Mnemosientje (t · c) 21:57, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Nice researching! —Rua (mew) 11:12, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
Was still wondering why snau + -uh didn't yield *snawuh, as the -u in snau reflects an underlying -w, but Streitberg notes that after vowels the clitic becomes simply -h. — Mnemosientje (t · c) 12:42, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
I say German 'vorbei schneien' ('to visit, come over') was related. Hope that helps. :I'm not sure if 'sneak', 'sneak over' and 'snuggle' ultimately belong here, too. I'm not sure how I have to imagine the clitic '-uh' turning to '-h' after a vowel, if there's the 'w' in the stem. The assumption is that the the clitic attaches to the inflected form, 'snau', but does the declination fit the evidence? Something tells me 'u' and '-uh' should give double-u, though it sounds like joke. On account of 'g' in the norse reflex, a comparison to \*sneyg does seem warranted, yes? 13:45, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

mammary intercourse and Spain

Does anyone know why several European languages have names for mammary intercourse that refer to Spain? There are several examples in the translation table at tit fuck. Is that a widespread stereotype, a cultural reference or something else? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 15:12, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

@Lingo Bingo Dingo Spain is not the only reference. Apparently in the Uk it is the "French fuck"; in Spain "cubana", in Latin America there are various nationalities associated with it, from Turkish, Russian and possibly Swedish although I haven't verify if it is true or not. Nonetheless, I have no idea why this sexual position has a reference to nationality. ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????? (talk) 20:04, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
@Holodwig21 Anything perceived as sexually deviant and disreputable tends to get blamed on other nationalities. Exhibit A: bugger, Exhibit B: French pox. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:39, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic *þrukjaną, Old English þryċċan

@Holodwig21, Mnemosientje According to Campbell's Old English Grammar (page 321), there are in fact no forms with a single ċ in this verb:

Here ċċ is not due to West Gmc. gemination, and appears in all parts if a vowel follows, 3rd sg. pres. ind. þryċċeþ, pass. part. þryċċed.

If this is correct, then this has consequences not just for the Old English entry, but for its reconstructed ancestors as well. These would have to be *þrukkijan and *þrukkijaną instead. But I think it's important to know if the case is similar in the other old West Germanic languages as well, first. If we do find ungeminated k before a vowel in other languages, then there must be something else going on. —Rua (mew) 18:23, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Also a ping for @Leasnam, who first created the entry over a decade ago. —Rua (mew) 18:24, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

@Rua Koebler seems to think that this verb is *þrukkijaną. I've tried searching but so far I've not gotten much information. ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????? (talk) 20:13, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Holthausen's Altsächsisches Elementarbuch places thrukkian (currently at RFV) in the heavy-syllable category as well, noting "Bei diesen bleibt im Präsensstamme der Endkonsonant unverändert" (With these, the final consonant does not change in the present stem). —Rua (mew) 11:12, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
According to B&T, the preterite of þryċċan is þrycte or þryhte, and the past participle can be either þryht or þryċċed. In one instance, the third person singular indicative is ungeminated: Wé ðás wíc magun fótum áfyllan; folc in ðriċeþ meara þreátum and monfarum. Leasnam (talk) 04:45, 29 January 2020 (UTC)
Additionally, I am not able to find þryċċeþ (nor þriċċeþ for that matter) attested anywhere. Leasnam (talk) 04:48, 29 January 2020 (UTC)
There are also several derivatives: beþryċċan, forþryċċan, ġeþryċċan, ofþryċċan, etc...of these I looked at ġeþryċċan. It has 2 attests of a 3rd person ind of geðrycð and a ppt of geðryced - no gemination. Only geminate I see is geðryccede which has an alternative of geðrycte, so the consonant is single more often than doubled. Same with forþryċċan and ofþryċċan, 3rd sing ind is forþryceþ and ofðrycð Leasnam (talk) 05:14, 29 January 2020 (UTC)
I did manage to find ONE example of þryċċeþ in forþrycceþ (forþryċċan): Þá tóslitenan wunda heó forþrycceþ, but JUST one. In conclusion, the majority of 3rd ind forms show c and not cc; and the past participle seems to feature -ced/-ct/-ht and -cced somewhat equally; yet preterites overwhelmingly favour -ct-/-ht-/-ced- over -cced- Leasnam (talk) 05:34, 29 January 2020 (UTC)


Our entry presents this as twice-borrowed, as if the French word is derived from English. Is that so? - -sche (discuss) 00:00, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

