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A nonce term, used by Dante in the Inferno. Both my translated copies do not translate this word, and one of them explicity says in a side note that it is absolute rubbish, but the form makes me suspect rather that it is an Arabic derivation fused with the definite article al. Can anyone find a reference or a candidate? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:59, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

In case you weren't already aware, this is discussed in w:Papé Satàn, papé Satàn aleppe Chuck Entz (talk) 00:35, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

cool beans

Tagged but not listed? - -sche (discuss) 19:49, 3 February 2013 (UTC)


The Middle English portion of this entry's etymology was tagged {{fact}}. - -sche (discuss) 19:52, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, I think we should delete the whole etymology which I believe to be false (unless someone can find cites to change my opinion). The first recorded usage seems to have been around 1905, when Middle English was rarely used. Dbfirs 09:38, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, yeah's origin is as a variant of either yea or yes. The Middle English portion of the etymology traces this back through yea. Perhaps what's needed is the intermediary stage showing yea. I have added it. Leasnam (talk) 17:15, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
That's a big improvement. Have you any evidence that yea was involved in the development of yeah? I would think your alternative is much more likely, given the lack of early usage. Dbfirs 18:11, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Some dictionaries say that it can be from either yea or yes. Granted, I do not think that yea has been used very much recently enough to substantiate that assumption, but ya/yah (regional America [Midwestern]) has. I would be more inclined to believe an informal development from ya a little more than from yes. Do you know where the 1905 cite is from (US, Scotland, England, Ireland)? Leasnam (talk) 20:48, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
The 1905 date was from "Dialect Notes" which the OED mentions, but refuses to tell me any details about. It doesn't even tell me what region the dialect came from, but I'm guessing that it refers to the American Dialect Society's publication. The use of "yeah" seems to date back to the nineteenth century, but Google Books turns up only mis-spellings and eye-dialect for "year" in that century (with one strange Irish exception). The earliest definite usage I can find is from 1903 in "Cunnie Rabbit, Mr. Spider, and the other beef: West African folk tales" by Florence M. Cronise, & Henry W. Ward. The best quote seems to be: "Dis girl yeah, w'en he go cook de beef ... " (the "yeah" is obviously a parenthetical "yes", not eye-dialect for "year"). You might be able to find something earlier. Dbfirs 13:55, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Dis girl yeah is almost certainly "this girl here". —Angr 15:47, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Oops! Thanks for the correction. I'd filtered out the the "yeah = year" usage, but, not being familiar with the idiolect, I missed that possibility. Back to the drawing board. Dbfirs 08:37, 8 February 2013 (UTC)


Etymology of this entry is empty at present.

Danish:  urinere
Dutch:   urineren (nl)
English: urinate (en)
German:  urinieren (de)
Swedish: urinera (sv)
Greek:   ουρώ (el) (ouró)
Catalan: orinar (ca)
French:  uriner (fr)
Italian: urinare
Portug.: urinar (pt)
Romani.: urina (ro)
Spanish: orinar (es)

--KYPark (talk) 15:48, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Examples (Uranus (mythology))

The most probable etymology is from the basic Proto-Greek form *(F)orsanόj (worsanos) derived from the noun *(F)orsό (worso, Sanskr.: varsa "rain" ). The relative Proto-Indo-European language root is *ers "to moisten, to drip" (Sanskr.: varsati "to rain"), which is connected with the Greek ourόw (Latin:"hourẻ", Engl.: "urinate", Comp. Sanskr.: var "water")... therefore Ouranos is the "rainmaker" or the "fertilizer". --KYPark (talk) 09:29, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Added. —Angr 15:59, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Improved. --KYPark (talk) 16:08, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Yet more wanted. --KYPark (talk) 16:18, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
"More at urea" added. Yet I wonder if it is akin to Ancient Greek Οὐρανός (Ouranós, Uranus) from οὐρανός (ouranós, sky, heaven). --KYPark (talk) 02:00, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
In addition to sky and heaven, οὐρανός also meant roof of the mouth or palate, but I still can't see a connection with urine other than the first three letters. The French Wiktionary traces the urine, urea root back to Indo-European "ūr, au̯er". Dbfirs 09:00, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

buck naked

Tagged but not listed: anyone have a solid lead regarding the origin of this term? - -sche (discuss) 05:12, 9 February 2013 (UTC)


