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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


June 2019


Latin, I think —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Chuck Entz has now written the etymology. —Lbdñk, 20:40, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

Etymology of Latin nullibi (nowhere)Edit

Is this Latin word from nūllus (no, none) +‎ ubi (where)? —Lbdñk||🙊🙉🙈| 20:20, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

@Lbdñk: Either that or nūllus + ibī. —Mahāgaja · talk 06:57, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, @Mahagaja: the latter etymology that you suggested (i.e., suffixed with ibī) is correct, as shown here[1]. However, all Latin words derived from nūllus but nullibi retain the long vowel (ū); so could you account for this odd one out? —Lbdñk, 17:33, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
@Lbdñk: Is there evidence the u is short in nullibi? Or have we simply failed to mark it long in our entry? —Mahāgaja · talk 19:30, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: Charlton T. Lewis, An Elementary Latin Dictionary is known to mark the long vowels correctly as against the other references that we have here for Latin. However, sadly, it does not inhold nullibi. And other references, though having this word, are not serious with vowel lengths. Though I think it should be ū. —Lbdñk, 20:09, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
@Lbdñk: I also have the problem that my dictionaries either don't mark long vowels in closed syllables or else don't list nullibi, but I agree that this word is extremely likely to have ū. By the way, I'm not getting your pings, and I don't know why. —Mahāgaja · talk 21:33, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

@Aearthrise, do you not think the word nullibi should have a long u? Thanks! —Lbdñk, 17:28, 5 June 2019 (UTC)


Where does the u- come from? Wouldn't *escire be phonologically expected? —Mahāgaja · talk 06:55, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

I've always been puzzled by this. @Word dewd544? Canonicalization (talk) 22:26, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
There is an older variant of the word found as escire actually. And if you look at the conjugation, certain forms begin with es-. The conjugated forms with accent or emphasis on the ending begin with the stem us- while the ones with the emphasis on the initial stem begin with es-. For example, èsco, èsci, èsce, usciamo, uscite, èscono. As to why uscire emerged in the first place.. I'm not sure but I think it may have had influence from uscio (door). Word dewd544 (talk) 04:38, 20 June 2019 (UTC)


The etymology of kun is apparently wrong, except perhaps for the dialectal use as a pronoun meaning joka, which is listed incorrectly under the entry for the conjunction. The Finnish Wiktionary claims that the word derives from kuin. --Espoo (talk) 01:05, 5 June 2019 (UTC)

@Espoo kun doesn't come from kuin, rather they come from the same source as they are both instructive forms of the pronominal stem ku- (nominative kuka). kun is the singular instructive while kuin is the plural instructive. It seems that the two were originally simply variants of each other with kuin being more popular, but when the language was standardized, they were artificially separated (compare vain ~ vaan). — surjection?〉 07:57, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the interesting info! I did some research and the Nykysuomen etym. sanakirja indirectly says ("kieliopillisesti ajatellen ikivanhasta pronominivartalosta ku- muodostettu") and (according to the Finnish Wiktionary) Hakulinen apparently directly says that kun is an artificially created variant of kuin that did not really exist before the 19th century. So even though kun can be gramatically analyzed as the instructive case of ku-, it did not actually develop from that.
And the dialectal use of kun as a pronoun meaning joka should not be listed under the entry for the conjunction. --Espoo (talk) 19:45, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
kun is attested from the 18th century at least: "Minä olen mies, ja en minä ole mies, mutta kun multa pää poikkileikataan, nijn minä wasta miehexi tulen, ...", from Suomalaiset Arwotuxet compiled by Christfried Ganander (1741-1790). Either case I would fail to see why such an "artificial" word would be created. I can agree that the modern distinctions between kun and kuin are artificial, though. The instructive case explanation is the one that makes the morphological sense, since it was often used to derive conjunctions and such words. — surjection?〉 10:34, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Worth noting that Karelian has kun and ku, considered by Karjalan kielen sanakirja to be variants of kuin, and EES lists many Finnic languages with corresponding words for kun and kuin, often in the forms ku(n) and kui(n) (Ingrian: ku, kui, Ludian: ku, kui, Veps: ku, kui), most of them being variants of each other, which further proves that the two 1. were originally variants and 2. are both probably organic rather than artificially created. — surjection?〉 10:45, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

ixnay, amscrayEdit

I know that it was formed in the area of childhood colloquiality, but do we have any idea where the -ay comes from, ultimately?

Pig Latin may not be connected to Latin, but could there have been some attempt to imitate a Latin sound (or a sound that was popularly perceived to be Latin-sounding) early on?

With Dog Latin, Shakespeare had:

"[...]thou hast it ad dunghill"

"[...]false Latin; dunghill for unguem."


Perhaps the shifting (or removal) of the first letter of a word already existed then conceptually in argot-esque speech (or the like). Or perhaps this was actually ad unguem being misheard as "ad dunguem", hence "ad dung(h)ill". I don't know, but if it is that old, perhaps the whole "-ay" bit is also very old as well.

In addition, the Wikipedia article mentions (in addition to the previous) that there is an 1866 attestation of a "Hog Latin" that had:

‘Wig-ge you-ge go-ge wig-ge me-ge?’ ("Will you go with me?")

‘No-ge, I-ge wo-ge.’ ("No, I won't.")

