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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

May 2017


What's the first part of this word from? - -sche (discuss) 03:38, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Maybe derived from attention span? DTLHS (talk) 03:46, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you! I should've thought to check Greek. - -sche (discuss) 21:33, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

chinny reckonEdit

Is this a corruption of "ich ne reckon" (or "'ch ne reckon")? Tharthan (talk) 19:05, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Apparently so, from a West Country expression Leasnam (talk) 22:58, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for confirming that. I added the etymology to the entry. Tharthan (talk) 23:22, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Old English cnīfEdit

Some authorities say the Old English cnīf is a borrowing of the Old Norse knífr, arguing that its late appearance in writing is evidence of a non-native origin. Others say it's inherited, but simply not attested till later. Still others allude the possibility of a borrowing, or a reinforcing by Old Norse of a native term (a common occurrence, cf. dæl (dale)). What do we think ? Leasnam (talk) 21:28, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Linguistically, I don't think there's any way to know, as *knībaz would have shown up in OE as cnīf anyway. I suppose some slight additional evidence for a borrowing is that OE already had a native word for "knife", namely seax, but of course languages are perfectly happy to have synonyms that are both inherited native words, so it isn't very strong evidence. Evidence against borrowing is the fact that *knībaz has descendants throughout West Germanic, suggesting that it's a very old word in our branch of Germanic. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:51, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
That's a good comprehensive assessment, i think. I suppose that, where it's plausible that a word was simply retained from Proto-Germanic, Occam's razor might favour that over the idea that it was borrowed from another language. I've taken a stab (ha ha) at putting that info into the etymology. - -sche (discuss) 17:40, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Addition to Latin Suffix -demEdit

The page on latin Suffixes for -dem should include the word: ibidem (the latin precursor to the word ibid). It ends in -dem, and there is a wiktionary page for it.

I tried to add, but the edit section for the -dem page was closed.

Thanks. :)

It's there now. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:53, 5 May 2017 (UTC)


Some help with this tricky etymology would be appreciated. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:40, 7 May 2017 (UTC)


I added two possible etymologies to the entry and I would like to get a second opinion on their likelihoods and/or accuracy if possible. Tharthan (talk) 15:47, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Revamping Template:rfeEdit

I'm surprised that Template:rfe doesn't transclude maintenance categories for tracking pages that need etymologies. Wouldn't it be helpful to have them categorized by language? That would make it easier to find entries that require an etymology. Does anyone have a bead on why this doesn't exist yet? —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:32, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

It does do that. In fact using it without a language code will produce a module error. DTLHS (talk) 16:34, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
You may have hidden categories turned off. DTLHS (talk) 16:35, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
@DTLHS: Incredible. Thanks. —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:42, 9 May 2017 (UTC)


An essential word (get it?) that undergoes so much variation that I doubt it would be practical to reconstruct. It's glaring that we lack a conjugation table for this verb anyhow, given the entry itself states three principal forms. I have a sandbox here, feel free to make any immense edits. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 15:48, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Why do we have these Latin reconstructions when they are actually attested in Latin? This isn't the first one that has come up for discussion. —CodeCat 18:15, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
The inflected forms are not all attested, and the infinitive essere itself isn't attested. — Eru·tuon 18:18, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
esse is attested. —CodeCat 19:39, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Right, but the entry isn't Reconstruction:Latin/esse. I guess the question is, which forms should be unattested for the reconstructed entry to exist? And if an unattested Vulgar Latin or Proto-Romance term is similar to an attested Latin one, should it not have an entry? The broader question: how do we decide which VL or PR terms get entries? — Eru·tuon 19:50, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
The language of this page is Latin, like it says in the page title. And it's clearly attested in Latin; *essere is merely an unattested alternative form of sum. —CodeCat 19:55, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Well, it's an alternative form, and as such perhaps it demands a separate entry. Other alternative forms have separate entries, sometimes also separate inflection tables. As it's unattested, its entry has to go in the Reconstruction namespace. I don't think it wouldn't make sense to put the inflection tables proposed above in the entry for sum. The form sum itself is apparently replaced with sun in the reconstructed verb essere. — Eru·tuon 20:06, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
I've moved the reconstruction page itself to "sun", because usually Latin verbs are lemmatized in their first-person-singular anyway as well as the variations in the infinitive. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 16:15, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

So let's deal with the paradigm itself I've tried wrangling through in my sandbox. I've run into a few snags.

  • Is it reasonable to assume that the Italian 1PL and 2PL present forms derive from elongated forms "essemos/essimos", "essitis"? The infinitive itself was created from the third conjugation it seems, and the fused 2nd/3rd conjugation class in Italian also exhibit -iamo and -ete.
  • Where did the Iberian past participle derive from? ser < sedeo?
  • I 95% think that I got the Eastern subjunctive forms wrong.
  • Gallo-Romance forms I haven't dealt with yet. They seem to consistently replace the past participle with status, French subjunctives are a little fishy (French oi is often from long E, but seeing soif and noir and poil, I'll let that slide) but for now I'll trust the assumption that they come from sim, sis, sit, etc.

Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 16:15, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

@Hillcrest98 Italian -iamo is an import from the subjunctive, and I think -ete is from the 2p imperative. And I don't think they had initial e- at any stage in VL.
I'm pretty sure the Ibero-Romance past participles are original creations. I'd love to know what Old Spanish, Old Portuguese or any other old Ibero-Romance language had.
I'm pretty sure sim, sis, sit don't survive in Romance anywhere. They were replaced by *siam, *sias, *siat, *siamus, *siatis, *siant by analogy with fiam and other third conjugation verbs with -a- in the subjunctive. Sardinian reflects it, so it's probably pretty old.
Other things I noticed:
  • On the Ibero-Romance future, Alkire-Rosen says: "Sp será could be from *esser-at, but more plausibly derives from *seder-at, given the evidence for syncretism." Same goes for the present subjunctive: sea could be from *siat or *sedeat.
  • The old Latin future survived in Old French, Old Italian, and Spanish eres.
  • Friulian has an anomalous -d- in the present subjunctive. Why? Contamination with sedēre?
  • Romansch seems to have rebuilt the entire subjunctive-imperative system on a stem saja-. Why?
  • Catalan has ets as the second person singular. Why the -t-?

