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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


February 2019


Forgive my ignorance here, but why did Dutch glas become 「ガラス」, whereas English glass became 「グラス」? Does it have to do with the Japanese transliteration process for gairaigo being somewhat different at the time? If so, why did a consonant following a consonant result in a medial /u/ in other cases when borrowed into Japanese, even in those times? Tharthan (talk) 15:43, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

I’ll forgive your ignorance if you’ll forgive mine. 「ガラス」is the odd man out, since /u/ appears to be the norm for a “filler vowel”, except for /o/ after a /t/ or /d/ in the source language. Perhaps the divergent transliteration for the material served to disambiguate from the word for the vessel – a theory that will be busted if 「ガラス」 is older than 「グラス」. For a similar situation, compare 「カラン」 (from Dutch kraan) with 「クラン」 (from English clan).  --Lambiam 02:35, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
Didn't the Dutch make contact with the Japanese before English speakers did? mellohi! (僕の乖離) 10:24 am, Today (UTC−5)
Well, I am almost certain (actually, I only say "almost" in this particular instance to cover myself, just in case) that 「ガラス」 is older than 「グラス」. I say this because the time when Dutch contact first allowed 「ガラス」 to come into Japanese predates direct English contact with Japan. And, from what I understand, 「グラス」 is believed to have been borrowed from English. Tharthan (talk) 18:25, 3 February 2019 (UTC)


What is the etymology of , may I ask? Johnny Shiz (talk) 23:24, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

See here. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:39, 18 February 2019 (UTC)


Is this by any chance a phonetic transcription of the English mongoose? --Corsicanwarrah (talk) 15:04, 5 February 2019 (UTC)

Well, India is a lot closer to China than the US, so a trans-Himalayan borrowing is also a possibility. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:44, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
@Corsicanwarrah, Chuck Entz: That is possible, but it seems to be a relatively recent word, seeing that its use for "mongoose" is not attested in ancient dictionaries such as the Kangxi Dictionary. We'd need more investigation to be sure. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:10, 13 February 2019 (UTC)


Help from a Sinhalese speaker would be welcome at koha (the koel (Eudynamys), a genus of cuckoos from Asia, Australia, and the Pacific with a distinctive loud call). Thanks. — SGconlaw (talk) 19:59, 5 February 2019 (UTC)

@AryamanA has helped with Sinhalese before. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:47, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
@AryamanA, are you able to assist? — SGconlaw (talk) 09:19, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw: Done. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 23:13, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@AryamanA: excellent, thanks! — SGconlaw (talk) 02:00, 1 March 2019 (UTC)


I suspect this word, both in English and Dutch, derives from Russian. Practically all of the early uses relate to the Soviet Union, which had several clinics or other institutes referred to as abortoriums. Does anybody know what the Russian term is? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:08, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

I think it is аборторий (used e.g. on this page).  --Lambiam 13:16, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. That particular spelling seems rare, but абортарий is quite common on Google Books. There are several results for the 1930s, but not anything that clearly sets it apart as earlier than the English or Dutch words. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 15:36, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
The poem I linked to actually contains both spellings, with the spelling абортарий in a long quote from a poem by Joseph Brodsky (“Poet B”).  --Lambiam 04:41, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

Etymology of лишьEdit

I noticed лишь has no etymology. I had a look at the Russian Wiktionary entry and it reads «Происходит от др.-русск. лише «больше, кроме, лишь» (Лаврентьевск. летоп., Ипатьевск, летоп.); ср.: лишо (Аввакум). Первоначально — сравн. степ. ср. р. *лише от лихъ (лихой).Использованы данные словаря М. Фасмера. См. Список литературы.» under Etymology. The first step, I figured out, is Old East Slavic лише «больше (more), кроме (except), лишь (only)». Then we have "степ. ср. р." *лише from лихъ as a comparandum, whatever language that is. Let me finish decrypting this and then I'll be back. Anyway, is this accurate? And can we go from OES to Proto-Slavic and maybe PIE? MGorrone (talk) 11:05, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

«Лаврентьевская летопись, Ипатьевская летопись» in brackets are two chronicles, presumably usage examples of the OES word. MGorrone (talk) 11:08, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

Аввакум is the prophet Habakkuk, presumably a translation of the book was done into OES using the alternate form (?) лишо we are given here as a comparandum. MGorrone (talk) 11:10, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

«Первоначально — сравн. степ. ср. р. *лише от лихъ (лихой)» seems to mean «Originally – cfr. neuter gender *лише from лихъ (лихой)». Then we are told, in a smaller font, that this data is (partly?) from the dictionary by М. Фасмера, and to see the references. MGorrone (talk) 11:18, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

Here’s the relevant entry from Vasmer’s dictionary; it doesn’t really add anything to what you’ve said above. The ESSJa, however, gives much more information under its reconstruction of Proto-Slavic *liše. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 18:15, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

the mother of all etymologiesEdit

Our entry says "something that is the greatest or most significant of its kind" is a calque of Arabic, unrelated to the female parent sense and its extended senses (including "a source or origin"). But at least some other dictionaries like Merriam-Webster cover this sense under the same etymology as the parental sense, and a similar sense exists for other parental words, e.g. google books:"the swirling Devil's Bathtub, the grand-daddy of all potholes", google books:"the grandfather of all recessions", or google books:"the father of all battles". (Hits for the latter phrase suggest it may be influenced by a term/phrase in some African language, the way "the mother of all battles" may be influenced by Arabic, but then the same sense exists in google books:"father of all depressions", and a different word exists in google books:"grandfather of all battles", etc.) Should these senses therefore be handled under the same etymology section as the 'parental' senses, as merely being influenced in some cases by Arabic, etc? - -sche (discuss) 17:35, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

Given that we have the entry mother of all, I do not understand why we should need a separate etymology for the word mother used exclusively in that idiomatic phrase. I don’t see where it says that this is unrelated to the female parent sense and its extended senses, but clearly “a source or origin” does not fit: “the mother of all bombs” does not mean “the source or origin of all bombs”. The meaning is clearly “the most prominent”, which is not readily reducible to the parental sense. It is used in that sense already in the Qur’an in the designation أَمّ القُرَى (ʾUmm al-Qurā) (“Mother of Cities”) for Mecca.  --Lambiam 21:11, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

RFV: shantyEdit

It says it's from French, but wikipedia:Lace curtain and shanty Irish says t'is from Irish seanteach. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 00:47, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

I'm inclined towards the French etymology. Slapped a Citation needed tag for that Irish theory (and if nothing materializes in a few weeks, I will delete it entirely). mellohi! (僕の乖離) 01:12, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
This blog post and a follow-up aim to debunk the Irish theory. An article in the bilingual multi-tome book Lexikologie/Lexicology (subtitled “An international handbook on the nature and structure of words and vocabularies”), presenting the Irish theory as a borrowing of the genitive of sean teach, viz. sean tí, argues that “the oblique case militates against the Irish interpretation”. As to our etymology, perhaps we should add s.t. like “An alternative theory that the word derives from Irish sean (meaning "of an old house") is not considered likely by lexicologists.”  --Lambiam 11:21, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
I like Lambian's wording. DCDuring (talk) 17:41, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
That sounds good. In general if an etymology is moderately common but debunked I think we can do our readers a service by mentioning that (collapsed to save space if necessary, although in this case it's so short that's not necessary). - -sche (discuss) 04:09, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Added. 10:05, 14 February 2019 (UTC)


