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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← December 2013 · January 2014 · February 2014 → · (current)

tick mark

An anon added an etymology from Hindi. I have no idea if it is correct. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 16:45, 5 January 2014 (UTC) (The OED has this for the noun tick:- Etymology: Not known a1440, the verb (tick v.1) appearing a century later. Parallels to noun and verb appear in Dutch tik a pat, touch, tick, tikken to pat, tick, Low German tikk a touch, also a moment, instant, with ticken or tikken verb, Norwegian tikke to touch lightly, also Middle High German zic ‘a light touch or push’, and zicken verb. These may indicate a common Old Germanic source, or they may be of later onomatopoeic formation, the expression in ‘vocal gesture’ of the act or sound in question.)

Well, the Germanic derivation certainly makes sense, and is plausible enough on its own. The senses of tick having to do with tick marks and ticking boxes seem to be late enough to allow for borrowing from Hindi, so I wouldn't rule it out based on that. However, the IP who added it also added the same claims at WP:Check mark, along with the suggestion that check might have come from Bhojpuri, and put in a link to the Wiktionary entry they had just edited, presumably to bolster their credibility. For me, that (and their edit warring in this entry) pushes it over the edge from someone suggesting a theoretically-possible alternate theory to another in a long line of linguistic chauvinists trying to sneak in their crackpot theories. I would have to see references before I took this one seriously. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:03, 6 January 2014 (UTC)


The etymology says it derives from *dʰewsóm, but the derivation doesn't appear at all straightforward to me. A straightforward derivation would lead to *fūrum, which is completely different. How are the initial b-, the long -ē- and the -t- accounted for? —CodeCat 19:34, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

In theory it could come from a *dwēs-, but both Etymology Online and Eric Partridge say bēstia is of unknown origin, and AHD doesn't attempt to derive it from any PIE root. I think we should just remove *dʰewsóm and say "etymology unknown". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:41, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
It wouldn't hurt to say something like "perhaps from from PIE, compare...". It looks to me like they were starting to post a very simple (if borderline) etymology, then decided to throw in a bunch of stuff from from the etymology at deer (see diff). This contributor tends to pick up etymologies from all over the place without really understanding them. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:30, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I think it would hurt since it couldn't possibly be from the same PIE root as deer. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:25, 6 January 2014 (UTC)


The Russian term ста́нция (stáncija) looks similar to other European words for "station" but it has an "н" (n) in the middle. The question in the request for etymology also says Particularly: “where did the -н- come from?”.

The Russian Wiktionary claims it's from old Polish stancja (17th century) (modern Polish is stacja). Is the old Polish term stancja correct? How did the Polish term get "n"? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 22:37, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

According to Trubachev's commentary s.v. станция in Vasmer, the nasalization may be due to the influence of стан (stan). An alternative mentioned by Vasmer is derivation from Italian stanza, perhaps via Old Polish stancja. I found an obsolete form of the Italian word in lo Zingarelli, stanzia, not mentioned by Vasmer. Yet another possibility according to Vasmer is the borrowing as *стаця (*stacja) from Polish stacja, with a secondary nasalization in the adjectival form станционный (stancionnyj). --Vahag (talk) 22:53, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Vahag. :) So, there are various possibilities here. I won't add the etymology section myself but I don't mind if someone does. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:22, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Намёк понял :) Added the etymology, based on newer sources than Vasmer. --Vahag (talk) 16:30, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, :) I didn't feel confident to add anything based on your explanation. You seem to be equipped with more etymological sources. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 19:27, 6 January 2014 (UTC)


I'm treating this like an rfv of an etymology, but I'm really questioning the reconstruction itself (I suppose I should use RFDO, but the existence of a reconstructed term is an etymological question). All of the descendants seem to derive either from the noun (Old English & Old Norse), or directly from Latin (Dutch & German). Neither common borrowing nor parallel derivation in daughter languages make a proto-form. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:15, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

arduus and arbor

I notice that the PIE sound dʰ has two different results here. Does anyone know why this happened? Why didn't *arbuus appear instead, or even *arbus? —CodeCat 22:57, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

From Michiel de Vaan, pp. 52-53: "Lubotsky apud Schrijver 1991:313 suggests that the combination of preceding r and following w may have prevented the change to a labial." --Fsojic (talk) 23:13, 10 January 2014 (UTC)


Anybody know the etymology of the Luxembourgish bestueden (to marry)? BigDom (tc) 19:46, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