KarikaSlayer (talk) 20:31, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

angle (geometry), angle (fishing), hirn, hornEdit

Are these words cognates or not? I was very confused by the etymologies 1 and 2 of angle, and things got even more confusing when trying to go back in time to hirn and horn. All of these words' etymologies should mention that they are cognates or that they are not despite the seemingly obvious very close relationships. --Espoo (talk) 08:56, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

"Hirn" is said to be originally a diminutive of "horn" here: *hurnijǭ. Concerning the two "angle" words, there are others who'll know more about that around here than I do. But apparently there are two Indo-European roots *h₂enk- and h₂eng-, both meaning "bent". If my understanding is correct, there's no regular alternation of -k- and -g- in PIE, but it would still seem likely that these roots are variants of each other. Kolmiel (talk) 14:29, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
I've added that information on the relationship of horn and hirn to the entry for hirn. — Eru·tuon 16:51, 11 May 2017 (UTC)


@माधवपंडित This is just given as a root, with no stem suffix, but the part of speech is "Noun" so it appears like it's a root noun. However, none of the descendants attest a root noun, so that can't be right. Moreover, the Germanic descendant doesn't fit, the labiovelar is missing. —CodeCat 17:49, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Plus the semantic shift of “womb” > “calf” does not seem very natural. --WikiTiki89 18:04, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Kroonen 2013 gives it as "unknown etymology", and specifically discounts any connection with the Greek word ἀδελφός (adelphós). Also worth mentioning is the fact that labiovelars don't delabialize in Germanic before *o. KarikaSlayer (talk) 23:36, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
With some modifier it (wherever you saw that, I didn't actually see it) a resulting meaning "from the womb" is a rather natural circumscription for a calf. 13:17, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Now that the Germanic has been removed, what's still wrong with the rest of the entry? Clearly there is something there that should be kept, even if it needs to be moved to a different lemma. --WikiTiki89 21:30, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Nothing beyond the root seems salvageable. Greek and II have different formations. But a root with descendants in only two branches - which don't even perfectly match - is not very strong evidence. —CodeCat 22:23, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
If it's a real root, what would be the respective reconstructions of the PIE forms the Greek and II forms come from? --WikiTiki89 19:10, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
*gʷelbʰ-u-s and *gʷelbʰ-ó-s respectively. Δελφοί (Delphoí) also seems to reflect *gʷelbʰ-ó-s, its current etymology is actually wrong. —CodeCat 19:13, 17 May 2017 (UTC)


Tagged as needing verification, but not listed. In particular, "the Celtic hydronym Rodanos" should indicate a language... - -sche (discuss) 19:57, 11 May 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. See the rfe note there for further details. ばかFumikotalk 12:16, 12 May 2017 (UTC)


The existence of Hidekeli suggests that Christian translators went straight to the Biblical Hebrew when borrowing place names. So why isn't this *Prati (after פְּרָת) instead of Frati? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:06, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Swahili has historically had intensive contact with Arabic, so the /f/ may be due to the influence of الْفُرَات (al-furāt). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:43, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Or just borrowed directly from it; who's to say that the Euphrates was not known to speakers of Swahili pre-Christianity? --Tropylium (talk) 11:50, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
I considered that, but in that case why would Swahili have deleted the u? *Furati is a perfectly well-formed Swahili word; perhaps even better formed than Frati, since I don't think Swahili has fr- in native words. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:44, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. And again, Arabic can't be at fault because of Hidekeli — the Arabic is way farther off there. Did the translators just have trouble telling whether to dot the פ? @Wikitiki89Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:12, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
At least some (apparently Muslim) authors do use Furati: Citations:Furati. - -sche (discuss) 00:56, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
First of all, in many Arabic dialects, the u is lost: al-furātu > (a)l(i)-frāt. Second of all, it seems that many of these Biblical names could have been taken from English translations of the Bible: In the KJV, חדקל is translated as Hiddekel, פינחס is translated as Phinehas (Swahili: Finehasi); although פלשת is translated as Palestina, while Swahili has Ufilisti, but that could have been influenced by פלשתים, translated as Philistim/Philistines (Swahili: Wafilisti). And also some of the names, such as Musa and Harun, clearly come from Arabic. I would say more research needs to be done before giving an explanation. --WikiTiki89 18:54, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic *wisundaz*wisundzEdit

Discussion moved from WT:RFM.

Most sources I found seem to reconstruct this word as a consonant stem (See talk page for *wisundaz before moving.) Some information regarding the etymology of the word may need to be looked over more (Not all the sources on the talk page agree on the etymology of this word.).Nayrb Rellimer (talk) 07:47, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

2 references with Google Books previews use wisundaz, whereas only one uses wisundz. On which page should these entries be merged? - -sche (discuss) 18:42, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
What evidence is there for a consonant stem? —CodeCat 21:41, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
The OP listed some at Reconstruction talk:Proto-Germanic/wisundaz. (What evidence is there for the other reconstruction?) - -sche (discuss) 22:05, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
  Done. If anyone wants to make the case that the content should be on -az instead, feel free. - -sche (discuss) 23:24, 18 May 2017 (UTC)


I find it striking that not only is this derived from a non-Koine form, but it also has the characteristic weakening of unstressed syllables in Latin. Is this evidence that this term was borrowed relatively early, in Old Latin times, before the time of Plautus (when stress shifted away from the first syllable)? —CodeCat 00:47, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

In short: yes. It's Doric because Latin got it from the Greek settlers of Magna Graecia. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:24, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
@CodeCat:: Doesn't really answer your question, but this (there's a link to the PDF) gives other examples of borrowings from Greek that display vowel reduction, at page 172. --Barytonesis (talk) 12:27, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Feral brown bears and beaversEdit

This is ugly.

  • "Brown" < *bʰruHnos?
  • "Bear" < *bʰerons?
  • bʰébʰrus < bʰrew-?

There seems to be no phonologically possible relation between "bear" and "brown", but is relating brown and beavers to be discounted? There is a laryngeal in the way however.