Where does this word come from? PIE, I'm assuming? Johnny Shiz (talk) 01:47, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

Just тотъ (tot), well-known, with the expressive prefix э- (e-), also well-known, found (still) in other pronouns like э́такой, этакій (étakoj, etakij), and э́какой, э́какій (ékakoj, ékakij), and fashionable in the end of the nineteenth century. You would know this if you read dramas or similar texts in Russian from this time. You would also know that until then сей (sej) was usually employed in formal speech instead of этот (etot).
In what regards тотъ (tot), it contains now, as it and all adjectives in Russian and other Slavic languages, *tъ plus another demonstrative *jь that was becoming archaic in the end of Proto-Slavic and is best attested in the relative pronoun иже (iže) (though apparently the nominative singular masculine form, the citation form тотъ has something else mixed into it, as has also happened in the nominative singular masculine in the West Slavic languages). This definitive clitic served for an (attested) intermediate period for a weak distinction between definite indefinite nouns expressed only in their adjective attributes (like English “the” and “an”, determinate state and indeterminate state and so on), still weakly distinguished in some forms of the Serbo-Croatian adjectives, hence pages like lȁgan contain in the table ”positive indefinite forms” and “positive definite forms”. Fay Freak (talk) 02:16, 9 February 2019 (UTC)


The etymology section of catenary states that it derives from Late Latin catenaria, which is a noun. I have no reason to doubt that this etymology holds for the noun, but wouldn’t the adjective more likely come straight from the Latin adjective catenarius (see catenarius in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press)?  --Lambiam 12:38, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

who thinks PSl. *kъnędzь is native?Edit

At *kъnędzь someone has recorded the idea that this word was formed in Proto-Slavic (*kun-ingo-) and borrowed into Germanic, instead of the other way round. Whose theory is this, and are they credible? 4pq1injbok (talk) 23:22, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

The idea is apparently taken from this page of the Etymological Dictionary of Slavic Languages, where it’s credited to Šimon Ondruš’s 1977 paper “Sú slovanské slová kъnędzь a pěnędzь germánskeho pôvodu?” Unfortunately I don’t have access to this paper, so I can’t judge Ondruš’s arguments, but his view is certainly in the minority. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 00:07, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
The Germanic loanwords in Proto-Slavic betray a very distinct power and technological imbalance in favour of the early Germanic speakers (cf. Saskia Pronk-Tiethoff's 2013 publication on the subject), so I would find it very strange indeed if such a general term pertaining to political hierarchy would be borrowed from Slavic to Germanic at this stage rather than the other way around (Slavic loanwords in early Germanic languages tend to be very, very scarce and not pertain to political lexical fields at all). It's made even more dubious by the fact that there seems to not have been any direct lexical exchanges between Proto-Germanic and Proto-Slavic at all (our Category:Proto-Slavic terms borrowed from Proto-Germanic is dubious IMO; all of those should list "from a Germanic language" instead or be specified as -mostly- OHG and Gothic where known), and the first language contact was established by the Goths or closely related East-Germanic speaking groups migrating towards the Pontic area in the first couple of centuries AD. (And as it happens, there is no known East Germanic reflex of *kuningaz.) Finally, the Germanic word follows a very logical derivation pattern (also semantically) with a well-attested and productive suffix, so there really is no reason to consider it borrowed. — Mnemosientje (t · c) 08:11, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
(Cf. also *korljь, a closely related loanword from Germanic in Slavic meaning "king".) — Mnemosientje (t · c) 08:33, 10 February 2019 (UTC)


The etymology of forlorn forgets to mention the essential info that it is apparently cognate with lose but does say that it comes from Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/fraleusaną, which comes from fra- + Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/leusaną. This supposedly comes from Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/lewH-, but that supposedly means louse. --Espoo (talk) 10:10, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

forlorn hopeEdit

The etymology section says “From forlorn + hope, in part-translation of Dutch verloren hoop ‘lost troop’.” What is the meaning of “part-translation”?  --Lambiam 22:01, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

The meaning is that someone couldn't think of a better way to describe it, so they made something up. It looks to me like it started out as a calque, with the second half mistaken for an unrelated English word and the meaning changed to match it- phono-semantic mismatching? Chuck Entz (talk) 22:18, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
I have modified the etymology to say “partially translated, partially borrowed”. As the Dutch word can also (with a different etymology) mean hope, I find it hard to characterize the type of mismatch/misunderstanding/mistranslation. Wikipedia calls it “an example of false folk etymology” (as opposed to true folk etymology?), quoting the description “a quaint misunderstanding” from The American Heritage Dictionary. It is easy, though, to see how also Dutch speakers would be able and perhaps even likely to misunderstand the sense of the word “hoop” in this expression.  --Lambiam 10:08, 11 February 2019 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. It seems unlikely that a verb with this meaning would come from a noun meaning "garden". The Online Etymology Dictionary has nothing. —Mahāgaja · talk 12:04, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

OED doesn't have it either, despite the "reference". This is a made-up word from what I can tell. Did some Google Books checking just to be sure and found scanno's; I've removed the entry. — Mnemosientje (t · c) 12:15, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Greek fromEdit

For the words in Category:Greek terms inherited from Proto-Hellenic and in Category:Greek terms inherited from Proto-Indo-European, am I right to assume that {inh was used by accident instead of {der...? (Greek here means Modern Greek). Would it be wrong to change them? sarri.greek (talk) 15:30, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

If there is an unbroken chain of inheritance, like Modern Greek ήλιος (ílios) < Ancient Greek ἥλιος (hḗlios) < Proto-Hellenic *hāwélios, then {{inherited}} is the template to use. In mathematical terms, the inheritance relation is transitive. So it is not used by accident. Whether the inheritance assumptions are actually etymologically correct is another question. For instance, it is probably not the case that Greek ακουστικός (akoustikós) was directly inherited from Ancient Greek ἀκουστικός (akoustikós), however plausible that might seem at first glance. But actually, the word was probably borrowed from French, which borrowed it from Ancient Greek.  --Lambiam 23:33, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
Ow ok, thank you Lambiam. It looked as though I have met the Pelasgoi. sarri.greek (talk) 00:35, 13 February 2019 (UTC)


Related to 孑孓? Johnny Shiz (talk) 20:03, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Unfortunately the characters in the heading don’t display. Apparently, no font able to handle block CJK Unified Ideographs Extension B is installed by default on Mojave. Any hints on what I can do about that? I suspect that there are others who have the same problem.  --Lambiam 23:19, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
I get some Google hits for 孓孑, like here. I don’t know if that is a misspelling or an existing variant.  --Lambiam 23:19, 12 February 2019 (UTC)