Here is an article on this very topic. It doesn't present any evidence that Chatton based his word on English, although I can only see the first page. DTLHS (talk) 02:13, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
fr.Wikt thinks the French word was coined directly from Ancient Greek. - -sche (discuss) 02:54, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
According to the article by Katscher, Édouard Chatton was the first to use the terms Procaryotes and Eucaryotes in a publication, a 1925 article in the Annales des Sciences Naturelles: Zoologie by the title Pansporella perplexa (referenced in the Wikipedia article Bacterial taxonomy). If he was the first, the French terms cannot have been derived from English. The first to use the terms in English (still spelling them Procaryotes and Eucaryotes) was the biochemist Bert Cyril James Gabriel Knight in his 1936 monograph Bacterial Nutrition, attributing the terms to André Lwoff, a collaborator of Chatton. Lwoff wrote in several publications (1932, 1938), “We divide with E. Chatton ... the Protists into Procaryotes and Eucaryotes”.  --Lambiam 09:19, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Well, the claim was that English eukaryote was from French eucaryote from English eukaryon. But, I've seen no indication that is right, and so I've changed it to not say it's twice-borrowed. - -sche (discuss) 05:40, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

Old Japanese /mawosu/ 申す

@Poketalker, interesting puzzle.

As you note in the {{rfe}} template, this is unlikely to be related to 食す (wosu). That term may be the root of 居る (woru, to be (in a place)) plus ancient honorific suffix (su), and is likely related to (wosa, chief, head, boss) and derived verb 治む (wosamu, to rule, to control). All of these wos- derivatives describe someone in a position of superiority. Meanwhile, mawosu has always been a humble verb describing someone in a position of inferiority talking to a superior.

I don't think mawosu could be derived from (ma, eye) + object particle (o, wo) + some verb (su), as this construction would require that the be in the standalone form me, rather than the combining form ma. If we posit instead that the -wosu ending is a verb unto itself, then we have no likely etymon, since the only wosu verb is the one above that is used only to describe a superior. The semantics also don't quite work, as I can't make sense of how (eye) would compound into a verb meaning "to say".

Unfortunately, the venerable KDJ has nothing really to say about the etymology. Not even Nihon Jiten nor the more-speculative Gogen-Allguide have anything.

Looking around elsewhere online, I did find this crazy-pants blogger who has convinced themselves that Biblical Hebrew מֹשֶׁה(mōše) is somehow the origin of Japanese 申す (mōsu), apparently ignorant of the historical phonetic shifts from Old Japanese 申す (mawosu). But humorous oddities aside, I'm drawing blanks.

Pinging others who might be interested: @Suzukaze-c, Dine2016, Huhu9001, Mellohi!, KevinUp, Surjection, Kwékwlos, among others whom I'm sure I've missed. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:57, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

Welsh plaid

I can't figure out what the etymology of this word might be. It would probably be from Proto-Brythonic *plėd. Maybe *plati/ī- something? Possibly from Latin platea ultimately, if its original meaning is something like "platform"? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:28, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

According to Brewer p. 862, Welsh plaid originally meant "partition" and is related to Irish/Scottish Gaelic plaide (blanket), so interestingly enough, it's probably related to English and Scots plaid. DJ K-Çel (talk) 18:32, 25 January 2020 (UTC)
According to Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru the oldest attested meaning is "row, rank, company, crowd, throng, host, multitude", though "partition of interwoven rods or laths" is almost as old. Surprisingly, the GPC doesn't even hazard a guess at an etymology. Remember that Proto-Celtic had no p, so Proto-Brythonic *plėd, if inherited, would have had to come from something starting with * in Proto-Celtic; likewise, Irish pluid/Scottish Gaelic plaide must be a borrowing from some other language (e.g. Brythonic, Latin) since native Goidelic words never start with p. A borrowing from Latin platea works well phonologically, but requires a certain amount of semantic handwaving. —Mahāgaja · talk 20:55, 25 January 2020 (UTC)


I don't know if this belongs to the Etymology scriptorium, sorry if not. I don't think -ización should be considered a suffix, being the combination of -izar and -ción, since every word ended in -ización has a -izar verb from which is derived. For example, the word oligomerización: according to Wiktionary, it's formed by oligómero and -ización, but there is a verb which is oligomerizar, from which it can be derived with -ción. This happens with every ización-suffixed word. The DRAE doesn't even consider -ización. I don't know if I'm explaining myself on this, but ultimately what I'm saying is that I think that all the Spanish nouns ending in -ización should be considered derivations of the -izar verbs, not from the original nouns. Pablussky (talk) 11:41, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