And on the Proto-Germanic for bear, I found this: "Ringe, discrediting the existence of such a root, suggests instead *ǵʰwer- (“wild animal”)." The sound changes to *ǵʰwer- boggles my mind. θήρ (thḗr) and ferus would work far better starting with a gʷʰ, but the Balto-Slavic forms have an issue with that. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 01:03, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Many Centum languages merged Cw and Cʷ, including Germanic. The Greek and Latin evidence suggests that they did too, although for Latin a later change fw- > f- is also possible. —CodeCat 01:06, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Is fundo a result of this too? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 04:39, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
ἵππος (híppos), if it really is from *h₁éḱwos, is also evidence that Ḱw and Kʷ merged in Greek. I rather like the idea of bear come from *ǵʰwer-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:49, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Latin *musō from Frankish *mōtōnEdit

A couple things I'd like to ask about this word:

  • Is the Latin u long or short? I'm tending to think long, because AFAIK Gallo-Romance doesn't have any early o > u raising rules.
  • What's up with the Latin s < Frankish t correspondence? My best guess is that the Latin verb is a frequentative that is hiding an earlier *mūtō.

KarikaSlayer (talk) 12:57, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Strange concerning the s. Would this perhaps arise via an upper variant *muozzōn ? Leasnam (talk) 20:36, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
@Leasnam: At least Middle High German muozen (to have free time, to rest), gemuozen (to take the time to) are attested. These could be later derivatinons from the noun muoze (German Muße), but according to Proto-Germanic *mōtōną an Old High German muozōn is actually attested. If the word is Germanic it should therefore probably be derived from Old High German, not Frankish. But all dictionaries I see derive it -- if they derive it from anything -- from a Celtic word for "mouth". Kolmiel (talk) 12:32, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Old High German has gimuozōn (to be idle; have free time; have leisure). I've changed the Descendants at Proto-Germanic *mōtōną. I always though Frankish came in two varieties: Old Low Frankish of the earlier migration ancestral to Dutch, and then the Central/High Carolingian variety...? I wouldn't see any difficulties though in changing Frankish to Old High German... Leasnam (talk) 13:08, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel: Perhaps it would be helpful to add the Celtic alternative as well to the entry ? Leasnam (talk) 13:10, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
There are of course Frankish/Franconian dialects that underwent the High German consonant shift, but I don't know if we still define these as "Frankish". From what time on do we speak of Old Dutch? My interpretation was that having undergone the consonant shift more or less automatically makes it OHG, but it's merely a question of definition. — Regarding the Celtic etymology, yes I think it would be good to mention that. Pfeifer derives it from Medieval Latin mūsus ("dem seinem Ursprung nach ungeklärtes, vielleicht aus dem Kelt. stammendes mlat. mūsus ‘Maul’ (8. Jh.) zugrunde liegt"). Philippa also calls this the most likely etymology and adds that the word occurs in some modern Occitan dialects. The Trésor informatisé (-> museau [1]) says the Latin word is of obscure origin and could be expressive (which also makes some sense due to the onset "mu-", which accentuates the mouth). Kolmiel (talk) 16:22, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Pfeifer says "perhaps from the Celtic", but he doesn't postulate a form or show cognates, so it really doesn't do us any good IMHO. The OHG word (you were correct, it is attested, and I've added it back) is the closest in form and meaning but still only supplies maybe some of the might be a conflation of Latin mūsus, of unknown origin, and muozōn Leasnam (talk) 17:38, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, you're right. I thought Philippa also mentioned the Celtic, but she doesn't. Sorry. So let's strike the Celtic, but let's mention the Latin word. Kolmiel (talk) 18:30, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

A remark from *dekmtEdit

So... on Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/déḱm̥, you can find this comment:

Has been suggested to contain an element *ḱm̥t, possibly from *ḱomt (“hand”), in which case *de-ḱm̥t could mean originally “two hands.”

So does that root exist? The first thing that came into mind was *handuz and its root *ḱent-, which sounds quite familiar especially if you take nasal assimilation into account (such assimilation can be found in *samdaz) But even if that was true, there's the problem in that the IE root for 2 has a W in it... Can this etymology comment be checked up? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 15:11, 15 May 2017 (UTC)


There's a few things wrong here. Firstly, none of the descendants match exactly: Celtic and Germanic are given with an unexplained -i-, the Indo-Iranian form isn't neuter. Moreover, there's no way Old Norse kváða can come from Proto-Germanic *kwidaz. The inflection also looks very wrong, a u-stem would be expected to ablaut. This is the second PIE entry by User:माधवपंडित that is rather questionable. —CodeCat 20:59, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

@CodeCat: I understand. This is because I myself reconstructed the Proto-Germanic word and there is a possibility of an error. I should have left the PGmc word unreconstructed and just listed the descendants, but I did not prefer to leave things blank so I filled up what I thought the reconstruction would be and for this I do apologize for having mislead people. However, rest assured that the listed descendants in the attested daughter languages do come from *gʷétu. PIIr & PGmc are open to being improvised. माधवपंडित (talk) 01:01, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
I converted the entry to a root. The u-stem is certainly well attested, but there's also other formations. —CodeCat 01:22, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
@CodeCat: What about Proto-Celtic *bitu from where Latin bitumen is borrowed? Is it from *gʷétu or is it unsorted? माधवपंडित (talk) 02:24, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
The Proto-Celtic is actually *betu, if Welsh is any indication. —CodeCat 11:34, 17 May 2017 (UTC)


...third entry. The Germanic doesn't fit Grimm's law, while the Balto-Slavic has the wrong vowel. —CodeCat 21:02, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Don't blame this on him. This etymology has already been at Proto-Germanic *hwītaz and Proto-Slavic *světъ for a long time. The Slavic entry says "from *ḱwoytos / *ḱweytos", which makes sense to me. The Germanic one is a little more puzzling. Perhaps the -taz was a different suffix added to the stem? --WikiTiki89 21:26, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Normally *ey > *i, versus *ay/*oy > *ě. Kroonen gives *hwītaz < *hwīttaz < *kweytna- through Kluge's Law, though that doesn't account for the different ablaut grades. --Tropylium (talk) 21:33, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
@CodeCat: I thought of adding that PGmc *hwitaz instead of the expected *hwidaz is unusual. माधवपंडित (talk) 01:06, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Should have been *hwīþaz, I would have thought. But anyway, Tropylium gives a potential explanation. --WikiTiki89 19:17, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
But how widely accepted is Kluge's law? Kroonen is the only one that I've seen use it. —CodeCat 19:19, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
I accept it in my etymological endeavors. It explains the gemination found in iteratives and n-stems very well, and oftentimes explains the otherwise strange consonants Germanic shows in some words, like *deupaz, which etymologically goes back to a root *dʰewbʰ-, compare Celtic *dubnos. PIE is largely suspected of not possessing the phoneme *b, and many reconstructions that feature it use Germanic as evidence, but Kluge's law can explain that. Anglom (talk) 17:25, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Latin sex > *sexe?Edit

Robert A. Hall's Proto-Romance Morphology mentions a byform *sexe for Classical sex. Is this vulgar form attested anywhere? It seems to be restricted to Italo- and Eastern Romance (and Friulian). KarikaSlayer (talk) 01:17, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Old Irish "baile".Edit

The article for baile does not give an etymology. My interpretation would link it to PIE *bʰeh₂w-, suffixed with perhaps legʰ-, but this doesn't seem to fit the usual vowel mutations. Could anyone provide any insight here? --JoeyofScotia (talk) 22:57, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

lead someone down the garden pathEdit

re Wiktionary's entry for "Lead Down the Garden Path": That the idea for the phrase sprang into the originator's mind from the Biblical passage concerning Eve's seduction in the garden by the serpent, has anyone read any suggestion?