Persian امرود(amrud), ارمود(armud, pear) (whence, it is said, the Turkic forms like Turkish armut (pear) (whence regional Arabic Arabic عَرْمُوط(ʿarmūṭ, pear))) is put here as from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ébōl (apple). However this derivation is added by Irman, and the Indo-European reconstruction is, as said on Wiktionary and is according to my memory correct, “limited to the West Indo-European languages”, and the juxtaposition looks formally unsound. Hindustani امرود‎ / अमरूद (amrūd, guava) (the direct (?) source of regional Arabic عَنْبَرُوت(ʿanbarūt), عَنْبَرُود(ʿanbarūd, papaya)) is put on Wiktionary as from the Persian apparently guesswise (Talk:अमरूद). Behnstedt, Peter; Woidich, Manfred, editors (2010) Wortatlas der arabischen Dialekte – Band I: Mensch, Natur, Fauna und Flora (Handbook of Oriental Studies – Handbuch der Orientalistik; 100) (in German), Leiden: Brill, page 500 puts it as a Mongolian loanword, referring only an encyclopedia published 1987 in Aleppo مَوْسُوعَة حَلَب الْمُقَارَنَة (mawsūʿa(t) ḥalab al-muqārana) by a certain خَيْرُ ٱلدِّين الْأَسَدِيّ (ḵayru d-dīn al-ʾasadiyy) – the way it is referred it is unclear if this encyclopedia says that it is from Mongolic or only that the Arabic is from Turkish, however it should be found elsewhere, but I have not succeeded in gaining further information, on Mongolic forms or the like. @Victar, Crom daba. Fay Freak (talk) 13:39, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Räsänen notes it's attested in Turkish, Azerbaijani, Old Turkic, Cuman and Siberian Tatar. However Clauson doesn't have it.
As far as I can tell without trawling through obscure sources, this word doesn't exist in any Mongolic variety (maybe Mogholi trivially, haven't checked). If this idea isn't a result of a more banal error, maybe the author conjured up a connection with алимууд (alimuud, apples), which would be semantically, phonologically and morphologically untenable.
Thus the origins of the word should be sought in the Near East. Crom daba (talk) 15:49, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
If you check the "Divan-i Luqat-i it-Türk" "armut" (pear) is exactly there, it should be from Turkic origin.
As you know the writer of the book was fully aware of Arabic/Persian.
Source: (page 12) zeos_403 (talk) 23:23, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Rossi (2015) has some recent discussion and refers to Bläsing (2004, 2005) which would likely also be useful to check. --Tropylium (talk) 18:36, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
This paper says much already: »I do not want to enter a discussion, which probably will never solved, because the documentation is unsatisfactory.« It has a lot of other forms, giving Middle Persian forms in particular /umrōd/, /ambrōd/ and /umbrōd/, even /anbarōt/, which last three could explain the Arabic Arabic عَنْبَرُوت(ʿanbarūt), عَنْبَرُود(ʿanbarūd, papaya) (before, I considered a merger with عَنْبَا(ʿanbā, mango) from انبه(anbe, mango)), and refers data from Iranian languages I barely know by name; for Old Persian we see an *umrūta. For @Calak: p. 340 contains Kurdish forms. Particularly notable is also the Elamite form given as either umruta or umruda. Seeing all the data I dare mention the possibility that the Classical Syriac ܟܡܬܪܐ(kūmaṯrā, pear) (the source of Arabic كُمَّثْرَى(kummaṯrā, pear)) for which we have no etymology is the same word through a different path, since we have those three consonants m-r-t as m-t-r and a vocalism that is not far, considering the time spans in question and Semitic treatment of vowels; it might have come from some intermediate language that added a k- morpheme. @Profes.I. As concerns the Persian and Iranian, I conclude from it that it is from a Caucasian substrate, possibly related to Elamite, since Rossi deems it probable part of the Elamite core vocabulary; the Turkic apparently has the same murky origin and is not from Iranian. Fay Freak (talk) 21:05, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Fay Freak, "Divan-i Luqat-i it-Türk" is the most reasonable source for Turkic, I think we need to edit that page and add Turkic origin to word "armut" zeos_403 (talk) 12:20, 3 March 2019 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

We've been having a bit of a dispute/edit war with User:Aletguda over whether to to give Eduard Sievers credit for introducing the term. It's true that it was in use in German as the transliteration of a Hebrew term for a type of reduced vowel in Hebrew, and that Sievers based his term on the Hebrew term. It seems to me that the earlier usage is strictly about Hebrew, and Sievers' usage is also about the vowel referred to in English as the schwa. I think Sievers deserves credit, though he wasn't the first to use Schwa in German. Perhaps we need to split this into two etymologies. At any rate, my main concern was about the unilateral removal of content- I haven't read enough about the issue to be 100% sure that I'm right. I just think we need to discuss this. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:41, 16 February 2019 (UTC)

The quotes in Schwa from 1791 and 1856 show that the German term is much older than Sievers and 1876 or 1893. Considering forms like Schva and Schva it's even more older.
Additionally, the Sievers quote only shows that he mentions or used the term, and doesn't proof he was the first to do so. In fact, out of context the part "jetzt auch wohl schlechthin Schwa genannt" could be understood as "now probably also simply called Schwa [by others]". --Aletguda (talk) 23:00, 16 February 2019 (UTC)
That is not being disputed. The issue is: who was the first to use the term Schwa, not as a transliteration of the Hebrew word שְׁוָא‬‎ referring to the niqqud sign, but as a name for the mid-central vowel /ə/? The term actually occurs in the phonetic sense in an article by Ernst Chladni from 1824 entitled über die Hervorbringung der menschlichen Sprachlaute, published before Sievers was even born. Chladni’s choice of words strongly suggests that he is not the coiner, since he writes on p. 195 that the name, borrowed from Hebrew, has also been retained in German by “some of the better authors”. In any case, a special credit for Sievers is unwarranted.
Apart from whom is due what, the German word Schwa has two distinct senses: the niqqud sense and the phonetic sense. These need to be listed as separate senses.  --Lambiam 02:06, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Since you have access to that article, why not quote a relevant portion of it in the entry? – Jberkel 00:49, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Nevermind, I found an accessible version, will add it to the entry later. – Jberkel 01:10, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

Poopy SuitEdit

A “poopy suit” is a head to toe Chemical, Biological, Nuclear Warfare protection suit. It’s name is nothing more than a physical fact.

Once put on, there is no access to relieve oneself, for as long as the threat exists. If you gotta go, it will be inside the suit.

No one ever wants to wear this. NO ONE!!!

Deprecating AltaicEdit

Per this vote, Proto-Altaic (code tut-pro) is to be removed from the list of acceptable languages. As has already been discussed on the vote page, the existing Proto-Altaic entries that are to be removed might still have useful content to be migrated over to other entries. There are also plenty of entries using templates that refer to Proto-Altaic. We should probably decide on a deadline after which Altaic entries will be removed, any references to Proto-Altaic through templates will be de-templated by bot and tut-pro will be removed as a language code. — surjection?〉 21:32, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

The code and references to it have now been removed. — surjection?〉 18:39, 4 March 2019 (UTC)


The word ümit/امید cannot be Iranic.

1- It only exists in Iranic languages there is no relative in any other Indo-EU language.

2- It exists in all Turkic languages, from Russia to China.

3- It should be from verb "Om'maq"/"Om" which means "waiting for something".

—This unsigned comment was added by Zeos 403 (talkcontribs) at 05:13, 25 February 2019.