The situation seems similar to English -ization (compare discussions on Talk:-ization). I suppose it matters whether this can only be applied where an -izar verb is attested, or is sometimes applied where one is not (like, apparently -ization). Even then, practical considerations might make it easier to present as a suffix or (using alternate headers some people have proposed; compare WT:RFDE#sext-, which will be archived at Talk:sext-) a "suffixoid" or "morpheme" (compare Talk:-tion and the discussion of German -ieren at WT:RFDN#-innen). Or perhaps it should indeed be deleted. Hopefully more of our Spanish editors will weigh in on how they think this should be handled. As to the forum, this should perhaps be at WT:RFDN if you're requesting that the entry be deleted (or given a different header than "suffix"), though there may be an WT:RFVN aspect to determine if it can sometimes be applied directly to nouns, non-izar verbs, etc. - -sche (discuss) 16:44, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

Proto-Balto-Slavic *dérwa

Can anyone clarify why nouns in the neuter gender in Proto-Balto-Slavic have the ending *-a, but not *-an? Why are the forms of the Old Prussian language not taken into account? @Rua constantly rolls back my edits. Gnosandes (talk) 16:25, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

Different linguists reconstruct different endings here: -an, -a and -un. We randomly picked one. If the current practice is going to be changed, it needs to be explained and a consensus reached on why the linguists supporting that particular ending are right and why the others are wrong. —Rua (mew) 17:35, 25 January 2020 (UTC)
We use Kim's reconstruction, so why not follow of a endings? With some refinements. Well, at least keeping the ending for the sake of Old Prussian. Gnosandes (talk) 17:19, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
Why does the ending of Old Prussian take precedence over the ending of Slavic and East Baltic? —Rua (mew) 17:27, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
@Rua, It does not prevail. I suggest not using the *-a ending in the neuter gender, and I suggest using the endings *-an or *-un. Also, do not forget about the labialization that occurred in front of *-s and *-n. But hypothetical labialization is contradicted by data from Olds Pskov-Novgorod dialects, which are not generalized with the accusative case. Gnosandes (talk) 08:50, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
The best solution, to be honest, would be a bare stem *derwa-, which is uncontroversial, but Wiktionary uses full word forms as headwords (generally; Sanskrit is an exception), even for reconstructions (except for Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Semitic verbal root entries, for example, as they are explicitly for roots), so it doesn't work here. Hill 2013 would indeed seem to support *-an (indirectly: according to his posited sound law, only accented *-óm would yield *-un), and I think *dérwan is the most plausible reconstruction in general, but unfortunately his solution, although it seems to work, has not been accepted as consensus. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:09, 7 February 2020 (UTC)


According to the article on hippocampus, that English word comes from Late Latin hippocampus, which comes from Ancient Greek ἱππόκαμπος (hippókampos), from ῐ̔́ππος (híppos, “horse”) +‎ κάμπος (kámpos, “sea-monster”).

According to the same article, the Latin word hippocampus however comes directly from the Greek words ἵππος and κάμπος, not from ἱππόκαμπος, which seems very unlikely.

Both the English and Latin entries say that κάμπος means sea monster, but the article κάμπος claims it means only plain even though that meaning is not even mentioned in L&S http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0057:entry=ka/mpos

I was not able to find any sources of the etymologies of seahorse, Seepferdchen, or merihevonen. --Espoo (talk) 10:19, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

The Wikipedia article states in the lead that the term comes from Greek ἱππόκαμπος but did not repeat this in the Name section. I have inserted this. We currently only have an entry for Modern Greek κάμπος (kámpos). Interestingly, Bailly does not give the meaning “sea monster”; the definition is simply “sea fish, maybe shark”. An alternative Latin name is Caballus marinus, seen here in a 16th-century book, or Caballio marinus, seen here. Latin caballio means “small horse”. These Latin terms are reflected in the obsolete French name (cheval de mer), as well as Portuguese cavalo-marinho, Romanian căluț de mare, and Italian cavalluccio marino. English seahorse is very likely a calque directly from Latin or via French.  --Lambiam 20:28, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

Persian الو(alow)

What is its etymology? Can it be sourced? Does it occur in Middle/Old Persian? Background: accordin to Nişanyan, it is a Turkic borrowing, ultimately from Proto-Turkic *yal- Attested in Turkish in its present form since 1360. Allahverdi Verdizade (talk) 10:36, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

@Allahverdi Verdizade: It has been added wholly by Irman, so it is naturally bad and should be replaced without redoubt. Fay Freak (talk) 16:41, 26 January 2020 (UTC)


"...or possibly sharing a Proto-Indo-European origin with Sanskrit योनी (yonī, womb, vagina), a reference to the Ionians' goddess-worshipping." Dubious? Not dubious? Either way, I'd like to see a source. --Reedside (talk) 22:04, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