I ask this because I happened to respond to someone in Pig Latin on a forum earlier, and this question came to mind. Tharthan (talk) 03:09, 5 June 2019 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. Google Books offers results from the 19th century for dysphemism, but not for dysphémisme, where the oldest hits are from just after 1900. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:17, 7 June 2019 (UTC)

The Online Etymological Dictionary says it was "rediscovered" in 1933 from the French word. I interpret that to mean it was coined in English in the 19th century but didn't catch on; then the French word was coined in 1927 and the English word resurrected in 1933 as a borrowing of the French. —Mahāgaja · talk 12:45, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
That seems possible, though the chronology must be different from what the Online Etymological Dictionary gives: 1906 French, 1921 English] ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:17, 11 June 2019 (UTC)


Wikipedia has stated that the etymology for “pogue” is deficient. How’s about this?: The taxonomic name of the North American oppossum’s genus is pogoensis (sp?). I think it has something to do with a Latin word meaning stick, specifically, a stick upon which meat is skewered to cook and/or eat. North American oppossums are famous for their semi-prehensile tails, that is, tails which they are able to briefly wrap around a tree branch to suspend themselves in order to escape predators. The hanging oppossum may have recalled skewered meat to European explorers. “Pogo” was the eponymous main character of the 20th-century American newspaper comic strip by Walter Kelly. Kelly was fond of etymological humor and Pogo was most commonly duplicated as an easy going fellow who carried all his belongings with him, wrapped in a tied kerchief at the end of a stick carried on his shoulder. Helpful I hope. —This unsigned comment was added by Gary beachum (talkcontribs).

Just off the top of my head:
  1. This is Wiktionary, not Wikipedia
  2. The North American opossum is Didelphis virginiana
  3. -ensis is a Latin suffix added to words for places
I haven't bothered to look up Latin words for sticks, but I would be astonished if there's anything to this.
Let me guess: you wanted to work Pogo into the etymology, so you decided to make something up and see if anyone would notice. Either that, or you're trolling. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:25, 10 June 2019 (UTC)


How can this neologism be of related derivation to both German sonder- (which is related to English "sunder") and French sonder which is a verb derived from a Germanic language word relating to water. These words are not related in the slightest, so I don't know what our etymology section is talking about. Tharthan (talk) 16:04, 10 June 2019 (UTC)

Related to is an unfortunate choice of words. Apparently the coiner was inspired by these two etymologically entirely unrelated words, or, if you prefer, the coinage was informed by them (sense 5).  --Lambiam 17:42, 10 June 2019 (UTC)


A one-time contributor has added "koolt" to the etymology. It is used as an alternative form, but is there any basis to having an English term "koolt" at the origin of this? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:54, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

Clearly nonsense; I've removed it. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:02, 9 July 2019 (UTC)


When did the sense 'wolf' arise?

The word is a native Vietnamese word, having been inherited from Proto-Vietic, where the word meant "dhole". All cognates of the Vietnamese word, including Muong khỏl, mean 'dhole'. See [2]. As wild Canis lupus has never lived in Vietnam, the sense 'wolf' is thus fairly recent (presumably no earlier than the 20th century). However, the word sói is now understood among most Vietnamese speakers to refer to Canis lupus, so the Vietnamese for 'dhole' most commonly used in publications is sói đỏ (red "wolf") or sói lửa (fire "wolf").

The sense "Siamese jackal" is present because I saw the term used on the Vietnamese Wikipedia as well as some Vietnamese news sites in reference to the jackal. --Corsicanwarrah (talk) 11:52, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

stoop (the verb)Edit

Why wasn't this impacted by the Great Vowel Shift? Its Dutch cognate underwent the typical (comparable) shift.

In cases like room, there was no shift because that particular environment (before "m"), and with "beetle", there seems to have been particular desire to keep the pronunciation.

What's the reason in this case? Are coop and droop similar cases? Tharthan (talk) 05:12, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

English to this day has a phonotactic constraint against /aʊ/ before noncoronal consonants. Old English ū (and u in an open syllable where pre-GVS lengthening is expected) always becomes /uː/, /ʊ/ or /ʌ/ before a labial or velar consonant. You noticed stoop and room; there's also dove, thumb, brook. —Mahāgaja · talk 12:14, 15 June 2019 (UTC)


The origin is probably Tamil. I'd try something but working with non-Roman alphabets is above my pay grade. --I learned some phrases (talk) 12:33, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Tamil is not even written using an alphabet, but with an abugida. In Tamil script this is பதம், which is not obvious – the usual transliteration method would give patam.  --Lambiam 20:03, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
According to w:Tamil phonology, there's an intervocalic allophone [ð], so I don't see a problem getting from Tamil patam to an English loan padam. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:06, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

nucha (Latin)Edit

The OED suggests nucha was borrowed from Arabic نُخَاع(nuḵāʿ) (as indicated in our entry), and additionally "confused with nuqra nape of the neck". Any idea what that latter word might be? — SGconlaw (talk) 16:23, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