I do not find the logic compelling. As to point 1, there are many words found in Germanic languages that have no known cognates in other Indo-European languages (e.g. blood, broad, cut, drink, drive, fowl, hand, hold, meat, rain, wan, wife). The word attested in a wide range of Turkic languages is umut, thought to be related to the verb ummak. Although the possibility cannot be excluded that the word in the Iranian languages was borrowed from a Turkic language (and then reborrowed in addition to an existing inherited form, similar to words like Dutch mannequin through French from Dutch manneken), there is no concrete evidence of this. It may be one of these coincidences, rare but bound to happen occasionally, of two synonyms that are very similar in appearance, yet probably not cognates: Turkish ümit from Persian امید(omid, ommid), and Turkish umut descending from Proto-Turkic. In any case, even if the Persian word ultimately came from a Turkic language, it was reborrowed much later in altered form from Persian into Ottoman Turkish.  --Lambiam 16:48, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
I also think the word ümit is a borrowing from Persian word امید without doubt, but the Persian word by itself is also a borrowing from Turkic Om/Um. the word ümit exists in all Turkic languages specially the ones that are not and was never neighbors with Iranians, like Siberia Turks. so I think it is not good idea to add Persian origin to all the ümit words. we can do like this: Turkish <- Ottman Turkish <- Persian <- Turkic, It is also mentioned already: "and the Persian word may ultimately be a borrowing from a Turkic language.", so please lets fix them. zeos_403 (talk) 10:40, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
Do you have specific evidence that the word found in all Turkic languages is not simply inherited from early Turkic the same way as Turkish umut? Are these words in Turkic languages that never neighboured Iranic-speaking regions in some way (phonetically, morphologically) closer to ümit than to umut? All available sources, including those cited at the TDK website, mention a Persian origin without suggesting an older Turkic origin. Do you know of any serious scholarly publication supporting the theory that Persian امید‎ is (or descends from) a Turkic borrowing?  --Lambiam 11:06, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
Lambiam, Yes the word ümit is a borrowing from Persian امید we all accept it. I am just saying the Persian word امید itself is a borrowing from Turkic word Umud. I don't know you accept Persian dictionaries as evidence or no? but if you do I can show you on Persian dictionaries. also what I am saying is already mentioned here (umut). also bro, combination of the word امید are made using Turkic, for example امید+وار which means hopeful, is made from umid+var, "var" is Turkic and means, "having". zeos_403 (talk) 11:49, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
It depends on the reliability of the dictionary; the question is whether its claims are based on solid scholarship. All dictionaries are not equally reputable. The etymology section at umut does not make a stronger statement than that “the Persian word may ultimately be a borrowing from a Turkic language”; that is similar to what I wrote above: “the possibility cannot be excluded that the word in the Iranian languages was borrowed from a Turkic language”. Without strong evidence, we must not make a jump from “it may be the case” to “it is the case”. I do not believe that the suffix وار‎ in امیدوار‎ is etymologically related to Turkish var. Turkish would use the suffix -li/-lu (see ümitli and umutlu).  --Lambiam 16:52, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
Derivation from Turkic seemed reasonable to me, but Doerfer doesn't mention it and Clauson says the similarity is fortuitous. There's a Middle Persian attestation which also lowers the chance of being a Turkic borrowing. We need an Iranist again @Victar. Crom daba (talk) 17:54, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
Crom daba, Lambiam, the suffix وار in Persian doesn't mean "having" bro, for example, شاه‌وار means "like a king". zeos_403 (talk) 19:31, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Pahlavi ōmēt [ʾwmytl] < OIr *aβi-mati-, abstr. derived from aβi + Av. man- (v. menitan); in NW > *aβmēt > *aumēt > ōmēt (cf ham-ōdēn < *ham-aβdēn), whence NP ummēd; in SW > *aiβimati- > *ayiβmati> *ayim(m)ēt, whence ēmēt (written ʾdmēt, cf n. pro Ēmet, patr. Ēmētān, q. v., also with secondary aspiration Hēmēt; Arab ʿImāḏ) or ah(im)mēt > ahmēt [ʾsmytl S2 I, 25 + NP āmid] (from "A MANUAL OF PAHLAVI" by HENRIK SAMUEL NYBERG, page 144).--Calak (talk) 07:47, 28 February 2019 (UTC)

@Calak: I saw that etymology. I wonder if a better etymology wouldn't be:
--{{victar|talk}} 23:28, 28 February 2019 (UTC)

Guys, I just want to say, as this word doesn't have any relatives in other Indo-EU languages, its root is most likely from Turkic, cause in Turkic we have the word with exact same meaning. there isn't much writing left from proto-Turkic or old-Turkic, so you need to consider the structure and the origin of the word. zeos_403 (talk) 12:10, 3 March 2019 (UTC)


We have "Haydar's city" or "lion's city", but in what language? There are English redlinks in the etymology. Ultimateria (talk) 19:20, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

It's Hindustani; the first element is ultimately from Arabic and the second ultimately from Persian. Now, the etymology as it stands is clearly subpar, but I don't know whether we should handle this as Hindi or Urdu. @AryamanA? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:22, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Urdu as being separate from Hindi is a concept that dates from after the founding of these cities (1591 for the city in Andhra Pradesh, 1768 for the city in Sindh). But to stay on the safe side, we might give a dual etymology, one from Hindi हैदराबाद, one from Urdu حيدرآباد‎‎.  --Lambiam 16:23, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge, Lambiam: Please list both, that's what we usually do. Hindi is not a different language from Urdu, for etymological purposes we're listing one language in two scripts. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 19:18, 26 February 2019 (UTC)


The Chinese for the pandanus plant is comprised of two characters which mean "forest" and "to throw" respectively. I'm really confused as to whether this is descriptive, or a phonetic transcription of the plant's name in some other language (some Taiwanese aboriginal language, mayhaps?). The latter option seems more likely... --Corsicanwarrah (talk) 12:50, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

Why Taiwanese? The closest word in Austronesian is Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *dahun, which is found in pretty much all of Austronesian except the Formosan languages. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:55, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
There is a folk etymology connected with the Sister Lintou (林投姐) folktale situated on Taiwan, namely that the name of the tree is related to the fact that the poor woman "threw" herself "from the tree/forest".[1] The "throw" character also appears in the name of Taiwanese Nantou (南投); the English Wikipedia explains the name as stemming from the Hoanya word Ramtau. Another Taiwan placename originating from Formosan languages using this character is Beitou (北投); the English Wikipedia explains this name as stemming from the Ketagalan word Kipatauw. (Both Honya and Ketagalan are now extinct.) This strengthens the hypothesis of an origin in a Taiwanese aboriginal language.  --Lambiam 15:36, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

Austronesian words for the domestic catEdit

So, I have noticed the Amis pusi, Kapampangan and Ilokano pusa and Sundanese empus, all of which refer to the domestic cat. However, I am rather confused -- I am not aware of the domestic cat being among the animals that were brought by Austronesian seafarers to the new lands they settled. Is there any chance that these words are loaned from English puss or Dutch poes? (I think it is likely that these words are derived from European languages, but I'm not entirely sure. After all, there are Austronesian languages where the word for the domestic cat is definitely loaned from European languages.)