I've added a source (Etymonline), but left the tag for now, as more specialized sources would be better, to ascertain whether "possibly" should be qualified in some way as likely or unlikely. It seems to be an old theory, mentioned already in the 1800s, but that doesn't automatically mean it's wrong if modern references also entertain it. w:Ionians#Etymology offers several other ideas. - -sche (discuss) 22:24, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *nosъ and Proto-Slavic *nozdra

Can anyone explain why the form Proto-Slavic *nosъ has an AP (c), but Proto-Slavic *nozdra has an AP (b)? [Derksen 2008, p. 357] @Rua, For example, you? Gnosandes (talk) 09:23, 27 January 2020 (UTC)

I'll do it myself: ноздрь AP (c), new form ноздря with different paradigms (c) and (b), [Zaliznjak 2014]. Gnosandes (talk) 10:41, 27 January 2020 (UTC)


The etymology says that the second element comes from Proto-Germanic *-utją, but is that correct ? Wouldn't that make it *Heimatz or *Heimaß ? THe Old High German has heimōti beside heimōdi. Leasnam (talk) 22:10, 29 January 2020 (UTC)

The ending seems to be Old High German -ōti < Proto-West Germanic *-ōdi. —Mahāgaja · talk 22:55, 29 January 2020 (UTC)


Missing etymology. Дрейгорич (talk) 22:40, 29 January 2020 (UTC)

@Дрейгорич: This is Yes check.svg Done. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 04:26, 30 January 2020 (UTC)


The {{rfe}} template states that it is related to كركم(kurkum, saffron).

However, I suspect that it is likely borrowed from Sanskrit कुङ्कुम (kuṅkuma) somewhere in the Old Chinese 鬱金 (OC *qud krɯm) or Middle Chinese 鬱金 (MC ʔɨut̚ kˠiɪm) stage. ~ POKéTalker) 01:46, 30 January 2020 (UTC)

Well, Arabic كركم(kurkum, saffron) may be borrowed from some South Asian language, so one might say it's related in that sense. That said, the words for saffron and turmeric have been wandering about and getting shuffled from one to the other for so long that it may not be possible to figure out where they started or what they originally referred to (see the etymology at Ancient Greek κρόκος (krókos, crocus) for starters). Chuck Entz (talk) 04:01, 30 January 2020 (UTC)
@AryamanA, Atitarev. ~ POKéTalker) 21:52, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
@Poketalker: I can find the following Hindi spellings for saffron: कुंकुम (kuṅkum), कुमकुम (kumkum), Sanskrit: कुङ्कुम (kuṅkuma), कुङ्कुमति (kuṅkumati).--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 22:12, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
There's also a Persian word کرکم(korkom) --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 22:15, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
Are we looking at some sort of phono-semantic matching? It does literally mean “dense(ly)+ gold(-colored)”, i.e. turmeric powder or saffron spices. ~ POKéTalker) 05:18, 12 February 2020 (UTC)


The Etymology section says it is from a language from the Western Regions. Does anyone have a guess? ~ POKéTalker) 01:46, 30 January 2020 (UTC)

February 2020


On Talk:οὐρανός, a user has questioned our etymology and asserted it's not in any of the references which are cited (not for the etymology, which is uncited) at the bottom of the article. I mention it here so it gets seen. - -sche (discuss) 18:45, 1 February 2020 (UTC)

Beekes’ entry for οὐρανός (ouranós) has the following:
As the Aeolic variation ὠρ-, ὀρ- probably stands for geminated ὀρρ-, the basis is likely to have been *(ϝ)ορσανός, accented like ὀρφανός and perhaps an enlargement of a noun *uorsó- = Skt. varṣá- [n., m.] ‘rain’.
Alternatively, like e.g. ὄχανον : ἔχω, ξόανον : ξέω, it has been supposed that οὐρανός, as an agent noun, derives from a verbal root *uers- as seen in Skt. várṣati ‘to rain’; alternatively, that it derives from the iterative ▶︎ οὐρέω, in the way that Indo-Iranian nouns in -ana- are connected with verbs in -ayati (= Gr. -έω); it would then mean “rainmaker” or “moistener, impregnator”. However, the identity of the suffixes Gr. -ανο- and IIr. -ana- can only be accepted under the doubtful assumption of PIE *a. Specht KZ 66 (1939): 199ff., Fraenkel 1955 s.v. viršùs and others interpreted it as “der zur Hohe in Beziehung stehende”, from the root of Skt. varṣman- [m., n.] ‘height’, Lith. viršùs ‘upper, highest seat’, to which Ἔρρος・ ὁ Ζεύς (H.) has also been connected, so from IE *uers-; however, this is not to be preferred, neither semantically nor formally.
The old identification with the theonym Skt. Váruṇa- is certainly wrong; see Mayrhofer EWAia s.v.
It has also been suggested that the word is of foreign, i.e. Pre-Greek, origin (DELG); note that -αν- is difficult to account for if the word represents an old IE formation.
This partly agrees with, but also partly contradicts our current etymology section. I have copied this in extenso in the hope that someone can manage to condense this into something suitable for our etymology section.  --Lambiam 09:52, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

come off it

What is the etymological connotation here?

