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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


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)
And is there a reason for the syllabification /sɤbr. /? Anatol Rath (talk) 19:04, 24 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)

@Smashhoof, -sche, Xbony2, Vedac13, Muriloricci What do you think of the etymology? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:33, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Borrowing from German seems plausible. This South African Dept. of Bantu Education / Native Language Bureau Nama-Damara: spelreels (2), pp. 54-55, lists a number of loanwords in Nama, including at least two which it compares to German terms: "audos - motor, vgl. Auto" and "komi-i - rubber, vgl. Gummi". - -sche (discuss) 17:20, 31 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)

Good point however, it seems more likely that there were different versions of the verb than a single one. Proto-Germanic "ē" wouldn't give Old English "ā"; Old High German has two forms gān and gēn, the former would have come from *gēną (to go) the latter I don't know. As far as I know, Old English "ā" comes from Proto-Germanic "ai" but that couldn't be the original stem-vowel since "ai" doesn't give Old High German "ē" nor Old High German "ā". A Proto-Germanic "ā” seems more credible as the source of Old English "ā".
The verb is irregular, As far as I can deduce, it’s a combination of the root *gē- plus the verbal suffix *-āną. 𐌷𐌻𐌿𐌳𐌰𐍅𐌹𐌲𐍃 𐌰𐌻𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐌹𐌲𐌲𐍃 (talk) 03:47, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
Okay thank you ! Leasnam (talk) 02:16, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
@Holodwig21, Leasnam A separate issue I'd like to bring up is the identity of the past tense forms - the daughter languages disagree vehemently about this one. Old English and Gothic preserve *ijj- while virtually everyone else uses *geng-. How did *geng- spread? mellohi! (僕の乖離) 23:10, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
I'm no expert on this, but I always understood it to be suppletion from the past forms of *ganganą (to step, pace, walk, go). Why this occurred is a mystery to me at this point. I will have to research it... Leasnam (talk) 23:28, 23 August 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)
Is an etymology in *bhh2-ro-s too far-fetched? That would mean that it is of Greek/PIE origin, but it very neatly adds up with the zero grade -ro- triggers. Anatol Rath (talk) 18:44, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Is *bhh2- the same as *bʰeh₂-? Interestingly, Φάρος is feminine, but φάρος is masculine. Why? what does that mean? Questions to which answers would help to interpret the situation: (1) Was the name Φάρος for the island already in use before the lighthouse was built? (2) can the common noun φάρος be attested before the lighthouse was built? (3) Is there any source next to Strabo suggesting an indigenous name for the island meaning something like “the Guard”?  --Lambiam 21:54, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
The word is attested as a name for an island near Egypt well before the lighthouse existed; it’s mentioned in the Odyssey IV.355 as well as Euripides’s Helen. This would perhaps pull the rug out from under the suggested etymologies involving ‘light’, ‘shine’, and such.
I haven’t been able to find any mention of it whatsoever in Egyptian-language sources; the Trismegistos database doesn’t have any Egyptian-language attestations either. This is perhaps not too surprising given the sparse attestation of Alexandria in general in Egyptian-language sources (Tallet and Zivie-Coche 2012, “Imported Cults”, notes that »geographical lists from Egyptian temples deliberately ignore Rhakotis-Alexandria«). — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 04:22, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
We do not know the etymology of Φάρος, and we do not know the etymology of φάρος. We also do not know if these unknown etymologies are related, and if so how. What appears to be certain is that the island name Φάρος does not derive from a common noun φάρος. Also, as the island name apparently predates Hellenistic times by many centuries, it is very likely the Greek rendering of its Egyptian name. This is consistent with Jablonski’s theory. As to φάρος then, one possibility is that the common noun is unrelated to the proper noun, and that the echo in ὁ φάρος τῆς νήσου τῆς Φάρου is purely coincidental. In that case the noun φάρος has to predate the construction of the Alexandria lighthouse, and is perhaps derived from the PIE root *bʰeh₂-, as suggested above, just like φᾱνός (phānós). Here, the issue of the earliest attestations of φάρος becomes impelling. Finally, the common noun could derive from the proper noun, perhaps as an alteration of φᾱνός (phānós), which could explain the masculine gender. (Note that, while the island name is feminine, it is Φάρος τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας). This final theory will be decisively killed by any attestations of the common noun earlier than 280 BCE.  --Lambiam 08:22, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Shouldn’t φάρος (pháros) in the sense “lighthouse” also be listed under the L2 “Ancient Greek”?  --Lambiam 13:40, 24 July 2019 (UTC)


Where does the /au/ in τραῦμα hail from? Anatol Rath (talk) 19:01, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

Could the form have been influenced by θαῦμα? Just like τραῦμα has an Ionic form τρῶμα, so does θαῦμα have an Ionic form θῶμα.  --Lambiam 08:35, 25 July 2019 (UTC)


I think it is almost indisputable that Kugel should come from PGM Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/kōkilaz from *kōkô (from PIE *gōg- (ball-shaped object)) + -*ilaz (diminutive suffix), the k>x avoided by dialectal differences or the like. What do you think? Anatol Rath (talk) 19:01, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

The only concern I would have with this theory would be the semantics: MHG kugel meant "ball" not "little cake", which is specifically what *kōkilaz denoted (< *kōkô "cake"; not "round object, ball, etc.). It's not customary for something meaning "little cake" to then become generalised to mean "anything round, ball". The reverse, however, is a different story Leasnam (talk) 00:12, 12 August 2019 (UTC)