Tagged but not listed. Anyone have references? - -sche (discuss) 05:21, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

bead tree

Please either improve or criticize anything of this entry from the etymological perspective. Cheers. --KYPark (talk) 08:06, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

cf. "Archived revision by KYPark (Talk | contribs) as of 12:19, 12 February 2013." [1]
I've never been informed, not to mention not convinced, why all this goal-seeking elaboration should be reverted, nullified, discouragaed, .... Please advise me what's wrong with me seeking truth this way. --KYPark (talk) 14:36, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Tommy Atkins

Did Kipling invent this name for his poem "Tommy", or was it already in use? JulieKahan (talk) 18:23, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

  • No, it was already in use. Ƿidsiþ 11:38, 16 February 2013 (UTC)


An anon added the etymology "from Norwegian ard 'plough'", but there is no Norwegian section for ard, and plough says the Norwegian word for plough is plog, so can anyone confirm that this is true? —Angr 14:48, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

I checked Alf Torp Nynorsk Etymologisk Ordbok from 1919. There seems to be a word ard ("wooden plough"), from Old Norse arðr, cognate to Latin aratrum. So at least the Norwegian part looks OK. --MaEr (talk) 19:11, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
But it seems a bit strange to me, that the word should be borrowed from modern Norwegian instead of from Old Norse. Even if the Norwegian part of this theory looks OK: the English part still is strange. --MaEr (talk) 12:48, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
The OED confirms it's from Norwegian. It was not used in English until the 1930s, in discussions of Scandinavian archaeology, so it's not that surprising that it would come from a modern language. Ƿidsiþ 12:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for confirming this, guys. When the anon added it I thought, "There's a 90% chance this is true, and a 10% chance it's bullshit added by a vandal that will stick around for years if no one questions it." I'm glad to hear that the better chance won out. —Angr 15:58, 17 February 2013 (UTC)


thigh (n.)
Old English þeoh, þeh, from Proto-Germanic *theukhom (cf. Old Frisian thiach, Old Dutch thio, Dutch dij, Old Norse þjo, Old High German dioh), from PIE *teuk- from root *teu- "to swell" (cf. Lithuanian taukas, Old Church Slavonic tuku, Russian tuku "fat of animals;" Lithuanian tukti "to become fat;" Greek tylos "callus, lump," tymbos "burial mound, grave, tomb;" Old Irish ton "rump;" Latin tumere "to swell," tumulus "raised heap of earth," tumor "a swelling;" Middle Irish tomm "a small hill," Welsh tom "mound"). Thus thigh is literally "the thick or fat part of the leg."

I find this or the like unbearably dictative, don't you? I am most upset by the last passage. The thigh may be simply akin to thick, hence literally "the thick ... of the leg," rather than because of the above etymonline quote that may explain it away. --KYPark (talk) 15:01, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

What do you mean by dictative? I'm not sure if I understand why it is upsetting. —CodeCat 15:15, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
What I say is what I mean. --KYPark (talk) 15:20, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
My point is if thigh is akin to thick. --KYPark (talk) 15:56, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
My point is thigh is akin to thick, if no objection. --KYPark (talk) 16:59, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
It might be, but only very distantly. "No original research" is more a Wikipedia maxim than a Wiktionary one, but when it comes to reconstructed roots in proto-languages it's better to stick to what we can find in published sources, so that we avoid including wild speculations. —Angr 17:18, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

According to Etymonline:

PIE *tum-
"to swell" whence tumere !!
PIE *teu-
"to swell" whence tumere ??
PIE *teuk-
maybe "thigh," from PIE *teu-, as per Wiktionary
  • As such, Etymonline and Wiktionary equate PIE *tum- with *teu-, which sounds confusing, improbable or implausible.
  • Most improbable or "dictative" is that thigh is akin to tumere from PIE *tum-.
  • The thigh is simply thick (more primordially) rather than sophisticatedly swollen or thickened! Compare the thumb from tumere.
  • Instead of the thigh, the more basic term thick may if not must be in the thick of things in large numbers.

--KYPark (talk) 11:27, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

The trouble is that thick seems to come from *tegu-, which is difficult to reconcile with the *teuh₂- of thigh, thumb, tumor, etc. —Angr 11:42, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
To the contrary, in my view, thick from *tegu- may be less difficult to reconcile with thigh from *teuk- than the latter exceptionally to do with thumb and tumor from *tum-! --KYPark (talk) 12:17, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Requests_for_verification#.E9.AE.9F_--_character_etymology.