What is one supposed to be "coming off" of? Tharthan (talk) 22:20, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

Not 100% sure, but it evokes in my mind a soapbox one has established and stepped up on in order to advance an opinion or agenda Leasnam (talk) 03:57, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
Or perhaps "come off your high horse". DCDuring (talk) 04:16, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
That’s how I interpreted it, but Partridge’s Dictionary of Catch Phrases tells us it comes from come off the grass!, said to be originally US idiom, so probably not related to the interdiction of UK college students’ walking on the grass.  --Lambiam 10:08, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
So, hang on... this phrase, that is much more used in the UK than it is anywhere else, derives from an old American phrase (that is no longer used)? That's quite curious, to say the least.
This information definitely belongs in "come off it"'s etymology section.
I'm also wondering if we ought to include an additional "get real!" sense, which is slightly different from the current definition that we give. Tharthan (talk) 04:49, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
Also @Lambiam: the phrase "keep off (of) the grass" is seen on signs in the U.S., although it is something that seen mostly in parks. Tharthan (talk) 05:18, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
The longer phrase is, apparently, still in use: [4], [5], also in Australia ([6], [7]). It is listed in Urban Dictionary – not a reliable source, but they tend to have current slang.  --Lambiam 07:45, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
DARE has come off (imperative, both transitive and intransitive) "Quit! Stop! Cut it out!" with 2 print uses, one print mention, and a mention from one of their interviews, including come off it, from a rural upstate NY informant, elicited in response as a "expression to tell somebody to keep to himself and mind his own business". DCDuring (talk) 19:31, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

Chinese character 印(seal) needs an ethimology

Chinese character 印 (seal) seem to be having 又 (hand) and a tool which I can't identify, according to the Oracle bone script.--Alexceltare2 (talk) 13:37, 3 February 2020 (UTC)

It’s not a tool but a kneeling person, identical to the kneeling person in e.g. , , . Neither component seems to be phonetic, so I’d guess it’s an ideogrammic compound, but it would be nice to get a scholarly source on this (or at least someone who knows more about Old Chinese than I do). — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 16:40, 5 February 2020 (UTC)


There is a link in the related-term section of Greek χρυσός (chrysós) to Greek Κροίσος (Kroísos) and vice versa. The corresponding ancient Greek entries on the other hand do not mention any such link. Are these terms really etymologically related? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:30, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

One should expect that Κροίσος is (a Hellenized version of) a Lydian name. As far as I could see, it has no known etymology.  --Lambiam 11:01, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
I think Crœsus was known in antiquity as the "golden king". (I believe I learned that in history class a few years back. I think it comes from Herodotus.) Probably wordplay or perhaps a folk etymology. But that's the relationship, as far as I'm aware. 2601:49:C301:D810:CDA9:2DB2:FC11:3267 17:34, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps the idea is that χρυσός (khrusós) came from the name of the king, Κροῖσος (Kroîsos), due to the Lydians being the first to use gold currency? Not sure. Translation by A. D. Godley:
Herodotus 1.6 "Croesus was a Lydian by birth, son of Alyattes, and sovereign of all the nations west of the river Halys, which flows from the south between Syria and Paphlagonia and empties into the sea called Euxine."
Herodotus 1.94 "[The Lydians] were the first men whom we know who coined and used gold and silver currency; and they were the first to sell by retail." --Thrasymedes (talk) 18:52, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

Latin id

Wiktionary's entry says it is not related to English it. I feel that in unfair/misleading, considering *hiz, *hit, is just PIE *ke ("this") + *is, *id (note the pronominal inflection)

RubixLang (talk) 19:04, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

Yes, in the same sense that you are taxonomically related to a goldfish. DCDuring (talk) 00:07, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
I've removed the claim that it is not a cognate of id. They aren't a perfect match, no, but they're not utterly unrelated either. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:03, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

Cognacy of Proto-Finnic *vasa and Hungarian üsző

Can this link be made? Zaicz[1] and Tótfalusi[2] don't mention it.