{Pinging Anylai) Two etymologies are given for the Turkish verb atmak. Is there a sufficient reason to think that their etymologies are not simply the same (to wit, the first of the two)?  --Lambiam 10:16, 25 July 2019 (UTC)

Of course not. Splitting the etymology into two is authored by the EDAL with the only purpose of supporting two different "Altaic" etymons. Ketiga123 (talk) 11:01, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Hi, "Altaic etymology" beside; the main reason behind separating the two is the word adım (step) showing t-->d shift which is indication of a long wovel in the deriving root. Please see "oghuz voicing" on this topic. The root also seems to be connected to atla- (to jump, hop) which should be the frequentative form. --Anylai (talk) 08:29, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
I think that atla- comes from at (horse) + -la/-le, a bound morpheme for turning nouns into verb stems. I still see no reason to assume that the verb atmak in adım atmak has another etymon than that in atık atmak.  --Lambiam 15:11, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
The horse proposal is very weak. it doesnt make sense, doesnt explain voicing in adım and neither it explains long wovels in Turkmen. Evidence points to *āt- (to press, step) --Anylai (talk) 16:06, 8 August 2019 (UTC)
The horse explanation only pertains to the etymology of the verb atlamak, so it need not explain anything related to the unrelated verb atmak.  --Lambiam 19:33, 8 August 2019 (UTC)

xanthochroic & XanthochroiEdit

These cannot be both right. The root of χρώς is χρωτ-, which the autodidact Huxley, who taught himself enough Greek to read Aristotle in the original Greek, would have known. It is not done to abuse a Greek root by such amputation of a vital phoneme like the final τ, so for that reason alone I am already inclined to think the second etymology is wrong. Properly accented, ωχρος becomes ὠχρός, “pale, wan (of complexion)”, while ξανθός is mainly applied to hair colour. So with the first etymology we get something like “blond hair, pale complexion” (rather than the “yellow skin” of the second etymology, which seems an unlikely choice for giving a name to the Nordic race).  --Lambiam 13:46, 29 July 2019 (UTC)

I know nothing about etymology, but if it is of any interest: in greek formal academic taxonomy-terms, ξανθόχρους is frequent, as many -χρους adjectives, of uncontracted ξανθόχροος; also ξανθόχρως. In colloquial greek the -χρους became -χρωμος and the taxonomic name became ξανθόχρωμος (blond colour), as in ξανθόχρωμη φυλή (tribe) of oxen. sarri.greek (talk) 19:36, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. Applying the usual Latinization to the masculine plural ξανθόχροοι – a form seen used here in a medical text as characterizing chaundice – results in xanthochroi. It still seems a strange description for the boreal White Walkers.  --Lambiam 23:48, 30 July 2019 (UTC)

â for TurkishEdit

Question: does the w:Turkish alphabet have an â with circumflex? Or the transliteration of the w:Ottoman Turkish alphabet? tr.wiktionary does have an â for Ottoman Turkish as in tr:halâ. Then, is lemma hâlâ Turkish or Ottoman Turkish? sarri.greek (talk) 19:36, 29 July 2019 (UTC)

Turkish alphabet does have â. Ottoman long a:s in borrowed Arabic words are usually transliterated as ā in Western literature. hâlâ is a Turkish lemma, we don't lemmatize Ottoman using Latin script. Ketiga123 (talk) 20:47, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
It is used to show that the consonant before it is irregularly palatalized. kâğıt, şikâyet, perukâr. This distinction was noted in the Ottoman alphabet by writing ك‎ instead of ق‎, so پروكار(perukâr) but پروقه(peruka). This meaning of the circumflex is also why one should not just use the circumflexes everywhere to transcribe matres lectionis in the script. Fay Freak (talk) 21:27, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
They are not considered different letters of the alphabet (unlike e.g. o and ö). They are both instances of an a, one of which goes hatless while the other dons a hat. The circumflex diacritic is used for two different and unrelated purposes: indicating palatization (only for the a) and indicating lengthening of a vowel (only used with a, i and u). TDK writes hâlâ (for the adverb meaning “still”); both a’s are long and the l is palatalized, so the second a deserves two hats.  --Lambiam 23:18, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you all, @Ketiga123, Fay Freak, Lambiam, for explaining. I thought it was just a 'reading aid' and I was astonished to see them lemmatized. I do not know what the printing practice is in Turkey today. I was thinking of redirecting them to the lemma without the diacritics, and discuss the circonflex there. But of course, if tr.wiktionary has them, it is ok. Teşekkürler sarri.greek (talk) 17:33, 2 August 2019 (UTC)


Kingdom of Benin and Benin give detailed accounts of the etymology of Benin; however, neither cite any references, and both differ from the etymology postulated here: “Benin” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.. I think the Wikipedia etymologies are correct, with Benin deriving from Yoruba rather than Arabic.