نُقْرَة(nuqra) which allegedly means “hollow of the neck”, “creux au bas de l’occiput”, “scrobs in occipitis inferiore parte (ubi desinit pars protuberantior occipitis)”, and even “the cavity of the eye” and “the orifice of the anus”. Wasn’t aware that there are hollows on people’s necks. (According to worse dictionaries and mentioners, it just means “neck”.) More at Joseph Hyrtl who translates then as “Nackengrube” and “Hinterhauptgrube” – don’t know what that is. From the descriptions I find in the books with this German, and they give various Latin names like “fossa nuchae” and “Fossa occipitis media” in addition to the strange enough medieval ones like “interscalpium”, maybe it is the condyloid fossa? Fay Freak (talk) 08:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. Will add that to the nucha etymology. (By the way, there seems to be a typo at نُقْرَة(nuqra): "hollow of the backneck"?) — SGconlaw (talk) 10:54, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw No, I have found that backneck is a word. neckback is also a word. Fay Freak (talk) 12:19, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Gee, that’s got to be a pretty rare word. I’d suggest using simpler language. — SGconlaw (talk) 12:52, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
“Nackengrube” and “Hinterhauptgrube” literally mean “neck groove” and “back-of-the-head groove”. You can find your groove back if you feel your nape with a finger a bit higher up, where the skull is already beginning. It is the area between the left and right parts of the upper trapezius. If you then move your finger transversely, you will feel a shallow depression in the middle. In most people this is covered by hair and therefore not readily visible, but in some people with a shaved-up nape it can actually be quite prominent.  --Lambiam 20:30, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Is "finding your groove back" anything like "getting your groove back"? Tharthan (talk) 03:58, 19 June 2019 (UTC)


If this is from Old French gargun, then how is this composed? Onomatopoeic "garg-" + -on (the French diminutive suffix?) Tharthan (talk) 04:12, 17 June 2019 (UTC)


Just curiosity. Does the etymology for this two very-different-organ related senses of the same suffix mean that the Greek supposed the ability of inteligence to dwell in the chest? Wasn't it the pneuma? Wasn't it the heart? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 14:24, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

The basic meaning of πνεῦμα (pneûma) in relation to the human body is “breath”, which by extension means “life” – as long as someone is breathing, they aren’t quite dead, yet. Aristotle famously thought that the function of the brain was to keep our heads cool – like a heat-exchanging radiator for cooling the blood. That kind of leaves only the “upperbelly” for the more elevated aspects of mind, those that are higher than our visceral emotions. I don’t know if any ancient philosopher ever seriously considered the question how human intelligence came about and whether it had an identifiable anatomical seat.  --Lambiam 19:58, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Click onwards to φρήν for some explanation... AnonMoos (talk) 07:27, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
Merci. But it was that mix of having both sense 2 for emotions and s. 3 for intellect that made me confused. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 10:01, 24 June 2019 (UTC)


Regarding the etymology section, can we get a citation for Old English rōsmarim? I can't seem to find any attestations of that through a swift search. Tharthan (talk) 17:05, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

MED [[3]], which is a byform of ME rosemarie Leasnam (talk) 03:09, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
None of the 15 quotations have rosmarim.  --Lambiam 19:20, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
The ME entry is for rosmarin(e), which has OE rōsmarim listed in its etymology section. Leasnam (talk) 02:45, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Ah, I get it now. The verification is for the Old English word rōsmarim. Hrmmm, okay, lemme search....Leasnam (talk) 02:47, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I found a quote that uses rosmarinum (a.k.a.) "rosmarim": Ðeós wyrt, ðe man rosmarinum [MS. rosmarim], and óðrum naman boðen, nemneþ, byþ cenned on sandigum landum, granted it seems somewhat mention-y, but it could be a word borrowed into OE. Outside of this, I can only find this [[4]] (which is not a quote), which lists rōsmarīn. Leasnam (talk) 02:55, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I suppose that here “[MS. rosmarim]” is an editorial annotation stating that the manuscript has rosmarim, which should be read as rosmarinum, the accusative of rosmarinus. If the manuscript is like so many other late-medieval manuscripts, it freely uses scribal abbreviations for Latin words, usually indicated with a tilde over the letter preceding an omitted n, like rosmarĩm; the educated reader would know that this abbreviates rosmarinum. I bet that if we had a scan of the ms., this is what will be seen.  --Lambiam 23:13, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Here you can see that in an Old English herbarium – possibly the same one as used by Bosworth and Cockayne – a standard formula is used of the form “Ðeos wyrt þe man ⟨Latin name in the accusative⟩ oþrum naman ⟨Anglo-Saxon vernacular name⟩ nemneþ.” So rosmarĩm is Latin, not Old English.  --Lambiam 23:36, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
What is given as the Old English word for this there, then? Tharthan (talk) 02:32, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
It's boðen. Leasnam (talk) 03:35, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
Good to know. It's a shame that it wasn't present in Old English (as far as we know), but I'm glad that this was able to be cleared up. Tharthan (talk) 03:46, 20 June 2019 (UTC)


Something tells me that definition 1 and definition 2 are not instances of the same word. Just a feeling that I have. Of course, if the etymology section is incorrect, then perhaps I am wrong. But as it stands, it doesn't make sense. Tharthan (talk) 04:58, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

