This Proto-Indo-European entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



Usually explained as a derivation from the words for "fist" and "finger":

Ultimately all of these forms may go back to a verbal stem *penkʷ- (to take in hand, to handle), though such a verb is not attested in any of the daughter languages. In contrast, Blažek (1999: 229) argues that the meanings "fist”, etc. are primary.[1] A relation to *ponkʷ-to- (all, whole) has also been suggested, possibly seen in Latin cūnctus and Hittite 𒉺𒀭𒆪𒍑 (pa-an-ku-uš, family), thus *pénkʷe meaning "the whole (hand)".[2]


  • (Sihler 1995): IPA(key): /ˈpen.kʷe/, [ˈpeŋ⁽ʷ⁾.kʷe][2]


Proto-Indo-European cardinal numbers
 <  4 5 6  > 
    Cardinal : *pénkʷe
    Ordinal : *penkʷetós[3]


  1. five




  • Proto-Albanian: *penče (see there for further descendants)
  • Anatolian:
    • Luwian: [script needed] (paⁿta)
  • Armenian:
  • Proto-Balto-Slavic: *pénkti
    • East Baltic:
    • West Baltic:
    • Proto-Slavic: *pętь (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Celtic: *kʷenkʷe (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Germanic: *fimf (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Hellenic: *pénkʷe (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Indo-Iranian: *pánča (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Italic: *kʷenkʷe (see there for further descendants)
  • Messapic: [Term?] (penka-)
  • Phrygian: πινκε (pinke)
  • Proto-Tocharian: *p'äñś (see there for further descendants)


  1. ^ Franklin E. Horowitz (1992). “On the Proto-Indo-European etymon for ‘hand’.” WORD―Journal of the International Linguistic Association, 43(3), 411-419.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sihler, Andrew L. (1995) New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, →ISBN
  3. ^ Fortson, Benjamin W. (2004, 2010) Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell
  • Blažek, Václav. 1999. Numerals. Comparative-Etymological Analysis and their Implications. Brno: Masarykova Univerzita v Brně