So we need a more verifiable or authoritative source for this. —Piparsveinn (talk) 20:33, 30 July 2019 (UTC)


Botswana does original research to conclude that the etymological origins of Botswana are uncertain. Can we get a published source which arrives at the same conclusion for reference? —Piparsveinn (talk) 20:57, 30 July 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia gives a straightforward etymology: "The country's name means "land of the tswana", referring to the dominant ethnic group in Botswana." Where does it conclude that the etymology is uncertain? DTLHS (talk) 21:10, 30 July 2019 (UTC)

کم and kaumEdit

I don't have my hopes up but I was wondering if Persian کم (kam, "few, little, small, scarce") could be related to German kaum ("barely, hardly, little"). The Persian goes back to PIE [1] and the German goes back to at least Proto-Germanic *kūma- (pitiful, dear) according to our entry but I can't find an entry (here or elsewhere) for either. ─ ReconditeRodent « talk · contribs » 16:06, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

  1. ^ kamma, quômn or sqombh-no. Nourai, Ali (2011) An Etymological Dictionary of Persian, English and other Indo-European Languages, page 208, citing Alois Walde, Vergleichendes Wörterbuch der indogermanischen Sprachen, p. 601, and Stuart E. Mann, An Indo-European Comparative Dictionary, p. 1044. It also mentions Roland Grubb Kent, Old Persian: Grammar, Texts, Lexicon, p. 179.
@ReconditeRodent: Grimm's law makes a connection unlikely, unless the Proto-Germanic is a post-Grimm loanword from some other Indo-European language (which happens; see *paþaz). —Mahāgaja · talk 15:14, 5 August 2019 (UTC)

August 2019


RFV of the etymology: From Tibetan. Wyang (talk) 04:45, 4 August 2019 (UTC)

Old Irish olannEdit

Are we sure this come from PIE *h₂wĺ̥h₁neh₂? Not only do we have o- instead of expect f-, but the DIL lists oland as a variant. RubixLang (talk) 15:45, 4 August 2019 (UTC)

I think the real question is whether this comes from Proto-Celtic *wlanā. The latter looks fine as a descendant of Proto-Indo-European *h₂wĺ̥h₁neh₂ as far as my limited knowledge of Celtic historical linguistics goes. There are processes that could explain the "d", but I don't know if they're relevant in this context. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:20, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
@RubixLang, Chuck Entz: The nd is irrelevant; /n͈d͈/ fell together with /n͈/ during Old Irish, so both spellings can be used for both etymological forms. The fact that the /n͈/ is fortis rather than lenis is phonologically regular; there is a dissimilation rule turning a lenis sonorant (l, n, r) into a fortis (ll, nn, rr) after an unstressed vowel that is preceded by another lenis sonorant. (Another example is Éireann.) What is indeed unexpected is the o for w; the word seems to come from a Proto-Celtic *ulanā instead of Proto-Celtic *wlanā. It may have been some sort of sandhi variant. —Mahāgaja · talk 15:10, 5 August 2019 (UTC)

Sanskrit द्वारEdit

Is there any established explanation why the aspiration of Proto-Indo-European *dʰwer- was lost in Indo-Aryan? In other words, why isn't the Sanskrit word ध्वार (dhvāra)? —Mahāgaja · talk 15:03, 5 August 2019 (UTC)

Many Prehistoric RootsEdit

Please comment below if you feel this is correct.


Could Gothic -𐌿 come from Proto-indo-European *-wē,*-we? If we apply sound laws, it would give us Proto-Germanic *-u through the loss of final e; that in turn would explain the Gothic suffix. 𐌷𐌻𐌿𐌳𐌰𐍅𐌹𐌲𐍃 𐌰𐌻𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐌹𐌲𐌲𐍃 (talk) 22:31, 5 August 2019 (UTC)


RFV of the glyph origin: 言 + 党. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 14:24, 8 August 2019 (UTC)

Almost all of the 內政部戶政用字 (characters used for registry of names) in CNS 11643 have Mandarin readings that are phonosemantically derived in such a way, e.g. + (dǎng) → 𧫆 (dǎng)
(dǎng) itself is attested in 宋元以來俗字譜 (1930) as a variant form of (dǎng), and is also part of the non-Han surname 党項党项 (Dǎngxiàng, “Tangut”).
Perhaps I shouldn't add glyph origins to every Chinese character that I encounter, especially characters that are found only in 內政部戶政用字? KevinUp (talk) 19:24, 8 August 2019 (UTC)
@KevinUp: The problem is that 𧫆 might be a variant of (but of course we don't have much proof as of now). I think it's best to leave it out for now if you don't have actual proof of it. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 23:21, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
Okay, I've removed the glyph origin. Although we don't have proof of 𧫆 as a variant form, two other characters, and 𫽮 with the same component are attested as variant forms of and respectively. KevinUp (talk) 10:20, 13 August 2019 (UTC)


The current etymology links it to Tibetan བོད (bod) via Persian تبت‎ (the Persian entry does not itself have an etymology) and has no references for this. Previously the etymology was linked to Turkish Turkic via Arabic as can be seen in this discussion here Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2016/April#Tibet. The previous etymology seems to be have been directly copied from the Wikipedia article Tibet#Etymology which has a single ref to a Brill journal.