The architectural sense is relatively new (mid 19th C.). I have added an image of a poppy seedhead.
I am also reminded of the Australian(?) reference to tall poppy (ie, the one most likely to get the flower/seedhead lopped off). DCDuring (talk) 11:54, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

ibhaloni, isikoloEdit

These are said to be borrowed from English, but Afrikaans might be a likelier origin as <o> doesn't usually seem to be the result of English /u(ː)/ in other borrowings, where the outcome is typically <u>. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:00, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

@Metaknowledge Could you have a look at this? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:26, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
@Lingo Bingo Dingo, Smashhoof: LBD, I suspect you're right here, but I am not confident — perhaps Smashhoof can help. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:26, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Lingo Bingo Dingo, Metaknowledge Yeah, I'm pretty confident those are from Afrikaans. isikolo is from Afrikaans skool (as well as Zulu isikole, and Swazi/Phuthi sikolo from the same source). I don't know the Afrikaans word for "balloon", but Dutch does seem to have a mid vowel. Smashhoof (talk) 05:50, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Smashhoof, Metaknowledge Afrikaans for "balloon" is apparently ballon, with <o> a mid back vowel. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 07:19, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

History of motorwayEdit

An anon has changed the etymology of motorway: from a calque of German Autobahn to a calque of Italian autostrada. As far as I know, Germany was first with that kind of infrastructure so it's not that farfetched to believe that the original etymology was correct. Are there any sources that can shed some light on the subject? --Robbie SWE (talk) 17:41, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Google Books Ngram Viewer sees some uses in 1854 before the term takes off in the 1930s, when these things are really getting built. GBS also gives some 19th-century hits. I see no strong reason to assume that the term is a calque; it seems to me a straightforward alteration of carriageway to identify the kind of carriages for which a highway is designed.  --Lambiam 00:00, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
I seriously doubt that any 19th century use (at least as early as 1854) is genuine and not misdatings / scannos. DTLHS (talk) 00:05, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster has dated its oldest attestation to 1897 and I see you have found a slightly older one, which would make a calque from German or Italian extremely unlikely. Apart from that English motor is hardly a great match for Auto/auto. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 06:54, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
Exactly what evidence is there for calling it a calque at all? I would also like some sources. Not that it's definitive, but the earliest uses are all from the United States. DTLHS (talk) 00:15, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

The TLFi says French autoroute is a calque from Italian autostrada:

Before that, that autostrade is a borrowing:

"Empr. à l'ital. autostrada subst. fém. « id. » mot forgé en 1924 (Panzini, Dizionario moderno delle parole che non si trovano nei dizionari comuni con un'Appendice di ottomila voci nuovamente compilata da B. Migliorini, Milano, 1950 ds Batt. : Autostrada, via unicamente adibita per autoveicoli. Il primo tronco fu inaugurato in Italia nel settembre 1925 : la parola era comparsa nel 1924)" Canonicalization (talk) 08:44, 20 June 2019 (UTC)


According to the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, the term archipiélago comes from Italian arcipelago, which according to its own entry on Wiktionary, comes from another Greek word, not the one displayed on the archipiélago entry. Can someone confirm any of them? Pablussky (talk) 22:18, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2018/September § archipelago Canonicalization (talk) 22:22, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I don’t know what the theory that Italian arcipelago may be an alteration of Ancient Greek Αἰγαῖον πέλαγος (Aigaîon pélagos) is based on. Le Trésor states that the Italian word is a loan of Byzantine Greek *ἀρχιπέλαγος (*arkhipélagos), and that the Byzantine Greek word is a cross of Αἰγαῖον πέλαγος (Aigaîon pélagos) with the prefix ἀρχι- (arkhi-) – at least, according to Devoto, Avviamento alla etimologia italiana. If we accept the hypothesis that the Byzantine Greeks used the term ἀρχιπέλαγος (arkhipélagos) for the Aegean Sea, there is still no reason to see this as some form of contamination; the Greek word literally means “main sea”, so it may have been a sum-of-parts designation for the sea that is indeed, from the Greek point of view, the main sea.  --Lambiam 00:35, 20 June 2019 (UTC)


Any particular reason why the Proto-Germanic "d" is still present in the modern German word? Tharthan (talk) 03:58, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

It could be influence from Low German, the modern German Low German word is Linde. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 07:07, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
It's a sporadic sound change dating to Middle German, google "Mittelhochdeutsch Lenisirung". Crom daba (talk) 13:18, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

slug (the verb)Edit

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary and the Online Etymology Dictionary (at the very least) consider the verb to be of different derivation than the creature.

Ought we to consider including this? Tharthan (talk) 07:46, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

It also seems unlikely to me that all the noun senses have one and the same etymology.  --Lambiam 08:30, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
slug” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019. suggests the development of the main senses or both parts of speech from the same source. DCDuring (talk) 16:04, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
That is not what I read there.  --Lambiam 22:28, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
Post in haste, take it back at leisure: you're right. DCDuring (talk) 22:59, 23 June 2019 (UTC)


Is this ultimately a derivative of German jucken, through Juckerspiel (which is held to be the game's ancestor)? Or have we all been euchred out of an explanation? Tharthan (talk) 08:19, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