I added the etymology to üsző. Also see Entry #1756 in Uralonet, online Uralic etymological database of the Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.. Panda10 (talk) 00:21, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
The Indo-Iranian etymology for üsző is considered dubious or obsolete in most recent sources, e.g. {{R:Róna-Tas et al. 2011}} (and already "problematic" per {{R:Joki 1973}}); Old Hungarian has isew (*isew > *iső) with no sign of initial *w. So the Finnic and Hung. words have nothing in common except *s ~ sz, and per Mordvin ваз (vaz) even this is illusory: the Finnic word comes from earlier *wasa, not **waśa as would be required for the Hungarian connection. --Tropylium (talk) 21:31, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
  1. ^ Zaicz, Gábor. Etimológiai szótár: Magyar szavak és toldalékok eredete (’Dictionary of Etymology: The origin of Hungarian words and affixes’). Budapest: Tinta Könyvkiadó, 2006, page üsző, →ISBN
  2. ^ üsző in Tótfalusi, István. Magyar etimológiai nagyszótár (’Hungarian Comprehensive Dictionary of Etymology’). Budapest: Arcanum Adatbázis, 2001; Arcanum DVD Könyvtár →ISBN

RFV: Spätzle

While it is a diminutive of Spatz "sparrow", indeed, the lemma in question is about the homonym foodstuff, that is at first sight unlikely to derive from the birds name. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 20:31, 8 February 2020 (UTC).

Yes, replace it, anon. Compare German Spatzeck (tipcat). You see in the treatise by Plangg that there are many expressive verbs in the dialects wherewith it can be compared. Since in the South one speaks dialects it will be such a term. Fay Freak (talk) 20:54, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
The allusion to sparrow can be found in Pfeifer (1), who dates it C18 and compares Rindsvögel (beef birds, i.e. roulades), to discount a comparison to Batzen, by the way. 21:33, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
Compare Italian spirelli, spiral and German Spitze "speyr, apex, cusp, tip", (not Eck "tip", but Spatz, see spit? sputter). Thanks for tip. 21:33, 8 February 2020 (UTC)


The entry at like presently has nine different etymology sections for words that in many cases, to my eye, seem closely related. As previously discussed, my feeling is that top-level etymology divisions should be reserved for words that are not closely etymologically related. Slightly different derivation routes for different PoS of what is essentially the same word can be explained under the one etymology section. However, while I can't believe that we need nine sections for "like", I am not sure how many we do need. Some dictionaries give two. What do others think? Perhaps someone more knowledgeable might be able to take a look at this? Mihia (talk) 10:59, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

P.S. a similar situation exists at good. Mihia (talk) 11:04, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

With regards to like, Etymology sections 1 and 2 should be combined, and Etymologies 3-8 should also be combined. mellohi! (僕の乖離) 15:55, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, I have done that. Mihia (talk) 18:49, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

Upper Reka dialect and the word "Bgjer" for "green"

In Upper Reka dialect, the albanians use the word "Bgjer" for "Green".

How can this gheg word be explained by the latin loan "Galbinus".

I think we should revise the etymology of the word "Gjelbër".

Or at least add the dialectal form in Wiktionnary.

) —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).


Is this from Ancient Greek, or modern Greek? ὠμός specifically says modern Greek, but that seems doubtful, as these kinds of things normally derive from Ancient Greek: even if the compound is not attested until modern Greek, it seems more likely that the English word derives from omo- + -phagia from Ancient Greek elements, than that it's a borrowing of the modern Greek word. - -sche (discuss) 22:38, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

Fixed. The compound is attested. Note that classicists say "Greek" to mean "Ancient Greek" (unlike us), so when they or their works wander over here, they are ignorant of our conventions. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:48, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
Thanks; I've removed the claim of descent from modern Greek (and the supposed modern Greek etymon) from ὠμός#Descendants, since both should be moved to ὠμοφαγία#Descendants instead. - -sche (discuss) 22:53, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
Before I read the entry, I expected omophagia to be the eating of shoulders, compare ὦμος (ômos). —Mahāgaja · talk 09:11, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
Like Demeter with Pelops’ shoulder at Tantalus’ banquet for the gods.  --Lambiam 12:25, 12 February 2020 (UTC)


Missing etymology. Дрейгорич (talk) 20:18, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

@Дрейгорич: Yes check.svg Done. Please link entries in your requests. —Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:11, 13 February 2020 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. Seems like another case of vandalization. Cant find any source from either the previous edit or the current one. Wondering if this etym could be verified otherwise left as uncertain.