This dictionary from 1847 claims to have some information: and The server seems to be instable, so the links don't work permanently.
Grimm ( has bestatten (2) with the meaning of to marry, so the 1847 theory might be correct.
The Rhenish dialects have a similar word with the same meaning:
--MaEr (talk) 09:47, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Spanish arrimar

This term has, according to a contributor, no known etymology. I don't speak Spanish, but it seems quite close to French arrimer, and furthermore there is an article about this word here, which I don't have access to. --Fsojic (talk) 21:51, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

The article mentions two derivations:
  • from rima (line of poetry, rhythmic versification) (the author considers this “little short of insurmountable”)
  • from rimar (to row)
The Royal Spanish Academy just says its origin is uncertain. — Ungoliant (falai) 14:38, 15 January 2014 (UTC)


Etymology section was added by anon to say "From Proto-Mon-Khmer *t₂ŋiiʔ (“day, sun”). Cognates in other Mon-Khmer languages include Khmer ថ្ងៃ (thngai)." But there are supposedly Han characters supporting it as a reading, namely "𣈜 or 𣈗", to serve as the etymology. Clearly there is a disconnect here. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 06:37, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

These are Nom characters which are used to write words considered to be of native Vietnamese origin with a derivative Han script. They are constructed based on the Chinese character principle of phono-semantics: (phonetic, pronounced 'ngày') + (semantic, meaning 'sun'). The word 'ngày' is of Mon-Khmer origin. Wyang (talk) 06:46, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
Ah I see, that was the missing information. I know meant 'sun' but did not know how to connect it to the present entry. So then this would be read as "the idea of (sun) pronounced (ngày), thus forming 𣈜". But then would 㝵 be from Mon-Khmer or the combination of 㝵 and 日 be from Mon-Khmer? TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 07:01, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
The characters 𣈜 and 𣈗 were coined by the Vietnamese to represent a word that the Vietnamese language has which the Chinese language does not have. The Chinese word of 㝵 ("to get"), when borrowed into Vietnamese, happens to be homophonic with the native Vietnamese word 'ngày'. Thus the Vietnamese created a character to represent 'ngày' ("sun") by adding a semantic part of '日' ('sun') for disambiguation. Wyang (talk) 07:09, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

menton, mentón

Latin mentum would give *ment in French, so this can't be directly inherited. There must be an intermediate step like *mentōnem in between. I also don't know if the Spanish word necessarily is a loanword? Does it have to be? —CodeCat 20:17, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Unless it's an assimilated re-borrowing, which I think is unlikely but possible. --WikiTiki89 20:22, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Larousse's etymological dictionary derives the French from Vulgar Latin *mentō, -ōnis; I suppose the Spanish (as well as Catalan mentó) could come from the same source. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:07, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
It's found in Old French (also as mentun), so if it's found in Spanish and Catalan, you'd expect it to be present in Old Occitan too. Can anything be found on that? —CodeCat 21:12, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I found mentoun in this dictionary of "Modern" Occitan from 1894, also confirmed by this one in 1848. --WikiTiki89 21:31, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

nord, sud, est, ouest

The etymology sections for all of these French words except sud say that these words come from Old English. Isn't it more likely that they came from Frankish or something? --WikiTiki89 01:13, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