Apparently, the etymology of the Jucker component of Juckerspiel is unclear. No plausible relationship to the German verb jucken has been proposed. The Wikipedia article Joker (playing card) states that “it is believed” that the name of the joker playing card comes from Jucker – an etymology not referenced in our entry.  --Lambiam 08:25, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

etymology of husting(s)Edit

nvg Boudewijn van der Drift

Is that a question? Or a statement?  --Lambiam 08:05, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
We have the etymology at husting, but not at the other lemma entry at hustings. DCDuring (talk) 15:58, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

RFV: omphacomelEdit

From Ancient Greek ὄμφαξ (ómphax, unripe fruit, especially grapes) and Latin mel (honey). Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 09:47, 24 June 2019 (UTC)

I think this comes by straightforward borrowings via Latin omphacomel from Ancient Greek ὀμφακόμελι (omphakómeli), from ὄμφαξ (ómphax) +‎ μέλι (méli). References: [5], [6].  --Lambiam 10:20, 24 June 2019 (UTC)

Done. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 08:22, 27 June 2019 (UTC)


Was the diminutive mentioned (-ke) also productive in English? Probably from *lunk (< *lumpke), a diminutive of lump +‎ head. --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:28, 24 June 2019 (UTC)

Probably not, unless obscurely in some English dialect. It features in a few words of Dutch or Flemish origin (cf. hunk); however English chunk might possibly indicate the suffix's use in English. The pairs hump - hunk, lump - lunk, chump - chunk (and even assibilated variants like hunch, lunch, -) suggest that the -k and -ch in these words may be relics of a former suffix, likely Middle English -ken, -chen. The words are so familiar in nature that it's likely they didn't get recorded until long after they had degraded into their present forms, leaving scant to no record of their development or relation to one another (if any such relation actually even exists) Leasnam (talk) 19:33, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Dutch -ke comes from earlier Dutch -ken, which survives dialectically (as in manneken). The English suffix -kin for forming diminutives possibly goes back on (Middle) Dutch -ken; it was somewhat productive. There is a German diminutive Lümpchen from Lump +‎ -chen, meaning “little cad” – not so much questioning someone’s intelligence, but rather their character.  --Lambiam 00:05, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Century says this at their etymology of lunch: "A var. of lump, as bunch of bump and hunch of hump". Goodness gracious me, man, just whose character are you questioning ? Leasnam (talk) 01:38, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Oh I-get-it, I-get-it, you're referring to the hypothesised mention of -ke in the etymology at lunkhead. No, that's not a character issue. Nor is it an intelligence issue. I actually believe that this is one possibility (and it makes reasonable sense to me) of how this word may have become altered from lump, based on analogy with hunk and hump, which does have a slightly better written record, but still even that's only hypothetical. I've re-worded the etymology so that it doesn't create a fictitious suffix. Yeah, that was a wrong call :| Leasnam (talk) 02:43, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

Etymology of ratEdit

The etymology at rat has at the very end: This requires a Proto-Indo-European etymon in final *t, and is hence incompatible with the usual derivation from Proto-Indo-European *reh₁d- (“to scrape”). Is this a true statement ? Isn't there one theory that postulates that PIE -dn- can become -tt- in Germanic in certain situations (cf. *puttaz < *budnós; *prattuz < *brodnó-, etc.) ? If this is the case, would not PIE *roh₁dnós become *rattaz ? NM, I believe this statement (above) only pertains to Kroonen's account of a *raþō - *ruttaz alternation. However, should we still show that *rattaz, *rattō likely descends from *reh₁d- ? Leasnam (talk) 04:35, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

I've re-added it, since we show the Gmc word at the PIE entry. Leasnam (talk) 04:59, 28 June 2019 (UTC)


The etymology has: s- +‎ brodo (soup) +‎ -are, but where does the l in sbrodolare come from ? Leasnam (talk) 17:18, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Note that sbrodolare exists next to sbrodare. There are several verbs that have, next to the expected versions on -are, also a variant on -olare, such as affusolare next to affusare, and arricciolare next to arricciare. In the last case there coexists a variant ricciolo next to riccio, so one may analyze arricciolare as a- + ricciolo + -are – although it is conceivable that the noun ricciolo is a back-formation from the verb. There is also a rare noun fusolo, meaning “shaft”, seen e.g. here as a translation of German Welle. But there is no noun brodolo, although I see the word used here as an adjective, apparently meaning (metaphorically) “soupy”. Purely speculatively, it seems possible to me that an epenthetic l was inserted as being more euphonic, influenced by the many verbs that happen to end in -olare.  --Lambiam 17:43, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

Ancient Greek μικρόςEdit

Wouldn't this be better explained as a substrate word because of the variants (smikros, mikkos) and that PIE sm- became m- in Greek?

I am not aware of any parallel sound change to mikros > mikkos in the Greek dialects.