*lawwō according to Kroonen comes from Proto-Indo-European *lowH-éh₂-, root Proto-Indo-European *lewH- (to cut). User Gnosandes disagrees, discussion here, and says that it derives from Proto-Indo-European *leh₂wéh₂ through Holtzmann's law and Dybo's law. I've disagreed what that derivation on semantic and phonological grounds. PGmc could only come *loh₂wéh₂ if indeed from such root, and it's connection to Proto-Balto-Slavic *lā́ˀwāˀ (place to sleep, bench, bed) is too far-fetched semantically. ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????? (talk) 19:12, 20 February 2020 (UTC)

Why would a sequence -eh₂- become anything other than -ō- in Proto-Germanic? Can these two sound laws be summarised here so the arguments can be understood better? —Rua (mew) 12:01, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
@Rua: according to Kroonen, Dybo's law shortens long pretonic vowels before resonants (page 20/21). Holtzmann's law is to explain the germinated "ww" and "jj" (page 38-40). ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????? (talk) 23:42, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

Etymology of Romanian iad

The current etymology says that Romanian iad ("hell") comes from Old Church Slavonic адъ (adŭ). It makes perfect sense, but I'm wondering where the initial i in the Romanian word comes from, especially since none of its Slavic descendants exhibit this development? Is there an intermediary form which should be mentioned? DEX derives it ultimately from Ancient Greek ᾍδης (Hā́idēs) – it would make morphologically more sense if it was directly inherited from Greek, because initial h shows this development in other words. E.g. iederă (< Latin hedera) and ied (< Latin haedus). Any thoughts? --Robbie SWE (talk) 19:28, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

@Robbie SWE: Probably it was pronounced so because in Proto-Slavic/Old Church Slavonic there should not be any word starting with a vowel, w:History of Proto-Slavic § Prothesis; and this word as a later loanword followed the rules incompletely by analogy and maybe the spelling is learned and the word was more often jotated than it was expressed in writing, a reason for the spelling also being homonymy with the word for poison (ꙗдъ (jadŭ)). You will find that in each Slavic lemmata category there will be but few words starting with a (except Category:Belarusian lemmas because they write akanye). Fay Freak (talk) 21:36, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Old Church Slavonic initial а- /a/ was, for most words, in free variation between [ɑː] and [jɑː] since the time of the Proto-Slavic prothesis. There was no phonemic distinction between /a/ and /ja/ at the start of a word. (OCS initial ꙗ-, which we transliterate as ja-, contrarily represents phonemic /æ/ with prothetic non-phonemic [j]-; word-internally, too, there was no phonemic distinction between -ꙗ- and -ѣ- (except where ꙗ was used to indicate that a preceding liquid was palatal), and Glagolitic manuscripts of course use Ⱑ for both of them.) — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 21:38, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

I understand, it makes sense now. Thank you for your input @Fay Freak and @Vorziblix. --Robbie SWE (talk) 17:15, 22 February 2020 (UTC)


Is the "ta" particle mentioned in the etymology onomatopoeic? Tharthan (talk) 17:49, 22 February 2020 (UTC)

What makes the sound it would purport to imitate?  --Lambiam 08:46, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
I have no clue, hence why I am asking. The etymology section does not go into detail about how that particle is used elsewhere (if it is) nor where it came from. I'm assuming that this is (in fact) a particle, and is merely coincidentally a homograph of the second-person feminine singular possessive pronoun, rather than the pronoun itself being used in an unusual way ("your mark, there!" or something).
My assumption, assuming what the etymology says is correct, would be that it is either of onomatopoeic or expressive origin. Hence why I asked. Do you think that it is an expressive coinage? Tharthan (talk) 07:19, 26 February 2020 (UTC)

femmelette and -elette

The etymology is given as "femme" + "-ette". Is the "l" merely the interfix -l-, or does a suffix like -elette (currently listed as Middle French) exist in modern French? - -sche (discuss) 20:42, 23 February 2020 (UTC)

The Digitized Treasury of the French Language, linked to in the entry, says that it originated in Middle French (c. 1365) with the meaning "weak woman" and that it was derived from femmette (from the 13th century) and modelled after/influenced by femelle. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 22:34, 23 February 2020 (UTC)
I see. I've revised the etymology to mention that it's inherited from Middle French (but didn't specify a form). I also added the "equivalent to" etymology that fr.Wikt has, although that doesn't necessarily jive with the Treasury ety; feel free to replace it with the Treasury ety. - -sche (discuss) 08:55, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

مرکب, mürəkkəb - meaning both 'complex' and 'ink'

Requesting help with finding sources on this term. Do the senses "complex, compound" and "ink" have the same etymology? Or, are there any sources that confirm that the "ink"-sense goes back to a corruption of a Persian word, later re-borrowed into it? @Fay Freak: etc. Allahverdi Verdizade (talk) 20:45, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