The Arabic origin can be seen in other sources as well, such as Etymonline[1] which links it to Tibetan Bod with an unknown ultimate origin; the Arabic origin is also found in The Concise Dictionary of World Place Names which says "The name Tibet may be derived from Thubet, a 5th-century Mongolian prince or taken from the Arab name Tubbat." but does not provide a further etymology.[2]

The Brill ref mentioned above states this in the text (from the limited preview in Google Books)[3]:

Chapter 3 (“Tibetan in Context", pp. 7-38) presents a very carefully written introduction to the linguistic and historio-sociological context of the Tibetan language. The Chinese 'exonym' (to use J.A. Matisoff's terminology) for the Tibetans, Fan/Bo < (Pulleyblank's) Early Middle Chinese *buan < (Schüssler's) Old Chinese *pjan, which is written with four different characters in the compound Tu1-2fan/bo1-4 (EMC Thh-buan < OC *Tha?-pjan, 'Tibet') in Chinese sources, is hesitatingly linked up by Beyer with Old Tibetan bon ("shamanic religion", p. 7, n. 1 and pp. 16-17) and said to mean "barbarian" in Chinese. The variation in the selection of characters used to write this compund (on which see H. Giles, "The Character fan1 or fan4, in: China Review 7, 1878 and V. Mair, "Tufan and Tulufan: The Origins of the Old Chinese Names for Tibet and Turfan", in: Central and Inner Asian Journal 4, 1991) suggests that Tu1-2fan/bo1-4 was a purely phonetic transcription of an underlying *Töpün, which has been convincingly argued by Bazin and Hamilton ("L'origine du nom Tibet", in: E. Steinkellner [ed.], Tibetan history and language, Festschrift Uray Géza, Wien 1991) to be a reflex of Old Turkish töpä/töpü 'peak', 'height'. This word would have reached the Chinese by interference of the Tuyuhun or 'White Falcons', apparently an 'Altaic’ speaking tribe known to have dwelt between China proper and Tibet since at least the 4th century A.D. The final -t evidenced by later Chinese and Sogdian transcriptions []

So can someone verify if the ultimate origin is Tibetan or Turkish Turkic. The intermediator seems to be Arabic rather than Persian. Also see the entry at the French Wiktionary fr:Tibet.

On a related note, we also have तिब्बत (tibbat) in Hindi which provides an etymology from Sanskrit त्रिभोट (tribhoṭa) which seems to be sourced from the Hindi Shabdasagara.[4] But I cannot find त्रिभोट in Sanskrit Dicts and the Hindi word looks to be pretty close to the English one. Maybe @AryamanA can help here. —This unsigned comment was added by Gotitbro (talkcontribs) at 04:40, August 10, 2019 (UTC).

'Tibet' in Old Turkic is usually transcribed as tüpüt while the 'top' word is töpü, but this word is not found outside of Old Turkic and Middle Turkic as far as Räsänen knows, and these don't generally differentiate between ü and ö (unless the word is attested in Brahmi, which I have no way of checking), and the word in Mongolian is Төвд (Tövd) so maybe töpüt could be a possible rendering.
I'm not familiar with any cases of a common noun + -t forming an ethnonym, but I haven't done any research on this and -t does exist as a formant in some Turkic ethnonyms (it also occurs more generally as a plural suffix in Mongolic).
The word is found in Sogdian as [Term?] (twp'yt), so maybe it could be one of the links in the chain of transmission.
Ultimately, the Turks, as far as we can tell, had no significant early contact with the Tibetans, so I doubt they would have a native name for them, my personal low confidence guess is tö- is some sort of prefix or compounded word from an unattested intermediary and -püt derives from བོད (bod). Crom daba (talk) 22:11, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

  1. ^ Tibet” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.
  2. ^ John Everett-Heath (7 December 2017) The Concise Dictionary of World Place Names[1], OUP Oxford, →ISBN, pages 1477–
  3. ^ R. Sellheim (1 December 1994) Oriens , Volume 34 Volume 34[2], BRILL, →ISBN, pages 558–
  4. ^ Syamasundara Dasa (1965–1975), “तिब्बत”, in Hindi Sabdasagara [Comprehensive Hindi Dictionary] (in Hindi), Kashi [Varanasi]: Nagari Pracarini Sabha.

We use the language name “Turkish” for modern Turkish. Maybe the name goes back on some Turkic language.  --Lambiam 12:29, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
Oh, I meant Turkic only which can also be seen in the previous discussion (the Brill text mentions "Old Turkish" though, maybe just an older terminology). Thanks for pointing out; edited. Gotitbro (talk) 19:39, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
The current Hindi etymology makes no sense phonologically (Sanskrit tribhoṭa should give Hindi ti(b)h(o/u)ṭ or something). If anything, it's probably a nativized borrowing from English. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 23:00, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
I think the main sticking point is the part about "Turkish" people reaching Tibet in the Old Chinese period. Pan-Turkists will tell you that the Turks were everywhere from the beginning of time and that this has been covered up by everyone else for nefarious reasons. This is usually justified by an isolated word or name here or there that superficially resembles a Turkic form, as well as the assumption that being agglutinative means that a language is related to Turkish somehow. The main people pushing this etymology both here and at Wikipedia were, by all indications, Pan-Turkists. That's not to say the Pan-Turkists are always wrong, but their involvement raises red flags.
At any rate, I found the Festschrift article mentioned in the Oriens article, and I think I can piece together the following (found by searching for Turk) from snippets (using the search inscriptions "runiformes"):
(first snippet)
twpyt comme nom du Tibet. 7 De plus, le médicin grec du XIe siècle, Syméon, fils
de Seth, aurait Τουπάτα ou Τουπάτ comme le nom du pays d'òu vient le
musc. 8 Or, toutes ces différentes formes du nom Tibet en sogdien, en pehlevi,
et en grec peuvent se ramener à un prototype *Topet.
Remontant toujours plus haut dans le temps, dans les inscriptions turques
(second snippet)
runiformes de la première moitié du VIIIe siècle, on trouve le Tibet désignée en
turc ancienne sous le forme Töpüt. 9 Or, entre la forme turque runiforme que nous
lisons Töpüt, et la forme sogdienne, pehlevie, ou grecque que nous lisons *Topet,
existe une difference sensible, à savoir la presence a la deuxième syllabe d'une
voyelle labiale -ü- dans le premier cas et d'une voyelle plus ouvert -e- ou -ä- dans []