Where is the "Save Page" button on the "Editing Wiktionary: Etymology scriptorium/2017/May (comment)" page (under the rubric "News for editors")? this unsigned comment by‎ User:BRBishop 02:59, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

The "save page" button is below the edit window. It no longer says "Save page" ... now it reads "Publish changes". I agree, it's a confusing name, but apparently someone at Wikimedia liked that wording. —Stephen (Talk) 13:30, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

"der" vs. "the" split, dem and "them#Determiner??, etc.Edit

AFAIK: the german equivalent of the is der, which the article seems to associate with "there" in some languages; it cites ther for Old High German but I didn't see anything relevant in that article.

I found myself wondering if the tremendously nonstandard and now antiquated them#determiner could actually be a cognate of dem, the German form of "der" used after a preposition. Perhaps it was never really an "error" but actually a remnant of some ancient grammar, perhaps long since scrambled? It kind of tickles me that the traditional saying "them thar hills" includes the putative "dem" and a possible equivalent of "der" also ... with that and $2.50 you might get a latte.

Anyway, I don't know anything about this but the etymology of articles seems really fundamental to us. Wiktionary and Wikipedia skim over some other English detail about w:the, but not much. There are a bazillion articles about these definite articles and it's possible there's great detail in one of them and I don't know it; how to make this more approachable is another thing to look at. Anything you can do to augment this etymology in the articles would seem extra useful, just because it's so basic. Wnt (talk) 17:49, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

German der is from Old High German ther, but this word is much more closely related to English the than English there. The Old High German word corresponding to "there" is thār. It is true that all of these words are derived from the same Indo-European root.
The word "them" is from Old Norse. In the Scandinavian languages "de"/"dem" is used both as a plural article/determiner and as a 3rd-person plural personal pronoun (although "dem" is now only a pronoun). So this usage may indeed be old in English, too. But since I have little knowledge of Middle English, I can't say anything certain. Kolmiel (talk) 13:31, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

duct tapeEdit

Do we have a quack etymology here? Origin 1970s: originally used for repairing leaks in ducted ventilation and heating systems. According to etymologist Jan Freeman, the story that duct tape was originally called duck tape is "quack etymology" that has spread "due to the reach of the Internet and the appeal of a good story" but "remains a statement of faith, not fact." She notes that duct tape is not made from duck tape and there is no known primary-source evidence that it was originally referred to as duck tape. Her research does not show any use of the phrase "duck tape" in World War II and indicates that the earliest documented name for the adhesive product was "duct tape" in 1960. The phrase "duck tape" to refer to an adhesive product does not appear until the 1970s and isn't popularized until the 1980s, after the Duck brand became successful and after the New York Times referred to and defined the product under the name "duct tape" in 1973.[3][30] --Espoo (talk) 17:07, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

The collocation duck + tape seems to have been used since 1902. I see uses of duct + tape since 1952. The modern definition of non-SoP duct tape seems to be what gets the date 1973. Just to make the cheese more binding, there is a brand of duct tape called [Duck tape]. They claim that the product was invented in 1942 and their Duck brand logo and mascot appeared in 1984. DCDuring (talk) 18:59, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Duct tape together with the word adhesive appears in Books as early as 1959. A company named Arno Adhesive Tapes, Inc. had a brand Ductape by 1961. These may refer to an adhesive aluminum-foil tape, which is supposed to be fire-resistant. DCDuring (talk) 19:07, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
If you have the source for 1902 from an [ngram search|] then it looks like an outlier. The earliest example (if you follow the search results linked to sorted by year at the bottom) is actually from a 1908 patent application (I'd attribute the misleading graph to a heuristic search optimization). For one it's not clear that's the type of tape we are talking about. And then it's not clear weather it's not just a w:Mondegreen, hence I call it an outlier. There are two other mentions from 1931 and 1939, from electricians, one specifically also mentions ducts. Besides puns are an elementary part of electronics culture, in my experience. 14:32, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic *durz > *durīEdit

In an inversion of the wisent debate mentioned above, here's a consonant stem that probably didn't exist. The usage notes state that Gothic is the only language to preserve the consonant stem declension...except 𐌳𐌰𐌿𐍂 (daur) is a neuter a-stem probably best derived from the related neuter noun *durą. Old Norse, on the other hand, has a consonant stem inflection, but that doesn't have to be original since as far as I know ON added considerably to its consonant stems.

According to Kroonen, the plural-only i-stems come from a petrified dual *durī < *dʰurih₁ (double doors). There's also a fairly secure ō-stem *durō < *dʰuréh₂. I have no idea how Old English duru is supposed to fit into all this (what declension is it?). Kroonen says it's from the ō-stem, but it almost looks like a wa-stem to me. KarikaSlayer (talk) 19:57, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

OE duru looks to me like a -u stem (cf. hand, also sunu, feld, ford, etc. for masc. examples) Leasnam (talk) 17:56, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

merge#EN < mergo#LAEdit

How comes that "join" can come from "dive"? Through French? Not explained. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:49, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

It's not that far away if you think about something small being plunged or absorbed into something greater, and the two becoming one in the end. Probably no the best example, but think of a candle being merged into a vat of hot wax. Leasnam (talk) 15:40, 23 May 2017 (UTC)


Gives no etym, but I guess it's from Russian. Then Москва and wikipedia's w:Moscow#Etymology give more data, but PIE *mesg- appears to be incongruent with PIE *meu- of Wikipedia (although we have it for Latvian mazgāt as *mezg-; why with circunflex in *mesg-?). Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 12:06, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