@Allahverdi Verdizade: The sense “ink” is a Persian restriction of the use of the Arabic word for compound; one finds by searching that it is used in Iran and Afghanistan but not even in the Mughal Empire where one instead used روشنایی‎‎ or روشنائی‎(rūšnāʼī) in the sense of ink, a sense it does not have in Iran (where it but means “light”). The Arabic term is حِبْر(ḥibr). Fay Freak (talk) 21:08, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Nişanyan gives Arabic مُرَكَّب(murakkab) as the etymon of Turkish mürekkep (ink). (Somehow this gets automagically transliterated in the etymology section of our mürekkep entry as murakkib.) He gives the meaning as “1. compound; 2. in particular writing ink.” There is no mention of any Persian term. The distance between زکاب‎ and مرکب seems a bit large to me for a misspelling. If it can be confirmed that the term also has this more particular meaning in Arabic, the corruption theory can definitively be discarded. I see no signs in this direction, but perhaps this was an archaic use, now obsolete.  --Lambiam 21:38, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
so, if Persian sense of "ink" has developed from the "compound" sense, can this be sourced and explained? What is the semantic link between these senses? Someone's gotta have written about this at some point. Allahverdi Verdizade (talk) 21:41, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
@Allahverdi Verdizade How is that different to imagine … inks are compounds. Now I have not been in the business of ink production to explain the details, but there are many ink review and ink antiquary blogs, as there are also pen fanatics, out there which you might follow up about the composition (ehem) of inks. Fay Freak (talk) 21:46, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
Not clear to me. Allahverdi Verdizade (talk) 22:25, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
The semantic link seems obvious enough to me. Making a good ink is a process that consists of making a complex mixture of many components in just the right proportions. See the Wikipedia article Ink. This does not do away with the need for further confirmation. Also, the question remains whether the specialization to the (sub)sense “ink” took already place in Arabic, as suggested by Nişanyan, or only, after having been borrowed, in Persian.  --Lambiam 08:04, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
Semantic similarity is prerequisite for convergence. tincture for example could be understood as such, if contrasting mixture, but I'm pretty sure those are not identical, and tinge, taint seems to be the original sense, if the evidence was not tainted.
If you need a contrary opinion, I merely have a murky idea, but synthesis is not the hallmark of this forum, so I cannot help. 15:12, 25 February 2020 (UTC)


Phonchana (talkcontribs)/Theo.phonchana (talkcontribs) keeps editing Chihuahua to add the folk etymology that it comes from "Nahuatl Xicuahua". Although this claim can be found in a number of places, it is false because the alleged Nahuatl word is not attested, it does not have the shape of a Nahuatl placename (which require certain suffixes), and there's no way to interpret its components as producing the meaning it's alleged to have ("dry place" or "sandy place"), or any meaning for that matter. (Furthermore, we're not supposed to use the code nah.)

The other theory is that it comes from Tarahumara, although no actual etymon has been proposed. The only evidence for this seems to be that the Tarahumaras live in Chihuahua state, but the state was named after the city, and they do not live near the city.

I would suggest categorizing it as unknown until someone presents some actual evidence. --Lvovmauro (talk) 08:16, 26 February 2020 (UTC)


The etymology section currently says:

From Medieval Latin summārius, from Latin summa.

Lexico and the Online Etymology Dictionary support this for the adjective. I guess we need a separate section for the noun? We do not yet mention the Classical Latin summārium, which is used by Seneca in Letter 39 to Lucilius, c. AD 65 (English translation). The Online Etymology Dictionary claims this as the source of the noun summary. I was wondering, since summārium is classically attested, whether summārius came from summa + -arius directly or whether summa + -ariumsummāriumsummārius? For summārius, the DMLBS says "CL as sb. n., LL as sb. m. = accountant" (I think "Classical Latin as substantive neuter, Late Latin as substantive masculine = accountant"?). --Thrasymedes (talk) 22:26, 27 February 2020 (UTC)


I stumbled upon the ピカチュウ page, and I'm wondering if the etymology's source should be cited? It apparently comes from this interview with Satoshi Tajiri.

But also, many have noted Pikachu's resemblance to the pika, and this is probably not just coincidence. At the very least it probably qualifies as a popular folk etymology (if a word this new can even have a folk etymology!). I mean, it's so widespread that I think most English-speaking fans have probably heard it before. So is it worth noting?

2601:49:C301:D810:CDA9:2DB2:FC11:3267 17:19, 28 February 2020 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology: "From a Celtic word meaning 'hill' akin to Proto-Celtic *tol." I'm unaware of any Celtic word for 'hill' that looks like *tol. —Mahāgaja · talk 22:40, 28 February 2020 (UTC)


Given við in Old Norse, is it possible that the Old Norse word influenced the sense development of Old English wiþ (and/or its descendants)? Tharthan (talk) 23:33, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

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