Perhaps someone with a better French vocabulary can find something more relevant than this chunk of the second and third pages of the article Chuck Entz (talk) 02:52, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

I am fairly sure these two snippets connect without gap; the p.10 snippet contains the last line of the running text on the page – it is followed by a continued footnote – and the connection is grammatically perfect and semantically seamless. I have been able to extract some material preceding the first snippet; combining this all results in:
... normale en arabe d’une forme telle que twp’yt en écriture sogdienne, que nous lisons *Topet et qui figure comme nom de Tibet au début de la l. 19 de la version sogdienne de l’inscription trilingue de Qara-Balgasun datant de la deuxième décennie du IXe siecle.5 En effet, à la voyelle labiale -w- de twp’yt correspond la première voyelle labiale -u- de la forme arabe, à la consonne labiale sourde -p- de twp’yt, qui manque en arabe, correspond la consonne labiale sonore renforcée -bb- de Tubbat, tandis que la voyelle semi-ouverte et moyennement antérieure du genre de -e- ou -ä- qu’ont dû noter les deus lettres sogdiennes ’y de twp’yt, mais qui fit également défaut à l’arabe, est rendue dans la syllabe finale de Tubbat par la voyelle ouverte -a-. La forme twp’(’)yt du nom du Tibet figure également dans l’inscription sogdienne du Ladakh datant de l’an 841-842.6 Par ailleurs, dans un texte pehlevi, rédigé probablement aux alentours du IXe siècle, figure la forme twpyt comme nom du Tibet.7 De plus, le médicin grec du XIe siècle, Syméon, fils de Seth, aurait Τουπάτα ou Τουπάτ comme le nom du pays d'òu vient le musc.8 Or, toutes ces différentes formes du nom Tibet en sogdien, en pehlevi, et en grec peuvent se ramener à un prototype *Topet.
     Remontant toujours plus haut dans le temps, dans les inscriptions turques runiformes de la première moitié du VIIIe siècle, on trouve le Tibet désignée en turc ancienne sous le forme Töpüt.9 Or, entre la forme turque runiforme que nous lisons Töpüt, et la forme sogdienne, pehlevie, ou grecque que nous lisons *Topet, existe une difference sensible, à savoir la presence a la deuxième syllabe d'une voyelle labiale -ü- dans le premier cas et d'une voyelle plus ouvert -e- ou -ä- dans le second. ...
This is the continued footnote referred to above, plus part of the next one:
Tibet noté tbt dans l'édition, Paris 1836-1840, par A. Jaubert de la Géographie d'Édrisi, tome I, pp. 490-493 et 498, tome II, pp. 221 et 350. Pour les formes tbbt et tubbat voir l'édition par V. Minorsky de Hudûd al-'Ālam, pp. 92-93, ainsi que son édition de Sharaf al-Zamān Tāhir Marvazī on China, the Turks and India, §42, pp. 27-28 et *16-*17.
     5 A la différence d'Olaf Hansen, qui, dans la première édition de cette inscription, a lu ici à la l. 19 twp’wtā’ny “tibétain” (cf. Olaf Hansen, «Zur soghdischen Inschrift auf dem dreisprachigen Denkmal von Karabalgasun», Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne, XLIV/3, Helsinki 1930, pp. 20 et 34). ...
It is a pity we don’t see more of the discourse concerning the notable difference of the Turkic labial vowel -ü- and the more open -e- or -ä-.  --Lambiam 05:12, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
This (second) vowel might as well have been -ö-, this would be supported by the lack of raising in Ordos /tʰɵwɵt/. Crom daba (talk) 15:46, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
I have managed to extract another piece from p.13:
(ainsi, tarqa ~ tarqan ~ tarqat; *tegi ~ tegin ~ tegit). C’est précisement cette alternance que nous retrouvons dans les formes töpä “sommet” ~ *Töpän ~ *Töpät “Tibet”. Cette même alternance étant, comme on l'a vu, classique en mongol (mori ~ morin “cheval” ~ morit “chevaux”, etc.), et le sens de töpä “sommet, hauteur” convenant bien pour désigner le “toit du monde”, région des hauteurs par excellence, nous proposons d'attribuer à ces noms du Tibet (donc à leurs successeurs arabo-persans, puis occidentaux) une étymologie turque ou turco-mongole.
    Notre proposition entre donc en contradiction avec les étymologies généralement proposées à partir du tibétain Bod, nom indigène du pays, alternant parfois avec Bon, nom indigène de la religion, et complété parfois par d’autres mots ...
The crucial piece is where the authors write: “we propose to attribute a Turkic or Turco-Mongolian etymology to these names of Tibet (and thus to their Arabo-Persian and next Western successors).” Even with only the snippets we see, this contribution to the festschrift is a serious study (and Wolfgang Behr, in the book review of The Classical Tibetan Language cited above by the OP, writes that in this study the authors have ”convincingly argued” that the Old Chinese name for Tibet comes from *Töpün (and so has an apparently Turkic or Turco-Mongolic origin)). While nothing in etymology going back this far is ever certain, this is a theory that should definitely be mentioned as a serious possibility (with an appropriate reference to “L'origine du nom Tibet”). Based on what I see, I do not fully understand, though, why this could not indicate just a Mongolic origin (without a “Turco-” component).  --Lambiam 23:17, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
The etymology is based on a Turkic word and Mongolic alternation, thus "Turco-Mongolian".
The Turks and the Chinese might as well have received the word from the Tuyuhun, who spoke a para-Mongolic language (I know nothing about this language since I still, after two years, have no access to Shimunek's Languages of Ancient Southern Mongolia and North China), but we don't have a code for this language and we have no grouping for Para-Mongolic or Macro-Mongolic or however you'd call it. Crom daba (talk) 22:13, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