Requesting verification of the character etymology. Nils Barth made some changes back in 2011, revolving around his apparent understanding that this character is Japanese-only. Since this character is present in Mandarin and apparently Korean too (see the 汉语 (cmn) and 朝鲜语 (ko) entries at zh:鮟), I restored his deletion of these entries. He also added a note that this character was a Japanese coinage in this edit from April 2011, but the only source I can find that makes this claim is the JA WT entry ja:鮟, and that's only in the categories and is not mentioned at all in the body of the page. Can anyone say for sure either way, and perhaps point to sources? -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:32, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Wrong page, I assume you know this already. Anyway, carry on. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:52, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Confirming existence in Mandarin (rare). Sources: 黄鮟鱇 in NCIKU dictionary, 鮟 at MDBG dictionary. The etymology seems plausible but I can't confirm it's kokuji. Japanese coinages do occasionally penetrate other CJKV or just CJK (minus Vietnamese) languages. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:02, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I'd say this etymology is quite likely to be correct. I can't find any uses of "鮟鱇, 鮟 (except as a variant of 鰋), 鱇" in Classical Chinese. ankou appears to be native Japanese, cf. Korean 아귀 (agwi, "anglerfish"). Wyang (talk) 04:46, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Per Mglovesfun, this isn’t the right page for etymological discussions. Shall we move over to the Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium, where I’ve opened a discussion (and replied) at: Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium: 鮟 ?
Indeed, shall I move the above discussion to that page?
(Thanks all for comments!)
—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 17:21, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for raising this Eiríkr!

To first address the question narrowly:

From some investigating I conclude that:

  • Strictly speaking, it is not kokuji, but this is subtle.
  • It is used in Chinese, as a borrowing from the modern Japanese.
  • It’s not clear whether it’s used in Korean, but presumably has some use as borrowing from Japanese, as 20th century Korean hanja usage largely follows Japanese kanji.

In detail (from アンコウ: 語源 at Japanese Wikipedia, translated and summarized for English-reading editors):

The character 鮟 in the sense of “monkfish, anglerfish”, was created in Edo period Japan (attested 1709), in the word 鮟鱇 (ankō, monkfish) from ateji 安康 an- by adding to both characters. However, is not considered a kokuji while is, because 鮟 is found in earlier Chinese texts, while 鱇 is not. The ancient Chinese use of 鮟 is unrelated to the Japanese use – it is a corruption of (a kind of catfish), changing to . In formal Japanese usage, “kokuji” is reserved for characters whose earliest appearance is as a Japanese coinage, and it is not applied to characters that are coined in Japan that happen to also be found in Chinese earlier, even if unrelated.

This subtlety is presumably the cause of the confusion, with casual Japanese usage sometimes classifying 鮟 as a kokuji – e.g., 国字 at 漢字辞典ネット lists both 鮟 and 鱇 as kokuji, but stars 鮟 and stating that dictionaries do not consider it to be a kokuji. On the other hand, 搾 is generally considered a kokuji, but apparently also occurs as a corruption of Chinese 榨. AFAICT the rule of thumb appears to be that if a character is in Kangxi, it’s not considered kokuji (e.g., 鰯 is a kokuji that date to the 8th century and had been around for almost 1000 years by the compilation of the Kangxi, but isn’t included in the dict).

Given our goals of following references and being helpful to readers, best is probably to count 鮟 as not a kokuji (since Japanese dictionaries don’t generally consider it such), but to have a sufficient discussion in the etymology section of the character; I’ve done so as of this edit; how does it look?

Regarding the use in Chinese: per Japanese Wikipedia, it is used in Chinese, as an import from Japan; it’s also listed in modern dictionaries – thanks Anatoli and Wyang for research!


—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 17:18, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

  Great, thank you Nils, and Anatoli and Wyang! Much clearer now. I appreciate y'all's work! -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 01:10, 17 February 2013 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

Added by anon IP. CMN term looks like it might be cromulent, with zh:w:脈輪 redirecting to zh:w:查克拉, which uses 脈輪 in the body of the article. However, the etym given is a dog's breakfast -- it says it's from SA into JA, not CMN for one, and there's no explanation of how we get CMN "màilún" from SA "ćakra". Anyone care to take a stab at this? -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 23:14, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