It must have come through OES Москъвь/Московь (Moskŭvĭ/Moskovĭ), not from Modern Russian. --WikiTiki89 19:01, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
languagehat quotes the OED as agreeing; "the Old Russian name for the river, principality, and city is recorded as Moskovʼ, accusative (1177 in this form; earlier in locative na Moskvě ‘on the Moscow river’[)...] the fully vocalized form of the name that gave rise both to English Moscow (perh. also influenced by the Russian adjective Moskovskij) and to post-classical Latin Moscovia". - -sche (discuss) 20:37, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
For me, the odd part is: what happened to the "v"? We can explain easily explain the "o", but the obvious route of a spelling pronunciation after borrowing from a language with w=v suffers from the lack of such languages having an -"ow" spelling- Polish has Moskwa, and German has Moskau, for instance. The languages that end the word without the "v" seem to cluster in western Europe, so it must have happened there- Old/Middle French, perhaps? Chuck Entz (talk) 04:09, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm a little confused by what you're saying. What do you mean by "w=v"? I don't think there was any spelling-pronunciation going on, I think it's a legitimate spoken form. Note that the original quality of the /v/ sound in Slavic is not certain, so Московь (Moskovĭ) could easily have been pronounced something like [mosˈkowʲ]. Also, perhaps the English and German words came from via Old French (modern Moscou) and the French, English, and German vowels went through normal changes. Or something like that. Also note that the Polish is either a more recent borrowing from Russian or a regular reflex of the same Slavic v-stem paradigm (meaning that it essentially it could have been borrowed at any point in time). --WikiTiki89 14:25, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Just wanted to note that in what is now eastern Germany (and used to be central Germany before WWII) there are many old Slavic place and family names in -ow, which are universally pronounced [o], like Pankow [ˈpaŋko]. This could easily have been ou [oʊ] in Middle High German, since in the local dialects MHG ou > ō, whereas in standard German ou > au. In other words, if we had a MHG *Moscou [moskoʊ̯], that would be the missing link. Only I don't know where to find MHG place names. Kolmiel (talk) 23:50, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Italian pecchiaEdit

It obviously comes from a syncopated form of Classical Latin apicula, but I wonder why the initial a vanished: phonetic evolution, or metanalysis of "l'apecchia" as "la pecchia"? --Barytonesis (talk) 19:49, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Obscure Italic dialectsEdit

So, I was just editing Paestum, which can was called Paistos by the w:Lucanians. This seems fairly clearly to be a case of borrowing from Lucanian to Latin. But what do I do? Create a new language for such a faintly attested language? Also, what about Sabine, Hernician, and the Samnites generally? Any ideas? —JohnC5 03:27, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Does the literature tend to speak of them as (separate) languages? Do they seem to be?
If they are distinct enough to be treated as separate languages, and there are words attested in them, they can have codes regardless of how limited the attestation is. I just added the only nine words known from the Baenan language!
But if they are similar enough to be treated as dialects, (or if the only content from them is borrowings,) you could just create etymology codes to indicate borrowings from them, and handle their content under the nearest encoded language.
Also, if there is ambiguity over whether particular inscriptions are Lucanian or Oscan, it's probably easier to treat them as the same language, with etymology-only codes to indicate borrowings that are clearly Lucanian.
Sabine seems like a sparsely attested but distinct language — and indeed already has an ISO code. - -sche (discuss) 05:17, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Conway’s The Italic Dialects classifies Lucanian as Southern Oscan, Sabine and Hernician as Latinian, and Samnite as Central Oscan. — Ungoliant (falai) 12:14, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree that Lucanian and Samnite can be considered dialects of Oscan. As -sche mentioned, Sabine already has an ISO code sbv. Hernician can probably be considered a dialect of Umbrian. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:51, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
So etymology only dialects, then? —JohnC5 21:39, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I'd say so, yes. osc-luc, osc-sam, and xum-her? Or do they have to start with itc? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:06, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
If they're etymology-only codes and we're considering them dialects of Oscan and Umbrian, then they can start with Oscan and Umbrian's codes, yes. - -sche (discuss) 22:31, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't sure, because the etymology-only code for Old Italian is roa-oit, not it-oit. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:41, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh, good catch. I think the reason that one is different is that it was initially treated as a separate language, with entries, and the code wasn't changed when it was made etymology-only. That's fine when ISO-assigned codes are made etymology-only, but in this case I suppose we should made "it-oit" the canonical code, with "roa-oit" an alias. I will do that, and add the codes for Lucanian, Samnite, and Hernician. :) - -sche (discuss) 01:07, 28 May 2017 (UTC)


Most of the etymology looks fine, but I don't see how Tamil தோகை (tōkai) could given rise to Latin pāvō. Does Tamil t correspond to Latin p and k to v /w/? Those are weird hypothetical sound changes. The etymology originates from this edit by @Inbamkumar86, who didn't give a source and is no longer active. The OED, in the entry for pawn, n.², gives no origin for the Latin term. — Eru·tuon 18:00, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Etymonline mentions the possibility of an origin from the Tamil word, but doesn't say how the t managed to become a p in Latin. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:43, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Ahh, that's definitely the source: the transliteration of the Tamil word is even the same. Too bad Harper doesn't cite his source. He has a list of all his sources on another page, but that doesn't help much. — Eru·tuon 18:58, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I've modified the etymology at peacock a bit, and moved the information above to pea etym_2. Leasnam (talk) 15:45, 25 May 2017 (UTC)


I read this piece on English and came across "Uzbekhistan" (rather than "Uzbekistan"). I did some Internet searching and found several sources using the -h variation so it doesn't seem like a misspelling but an alternate transliteration. Can anyone confirm this? —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:45, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

A quick look through the translation tables for Uzbekistan shows that all the languages used in the area seem to show a plain k sound. Of those, Uzbek and Russian(the most likely source of the English) have separate letters in their alphabets for the k and kh sounds, but use the k sound. I suspect hyperforeignism is at play here, or possibly confusion with other borrowed terms with kh. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:11, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
I've created the entry. Maybe it should be listed as a misspelling. DTLHS (talk) 02:20, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
I'd call it a misspelling. FWIW you get a lot of hits for "Tajikhistan", "Kazakstan", and "Kazakistan" too. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:12, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: But aren't "k" and "kh" transliterated from the same letters in Cyrillic? That would just be an alternate transliteration, correct? —Justin (koavf)TCM 01:53, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
The correct Russian is Узбекистан (Uzbekistan), with a stop к /k/, as opposed to the fricative х /x/. Although Узбехистан (Uzbexistan) does show hits in Google, so *shrug*. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:59, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
Узбехистан (Uzbexistan) is definitely a typo. --WikiTiki89 19:51, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
kh is typically a transliteration of х (x) (for instance, see w:Mikhail Gorbachev), while k is a transliteration of к (k). — Eru·tuon 02:04, 29 May 2017 (UTC)