La Henricus > Pro-Gem HaimarīksEdit

Did the Latin term Henricus really derive directly from Proto-Germanic *Haimarīks as suggested by the Proto-Germanic entry? To me it seems that most words from Proto-Germanic to Latin go via Frankish and I was wondering if that was the case here too.Jonteemil (talk) 16:57, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

Based on the loss of medial -a- in the Latin name, and e in place of ai, I would reckon that an intermediary Frankish or Old High German step is probably involved somewhere. Determining which of the two it is may be problematic, and perhaps showing that it ultimately comes from PGmc is easiest. Leasnam (talk) 20:58, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
Okay, thanks!Jonteemil (talk) 12:14, 12 August 2019 (UTC)


What does singular mean in this sentence from the etymology: "Attestations are singular, but found in the name of the species Culicoides odiatus? DCDuring (talk) 23:34, 11 August 2019 (UTC)


RFV of etymology 4: from Proto-Tai *ʰmaːᴬ (“to come”). ma is the expected reflex of the Proto-Tai word. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 23:19, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

Cf. Pittayaporn (2009): pp. 582, ma:A2 -i for Lungchow; Gedney (2008): pp. 89, CN - LP, LM, WN, LC, PS, NM maa4; Li (1977): pp. 72, Lungchow maaA2. Wyang (talk) 10:50, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
@Wyang: Thanks! In the note for 582 in Pittayaporn (2009), it says "SWT and CT dialects point to earlier voiceless onset", but shouldn't it be "voiced onset"? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 21:25, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that is a typo. Wyang (talk) 07:29, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
@Wyang: Great, thanks! BTW, do you know what "-i" in some of the words listed in Pittayaporn (2009) mean? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 22:39, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
-i = initial, I'd imagine. Wyang (talk) 01:53, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

خَنْدَق (ḵandaq) and Greek borrowingsEdit

The entry خَنْدَق(ḵandaq) lists χάνδαξ (khándax) in the descendants as a Koine Greek word, but I suspect it is a later borrowing into Byzantine Greek. --Z 06:38, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

@Erutuon, Mahagaja — We have the code grc-koi for Koine Greek, but Module:grc:Dialects has no code for Byzantine Greek – which in my opinion is an omission.  --Lambiam 09:21, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
@ZxxZxxZ, Lambiam: the code for Byzantine Greek is gkm. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:03, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
Is this documented somewhere? It is not an ISO 639-3 language code, and “Byzantine Greek” or “Medieval Greek” is not listed in Wiktionary:Languages and Wiktionary:List of languages. They are mentioned in Wiktionary:About Greek and Wiktionary:About Ancient Greek, but without reference to any code. Our entry for Byzantine Greek specifically mentions ISO 639-3 code grc as its code.  --Lambiam 14:23, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Like grc-koi, gkm is an etymology language code found in Module:etymology languages/data, and only full languages from the submodules of Module:languages are listed in Wiktionary:List of languages. — Eru·tuon 16:41, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
So it is hidden in a place where one would not look. Shouldn’t this be mentioned at least in Wiktionary:About Greek and Wiktionary:About Ancient Greek? The etymology-only code hbo is mentioned in Wiktionary:About Hebrew.  --Lambiam 17:07, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
Well, so are the other etymology-only codes, like grc-koi. But I agree it isn't helpful. — Eru·tuon 17:15, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
Added a section to Wiktionary:About Ancient Greek listing Ancient Greek's etymology language codes. — Eru·tuon 17:50, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Added a label for Byzantine Greek to Module:grc:Dialects. It looks like we've gotten by without it because there just haven't been many Byzantine forms in alternative forms sections. "Byzantine" or "Medieval" are only used in labels in εἰμί (eimí) and παραγίγνομαι (paragígnomai). — Eru·tuon 17:14, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Zaphnath-Paaneah / צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵחַEdit

In addition to Steindorff's proposed reconstruction, I think two folk etymologies are notable enough to be mentioned.

1. the Jewish etymology (derived from Hebrew), "revealer of mysteries". I don't know how this etymology is derived, but the first part of the name is probably somehow related to צָפַן "to hide". This etymology is used in the targums and in Josephus.