/ (lún) is just a "wheel", so the word can't mean specifically "chakra", so / (mài, arteries and veins) is added at the front to form a new word with a new meaning. This is a common way to make borrowings, since just phonetic borrowings are not very popular for 1) phonetic reasons - hard to match foreign sounds close enough, 2) characters chosen to transcribe a foreign words should be either close to the original meaning (at least remind somehow) or be meaningless (a few characters are used in modern Mandarin to transcribe words only). To me, the etymology section seems OK. The pure phonetic transcription is 查克拉 (chákèlā) as in the Chinese Wikipedia article, 脈輪 / 脉轮 (màilún) and 氣卦 / 气卦 (qìguà) are listed there as synonyms. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:48, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
@Eirikr, I'll share my little "secret". I'm using Perapera-kun Chinese (plug-in on Mozilla Firefox), the Chinese equivalent of Perapera-kun Japanese (I know Haplology uses Perapera-kun Japanese, do you?). It uses CEDIC dictionary (a totally free Chinese dictionary, equivalent of EDICT (Japanese)). In many cases I don't have to do a long research, this dictionary is my constant companion.
Here are the definitions of two out of three term I used above from CEDIC dictionary:
  1. 脈輪 / 脉轮 (màilún): Chakra (Sanskrit: disc, circle, wheel), one of seven symbolic nodes of the body in spiritual Yoga
  2. 查克拉 (Chákèlā): Chakra (name), Chakra system of yogic meditation, Chakra (Sanskrit: disc), one of seven symbolic nodes of the body in spiritual Yoga
--Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:11, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Thank you Anatoli, that looks like something I'll have fun learning how to use! And it looks like Wyang has updated the etym at 脈輪 to clarify. Saying màilún comes from ćakra, as the entry originally did, suggests some kind of direct inheritance or borrowing, which makes a lot less sense etymologically than saying that màilún was derived as a translation of ćakra. I was really scratching my head trying to imagine what possible sound shifts could turn ćakra into màilún. :) Cheers, -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 00:18, 19 February 2013 (UTC)


Is the following dual consilience flatly accidental?

Examples (w:Dilong#Other meanings)

Chinese dilong or Japanese chiryū 地龍 is the name of a chess piece in shogi. In Taikyoku shogi, this piece has 地龍 "earth dragon" written on one side and yulong or uryū 雨龍 "rain dragon" on the obverse.


--KYPark (talk) 02:29, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Examples (w:Chinese dragon#Classical depictions)

Chinese literature and myths refer to many dragons besides the famous long. The linguist Michael Carr analyzed over 100 ancient dragon names attested in Chinese classic texts.[14]
Dilong (Chinese: 地龍; pinyin: dìlóng; Wade–Giles: ti-lung; literally "earth dragon"), controller of rivers and seas; also a name for earthworm

雨龍 is "the dragon responsible for producing rains", not worms. 地龍 meant "a dragon on the ground" in Middle Chinese, and the sense of "earthworm" appeared only in Ming Dynasty. Both were unattested in Old Chinese literature. Wyang (talk) 02:48, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
See also the second excerpt on the right. --KYPark (talk) 03:10, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
From Dilong: "Dilong first means 'earthworm' in the Qixiu Leigao written by the Ming Dynasty scholar Lang Ying (1487-1566 CE)." There would have to be at least some previous attestations of this sense if it existed earlier (and if the consilience is not flatly coincidental), considering the abundance of Classical Chinese texts. Wyang (talk) 03:30, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Also take it into account that the worm originally meant a dragon! --KYPark (talk) 03:27, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
In Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/wr̥mis? Wyang (talk) 03:30, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Search "earthworm" at and you see "1590s" later than Lang Ying. And find "worm" at bottom of that page. --KYPark (talk) 04:17, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
So you think "earthworm" is possibly a calque of "地龍"? Wyang (talk) 04:26, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
My personal view is not terribly vital. I just wish people to see something curious in unusual consilience, open-mindedly. --KYPark (talk) 04:52, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
See also measuring worm, geometrid, inchworm, , etc., in terms of queerly, whether sheerly or not, coincidental consilience. --KYPark (talk) 09:48, 21 February 2013 (UTC)


Arabic term listed as coming from Middle Iranian *tabir (drum), *tabil (drum). What relation, if any, to other PIE derivatives such as FR tambour (missing etym), or EN timpani < Ancient Greek τύμπανον (túmpanon) < Ancient Greek τύπτω (túptō, beat, strike, smite) < Proto-Indo-European *steup? C.f. also Latin tympanum (missing etym), Sanskrit तोपति (tópati, to hurt) and Old Church Slavonic тъпати (tŭpati).

Possible distant relation to EN tap < Old English tæppa < Proto-Germanic *tappô, from the way a tap or stopcock must be first knocked into a barrel? Or EN tamp, FR tamponner, tampon < nasalized variant of tapon < Frankish *tappo, cognate with Dutch tappe, German Zapfen?