This etymology is weird because the entry is for a noun but the etymology is for a verb. Also, it's very unlikely pizzo would come from a Vulgar Latin *pinco, pincare. The etymon of the latter, *picco, piccare, is slightly more likely to be the source of pizzo, but still not very likely because Latin /k/ before a back vowel usually remains /k/ in Italian. And, of course it's a verb while pizzo is a noun. Anyone have a better etymology? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:56, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

@Angr: Onomatopoeic according to the Treccani (as well as this). See also this. If anyone has access to these, it would be even better. --Barytonesis (talk) 13:10, 3 June 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. Calque from NPersian xar-mūš ("donkey" + "mouse").

See Bielmeier, Roland. 2005. On West and East Iranian Loans in Kartvelian, in Haptačahaptāitiš: Festschrift for Fridrik Thordarson on the Occasion of His 77th Birthday, ed by. Haub Dag and Welo Eirik. Oslo; Novus, 2005, pp. 1-18, p. 13.

PIE words for 'flee'Edit

Has anyone ever suggested in print that the synonyms *bʰewg- and *bʰegʷ- are related? Or is their similarity pure coincidence? Obviously there's no regular correspondence between the phoneme and the cluster wg, but perhaps some irregular kind of metathesis led from one to the other? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:13, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

As a matter of fact, Mihai Grigoras has a section in Expressions of Fear from Antiquity to the Contemporary World (edited by Maria-Luiza Dumitru Oancea, Ana-Cristina Halichias, Nicolae-Andrei Popa) which makes the case for relatedness. From pages 36-37:
  • The root *bhegʷ- is to be considered in connection to *bhewg- "to run away from something, to avoid, to save oneself". [...] A deconstruction of the labiovelar in its constituents reveals the voiced velar plosive *g and the sonant *w. The diachronic and diatopic evolution of the sonant *w provides some peculiar examples that show the possibility of the sonant *w to occur before and after the same consonant in different idioms (e.g. *wl-qos becomes wolf in English and λύκος in Greek), [...suggesting] the sonants formed unstable syllables in Indo-European. Taking into account the semantic proximity of the two roots, the formal similarities and the instability of the sonant *w, the hypothesis of relatedness between *bhegʷ- and *bhewg- appears more plausible. Furthermore, the Indo-European linguistic geography contributes to the demonstration with significant additional information. Thus, in the Mediterranean space, the root *bhegʷ- meant "fear", and *bhewg-, "run", whereas in the Balto-Slavic space, the meanings are inverted. [...This is to] claim that: a) in Proto-Indo-European existed a single root with an unstable labiovelar appendix; b) this unique root had a double signification ("flight" and "fear"); c) this semantic pair, found in the cause-effect relationship, tends to separate and each meaning assumes one of the two phonetic versions of the same root; d) the languages of the families of languages that detached from Indo-European are different in terms of the relationship between signifier and signified.
- -sche (discuss) 19:11, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! One possibility that occurs to me is that the earliest form was *bʰewgʷ-, which then dissimilated differently, either to *bʰewg- or to *bʰegʷ-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:14, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
Except that the way PIE dissimilates is always to delabialise the labiovelar, never to drop the sonorant. —CodeCat 22:02, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
The thing about dissimilation is it almost never follows hard and fast rules; it's usually quite unpredictable. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:15, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
But for PIE it does, see w:Boukolos rule. —CodeCat 11:37, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
But the boukolos rule doesn't say the other possibility can never happen. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:07, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
I completely agree, even a few hundred years ago exceptions were the norm. I completely agree. PIE, the constructed language that is bound by hard rules because of a lack of primary sources shouldn't be confused with the continuum of languages which is supposed to be reconstructed (and which for lack of a better word might also be called PIE). But for that reason you do need some form or rule to follow. When there is disagreement and no authority, I wouldn't mention the idea about *wgʷ* in the article. 21:07, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
The linguist Guillaume Jacques has noted several cases even in Greek where the Boukolos "rule" fails to hold and wkʷ dissimilates to other things. He has even speculated that the Boukolos tendency may not go back to PIE but rather be "an independent innovation in the languages, like Greek, that have it". See examples and comments here and further comments in French. Mention of *we-wkʷ-om dissimilating to -ikʷ- in PGk. appeared in print in Sub-grammatical Survival: Indo-European S-mobile and Its Regeneration in Germanic, 1999, edited by Mark R. V. Southern. - -sche (discuss) 05:01, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

weird words for poems with N linesEdit

I saw an article about a fifth grader who was able to spell quinzaine, the 15th day after a feast day or a poem with 15 lines. Needless to say, I had to go to Google to look up quatrain, a kind of poem I vaguely remembered from silly Nostradamus nonsense with four lines, because quatraine does not pull out any useful suggestions from the Wiktionary search, and I am not that fifth grader. There's also a quintain, a poem with five lines. Looking up further I found some goofier stuff like sestina, septolet, sonnet, triolet (which is 8 lines!)... this may be getting off track from ordinal numbers.

Question is: is there some kind of series of these goofy words like quatrain and quinzaine that covers fifteen or more natural numbers when they are used in reference to poetry, feast days or whatever? Is there a way on Wiktionary to make an infobox for these? I feel like I wandered into some kind of breakdown in the English language. Wnt (talk) 00:44, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

PIE for merchant, memory etc.Edit

merchant says "... from merx (“merchandise, traffic”), from merere", but merx says "possibly from Etruscan" (also doesn't mention the meaning 'traffic'). Which is it, a mix of both (as per Mercurius#Latin)? merere links to mereor, which gives no etymology, but finally the alternative form mereo does link *(s)mer- and gives to assign, allot, although the linked article gives to fall into thinking, remember, care for, at least at first sight. Actually, I missed a second subsection that gives to assign. Interestingly, I'm thinking that a count would be responsible to collect and redistribute and at that he would have to remember the dues, and it is also captured in the meaning to care. This is slightly confusing, if only because of the broad diversion of the root. Can someone help me out here? memory also links memor to *(s)mer-, but that one seems missing in the descendants. Are there PIE terms that can show the diversion that lead to memory on the one hand and merchant, moral on the other, so that the descendants can be listed there? The two roots are convoluted after all. Is there any hint on the Etruscan part in this? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 06:00, 1 June 2017 (UTC).