RubixLang (talk) 20:19, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

Beekes (Pre-Greek) states: “The variations σμ- / μ- and κκ- / κ- point to Pre-Greek origin”. The online Greek-English etymological dictionary, quoting various authors, presents a mixed case: the variant σμικρός (smikrós) is called “clearly older”; on the other hand, the ρ is explained as arising by analogy with μακρός (makrós). It seems there is no consensus; the PIE hypothesis can neither be conclusively embraced nor rejected.  --Lambiam 14:06, 3 July 2019 (:UTC)
There's Proto-Germanic *smikraz, which would be a perfect cognate only if it wasn't for Grimm's law, whose existence we oddly ignore ... --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:09, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
The PIE root for *smikraz is *smēyg-, from *smēy-, so this seems okay. If the Greek word is related, it must be at the *smēy- node. Leasnam (talk) 20:51, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

July 2019


It isn't really about this word it's just where I noticed it, shouldn't Fortis/Lenis distinction only marked in a narrow transcription? The phonology page says nothing about such phonemic distinction. The length distinctions are enough imo anyway Anatol Rath (talk) 20:43, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

Stress on V2 also looks very dubious. --Tropylium (talk) 12:10, 3 July 2019 (UTC)


I feel tempted to link this to *trewd- but no matter what it comes from, how is reduplication+-sḱe- even possible, being two different aspect markers? —This unsigned comment was added by Anatol Rath (talkcontribs).

Not in early PIE clearly, but there are many enough precedents of reduplicated perfects lexicalizing as new roots (already in late PIE: *tetḱ-). --Tropylium (talk) 12:09, 3 July 2019 (UTC)


"Akin to γόνυ" as well as γόνος I state, an angle being a place where things come to be. I'm pretty sure it's ablautly possible, but the knee connection does make very much sense I admit, especially seeing other cognates with similar meanings. Maybe *ǵónu- from *ǵenh1-? Makes less sense semantically though, except in the sense of the first metaphor up there. —This unsigned comment was added by Anatol Rath (talkcontribs).


Why is English cherry listed twice as a descendant? DTLHS (talk) 16:00, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

The Middle English term is a confluence of inherited and borrowed forms, reinforcing each other. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:56, 4 July 2019 (UTC)


Anyone have a source for why or when this word got its unusual spelling? @VictarΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:57, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

@Metaknowledge: The Persian? What's weird about it? --{{victar|talk}} 03:48, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
@Victar, have you ever seen ص in an inherited Persian word before? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:12, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: How else should /sad/ be spelled in Persian? --{{victar|talk}} 04:28, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, I thought from your work on Indo-Iranian that you'd studied Persian at least briefly. /s/ in inherited vocabulary is usually spelt with س. Maybe someone else will know. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:18, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
To distinguish from the word “dam” سد(sadd), apparently much used in military contexts, or other words spelled so it is. I remember an IP claiming this on Talk:بط. Well Arabic مِا۟ئَة(miʾa, hundred) is also spelled irregularly so it’s even. The reason why the Arabic is so spelled is to avoid confusion in rasm and because it is a logogram of Aramaic forms. I see the Saudi vandal has removed the explanation from the Arabic. Fay Freak (talk) 20:09, 5 July 2019 (UTC)


Are Old French estencele and estancele not the same word? If so, then there should be only one main entry for the word. —Lbdñk||🙊🙉🙈|, 09:08, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Le Trésor only has estencele and estincele. Godefroy has estancele, but with a completely different sense.  --Lambiam 12:25, 6 July 2019 (UTC)


Our article Zettel contradicts the articles schedule (and scheda itself) as to the origin of scheda "strip of papyrus bark; sheet of paper". There's a variant scida, in fact. Although σχέδη (skhédē, papyrus leaf) is listed in Liddell-Scott (with the general meaning "leaf, page"), a variant σχίδα (skhída) is mentioned there too. Now, Pfeifer says "[...] lat. scheda, scida f. ‘abgerissener Streifen Papyrus, deren mehrere zu einem Bogen zusammengeleimt werden, Streifen, Blatt’, wohl aus gleichbed. griech. *schídē (*σχίδη) oder griech. schída f. (σχίδα) ‘Abgespaltenes, Span’; zu griech. schízein (σχίζειν) ‘spalten, durchschneiden, trennen’", and our article Zettel largely follows his explanation. I wonder if perhaps the Greek word is really a loanword (say, from Egyptian?), but Pfeifer's explanation looks reasonable on its face (although it doesn't really account for the variants, hence my suspicion). How to best resolve the situation? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:53, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

I can’t find any plausible Egyptian etyma; the closest is maybe sḫrt (papyrus roll, scroll), but that should’ve been pronounced something like /sVxɾə/ (or possibly /səxVɾə/) for some stressed vowel V by the time of most Greek borrowings from Egyptian, which is not very promising. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 16:17, 9 July 2019 (UTC)


Is it just me or is something wrong with the etymology for [chiffon]] for both English in French. At first it's saying it's from french through Arabic and then suddenly it's tracing it back to Proto-Germanic, it's like two different etymologies have been squashed together. Anyone have any ideas what's going on? 2WR1 (talk) 05:23, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