Cheers, -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:39, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

cf. HE תוף(tof, drum) (וַתִּקַּח מִרְיָם הַנְּבִיאָה אֲחוֹת אַהֲרֹן אֶת הַתֹּף בְּיָדָהּ וַתֵּצֶאןָ כָל הַנָּשִׁים אַחֲרֶיהָ בְּתֻפִּים וּבִמְחֹלֹת Exodus 15:20) JulieKahan (talk) 08:01, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
The root of tambour is Arabic تنبور(tumbūr) < Persian تنبور(tambūr) < Middle Persian tnbwl (tambūr, tambour). Cf. MP twmbk' (tumbag, drum) (< τύμπανον?). The HE תוף(tof, drum) looks related to Arabic دف(duff) < Persian دف(daf) < Middle Persian. --Z 16:15, 27 February 2013 (UTC)


The term пассатижи (passatíži) is derived from French "pinces à tige" (?) but not sure if this term still exists in French, what exactly it means/meant and the spelling (hyphens and diacritics). --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 02:31, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Despite being French, I didn't know what was a "pince à tige" until now. I have done quite an extensive search and, although the term actually exists, Google returns very few results (and even fewer images, as you guessed it). For what I have seen, "pince à tige" or "pince à tiges" (no definite spelling, as often in that case, but you can assume there is no hyphen, like in "pince à linge") may refer to several tools, depending on the context:
  • pliers or tongs ("pince") that are composed of one or two shafts ("tiges"). See an example here
  • pliers or tongs that are dedicated to the manipulation of rods ("tiges"). See an example here.
Both kind of tools can be seen in old books (mainly in a medical context for the former, and in a chemical context for the latter) and thus may have been borrowed by Russians. Can't say more. — Xavier, 20:34, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Thank you so much for your trouble! Bien merci, je suis très reconnaissant. :) --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:04, 23 February 2013 (UTC)


The Engish w: horse-leech (Haemopis sanguisuga) links to the following 8 foreign titles, all literally meaning "horse-leech". Then which is the origin of these academic calques?

cs:w: Pijavka koňská
de:w: Pferdeegel
et:w: Hobukaan
fi:w: Hevosjuotikas
hu:w: Lópióca
no:w: Hesteigle
pl:w: Pijawka końska
sv:w: Hästigel
pijavka koňská
pijawka końska
ウマ + ヒル
 + 거머리 (geomeori)

--KYPark (talk) 06:30, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Given their habitat: I would think that the source is German, Dutch and/or English. 07:45, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I'd agree with you strictly within the European habitat. But I already suggested that the question be global. Did you answer from the global perspective? --KYPark (talk) 08:21, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
The animal only lives in Europe. Non-Europeans have no reason to have developed their own name for an animal which does not exist in their part of the world. Therefore the name of the animal in their will be calqued from the European languages. Furius (talk) 09:30, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
You sound radically Eurocentric. Do you suggest neither horse nor leech exists outside Europe? If any similar, say, or , it must be a calque of the European origin, say, "horse" or "leech"? --KYPark (talk) 10:11, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that "horse-leeches" do not exist outside Europe. Therefore, when Chinese Korean and Japanese speakers were introduced to the animal, they translated the name into their own languages, word-by-word. 10:25, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Korean 말거머리 for horse-leech is older than 物譜 (1802), maybe written without any European influence. How old is the horse-leech? --KYPark (talk) 10:40, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Examples (Leech)

In several places in Israel the Nile leech - Limnatis nilotica - is found in springs and bodies of water and, attaching itself to men or beasts when these wash in or drink from the water, sucks their blood. ---- From Jewish Virtual Library

Examples (Limnatis nilotica)

Leech species of the family Gnathobdellidae, reaching as adults a length of 8-12 cm. This "large horse leech" parasitizes as adult stage on mammals (inclusive humans), but on insects and frogs as juvenile forms. Limnatis nilotica occurs in North Africa and Near East. If present in large numbers in nostrils, pharynx, or oesophagus, they may cause asphyxia and anaemia. ---- Heinz Mehlhorn (ed.), Encyclopedia of Parasitology, 3rd Edition, Springer-Verlag, 2008. p. 720.

