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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← November 2012 · December 2012 · January 2013 → · (current)


Etymology section says it came from Hebrew רוגלית(roglìt, creeping vine). Wikipedia etymology section says it came from Yiddish. Anyone know which is correct? --Yair rand (talk) 01:29, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

It definitely came from Yiddish, although it is plausible that the Yiddish word itself came from Hebrew. I don't really know, but the Wikipedia etymology sounds pretty believable. --WikiTiki89 07:44, 5 December 2012 (UTC)


I have just added the terms mictomagnetic and mictomagnetism. I can't find any other English words beginning with this prefix. Any ideas? (I assume it has something to do with "mixing") SemperBlotto (talk) 10:43, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

I think so - the Greek adjective μικτός means "mixed/blended" Furius (talk) 10:54, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
More common as a suffix (-mictic). See oligomictic, et al. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:45, 6 December 2012 (UTC)


"From Ancient Greek γῆ (gē) / γαῖα (gaia), other details uncertain."

Could γῆ's root be *dʰéǵʰōm, along with χθών's? Lysdexia (talk) 00:20, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

It seems quite improbable, as far as I know. --Fsojic (talk) 00:34, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Frisk 1960. Griechisches etymologisches Wörterbuch refers one to γαῖα, of which he says "Unklar. Vielleicht Kontamination von αἶα, μαῖα, γῆ"
  • αἶα is an epic form of γῆ / γαῖα, which he derives from μαῖα
  • μαῖα is "old mother", which he considers "Grammatische Erweiterung eines Lallworts durch das ia-Suffix wie in γραῖα." (old women)
Both of these are presumably responsible for creating γαῖα as an alternative form of γῆ - the derivation of γῆ would remain unclear. Furius (talk) 10:33, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Also, LSJ doesn't mention an accentless variant of γῆ - should this be an entry at all? Furius (talk) 11:22, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Not as Ancient Greek, but Modern Greek has different rules as far as accents go. The entry should be rfved Chuck Entz (talk) 14:11, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Even if one could explain the loss of aspiration using W:Grassman's Law, that still doesn't explain what happened to all the other consonants and vowels (η in the main Attic-based dialect usually comes from a long α) Chuck Entz (talk) 14:30, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
The etymology of γῆ () is very obscure, but the accusative plural is attested in Arcado-Cypriot as ζᾶς, so this is a case of Attic-Ionic η coming from ᾱ. Some have speculated the first syllable of Δημήτηρ (Dēmḗtēr) (Doric etc. Δαμάτηρ) may be the same word. A connection with *dʰéǵʰōm is very unlikely; it's much more likely γῆ/γαῖα is a non-Indo-European word that was borrowed as a proper name for the Earth goddess, or just as the common noun for earth. —Angr 22:47, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
To say "The etymology of γῆ is very obscure" is to say that that etymology is very unsure, I assume. Then, we may better begin simply with (ji, "earth," in Korean reading), whether well or ill. --KYPark (talk) 14:58, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Highly unlikely. For that matter, since the Greek is attested so much earlier, one could just as easily say that the Korean came from the Greek (or from the Flying Spaghetti Monster...). Chuck Entz (talk) 15:19, 24 December 2012 (UTC)


Can anyone confirm this is an alteration of "that's a boy!" or "that's the boy!". I always thought it was from "at it boy". Mglovesfun (talk) 11:14, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

I always thought it was from that a boy (or is it thataboy or that-a-boy?), which for some reason we don't have. I've never heard of "at it boy". I've also never heard of "that's a boy". --WikiTiki89 11:51, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
I too have always thought it was from that-a-boy, which is a childlike pronunciation/immitation of that's a boy. Leasnam (talk) 19:41, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
According to the OED - "Said to represent careless pronunciation of that's the boy! - as an expression of encouragement or admiration". SemperBlotto (talk) 16:11, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

human resources

Using the word resource for people is rather shocking. But I guess that the use of this word is related to the use of resource in project planning softwares, where resource applies to anything required to perform a task, including people. Am I right? Do you know more about this etymology? Lmaltier (talk) 21:05, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

root of "stroppy"

Do you consider that there is chance that the word "stroppy" can come from the greek word "στρυφνός";

Evangelia Pliakou


Hi there. Does anyone have a clue about the origin/meaning of this "suffix" in terms such as distachion and polystachion - used in the taxonomic names of some grasses/cereals. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:06, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes. Although Perseus has Ancient Greek στάχι (stákhi, a kind of vermillion), it looks very much like a misspelling of distachyon and polystachyon, both from Ancient Greek στάχυς (stákhus, ear of wheat). For instance, Google searches bring up both Bromus distachion and Bromus distachyon" in reference to the same plant (see w:Bromus distachyon). Chuck Entz (talk) 17:09, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll let somebody else add the Ancient Greek word. SemperBlotto (talk) 17:29, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Browbeat - possible etymology

Discussion moved from WT:GP.

No one seems to know the origin of the word browbeat, but I think it may be from the nautical terms "brow," meaning gangplank, and "beat," meaning to tack back and forth (usually in order to sail upwind). To browbeat, meaning to intimidate, bully, may have originally referred to a practice of intimidating and punishing someone by making them walk to the end of the gangplank and then tacking the ship back and forth, causing the gangplank to swing violently while the person being intimidated or punished is forced to hang on in order to avoid falling into the sea. Is there a place to post this idea on the entry to this word? If so, how do I do that? Thanks. —This unsigned comment was added by Caroline1981 (talkcontribs) at 03:43, 19 December 2012‎.