I would also like to know what the etymology of the Maori ngeru and the Malay kucing are. --Corsicanwarrah (talk) 19:58, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

According to the Austronesian Comparative Dictionary [2], Malay kucing (domestic cat) is derived from Proto Western Malayo-Polynesian *kutíŋ. The origin of this term in the Austronesian world remains unclear. KevinUp (talk) 19:03, 27 February 2019 (UTC)

March 2019

Gaulish *'śokkaEdit

Why do we say that it derives from Proto-Germanic *stukkaz? Others simply say that it is akin to it. Tharthan (talk) 01:12, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

The most notable difference between Pgmc and other PIE lects of the period is the effect of Grimm's law on stops. Clusters starting with s are immune to Grimm's Law, but the "kk" part isn't, and is exactly what one would expect from Grimm's law's affect on a "g" . Given that Proto-Celtic *stungeti is said to be descended directly from Proto-Indo-European *(s)tewg-, the ancestor of Proto-Germanic *stukkaz, and clearly hasn't changed the "g" to a "k", I don't see any other way for the "k" to come from that "g". That said, I know next to nothing about the development of stops in the Celtic languages, so I'll leave that for those who know more. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:31, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

English seep and soap as cognatesEdit

I think that both of seep and soap are ultimately from the same PIE root (which, according to the Online Etymological Dictionary, is *seib-, "to pour out, drop, trickle").

However, in Wiktionary, the ultimate root for seep is given as *seib-, *sib-, WHEREAS for soap it is given as *seyb-, *seyp-. Ironically, for both of the words in the wiki, the same meaning for the roots have been given: “to pour out, drip, trickle”.

Therefor, the needful uniformization needs to be wrought (by experts), i.e., the same root be given for both. Thanks, Lbdñk (talk) 07:46, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

Pokorny also has seip-, seib-, but our page about Proto-Indo-European states: “Diphthongs are sequences of a vowel followed by a nonsyllabic sonorant, and are written as such: *ey *oy *ew *ow etc. (not ei oi eu ou)”. I don’t know where *sib- comes from. Our own PIE index only has *seyb-.  --Lambiam 14:11, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
You may want to read up on Proto-Indo-European ablaut, which explains the different forms a root or affix can have in PIE. In Wiktionary's etymologies, though, the full grade of a root should always be used, regardless of what grade the term derives from. We only have PIE entries for the full-grade form of roots. —Rua (mew) 22:31, 5 March 2019 (UTC)


Is this by any chance a phonetic transcription of the English mongoose?

Chuck Entz has suggested a trans-Himalayan borrowing from a language such as Marathi or Telugu (sources of the English mongoose), his reasoning being 'India is a lot closer to China than the US'. I have used his explanation in the etymology section of .

Then, justin(r)leung added that the character's use to mean 'mongoose' is not attested in ancient dictionaries such as the Kangxi dictionary (though the character's entry states the character is present in the Kangxi dictionary).

Mongooses are found in China, so the possibility of the word being native cannot be excluded. What's the consensus?

--Corsicanwarrah (talk) 10:49, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

@Corsicanwarrah: It is in the Kangxi dictionary, but the definition is not "mongoose". It says it's used in the word 獴𤡱, also written as 蒙貴, which is a kind of small ape. This word is unlikely related to (mongoose). Just because Chuck Entz suggested a possible trans-Himalayan origin doesn't mean it should be added to the entry immediately unless there is good evidence. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 14:02, 1 March 2019 (UTC)


The Chinese for the pandanus plant is comprised of two characters which mean "forest" and "to throw" respectively. I'm really confused as to whether this is descriptive, or a phonetic transcription of the plant's name in some other language (some Taiwanese aboriginal language, mayhaps?). The latter option seems more likely... --Corsicanwarrah (talk) 10:53, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

Why repost this question? See Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2019/February#林投.
No definite answer was given in February. --Corsicanwarrah (talk) 15:27, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

Austronesian words for the domestic catEdit

So, I have noticed the Amis pusi, Kapampangan and Ilokano pusa and Sundanese empus, all of which refer to the domestic cat. However, I am rather confused -- I am not aware of the domestic cat being among the animals that were brought by Austronesian seafarers to the new lands they settled. Is there any chance that these words are loaned from English puss or Dutch poes? (I think it is likely that these words are derived from European languages, but I'm not entirely sure. After all, there are Austronesian languages where the word for the domestic cat is definitely loaned from European languages.)

I would also like to know what the etymology of the Maori ngeru is. --Corsicanwarrah (talk) 10:52, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

Apparently (page 151), ngeru comes from a word for "soft" (I'm not sure if this sense is still current in Maori). --Hazarasp (talk) 10:03, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
I didn't see a conclusive direct statement, but a paper by Jean Lowenstamm published in Living on the Edge: 28 Papers in Honour of Jonathan Kaye (→ISBN, see pp. 348-349) implies pusa is a loanword, because the entire chapter is discussing how "the massive injection of loans from those languages [English and Spanish] eventually altered the syllable inventory of Ilokano" and the other words Lowenstamm analyses the syllabification of, besides pusa, are clearly loanwords, e.g. klase "class" and jyanitor "janitor". (Incidentally, this trascribes the Amis word in a quasi-phonetic way as puʃi, but says nothing of the etymology.) - -sche (discuss) 06:48, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

bacalhau vs. bakailaoEdit

The etymology sections for Greek μπακαλιάρος (bakaliáros) and Dutch bakkeljauw state that the word derives from Portuguese bacalhau; although not explicitly stated, it seems this also applies for Chinese 馬介休. The etymology sections for Spanish bacalao and Dutch kabeljauw, on the other hand, give Basque bakailao as the origin. This raises the obvious question, what is the relationship between the Portuguese and Basque terms? The etymology section for Portuguese bacalhau says “Unknown”. Basque bakailao has no etymology section.  --Lambiam 10:59, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language gives this etymology:
[Spanish bacalao and Portuguese bacalhau, both from Basque bakailao, probably from alteration of Old French cabillau, from Gascon cabelh, head (in reference to the cod's large head), from Latin capitulum, diminutive of caput, head; see CHAPTER.]
Other sources, including Le Trésor, give the French name cabillaud as a loan from Middle Dutch cab(b)eliau. How to reconcile this?  --Lambiam 12:51, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
The Etymologisch Woordenboek van het Nederlands (M. Philippa et al.), in the entry kabeljauw, states that the origin is contentious and mentions three theories:
(1) The forms with cab- are original (possibly related to Latin caput) and the forms with bac- arose by metathesis;
(2) The forms with bac- are original (possibly related to Latin baculus) and the forms with cab- arose by metathesis;
(3) Both forms have independent origins and the similarity is a coincidence.
The last theory, championed by W. Sayers (2002), ‘Some Fishy Etymologies: Engels cod, Norse þorskr, Du. kabeljauw, Sp. bacalao’, in: Nowele 41, pp. 17–30, is deemed “very plausible”. The entry also points out a central role of Basque in spreading the bac- forms. It is interesting to note that cab- forms are attested from the 12th century while the earliest attestations of bac- forms are from the 16th century. In my opinion, this makes theory 2 unlikely.  --Lambiam 10:50, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

See also bacalhau below.  --Lambiam 20:44, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Bizarrely, bacalao mentions an Old Dutch cognate. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:37, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
That must be incorrect. The Dutch cognate, originally spelled bakeljauw and later bakkeljauw, is only attested from around the beginning of the 17th century. It survives in Surinamese Dutch and as the loanword batyaw in Sranan Tongo.  --Lambiam 19:51, 12 March 2019 (UTC)


I was thinking that maybe Zulu -bûka (view, watch, look at, admire) could come from Proto-Bantu *-kébʊka (look around), with deletion of the first syllable. The meanings are very similar and other than the initial syllable, all the phonological correspondences are correct. I'm not aware of any regular process of syllable deletion in Zulu though. Thoughts? Smashhoof (talk) 00:58, 3 March 2019 (UTC)