Pinning down the taxonomic identity is trickier than it looks- as is much about leeches in European culture. As far as I can tell, Haemopis sanguisuga is a non-parasitic species that is predatory on smaller invertebrates. Its size and similarity to blood-sucking species apparently led to a widespread folk-belief that it was a voracious feeder upon animals. The biblical horseleech is apparently the aquatic leech, Limnatis nilotica, which enters the noses and mouths of animals that drink in infested water and attaches itself. That species is found throughout the Mediterranean region (I don't know the extent of its entire range). The German Wikipedia article linked to above suggests that the name Pferdeegel may have been modified from Rossegel, which it gives as the name for Limnatis nilotica (Ross is another German word for horse).
My best guess is that horse-leeches got their name in English from the use of horse that we see in horselaugh, horseplay, and horseradish, meaning large and/or coarse. The use of the term to translate a Hebrew word for another species muddied things up quite a bit: you can find biblical commentaries that confidently describe the biblical species as Haemopis sanguisuga, which they claim is a blood-sucker. A major problem with taxonomic names is that people tend to assume that there is only one taxonomic name per common name, and apply the taxonomic name they find in references about the common name to cases where it's really a different species. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:31, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Chinese 馬蛭 first occurred at a time when any European influence would not be possible. in the word didn't mean "horse", it was a prefix meaning "big (animal)", as in 馬蜂/螞蜂 ("wasp"), 螞蟻 ("ant"), 螞蚱 ("locust"), 螞蟥/螞蝗 ("leech"), which I suspect may be a colloquial reflex (in the iambic form) of Old Chinese (and Proto-Sino-Tibetan) *m- prefix, with the function of deriving the names of small insects (usually harmful ones). It's the same case for Korean , which doesn't mean "horse" here, but rather a prefix meaning "things larger than normal" (보통의 것보다 큰), eg. 말박,말벌,말거미,말매미. This Korean word might be a calque of Chinese. Wyang (talk) 10:54, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree mostly. Practically as the biggest or tallest animal in the Far East, the horse is worth a metaphor for bigness. Meanwhile, I wonder whether Korean for horse is akin to () or 머리 "head, top" or 마루 "col, saddle" as of the mountain. No doubt, anyway, the prefix literally means "horse" no more, whether or or whatever else. But who knows for sure which prefix is older, Chinese or Korean ? --KYPark (talk) 11:26, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, Chinese meant "large" already in Erya (circa 3rd century BC): 馬蜩 was "the large cicada". Don't think one could find even earlier Korean sources showing mal meaning "big".. Anyhow, Sagart (1999) also considers this use of as an Old Chinese relic, though it is quite likely later uses of this were influenced by the relative bigness of the horse itself (English horse also means "a large person"). As for etymology of mal, it is definitely related to (/*mraːʔ/ in Old Chinese), but unlikely to the others above. It is an areal word; please cf. Appendix:Proto-Sino-Tibetan/mraŋ. Wyang (talk) 12:12, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
The etymology of Korean itself is a mere side effect to this agenda, which I or we would better avoid and focus on the main east-west issue, while nonetheless I appreciate your wide etymological concern. --KYPark (talk) 12:45, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Horse as a metaphoric element meaning large and/or coarse in many words and phrases seems to be a parallel development in English, at least. Even if many of the terms derive from the tendency of aquatic leeches to attach to horses that drink in infested water, it's not necessary to assume borrowing when terms consist of names of things combined with traits or other things widely known to be associated with them. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:31, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, I have learnt some things about leeches, horses, 馬, and 蜩. Thanks for that. Furius (talk) 23:41, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
My question "which is the origin of [those 1+8 European] academic calques?" cf. CJK counterparts, may well be answered from both European and global perspectives.
Furius tried to narrow down the origin within Europe, yet blurringly, and then claimed its global impact. I appreciate the trial as the closest so far, however implausible it may sound.
The origin is presupposed. It entails that all the rest must be its calques. Otherwise, they make too accidental, coincidental consilience to be likely to happen, especially globally! Let's be openly surprised at the wider consilience and likely the deeper origin.
--KYPark (talk) 02:10, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

I wonder why Sz-iwbot deleted the interwiki link [[en:Haemopis sanguisuga]] in 2010 from马蛭 that has ever begun with 马蛭(学名:Haemopis sanguisuga)....

A few days ago, 1 + 8 (shown on top) interwiki links were duly added to that. Today I added [[zh:马蛭]] to w:Haemopis sanguisuga, while strongly fearing that this case may be nothing but obscurantism such as I've feared again and again. Why should I stop so doing and view it otherwise?