It's not just you, it's someone with more persistence than sense who returned after being reverted twice and added the same nonsense back again. Someone from the "small, shiny object" school of historical linguistics: you leaf through a dictionary in Language A until you find something that coincidentally resembles something in Language B, then congratulate yourself on finding a Deep, Hidden Truth that all those academics, blinded by common sense and knowledge of how language change actually works, were unable to see Right In Front Of Their Noses!!!!! not counting a slight detour through a rabbit hole and an unbridgeable chasm or two... To top it off, they decided to splice it into the existing etymology- sort of like grafting hooves on a hummingbird. But I digress...
At any rate, I undid their edits at chiffon and at moniker. Not that the etymology was perfect to start with: borrowing from Middle English into Old French is certainly possible, but it might be nice to see some actual evidence. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:47, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz Thanks for the reply, I'm glad I was able to catch that if it was erroneous, I was reading the etymology and suddenly noticed that it didn't make any sense. I totally get what you're saying about false etymologies. Thanks for fixing it up! 2WR1 (talk) 18:13, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
CNRTL has this for chiffon, from chiffe + -on. Further at chiffe is: Étymol. et Hist. 1. [1564 chifetier « ramasseur, crieur des chiffons » (J. Thierry, Dict. fr.-lat.), terme norm.] 1611 « morceau d'étoffe usée, chiffon » (Cotgr.), d'où 1810 « métier de chiffonnier » (Privat D'Anglemont, Paris Anecdote, 331 ds Quem.); 2. 1710 « étoffe de mauvaise qualité » (Ac.); 3. 1798 fig. « homme de caractère faible », (ibid.). Altération d'apr. chiffre* pris au sens de « chose, personne de peu de valeur » en a. fr. (1223, G. de Coincy ds T.-L.) de l'a. fr. chipe « chiffon » (1306, G. Guiart, Royaux lignages, I, 75, ibid.), terme demeuré en usage dans le Nord-ouest (FEW t. 16, p. 317b), empr. au m. angl. chip « petit morceau » spéc. « petit morceau de bois », ca 1300 ds NED, déverbal de to chip « tailler en petits morceaux ». Leasnam (talk) 01:17, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I've cleaned up both etymologies and removed the Proto-Germanic reference. Leasnam (talk) 01:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC)


This is not certain, but I've had the assumption that it was derived from חרמון (Hermon), the highest mountain in Israel (as a metaphor for "the highest peak"/"a high peak" of sexual arousal). Similar to how "horny" also means "having horns" (which are at the top of an animal's head). TheIsraeliSudrian (talk) 08:15, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Somewhat interestingly, the name of the mountain can also be spelled חרמן, and perhaps the spelling חרמון was occasioned by a perceived need to dissociate the name of the mount from the vulgar slang term.
It is generally difficult to research the origins of slang terms, since their early uses tend to be only oral. More evidence is needed than a mere assumption. The slang meaning of horny is probably related to the older expression “have the horn”, in which horn is probably another slang term for boner – something that does no grow from the top of one’s head.  --Lambiam 11:16, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
" [] perhaps the spelling חרמון was occasioned by a perceived need to dissociate the name of the mount from the vulgar slang term." Not really, this spelling already appears in the Hebrew Bible, where the defective spelling doesn't seem to occur (it's absent from the digital version of the Leningrad Codex on BibleGateway). ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:31, 10 July 2019 (UTC)


I cannot make any connection between its etymology and its meaning; any help? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:18, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

  • It's from the whip, not the person. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:22, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@SemperBlotto: Please elaborate a bit --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:21, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
A (particularly cruel) way of skinning an animal is by excessively flogging it with a whip.  --Lambiam 09:51, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
@SemperBlotto: What meaning of the verb skin are you referrring to? "scrape skin: to make the skin on a part of the body red, sore, and broken, especially by falling on it or scraping it"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:17, 12 July 2019 (UTC)


Nama, RFV of the etymology. Said to be from Dutch auto, but influence from modern Dutch rather than Afrikaans is very unlikely; the word auto only appeared in Dutch in the late nineteenth century. Perhaps German Auto is a better option, the Afrikaans word for car is motor. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:55, 10 July 2019 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology, specifically the part where it seems to derive an Ottoman Turkish word from a Turkish one. It may perhaps hinge on the definition of Turkish used, otherwise I would expect this to be from something like Old Anatolian Turkish. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:18, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

It is sourced to Nişanyan, who calls beşe “historical Turkish” (tarihsel Türkçe). I am not sure there is a basis for the translation ”prince”.  --Lambiam 10:32, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
On further examination, I think the abbreviation TTü used by Nişanyan stands for “Türkiye Türkçesi” (Turkey Turkish), which appears to take a middle position between ETü (“Eski Türkçe“ = Old Turkish) and YTü (“Yeni Türkçe” = New Turkish, the 20th-century word coinages by the TDK). It probably coincides with what we call “Ottoman Turkish”.  --Lambiam 07:54, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
TTü is a term he uses for both Old Anatolian Turkish and Ottoman Turkish. ETü stands for Old Turkic and is not to be understood as an ancestor language of Turkish, genealogically speaking. Ketiga123 (talk) 11:01, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Macedonian затоа штоEdit

The etymology looks pretty unlikely to me. It's a parallel formation, sure, but why would Macedonian have calqued such a thing from French? Canonicalization (talk) 11:03, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

How would one calque it anyway, if one even wants to do it, since parce has no meaning? I have removed the patently wrong etymology. Fay Freak (talk) 22:19, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
It does mean something, though: "by the fact [that]". Canonicalization (talk) 12:46, 14 July 2019 (UTC)


Hi, sorry to bother! I've asked a question about the etymologies of the archaic English word eke in the its Discussion page. If someone knowledgeable of the subject could clarify it there I would appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

Also (or should I say, eke?), as a side note, is there any policy about where discussions about entries should be held and if not in the own talk page (sorry about that) if is there any policy to link discussions held elsewhere in the article talk page so that discussions aren't lost? - Sarilho1 (talk) 10:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Generally, the discussion pages of entries in the main namespace are not suitable for signalling problems because people rarely watch these. The best general place for bringing up issues is our Tea room. The header of that page gives an overview of the available discussion rooms, including some more specialized ones.  --Lambiam 20:18, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I removed the duplicate adverb from Etymology 1, moving the one citation to Etymology 3. Leasnam (talk) 20:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)


How did the /p/ survive?