Is this from Chinese 旗? I note the word for "flag" in Korean is 깃발. ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:29, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

깃발 (gitbal) is from (, gi) + -ㅅ- (-s-) + (bal). ko:깃발, [3]. —Suzukaze-c 08:48, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
Thank you! ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:16, 7 March 2019 (UTC)


Over a dozen languages (see confetti#Translations) use this to mean festive pieces of paper, like English does, and many have etymologies saying it's a pseudo-Italianism, since it ostensibly doesn't mean that in Italian. It seems implausible so many languages would independently decide to use an Italian word for "confections" with this meaning unless it sometimes had that meaning in Italian or they are borrowing from another language which did give it that sense. Did this sense first arise in English, which would then be the souce of the other languages' words, directly or (e.g. in the case of Galician) maybe via another intermediary? Or did it have this meaning in Italian? {{R:Etymonline}} and w:Confetti have some interesting comments about this, and the use of confetti during Carnival. - -sche (discuss) 18:31, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

So, apparently the Italians initially threw literal confetti (sugar-coated almonds), and then pellets of e.g. plaster symbolizing them, during festivities—English reference works say Carnival, but I can find Italian works documenting the practice also during weddings. The English adopted the practice, for weddings and other festivities, using coloured paper instead of plaster to symbolize the almonds. I suppose other languages could've similarly borrowed the practice of throwing faux candies. In which case, I'm back to wondering if it's really a pseudo-Italianism or just a straight borrowing... - -sche (discuss) 20:39, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
According to Treccani, it has a sense that seems to denote things that are rained down in great amounts (“figurative, humorous: rock/pebble [?], projectile, large hailstone, etc., especially in great quantity”) — Ungoliant (falai) 20:46, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
According to Etymonline, the British had adopted the Italian tradition of throwing little things, but using bits of paper instead of plaster pellets, calling them confetti by 1846. From Wikipedia we learn that (possibly independently) one Mangili started selling small paper disks in 1875 that quickly replaced the plaster imitation confetti, but which, according to several other sources, came to be called coriandoli in Italian, reusing an earlier term that once was a hyponym of confetti, being confetti with specifically coriander seeds as their cores. In regard to the original question, it would be helpful to know if, in the early stages of adopting and adapting the Italian tradition, the British perhaps also used plaster or a like substitute (or perhaps even actual confections) before switching to paper, and if so, whether they called these also confetti already then. If the answer can be determined to be affirmative, the implication is that we have a straightforward borrowing from Italian to English, whose meaning shifted later, as it had done earlier in Italian. The variants in other languages are (regardless of the status of the word in English) probably best explained as borrowings from English.  --Lambiam 00:18, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
An 1893 article in the Scientific American about confetti in Paris disambiguates the term by repeatedly making it clear when paper confetti is meant: ‘‘confetti’’ (those of paper of course) / confetti of paper / paper confetti. Also interesting is that the term is used grammatically as a plural instead of a mass noun.  --Lambiam 00:35, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Useful! Amid quite a few inconclusive books, this and this say that yes, sugared almonds / comfits were and apparently still are used in some English weddings (apparently, one English groom once threw one so hard he injured his bride). And The Oxford Companion to Food (unusually among English references works I've looked at, some of which claim the opposite, leading to the claim of pseudo-Italianness) admits Italian still has the same "little thrown things" meaning as English, according with some Italian books I saw and the Italian reference Ungoliant found. - -sche (discuss) 00:47, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
The second of these sources, The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, states that the Italian name confetti was transferred to the paper cutouts in France at the end of the nineteenth century. If that is when the transfer happened, the 1846 date from the Online Etymology Dictionary is wrong. And if that is where it happened (which the Scientific American article also seems to suggest), the English word was borrowed from French.  --Lambiam 06:02, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
An 1892 newspaper article (in Dutch) describes the transformation from gypsum projectiles to round pieces of paper as having taken place with the introduction of confetti throwing in Paris on Mardi Gras of 1892. So the term was used before in French (e.g. for the Nice carnival) in the Italian sense of fake confectionary to pelt people with, but, while retaining the basic idea, the sense was adopted in Paris to cover a less dangerous stuff – the earlier confetti battles sometimes caused bodily harm. Considering this, I would not call the term a pseudo-anything. It appears to be a bona fide loanword in French, for which the French, once it had become a French word, used their right to set the meaning of French words and extended the meaning to a new material – just like in English when you tickle the ivories you do not touch ivory, and most linens are not made of linen).  --Lambiam 07:07, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Great finds! Intriguingly, one of the references I had added to the page claims an engineer in Savoy intended paper confetti in 1892, but Wikipedia claims it was Enrico Mangili as early as 1875, and says (with a dead link, but maybe we can find another reference, using the date and other clues) they were used in Paris as early as 1885. In any event, I agree it's not a pseudo-loan.
(IMO even if the Italians had only used it to refer to plaster pellets thrown in celebrations, for the French to use it for paper thrown in celebration in imitation thereof doesn't strike me as "pseudo" any more than English using frau or wurst to denote a German woman or sausage while in German it denotes any woman or sausage, respectively: it strikes me as a small, obvious semantic shift. (baby-foot would be on the other end of the spectrum, a clear pseudo-loan because it doesn't exist in English, and French people (a celebrity, singular) also seems like enough of a semantic jump that it's possibly a pseudo-loan. OTOH, autostop seems closer to maybe not being a pseudo-loan but a true loan, if English autostop's contents are accurate...)
- -sche (discuss) 20:23, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Sprinkling petals is at least as old as the Ancient Romans, and undoubtedly the idea of using scraps of papers as substitute petals is as old as the invention of paper scrap. Mantini’s claim to fame is that he saw the commercial potential of a byproduct that before was discarded as waste. I hesitate to consider that “inventing”, but OK. What is of interest in the present context is not so much who invented this when, but who first applied the term confetti to the paper rounds. Apparently, Mantini’s invention was sold as coriandoli. This page, from the mayor’s office of Modane in Savoy, cites a 1923 source stating that the manager of the Casino de Paris, named Lue, was responsible for spreading the “invention” to Paris in 1891, his father being an engineer from Modane, where allegedly silkworms were bred. The mairie of Modane sets the record straight by stating there were no silkworm farms in Modane at the time, but that there was a large paper factory in nearby Fourneaux that produced this kind of paper.  --Lambiam 19:21, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

hebrew שוטה: biblical?Edit

The etymology of the word שוטה is listed as "biblical". But I did not find the word in Gesenius' dictionary. (Only שטה, but not as a verb.) שוטה

Where does שוטה appear in the bible?