BTW, I added two "Examples" boxes in relation to Chuck Entz's Limnatis nilotica the northern Europeans must be unfamiliar with, though it may well be called "horse-leech" which is getting more and more problematic or enigmatic (to me at least) esp. from the global perspective, to be frank. Korean sources note that 말거머리 is not really blood-sucking, while European equivalents are, say, w:Haemopis sanguisuga "blood-thirsty blood-sucker"!

--KYPark (talk) 09:30, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Now it would be fair enough to know and say that few argue for the origin of horse-leech and the like, hence the unknown, uncertain, or perhaps oriental origin, as tentatively as usual in science.

--KYPark (talk) 10:31, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

measuring worm

In contrast to the previous earthworm and horse-leech, a range of English measuring worm, inchworm, spanworm, looper, geometer, etc., sound a calque altogether roughly meaning around measurement one way or another. Roughly such is the case not only in other European but also CJV languages, as follows. Are all these ideas of wording a queer consilience but sheer coincidence, East and West?

ca:w: Arna geomètrida
   w: Geometer moth
es:w: Geometridae
fr:w: Geometridae
it:w: Geometridae
pt:w: Geometridae
arna geomètrida
geometer moth
da:w: Målere
de:w: Spanner (Schmetterling)
   w: Measuring worm  
fi:w: Mittarit
nl:w: Spanners
no:w: Målere
sv:w: Mätare
measuring worm
(chǐhuò, +) シャクトリムシ
(shakutorimushi, ++) 자벌레 (jabeolle)
(ja-beolre, +벌레)

--KYPark (talk) 10:31, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Likely coincidence. In Chinese, oldest attestation of the word 尺蠖 was in I Ching (2nd millennium BC). Wyang (talk) 11:18, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
How great the oldest attest of 尺蠖 in I Ching is! How likely the coincidence is globally! How unlikely it is in the East and the West, respectively! --KYPark (talk) 11:58, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
In addition, it may be well noted that both Engish caterpillar, as measuring worm in a way, and its hanzi translations , 毛蟲, and 毛毛蟲, though more or less rough or hairy, share a semantic element for hair. What a queer consilience if a sheer coincidence it is!
--KYPark (talk) 00:00, 27 February 2013 (UTC)


This etymology seems exceptionally complicated - why must it derive from two different words in Cicero (sittybis in Ad Atticum 4 and sillybis in Ad Atticum 8)? Can't it just be from some variation on the aorist of συλλαμβάνω? Furius (talk) 23:05, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Three EtymOnLine entries
syllabus (n.)
1650s, "table of contents ..." from Late Latin syllabus "list" a misreading of Greek sittybos (plural of sittyba "... table of contents," ...) in a 1470s edition of Cicero's "Ad Atticum" iv.5 and 8.
monosyllable (n.)
1530s, from Latin monosyllabus "of one syllable," from Greek monosyllabos ...
syllable (n.)
late 14c., from Anglo-French sillable ... from Latin syllaba, from Greek syllabe "a syllable, several sounds or letters taken together" ... from syn- "together" ... + stem of lambanein "to take" ...
  The above EtymOnLine entries are quite incoherent, degrading the project integrity that much, however marginally, which on the other hand must be the "excellence" of the collection of such bits and pieces.
It should be noted that English syllabus and syllable (likely diminutive) may be in fact or in effect commonly derived from Latin syllabus, which in turn may have (however ill) confused both, as a result of subsequent misreading, misprinting, and mismatching.
The practical trouble is too (a) few would review many a mistaken view in reality to make due progress. The OED may be an over-estimated dictionary. Good money drive out bad!
--KYPark (talk) 03:41, 19 April 2013 (UTC)


In series
  1. #earthworm
  2. #horse-leech
  3. #measuring worm, caterpillar
  4. #grasshopper

Semantically, the above Germanic and Korean translations exceptionally exactly hop together, as it were, hence quite a queer consilience! Etymologically or anyway, however, should such a self-manifest fact be definitely ignored or obscured? Why?