Forgive my immense ignorance here. It's just that I had always thought that /p/ → /ɸ/ → /h/ (except before /u/, where it was simply /p/ → /ɸ/). I also thought that the prevalence of /p/ in Modern Japanese was more due to somewhat more recent (compared to the onset of the consonantal shift, I mean) expressive coinages, and also perhaps some later loanwords or something.

But the fact that 「にっぽ​ん」 exists (and is well-known) quite clearly seems to indicate that that is not the case, so would someone explain why 「にっぽ​ん」 exists? Does it have to do with the fact that the /p/ is a geminate in this word? But, then, why 「にほ​ん」? Tharthan (talk) 07:44, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

It is a linguistic fossil, a holdover pronunciation maintained by some while a majority went with the flow.  --Lambiam 13:17, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
According to Shogakukan's Kokugo Dai Jiten, 日本 was originally read as Yamato as a kind of kun'yomi, then some time after the Taika Reform in the mid-600s, the Nippon reading arose as the on'yomi based on the 呉音 (goon) readings of the characters. Over time, the gemination weakened in casual speech. Although the dictionary entry doesn't explain the details past there, I suspect that the loss of gemination allowed the generally common lenition process to work, resulting in the expected /p//ɸ//h/ shift.
See also the 1603 entries for both Nifon and Nippon.
‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:10, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

PGmc 'go'Edit

Why do we have Proto-Germanic *gāną (to go) instead of *gēną (to go) ? I am referring to the stem-vowel. A great many sources reconstruct the vowel as ē rather than ā. Can anyone shed some light on this ? Leasnam (talk) 03:55, 19 July 2019 (UTC)


Where is the -n(ne) from? It isn't likely that a Germanic verb suffix would carry over to a noun in French. Is it from some conjugated form of a verb? Tharthan (talk) 15:55, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

It's possibly the same suffix as that seen in Old French lucanne (hatch-door, dormer-window, skylight) (Modern French lucarne), which comes from Frankish *lūkinna, from Proto-Germanic *lūkinjō. Also, compare French gâtine, from Frankish *wuastinna, *wuostinna, from Proto-Germanic *wōstinjō. Leasnam (talk) 22:41, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

rivel “small dumpling”Edit

I think this is actually a German loanword and not closely related in origin to rivel in the first sense (though perhaps reinforced by it). Under the entry Ribbel, Riebel, the Pfälzisches Wörterbuch states: „verbr., auch Auslandspfälzer […]“ – is that explicit enough? Btw: Riebel and Riebel(e)suppe are also known in other Upper German dialects. Cheers   hugarheimur 04:03, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

This appears very plausible. I guess the verbs rivel and German ribbeln are cognates, so the two noun senses would then also be cognates. Should we mention the dialectal form Riwwel given by the Pfälzisches Wörterbuch, which makes this etymology even more plausible?  --Lambiam 07:29, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I agree this seems likely; looking around, I can find the word in the English of the Pennsylvania Dutch and similar words in the 'German' of Volga Germans / 'Germans from Russia' (1, 2), both of whom had significant Palatine roots. I didn't spot any sources claiming that the word was connected to the English root we list. I think we have a basis for at least splitting the dumplings off to a second etymology and saying "possibly..." from the word mentioned above. - -sche (discuss) 17:27, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
What about “likely...”?  --Lambiam 17:40, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Sure; even "probably" would be fine by me; "possibly" was just the most conservative option. - -sche (discuss) 17:57, 21 July 2019 (UTC)


Regarding the missing Egyptian etymology: This comes from this book by Jablonski, which is from 1804 (so, quite possibly outdated...). The Coptic word he proposes is ⲫⲁⲣⲉϩ, which is ⲁⲣⲉϩ 'guard' with the masculine definite article ⲫ- in front of it. The island may have been called that in ancient times because it was fortified. And then apparently the name of the island was transferred to the particular lighthouse which was built on that island, and eventually became a general word for all lighthouses. I don't know if this is a historical etymology or a folk etymology, but it seems to make sense and seems linguistically-possible (though I'm no linguist). In any case, it's the only Egyptian etymology I've ever come across so I think it's at least worth mentioning. (Possible Greek etymologies seem to derive Φάρος from φῶς 'light' or φαίνω 'to shine'...) 2601:49:8400:FB40:2490:FE18:8FE5:3C3 13:38, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

If an earlier Egyptian name for the island sounding like fareḥ was Hellenized, Φάρος (Pháros) is a plausible outcome. But is Strabo’s translation Φυλακή the only evidence for this putative Egyptian name? I do not see a shining path from φαίνω (phaínō) to φάρος (pháros) – what happened to the ν, and where did the ρ come from?  --Lambiam 18:51, 21 July 2019 (UTC)