2. the Christian etymology (derived from Coptic), "the savior of the world", in which the name's Greek transcription is retranscribed into Coptic as ⲡⲥⲟⲧⲙⲫⲉⲛⲉϩ, which is taken as Coptic ⲡ- "the" + ⲥⲟⲧ (probably some variant of ⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣ "savior") + ⲙ- "of" + ⲫ- "the" + ⲉⲛⲉϩ "eternity" or "age" (taking Coptic ⲉⲛⲉϩ "age" as synonymous with Greek αἰών "age" or "world" / Hebrew עוֹלָם "age" or "world" / Latin saeculum "age" or "world", which is then reinterpretted as Latin mundus "world"). This etymology is used in the Vulgate.

2601:49:8400:FB40:6DCF:CF9D:53D9:D7A8 15:15, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

See also Zaphnath-Paaneah on Wikipedia.  --Lambiam 19:34, 15 August 2019 (UTC)


Just to highlight this one, for which five very different senses are given, all of which supposedly having the single etymology of melon + -ic.

The etymology is correct for "melon-like" but definitely not for "Alternative form of melanic", where "melonic" is a homophone in some accents. This makes the applicability of the etymology to the other three senses questionable.

Can anyone track these down and split the entry up by etymology? — Paul G (talk) 05:45, 16 August 2019 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology (not originally tagged by myself), with the given comment "Sounds very dubious. Sources?". — surjection?〉 13:39, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

“Bequé” does exist as a surname, but “Equé” would be a quite unusual Christian name. In an essay “A Deeper Level of Diversity” (pdf) Tricia Callender calls this etymology “Bajan lore”; we can report it as such. Callender is quoted in the book English, But Not Quite.  --Lambiam 23:21, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

ἄελλα vs. awelEdit

Recently, I discussed a Hesychius gloss αυεουλλαι as part of the Sappho work on my blog, and wondered about the etymology of ἄελλα. This appears to come from the root *h₂weh₁- which gives ἄημι and more. However, the two lambdas are unexplained. I StackExchanged my idea of an etymology, and was told combining that root with *welH- wasn't a thing PIE did, and besides a *h₂weh₁-welH would give ἀϝηϝελ-, not the ἀϝέϝελλ(α) I wanted. It seems there is some root ἀϝελ- which, combined with a -ϳα, would give ἄϝελϳα>ἄελλα. This would point to a relation with awel, which would be a Celtic cognate. However, I can only go as far back as Proto-Celtic *awelā here on Wiktionary in the etymology of awel, and that is neither given further etymology, nor listed as a derivative of *h₂weh₁-. So:

  1. Are these two related?
  2. Where does PC *awelā come from? Is *h₂weh₁- in the picture?
  3. The answer at Stack Exchange gives a picture of a dictionary which suggests there should be a root *h₂w-, which would give *h₂weh₁- via addition of -eh₁, and then *h₂w-el, whence ἄελλα (and I assume awel?), and then another root *h₂ew- (e-grade of *h₂w-?) whence αὔρα. What gives?

BTW it might be time to create an entry for ἄελλα.

MGorrone (talk) 14:51, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

@MGorrone Acording to Matasović, Proto-Celtic *awelā (breeze, wind) is cognate with Ancient Greek ἄελλα (áella, stormwind); coming from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ewh₁. I don't know much about Ancient Greek sound laws but a deriviation from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ewh₁-el- or *h₂wh₁-el- would give Ancient Greek αελ- (ael-) both because in the first case, the laryngeal turns the "e" into "a", in the second the laryngeal "h₂" becomes "a". Someone with a greater knowledge of Ancient Greek may be able to explain with more certainty, stil hope that helped. 𐌷𐌻𐌿𐌳𐌰𐍅𐌹𐌲𐍃 𐌰𐌻𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐌹𐌲𐌲𐍃 (talk) 16:42, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
I’ve given ἄελλα (áella) a shot. Please check.  --Lambiam 22:56, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

Proper etymology for barbequeEdit

Moved here from Wiktionary:Tea room/2019/August#Proper etymology for barbeque.  --Lambiam 17:43, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
The etymology for barbeque should say something like "from barbecue with spelling altered by comparison with BBQ. Danielklein (talk) 12:35, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Google Ngrams viewer suggests that “barbeque” took off before “BBQ”.  --Lambiam 13:50, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
Google Ngrams is from books. It doesn't cover popular usage. BBQ would have been used informally for a long time before being printed in a book. Anyway, the data looks a bit suspect because BBQ became hugely popular exactly during World War II and dropped back to its previous usage immediately afterwards. That seems very unlikely. No matter how you look at it, the current etymology is very poor and needs to be improved. Danielklein (talk) 14:04, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
If you throw “barbecue” into the mix, it does not look as if BBQ temporarily became hugely popular during World War II.  --Lambiam 18:04, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

poisoned chaliceEdit

Is the origin of this phrase from Macbeth, or is there an earlier usage?