June 2017

hieroglyph, hieroglyphicEdit

In hieroglyph: "First attested around 1598, a back-formation from hieroglyphic [...]"
In hieroglyphic: "First coined 1726 [...]"
That doesn't fit together. Is the adjective younger or is the noun derived from a non-English adjective? - 20:41, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

According to etymonline, hieroglyphic is the older term (1580s in English, so not by much), via Late Latin and Ancient Greek. KarikaSlayer (talk) 00:59, 3 June 2017 (UTC)


There's a plausible theory that the word "Europe" is originally from a Semitic word for "sunset" (occident). Compare particularly Aramaic ערובה (ʿrōbā, sunset, Sabbath eve), but also borrowed Arabic عَرُوبة (ʿarūba, Friday, Sabbath eve) and inherited غُرُوب (ḡurūb, sunset), etc. The theory is supported e.g. by Christoph Luxenberg, but apparently dates back to the classicist Heinrich Lewy and his "Die semitischen Fremdwörter im Griechischen" (1895). Is there a more recent Hellenistic evaluation of this? Kolmiel (talk) 19:40, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

Okay. As long as there no (negative) reaction, I'll add it as a possibility. Kolmiel (talk) 23:08, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

Scandinavian menEdit

Danish etymology points to ON meðan, Swedish etymology points to GML men. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 12:26, 12 June 2017 (UTC)


  • Entry googol: “Made up in 1920 by the nine-year-old Milton Sirrota (1911–1981), the nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner (1878–1955) who had asked Milton to think of a name for the hypothetical number of 10 to the 100th power. The word was first published in the book Mathematics and the Imagination (1940) by Kasner and fellow mathematician James R. Newman (1907–1966) (see the quotation below).”
  • Entry googolplex: “Like the word googol, googolplex was coined in 1920 by the nine-year-old Milton Sirrota (1911–1981), the nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner (1878–1955). The word was first published and precisely defined in the book Mathematics and the Imagination (1940) by Kasner and fellow mathematician James R. Newman (1907–1966) (see the quotation below).”

In fact, the words googol and googolplex already appear in Kasner’s article New Names in Mathematics (1938), Scripta Mathematica. Besides, how do we know that the word was coined in 1920 rather than 1921 when Milton was still nine years old (i.e., before March 8)? Have a look at my analysis on Jeff Miller’s page (“This fits to the […]”). -- IvanP (talk) 21:32, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

person of sizeEdit

Is it really an analogy to person of color? The phrase "of size" is also used in other contexts to mean "of a significant size" (i.e. "large"). --WikiTiki89 15:34, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

I think so, yes...a person of size doesn't necessarily have to be a large person, per se, just an overweight one...a petite woman who is 5' tall can be a person of size if she is overweight, right ? Leasnam (talk) 12:20, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't see your point. Any expression indicating largeness, when used of a person in a euphemistic tone, will obviously mean "overweight". So I don't see the analogy with "person of color" to be necessary. --WikiTiki89 12:44, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, it seems clear to me. person of color is a nice way to refer to someone who is not white, just like person of size is a nice way to refer to someone who is not of normal/healthy weight or bone structure. If I were not already familiar with the term, or a non-native speaker who had never encountered the phrase before, I might think that a person of size was referring to a giant or one of abnormally tall stature. But that's not at all what it means. Leasnam (talk) 12:59, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you would think that, that would more likely be called a "person of abnormal size". I hadn't heard of this phrase at all until I saw the RFD section of "woman of size" and "man of size", which I understood correctly immediately and before looking at our definition. But that has nothing to do with it. The question is do we know for fact, or do we not know for a fact, that this phrase was originally created by analogy to "person of color"? --WikiTiki89 13:42, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I would think that "size" is just euphemistic for "large size", and thus it is "person of" + "[large] size". Andrew Sheedy (talk) 13:49, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
When you say "by analogy with person of color", you're making the claim that someone looked specifically at person of color as a model when they coined person of size. It's just as possible that the mental process used for creating person of color was applied independently to the concept of size to produce a parallel result. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:58, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I vaguely remember when I started hearing this was usually on talk shows (like the OWS, etc.), and I want to say that it was after person of color had taken hold...quite a bit after. According to WordSense, the origin of Person of size is indeed by analogy with person of color [[2]]. Not sure if this is originally from us though Leasnam (talk) 14:05, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Ok, just poking around a bit, It appears the term originated early 90's (possibly late 80s) and was used on the sitcom "Murphy Brown," where a heavyset woman announced, "I prefer to think of myself as a person of size." I can find no book cites prior to 2000. I got this from an article in the NYT published in 1993 [[3]] which states: "On the sitcom "Murphy Brown," a heavyset woman announces, "I prefer to think of myself as a person of size." Karen Stimson, director of Largesse, a group that fights sizism, weighed in with this comment to The A.P.: "Being fat has always meant being downwardly mobile, especially for women. Society discriminates against people of size." The phrase is bottomed on people of color, an 18th-century term for "nonwhites" enjoying new popularity among those not pigmentally deprived. The related noun sizism or its variant weightism has been patterned on racism, sexism and ageism." Leasnam (talk) 14:16, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Nice find! That's pretty good evidence. --WikiTiki89 14:23, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
If we have the entry base on, shouldn't we have bottom on as well? --Barytonesis (talk) 16:43, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
@Barytonesis, created: bottom on Leasnam (talk) 01:50, 19 June 2017 (UTC)


The article on the Latin word rex says it comes from Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/h₃rḗǵs, whereas the French and German Wiktionary articles claim it's a deverbal of regere. --Espoo (talk) 14:39, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

I think we're more likely to be right. Considering the cognates it has, it's unlikely to have been an intra-Latin coinage. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:40, 18 June 2017 (UTC)


A gloss in the etymology would be helpful to me. Thanks. Germyb (talk) 02:31, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Pavel in Slavic languages?Edit