--KYPark (talk) 14:43, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

As I see it, the fact that grasshoppers keep jumping around is their defining characteristic. It’s no wonder that unrelated languages would name them after this characteristic. — Ungoliant (Falai) 14:53, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
It's indeed "no wonder" that languages try to name a thing characteristically, but maybe "no accident" that only Germanic and Korean languages on earth name the grasshopper exactly the same way. --KYPark (talk) 15:14, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I notice that Spanish (saltamontes) and Catalan (saltamartí) also name it the same way, the only difference being that the "grass (underbrush)" and "hop" parts are reversed to match different tendencies in verb + object handling in compound words. Meanwhile, the Italian and Slavic references to small horses no doubt allude to the way small horses hop about and are often found in fields.
I'm with Ungoliant here. These cross-lingual semantic overlaps are not surprising, nor even all that terribly interesting, frankly. Same as for your mention of caterpillar earlier -- many caterpillars are indeed hairy, so the fact that many languages use their word for hair as part of the term for caterpillar is again neither surprising nor terribly interesting.
I recall pointing you towards the Zompist website, particularly the linguistics articles listed at, and even more specifically the article How likely are chance resemblances between languages? This is directly relevant to many of the threads you have started about how different languages seem to be related. You may wish to read this article.
If your musings are intended to show commonalities in how humans think in very different cultures and environments, then I might lend you an ear. Is this what you are investigating?
However, it seems instead that you might be exploring an argument that far-removed languages are somehow direct relatives, despite the absence of any linguistic evidence supporting such a position, and despite the presence of linguistic evidence to the contrary. That line of reasoning is not likely to attract much favorable attention, until and unless you can find any such supporting linguistic evidence.
But do carry on, if this scratches an itch of yours. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 18:28, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

The previous agenda #measuring worm at once led Wyang to create 尺蠖 along with a highly impressive (at least to me) historical quotation. Wyang suggested that its Eurasian trade was unlikely, but I thanked a lot in silence. Anyway, that agenda works!

So does this agenda #grasshopper that made myself enhance Etymology of 메뚜기. It may also make some readers more or less interested one way or another, e.g., whether those Germanic translations led to the Latinic and Slavonic, or otherwise or noway, regardless of Korean part. Who should hesitate or hate that?

It also made Eiríkr Útlendi speak a lot of objection to my favoring the likely Eurasian trade in many ways as a matter of fact rather than written history I equate almost with positivism that would ignore the implicit, tacit majority.

History has it that just four trivial Hunnic words survived, as enumerated by one Roman historian who once visited their camp. Without his visit, not a single word would have survived. Such is history in silence!

In this worm series, I've never argued in such a way that "far-removed [Eurasian] languages are somehow direct relatives," which is hence a mere unfair strawman argument I greatly regret.

What sort of cultural evidence is needed to trade and share such things as tea, silk and china? What sort of "linguistic evidence" is needed to trade and share such ideas as 地龍, 馬蛭, 尺蠖 and 메뚜기?

Right here, we are not in the right position to think and talk about Eurasian languages in themselves but just some of their words or memes, if you like, in flux or trade like things and ideas in bits and pieces.

To infer any vital linguistic kinship from some lexical trade and sharing would be as crazy as to make a mountain out of a molehill! While enjoying china, silk, tea, etc. from Chinese culture, Europe in itself yet must remain very different from it.

Korean adopts or adapts some English words not because it is (becoming) akin to English in itself, but simply because they are useful. Vice versa; so does English with Korean gimchi, bulgogi, malchum, etc., without needing to adapt itself to Korean in itself.

My notion "only Germanic and Korean languages on earth name the grasshopper exactly the same way" is a matter of degree and viewpoint. I cannot help but note that Germanic translations look much closer to Korean than Latinic and Slavonic, while anyone may disagree with me anyway.

Right or wrong, you may positively infer from such closeness, if "no accident" instead of "no wonder," that 메뚜기 (mettugi) may have been directly introduced to Germanic, and indirectly to Latinic and Slavonic. Who should keep people from such reasoning?

I always find myself struggling against too simple black and white (BW) rhetorics and arguments. Contrary to our common sense and rhetoric, esp. in BW terms, no two things on earth are "exactly the same." Likeness, surprise, interest, evidence, and whatever degrees vary from thing to thing, from species to species.

Perhaps most responsible for our helpless and hopeless simplism may be our speech or rhetoric that should be both precise and concise contradictorily, vitally and fatally.

As such, BW speeches would be both good and bad, so often doing even evil, whether intentionally or not. Science and relegion that essentially seek the truth and only the truth through speech may be no exception.

As "my personal view is not terribly vital," as I noted elsewhere a week ago, so is any personal uninterest, indifference, ignorance, or the like.

In spite of that, to say that my agendas in series are again and "again neither surprising nor terribly interesting" is to say that such a personal BW view is authoritative enough for anyone to believe. Perhaps this is the easiest way people dictate, deceive, brainwash, misguide, and so on.

--KYPark (talk) 16:54, 28 February 2013 (UTC)