-- 22:34, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

The term occurs in the tractate Ḥagigah: "ת"ר איזהו שוטה? היוצא יחידי בלילה והלן בבית הקברות והמקרע את כסותו והמאבד כל מה שנותנים לו". (Wikisource: חגיגה ג ב.) The English translation hosted at translates this sentence as: “Who is [deemed] an imbecile? He that goes out alone at night and he that spends the night in a cemetery, and he that tears his garments.”  --Lambiam 12:03, 5 March 2019 (UTC)


And variants. Italian Walser term for "spring" (season). Could there be a connection to Latin aestās (summer)? Julia 04:46, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

I’d say it appears unlikely already on purely semantic grounds, what with the primal importance of the seasons for rural life and the immense difference between spring, much welcomed after the cold winters of the Alps, and summer.  --Lambiam 12:36, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Then maybe Proto-Germanic *Austrǭ (Easter; springtime)? Though I'm wondering why the second element seems to be "day". Julia 21:59, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
According to one source, “Il tempo dei Walser: i nomi tedeschi dei giorni, dei mesi e delle stagioni ai piedi del Monte Rosa”, it is literally out-day: “Se l’estate, l’autunno e l’inverno corrispondono suppergiù al tedesco moderno, la primavera viene chiamata der üstàg/ustog o simili, ovvero ‘il tempo in cui si esce e si riprendono i lavori dei campi dopo la lunga pausa invernale (letteralmente ‘il giorno in cui si va fuori’)’.”  --Lambiam 09:46, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
I’ve tried to find confirmation that Highest Alemannic us corresponds to High German aus. For now the best I saw is that in Swiss German, High but not Highest Alemannic, German Ausfahrt is Usfahrt.  --Lambiam 11:41, 6 March 2019 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. @Freelance Intellectual — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 17:39, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

I took this from Baxter-Sagart (searchable here: ). Apologies, should have given the reference. Freelance Intellectual (talk) 17:49, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
@Freelance Intellectual: I don't think it explicitly says it's derived from 漿 though. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 17:57, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
Good point, I guess I jumped to a conclusion there. It seems likely, given that the phonetic match and the semantic match, but to avoid original research we would need to find another source or hedge the wording in the entry for . Freelance Intellectual (talk) 18:33, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
They're probably cognates. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:15, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
They probably are, but we would like to have a proper source that would back this up. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:54, 7 March 2019 (UTC)


Recent changes to the etymology by an anon, connecting it to Basque, might affect related words in other languages. Do we have any reliable sources in support of this affirmation? --Robbie SWE (talk) 18:03, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

See also bacalhau vs. bakailao above.  --Lambiam 18:43, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
  • DEHLP-Houaiss stablishes "etim.contrv.; prov. das f.dial. do basco bakaillao, bakaillo, makaillao, makaillo, que designam um peixe, mas não têm étimo conhecido; o port. bacalhau e o esp. bacalao (fonte do it. baccalà, somente para 'peixe seco') podem prender-se tb. ao gascão cabilhau, der. da f. alat. cabellauwus, doc. em 1163 nas Flandres e ligada ao rad. lat. cap- e capit-; ver bacalh-; f.hist. sXVI bacalhãos"
    TRANSLATION: probably from dialectal forms in basque bakaillao, bakaillo, makaillao, makaillo, designating a fish, but without known etym; PT bacalhau and ES bacalao (in contrast to IT baccalà, only for 'dry fish') can be taken from Gascon cabilhau, derived from old Latin cabellauwus, documented in 1163 in Flandres and linked to Latin roots cap- and capit-; see bacalh-; historical forms 16th century bacalhãos Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 10:54, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
  • DRAE (Spanish Royal Academy): Del vasco bakailao; cf. neerl. ant. bakeljauw, var. de kabeljauw. = From basque bakailao; confert Dutch bakeljaw, variant of kabeljauw.

RFV: LA boletus vs. GR βωλίτηςEdit

Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:52, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

The existence of the variant form βωλήτης (bōlḗtēs) (βωλήτης in Liddell & Scott (1940) A Greek–English Lexicon, Oxford: Clarendon Press) makes a loan from Greek to Latin more likely. Given that the Greek word is masculine, first declension, the Latin ending -us is then not strange, although -a (as in athleta) would seem more likely. For the Greek, one might think of a relation with βῶλος (bôlos, lump) (βῶλος in Liddell & Scott (1940) A Greek–English Lexicon, Oxford: Clarendon Press); in fact, one of the senses listed in Liddell & Scott for this word is βωλίτης. But lacking further evidence, a common source for the Greek and Latin words cannot be excluded.  --Lambiam 12:34, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

Are Sanskrit वातिगगम (vātigagama) and भण्टाकी/भण्डाकी (bhaṇṭākī/bhaṇḍākī) cognates?Edit

While the English aubergine and brinjal —the outcome of Wanderwort — are indeed doublets owing to their common source Persian بادنجان‎, I have however seen that in the brinjal entry, the ultimate source for the Persian word (the word having many variants, though) has been given as भण्डाकी, whereas in the aubergine entry, the ultimate source for the Persian word as वातिगगम. This therefor betokens that the two Sanskrit words are cognates. So, are they? and if so, how are they related?

—Thanks, Lbdñk (talk) 17:14, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

It seems to me that these are two competing and incompatible theories. I have some trouble imagining the morphophonetic journey from bhaṇṭākī to bâdengân. For the other candidate I can imagine something like vatigagama → (by haplology and apocope) vatigam → (common substitutions) batẽganbadengan – with the various steps not necessarily in that order.  --Lambiam 20:40, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Thank you... However, might you tell me what you mean by "common substitution"? —Lbdñk (talk) 16:34, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
By substitution I mean the replacement of one phoneme by another in the course of the evolution of a word on its journey from language to language (or within one language as that language evolves). For example, in Latin faba → Italian fava, a /v/ was substituted for the older /b/. Some substitutions are more common than others; in the example, a voiced labial consonant was replaced by a different voiced labial consonant; the main difference is that one is a stop and the other a fricative. In another example, in Proto-Germanic *dagaz → Middle High German tag, a /t/ was substituted for a /d/, both dental stops, the difference being that one is voiced and the other voiceless. Both are types of substitution that are very common (in either direction). For both, only a single phonemic aspect changes (in the examples, for the first the manner of articulation and for the second the voicedness). Such substitutions tend to be among the most common.  --Lambiam 14:32, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation! —Lbdñk (talk) 12:58, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Icelandic kyrkjaEdit

The etymology currently gives the ancestral form as *kwirkwijaną, but what evidence is there for the second labiovelar? It seems like it could have come from *kwirkijaną too. —Rua (mew) 17:27, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Could it be a quirky typo?  --Lambiam 20:17, 8 March 2019 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

The origin from Gothic has been changed to "disputed" by virtue of a 1946 article by two history professors that refers to the "learning of Ural-Altaic philology and archaeology" in suggesting that Odoacer was probably a Turkic-speaking Hun. Is this article, based on outdated theories, worthy of listing as the only source for a reworking of the etymology? Full disclosure: I've only read the abstract, not the article itself. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:42, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

A brief article by Bruce Macbain, “Odovacer the Hun?”, cited in the Wikipedia article on Odoacer, points out that the Suda, discussing Odoacer’s brother Onoulphus, states that the latter’s father was Thuringian and his mother Skirian, both Germanic. This is the only known definite ethnic assignment from ancient sources. The author adds further arguments, based on primary sources, that make the conclusion of Reynolds and Lopez appear implausible. As to the proposed etymologies themselves, I find it hard to see how putative (and unattested!) Turkic names like Ot-toghar or Ot-ghar could have been Latinized to Odoacer or even Odovacer. Clearly, there were two syllables between the dental t/d and the guttural gh/c. In conclusion, I feel that the prominent attention to this speculative and unsubstantiated theory is undue. It is a fact that the etymology is disputed, but this should not merit more than a footnote.  --Lambiam 03:45, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
The fact that there are other attestations of the same name in Germanic languages speaks in favour of its existence. I don't see what else it could be from. —Rua (mew) 12:28, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
Pretty thin, I support relegating the Turkic theory to a footnote. Crom daba (talk) 16:08, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Could Indian English 'byheart' be a calque, perhaps from Portuguese?Edit

It looks like there is a similar word in Portuguese: decorar.