I have a question about Pavel (Paul) in Slavic languages, particularly West Slavic ones like Czech, and Polish Paweł. Did these derive from Old Church Slavonic or were they just local adaptations of the Latin Paulus? The East Slavic entries like Russian and Belarusian are listed as having a Greek intermediate, as expected (Biblical names like these usually came through Old Church Slavonic, or from the Byzantine Greek missionaries, and the presence of the 'v' corresponds to the Greek form). Word dewd544 (talk) 22:08, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Phonologically, it is possible that West Slavic languages got the word directly from Latin (the presence of v is not necessarily from Greek), but chronologically it makes more sense to me that it was borrowed in the time of Late Common Slavic from Greek, perhaps with two alternatives *pavьlъ and *pavъlъ. --WikiTiki89 17:58, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
That's what I was thinking. And apparently, Old Church Slavonic was actually standardized for a mission by Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia (where Czech Rep. and Slovakia are today), and acquired some West Slavic features on top of the predominant South Slavic basis. But then it later became prohibited in Moravia by the Pope, who favored Latin. Word dewd544 (talk) 23:53, 20 June 2017 (UTC)


What's the etymology of this one? Is there something related to the idea of a seahorse turning into a dragon in some folktale? ばかFumikotalk 11:25, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Or perhaps something left behind by a dragon turning into a seahorse? Chuck Entz (talk) 13:37, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
According to a number of references, otoshigo means "(nobleman's) illegitimate child" (google books:"otoshigo" child), and the term is referring to the dragon-like seahorses as the bastard children of dragons, since (as ja.WP comments) they resemble dragons: "ほとんどの魚は前後に伸びた姿勢をとるが、タツノオトシゴ類は体を直立させ、頭部が前を向く姿勢をとる。この姿が竜やウマの外見に通じることから「竜の落とし子」「海馬」「龍宮の駒」、あるいは"Seahorse"などの名前がつけられたものとみられる。" - -sche (discuss) 20:23, 20 June 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 11:44, 22 June 2017 (UTC)


fassen + -ung

What part of the etymology do you want to discuss? —CodeCat 19:30, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Added to the entry. Leasnam (talk) 23:15, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Etymology of Hungarian végreEdit

It seems, based on the meaning, that the word "végre" ('finally, at last') is simply the sublative form of the word "vég" ('end'). Is this the case?

I updated the etymology. According to the reference material, it is "A vég főnév megszilárdult ragos alakulata." --Panda10 (talk) 14:01, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

bogus < [hocus-]pocusEdit

Agree. Lysdexia (talk) 10:43, 24 June 2017 (UTC)


Could we have more details on the etymology of aloe? Does aloe have a conflation of etymologies?

The current etymology reads:

From Old English alwe (fragrant resin of an East Indian tree), from Latin aloē, from Ancient Greek ἀλόη (alóē, aloes), from Hebrew אֲהָלִים, ultimately from a Dravidian language; reinforced in Middle English by Old French aloes.

And the definitions read:

  1. (in the plural) The resins of the trees Aquilaria agallocha and Aquilaria malaccensis, known for their fragrant aroma.
  2. A plant of the genus Aloe.
  3. A strong, bitter drink made from the juice of such plants, used as a purgative.

However, senses 1 and 2 are very different plants; aloeswood (Aquilaria) are eudicots, whereas the Aloe are monocots.

aloes (Aquilaria)

Mentioning of the ultimate source for aloe being a Dravidian language in the etymology section of aloe presumably stems from the reference to Tamil அகில் (akil, a kind of fragrant wood, Aquila), Malayalam അകില്‍ (akil‍), etc. made in some works. This is the etymology for Sense 1, and certainly seems plausible. The loan history for this sense appears to be:

Related to agalloch, eaglewood, agarwood, gharuwood, etc.

aloe (Aloe)

This is more elusive. This plant (genus Aloe) has highly similar names in the major European and Asian languages, suggesting extensive borrowing and popularity in the past. Historically, the sap was extracted from the plant and boiled down into a black mass, and this was the main form of aloe used in Europe and Asia for medicinal purposes. Hanbury and Flückiger's Pharmacographia (616) considers the source to be Classical Syriac [script needed] (ʾelwai).

Ancient pharmacopoeias and records often attributed the origin of aloe to the island of Socotra off the coast of Yemen, and this is undoubtedly not baseless―Sung's The History of Aloe (2006) comments that “From the ecological nature of the aloe plant, aloe originated from the Africa and the history of its use dates back almost 6000 years”. A recent phylogenetic and evolutionary study on Aloe species produced astonishingly similar results (e.g. Figure 2 of the article).

The loan history in this case seems to be:

For potential source-level cognates, compare Jud. ʕalyā, which is more likely a Hebraism. Cf. also Syr. ʕalway, ʔelway, Gez. ʕalwā, ʔalaw, etc. ‘aloe’. The root meaning may be “leaf”. Interesting cognates:

  • Arabic: أَلْوَة (ʾalwa, aloe)
  • Chinese: 蘆薈 (MC luo ʔuɑiH). This phonetic borrowing was reetymologised as meaning “black-assemble”.
  • Nepali: एल्वा (elwā, aloe)
  • Persian: الوا (alwā, ilwā, aloe)
  • Sanskrit: एलुकम् (elukam, a particular medicinal substance)
  • Syriac: ܥܰܠܘܰܝ (ʿalway, aloe, [ʿlwy]),

Wyang (talk) 15:49, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

Indo-Aryan agaru, eluka, Dravidian [4] might be useful. —Aryaman (मुझसे बात करो) 04:12, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

French senestreEdit

Is this a word that was taken straight from Middle or Old French, or preserved in that form, as opposed to undergoing a completely natural evolution to modern French (I would think it would be *senêtre)? The Norman form, s'nêtre, seems to have evolved naturally. Since the French is a dated term and also refers to heraldry, something associated with the Middle Ages, I wonder if that's the case... The TLFi doesn't seem to have noted anything about it, oddly. But other etymological dictionaries of other languages, when listing cognates, seem to specifically mention it as Old French. I'm thinking I should just use the {{|der}} tag on the modern French for now to be safe. Word dewd544 (talk) 20:12, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

Anyone else interested in Celtic?Edit

I recently bought a copy of Karin Stüber's The Historical Morphology of n-stems in Celtic, not realizing I already owned a copy. Would anyone care to buy the spare copy for €16 (I paid €22) plus postage? Send me an e-mail if so. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:52, 25 June 2017 (UTC)


A gloss or two in the etymology of prowess would be helpful. Germyb (talk) 01:48, 26 June 2017 (UTC)