This doesn't belong in the Grease pit. You should post this in the Etymology scriptorium. --WikiTiki89 08:55, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
I've moved it. Cheers, - -sche (discuss) 01:03, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
The OED has not found any evidence for this origin. They suggest that the brow is on the forehead of the beater. Your suggestion should not be inserted in the entry unless you have evidence, but you could post it on the talk page (talk:browbeat) and ask there for evidence. Dbfirs 11:35, 20 December 2012 (UTC)


Tagged but not listed. Is the term indeed from Bengali? Yule+Burnell's 1903 Hobson-Jobson: a glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words does say "Koomkee, in Bengal, is the technical name of the female elephant used as a decoy in capturing a male." Anyone have a more recent reference? - -sche (discuss) 18:20, 26 December 2012 (UTC)


Tagged (with the wrong template) but not listed. The whole entry is doubtful, and I've RFVed it, but the etymology is especially confused. - -sche (discuss) 20:05, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

I have changed the etymology from the dubious and contradictory "alternative spelling of pure, from Latin puteo" to "from French". - -sche (discuss) 22:08, 26 December 2012 (UTC)



Tagged (with the wrong template) but not listed. See the talk pages. - -sche (discuss) 20:09, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

As far as I know there isn't actually any suffix -deksan. The -de is just part of the stem of the numerals yksi and kaksi (genitive yhde-n and kahde-n). So these are probably really yksi+ksan and kaksi+ksan. —CodeCat 19:13, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
I've changed the entries accordingly. - -sche (discuss) 22:56, 14 January 2013 (UTC)


The etymology, tagged in this edit, seems plausible, but Wikipedia devotes several paragraphs to saying it's uncertain. Anyone have any references supporting or opposing the current etymology? - -sche (discuss) 23:32, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

The Vauxhall etymology belongs to Vasmer. I don't know the source of the Volk + Saal theory. --Vahag (talk) 13:58, 14 January 2013 (UTC)


The part of this entry which claims it derives from a word meaning "lack" or "come here", rather than "two", was tagged {{fact}} but not listed. - -sche (discuss) 00:29, 27 December 2012 (UTC)


I highly doubt that Syriac is the ultimate origin of this word (giraffes tend to be rare in northern Mesopotamia ;)) or that the Somali word derives directly from Syriac. The Syriac transliteration also does not match the Syriac spelling, it should be something like zārīfā rather than zarāfa. The variant ܙܪܢܦܐ(zarnāfā) comes from Persian, so zārīfā is most likely foreign as well. --334a (talk) 18:15, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

The OED doesn't trace the history any further back than Arabic. Etymonline suggests they got it "from an African language", but possibly no-one knows definitely which? Presumably, the word zarāfa goes back to Ancient North Arabian, but I suspect that the true origins are lost in the mists of time. Have we any experts on ancient languages of Arabia and North Africa? If not, then perhaps we should be careful about making claims about where Arabic got the word from. Dbfirs 19:08, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
This etymology still remains a great mystery. Once upon a time there was quite a long talk on this agenda, as follows, whether useful or not now. It's up to you to waste your time upon the following:
--KYPark (talk) 09:42, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
No, those are on a completely irrelevant side issue. We're talking here about where the term originally came from, not about the relationship of later descendants/borrowings to each other. Chuck Entz (talk) 10:52, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
As I suspected, the Somali part was erroneously inserted later in the middle of the Syriac-to-Arabic etymology. The idea of a Syriac origin for the term would indeed be ludicrous, if the term always meant the same thing. If, however, it had some other meaning that was applied by the Arabs to a new referent (along the lines of mockingbird coming from mock, for instance), then it's at least plausible. While Arabic does have quite a few borrowings that ultimately came from Aramaic, I have no idea whether it borrowed this term from it, let alone whether it was from Syriac as opposed to some other Aramaic lect. We still need some source to support and/or elaborate on the etymology- particularly with time periods addressed. Chuck Entz (talk) 11:23, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
The current Etymology as descending "from Arabic زرافة (zarāfah), from Somali Geri, from Classical Syriac ܙܵܪܝܼܦܵܐ (zarāfa)," ridicilously sandwiches Somali Geri (instead of geri the proper) only to result in unreasonable and indecent editorship hanging beyond corrective adminship. There was also an edit war between the Persian and Semitic supporters. This state of the art looks ugly and poor.
Compare 기린 of my initiative, where I explicitly took geri as the most likely origin. In this process, I was toughly, unjustly "censored" as shown by Talk:기린. Using this talk page in addition, I was answering Dbfirs who elsewhere would boil me down by saying "There is no campaign for personal attacks on you."
--KYPark (talk) 14:39, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Alright, so I've removed the Syriac and Somali points and opted for a Persian compound origin. It still needs and English-language citation, though. --334a (talk) 18:32, 15 May 2013 (UTC)


The etymology section claims this is a compound, from *dr̥ḱ-h₂eḱru- "eye bitter" (actually "bitter eye", I suppose). Presumably, h₂eḱ-ru- is the part that means "eye", but Proto-Indo-European for "eye" is listed here in Wiktionary as *h₃ekʷ-, with a different laryngeal and a labial, not a palatalized, k. What gives? Is the difference the result of compounding, or the effect of some (not mentioned) extra morphology? Or maybe it is a different root? Or is it just transcription inconsistency? I don't have any PIE dictionaries with me, so I can't judge; but maybe you guys know what is going on there? --Pereru (talk) 13:49, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

It may be just a case of linguists wanting to explain terms so badly that they come up with rather dodgy ideas. That does happen occasionally. —CodeCat 13:58, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Not to endorse the etymology (which strikes me as unmitigated bullshit), but h₂eḱru- would be the part that means "bitter" (cf. Latin acer), while dr̥ḱ- would be the part that means "eye" (cf. Greek δράκος (drákos)). —Angr 14:13, 31 December 2012 (UTC)