My first instinct on looking at it was to think of Esperanto parkerigi, which I assumed to be a calque from French, so I tried to search for the equivalent French verb and couldn't find one (though parkere is derived from par cœur). פֿינצטערניש (talk) 14:42, 10 March 2019 (UTC) Corrections פֿינצטערניש (talk) 14:44, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

I suspect that this verb is a relatively recent acquisition of the Indian English vocabulary, later than Portuguese can have played a role.  --Lambiam 14:45, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Some circumstantial against this theory: the connection between de cor (by heart)/decorar (memorise) and coração (heart) is not immediately obvious to the average Portuguese speaker. — Ungoliant (falai) 16:08, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I agree. De cor and coração maybe, but with decorar not very much connected apart from alleged "popular" etymologizing. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 14:30, 14 March 2019 (UTC)


The Khmer for jackal.

Jackals are found where Khmer is spoken, but they are not common. (The subspecies Canis aureus cruesemanni is found in Myanmar, Thailand and Indochina, but there have only been a few sightings in Indochina in recent years.)

Is the term derived from an European language, or just coincidentally sounds like the English "jackal"? --Corsicanwarrah (talk) 12:37, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

When referring to present-day distribution of predators, always remember cases like lion, which made it all the way to medieval England in spite of the notable absence of the animals themselves at the time. Also, look at the etymology for jackal, which goes back to Sanskrit.
Considering that Southeast Asia received its writing systems and a substantial part of its culture from ancient India, the default explanation would be direct borrowing from there- especially since the Khmer term is much closer to just about everything but the English.
Of course, you would need to know the history of the Khmer term, and things like whether it was associated with any characteristically Indian elements of the culture, how it fits phonologically with similar terms known to be borrowed, etc. To understand the etymology, you need to know something about the the history of the languages, and the history of the regions. Your approach to studying animal names lacks a great deal of context: it's sort of like parachuting in blindfolded without a map. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:42, 11 March 2019 (UTC)


@Jaspet, this looks to me more a confounding of roots than anything else. Unless there is something to corroborate Derksen's apparent assertion, I think the alleged connection should be discarded. --{{victar|talk}} 23:40, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

paletot - twice borrowed?Edit

In January, this entry was manually categorized into Category:English twice-borrowed terms, because the English word derives from French which derives from Middle (not modern) English. Do we want to do that? (My inclination is no.) Such entries would probably(?) have to be categorized manually, unless we are so confident that all instances of English words being directly inherited from Middle English use {{inh}} that we are willing to have {{der|en|enm}} categorize things as "twice-borrowed" the way {{der|en|en}} does. - -sche (discuss) 08:52, 12 March 2019 (UTC)


Is it right to assume the name means 'jujube from overseas/abroad' since date palms don't have any close relation to the sea/ocean? (This is what is currently in the etymology section of the entry, but I'm not too sure myself.)

--Corsicanwarrah (talk) 17:51, 13 March 2019 (UTC)


I think this entry should inhold two different etymologies, the one for "to clothe, dress", which is already given; the other for "to buy, sell", which is missing, but needs to be included (by experts) as Etymology 2.
Reflexes of *wes- (Etymology 2) include Sanskrit वस्न (vasná, price), वस्नयति (vasnayati, to haggle), Persian بها(behâ, price, worth), Old Armenian գին (gin, price, worth, buying), Latin vēnus (sale), vīlis (cheap, worthless), Ancient Greek ὦνος (ônos, price), ὠνέομαι (ōnéomai, to buy), Hittite [script needed] (wāš-, to buy), etc.
So, Etymology 2 should be created. Thanks—Lbdñk (talk) 19:40, 13 March 2019 (UTC)


illokutiv says it's from il- +‎ lokutiv. Given that neither il- nor il have a German entry, shouldn't it be from illocutive (which lacks an etymology) or some similar alternate language source?--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:56, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

I‘m pretty sure this was formed as an adjective from the noun Illokution by analogy to how administrativ is the adjective corresponding to the noun Administration. The English adjective illocutive was probably borrowed from the newly coined German word, but to state this with more certainty will need more probing of the scientific literature than I have the resources for.  --Lambiam 08:46, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

RFR: splitting etym for dietEdit

Did I split the etyms well? I did it because it seemed pretty obvious to me (cf. NL diet). Although it's not listed among descendants in PIE *tewtéh₂, it's almost obvious from Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/þeudō (where Dutch and Deutsch are also missing), but I dunno the middle step into English. How do we level now the different PoS and translations? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 13:59, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

Is there any evidence that diet in the sense of assembly is cognate with Proto-Germanic *þeudō? The Latin is diaeta[4] while the German term is Reichstag (as in Reichstag zu Worms). The alternative form dieta suggests an association with German Tag = Latin dies.  --Lambiam 18:17, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Unless some convincing evidence is forthcoming, I feel the split should be undone.  --Lambiam 12:08, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Good point, I never would have thought of that relationship. My only evidence is that it was attested in NL diet and Proto-Germanic *þeudō itself. Etymonline agrees with you. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 14:41, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

PIE *h₁er(i)- or *h₁r-i-(e)t-?Edit

The Tocharian B word ariwe (ram) is defined by Adams in A Dictionary of Tocharian B: Revised and Greatly Enlarged as coming from Proto-Indo-European *h₁er(i)- and cognate to Latin aries, of the same meaning. Aries, however, is said by De Vann in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages to be from Proto-Indo-European *h₁r-i-(e)t-. These are obviously related reconstructions, and both sources list several cognates in different languages, which seems to constitute an entry that would include both the Tocharian B and Latin terms. If I were to make an entry for this reconstructed term, what would I put it under? Forgive me if the answer to this question is obvious; I'm new to this type of thing. GabeMoore (talk) 14:55, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

This word in unreconstructable, see {{R:itc:EDL|54}}. Also please be careful what templates us use on talk pages. --{{victar|talk}} 21:55, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

meaning in english of the french expression: "au doigt mouillé"Edit

The literal translation of "au doigt mouillée" is : with a wet finger. Origin: to find out the direction of the wind, wet one's finger and hold it up in the air; the side of the finger that dries first is where the wind comes from. By derivation, the expression qualifies a non-scientific method. An english equivalent could be: By the seam of one's pants.

I know the latter expression as (fly) by the seat of one’s pants. There is a completely analogous Dutch expression: met de natte vinger. The English expression is about improvised action, while the French and Dutch ones are about provisional methods of estimation, like one might apply when asked how much it would cost to build a life-size replica of the Coliseum. So the meaning is more like “by using a rough estimation”.  --Lambiam 23:50, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
We have finger to the wind, which is the same metaphor but with a different meaning. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:33, 20 March 2019 (UTC)


Our etymology lists Latin aperi oculos as does Corominas, but it seems more likely to me that it's just a contraction of Spanish abre ojo (or some variant) as the RAE suggests. Ultimateria (talk) 21:41, 19 March 2019 (UTC)