If Oxford Reference writes, “the phrase is found originally in Shakespeare's Macbeth”, it is pretty unlikely we would know of an earlier use that has thus far somehow managed to escape the attention of Shakespeare scholars.  --Lambiam 19:40, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Apparently the metaphor can be found in fifth-century Latin writings of Benedict of Nursia, and is memorialized on the Saint Benedict Medal. But it does not appear there as a noun phrase. DCDuring (talk) 23:51, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Actually not in the writings of Benedict himself but in the writings of Pope Gregory I about the life of Saint Benedict. Also, in the narrative, it is not a metaphor but meant to be understood literally. In an English translation: “the glass which contained the empoisoned drink”.  --Lambiam 10:06, 22 August 2019 (UTC)


Merriam-Webster has quite a different etymology for this word than we have:

"Middle English dasshen, probably from Middle French dachier to impel forward"

Now I have very little respect for Merriam-Webster, personally, but their proposed etymology for dash makes me wonder if the reason why dash has so many different meanings (in the way that it does) is potentially due to a historical conflation of different words. Could the swiftness-related sense be from this Middle French "dachier" (a word that I am not familiar with), whereas the strike-related sense is from where we say that it comes from? Tharthan (talk) 06:10, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

No verb (or any lemma) dachier in the online Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330-1500).  --Lambiam 07:30, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
I wonder what they are talking about then. Is there any other Middle French verb that they may be thinking of? Tharthan (talk) 18:58, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
No idea. There is an Old French adjective dachier, found often in the combination branc dachier, that seems to mean something like “made of steel”.  --Lambiam 09:53, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
I take it you haven't checked Godefroy, which covers part of the Middle French period. The definition isn't a perfect fit, but it seems relevant. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:48, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
I suppose MW's use of impel here signifies "propel" (lancer), which would basically mean to throw or hurl and not to drive (move swiftly) or rush. The main issue I see with this is that the Middle English verb is attested since 1330, however the Middle French dachier doesn't appear till 1619...that's much later. It would almost seem like the French word is borrowed from the English Leasnam (talk) 04:14, 24 August 2019 (UTC)


The etymology here is clear, but not typically formatted according to (high?) Wiktionary standards. --Mélange a trois (talk) 21:56, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

Resolved; properly formatted by Fay Freak.  --Lambiam 09:36, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Afrikaans grafEdit

Afrikaans graf is said to derive from Dutch graf, but the plural grafte suggests derivation from the obsolete chiefly Hollandic variant graft instead. It is not a clincher, but this sentence from Van Riebeeck indicates the presence of graft in early South African Dutch: Wij vonden oock alhier bij de vellen een weynigh van haer gereedtschap van hoepen, 3 à 4 lege vaetjens, met een graft, daer een cruys op stont met eenige stucken van botteljes, somma het scheen al frans gedoen te sijn. [3] ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:14, 23 August 2019 (UTC)

If all this is not a clicher, do you think it possible that Afrikaans graf and grafte have different etymologies, one a descendant of Dutch graf, the other of Dutch graften?  --Lambiam 09:58, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
Well, essentially yes. It is quite possible that the actual etymology was very messy, with both graf/graven and graft/graften occurring in the lexicon during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Graaf/grawe is given as "spade, shovel" in word lists from the late 19th century. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:20, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
Loss of final t after a fricative seems to be a regular process:
 --Lambiam 10:24, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam Yes, it is more or less universal in Afrikaans that t (but not d) is lost in a final cluster of obstruents (except maybe for recent borrowings from languages other than Dutch): konsep, konsepte; kontak, kontakte. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:03, 23 August 2019 (UTC)


finora (so far, until now in Italian) has no etymology. I would have thought it would have come from fino (until) + ora (now)

kaddîska in catEdit

Most sources on the web identify kaddîska 'wildcat' as Berber, specifically Moroccan or even Kabyle, and so did we. Per this edit, Torvalu4 (talkcontribs) changed the article to say that kaddîska is identified as "Barabra", i. e. Nubian, rather than Berber, in Pictet (1859), which seems to be the original source. I'm ready to believe this is true, also considering that kaddîska doesn't really look like Moroccan or anything Berber from what little I know about the family (I think none of the modern languages has long vowels?), though it would be nice to see the original if only in the form of a direct quotation. It is sure worrying, though, that this word, incorrectly attributed, has been copied from source to source since 1859 with nobody bothering to double-check it, nor trying to find out the precise language kaddîska comes from. Also, this is significant because if kaddîska is actually Nubian just like kadīs, and kadīs is a borrowing from Arabic, and Arabic from Latin, then kaddîska is probably also from Arabic and we can forget about it. (Even if it was Berber, it could be a Latin loanword.) And this puts the nail in the coffin of the "wanderwort from Africa" hypothesis, pretty much, and strengthens the rival hypothesis positing a Northern European origin decisively. At this point, Wikipedia still identifies the word as Kabyle – can anyone with access to Pictet fix that? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:51, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

shinny, shimmyEdit

(This was originally brought up in the Tea room, but Chuck Entz pointed out that this is a question of etymology, which it indeed is, and so I now bring it here.)

I am personally aware of the common conflation/confusion of these terms, and have heard "shimmy" when people meant "shinny". To be honest, I think that I heard "shimmy" used for "shinny" before I heard "shinny" used for "shinny".

Lexico (powered by Oxford) indicates this as well:

(also, see definition 2.1 at :

Might I suggest having a section like this for "shimmy"?: 

Etymology 2

Corruption of "shinny", by misassociation with definition 5 of the previous.

"The previous" being, of course, the actual word "shimmy".

Or were these identical meanings found for both words formed independently? Tharthan (talk) 17:10, 25 August 2019 (UTC)