sud shows the effect of the Ingvaeonic nasal-spirant law, so as far as that particular form of the word goes, it's northern in origin and possibly English. But the real point is est, which has a vowel that is quite unlike the -au- > -ō- that is found in Frankish or High German. It does match the vowel of ēast, on the other hand. —CodeCat 01:50, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I guess that makes sense. I just don't get why French would have imported its cardinal directions from English. --WikiTiki89 02:04, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
What about Frisian? Chuck Entz (talk) 03:42, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
FWIW: Rolf Hendrik Bremmer's Introduction to Old Frisian records the Old Frisian word for "south" as sūth and "east" as āst (whence, according to our entry, West Frisian east); it also mentions nōrth, specifying the vowel as [ɔː]. And Ekkehard König and Johan van der Auwera's The Germanic Languages, writing about how "[t]he Germanic diphthongs /ai/, /au/, /eu/ also changed in Old High German and Old Saxon", says: "In Old Saxon even the development of /au/ into /aː/ occurred, the common development for Old Frisian, e.g. OSax. âst- 'east' in place-names."
I also found one book which hilariously (clearly incorrectly) explained ouest (west) as ou (not) + est (east)!
- -sche (discuss) 05:53, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
That makes me wonder wherefore human beings tend to lean towards ridiculously folk etymological explanations rather than the clearer, more likely explanations. Tharthan (talk) 17:45, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
norðr - Amgine/ t·e 07:29, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
"I just don't get why French would have imported its cardinal directions from English." --Why not? The Anglo-Saxons were a great sea-faring people, and this was at a time before the Norman Invasion when the English language enjoyed a rather high level of prestige. —This unsigned comment was added by Leasnam (talkcontribs).
@Leasnam But wouldn't they have already had their own words, such as the ones from Latin and possibly the ones from Frankish? --WikiTiki89 20:50, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Several Romance languages have both sets, side by side. Catalan is an example, it uses est alongside oriental. I think they form suppletive pairs, with different uses and parts of speech. So a bit like English meat words. —CodeCat 20:58, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Ah, now *that* I can address as it falls into my area of expertise. There were four distinct regions of nautical tradition in France, only one of which (Mediterranean) was directly influenced by Latin. Two were strongly influenced by English, as well as Gaelic, Catalan, etc., and the exchanges went both ways. - Amgine/ t·e 20:59, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89, yes, but words aren't always borrowed due to lack of a term in the debtor language...although I suppose sometimes they are (like for new concepts like inventions, etc). It probably happened because French seamen came into contact with English seamen and picked up the terms from them, which were easier to use and sounded better than their Romance counterparts. From naval jargon they spread to the general speaking populace over time. Same thing occurred in Middle English: we don't say uncle today because the anglo-saxons lacked a word for a parent's brother--the words eme and uncle were used side by side for a long while, and eventually uncle won out. Leasnam (talk) 21:18, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but in those cases it was because French had a high prestige in England at the time. French words often entered English not because English lacked them but because English speakers had forgotten them due to only studying French. But I can understand the fact that the English cardinal directions were shorter and easier to say. --WikiTiki89 22:23, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Not because English speakers studied French--few but the learned such as writers, poets, lawyers, etc. knew any French in England at the time (the English people were never bilingual!). It was through writers like Chaucer et al that French words crept into English--and most times at first, the French words were not even understood by readers and required translation. In the case of uncle, I doubt very seriously that the reason it won out was because people knew it came from French. It was just a case of survival of the fittest. Leasnam (talk) 00:27, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
The educated English people were bilingual. English was their mother tongue, but school was taught exclusively in French and all writing was in Latin. Since English ceased to be taught in schools, many of higher register words were forgotten, creating a void that could only be filled by French and Latin borrowings. Chaucer didn't introduce French words into English, he wrote the way he spoke, which was the way most educated Englishmen spoke at the time. But I realize now, that the word "uncle" must have been an exception, since its predecessor was by no means a high-register word. --WikiTiki89 00:59, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
What about German Onkel and Southern Dutch nonkel? —CodeCat 01:04, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Since you bring up the Dutch nonkel, English also has nuncle, I wonder if they share a common origin or are just parallel rebracketings. --WikiTiki89 01:13, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
These "educated English people" you mention above were actually the Norman descendants *turned* English--they were bilingual, and they came from a Norman-speaking environment into an English speaking environment, and therefore had to be bilingual. School was not as it is today, with a schoolhouse in every district. Schools were few and far between, like universities are today. And yes, they were taught in Latin, perhaps in French as well. Average English children did not receive tutoring in French--they didn't go to school. They learned at home, and at home is where English was spoken. School was for the children of Norman descendants, where they were taught the language of their forefathers, French. Chaucer's English was a register dialect of Middle English. Not many spoke it, but these few were influential. The average Middle Englisher on the street had few French words in his vocabulary. Leasnam (talk) 01:24, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
To be clear, that's exactly what I had in mind. I thought it was obvious that schools were only for the upper class, and most of the upper class was descended from the Normans. --WikiTiki89 06:15, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
They would have to be rebracketings of different forms. Southern Dutch dialects have so-called "accusativism"; what is now the only remaining noun case derives from the former accusative case (in the more northern areas it's the nominative that survives). That means that the rebracketing is from the article/adjective accusative ending -en in these dialects. It's also possible that the rebracketing happened in French or as part of the borrowing, from mon oncle. I don't know how old the word is in Dutch. —CodeCat 01:26, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
The main reason why the high-register words of Old English were lost was because William the Conqueror eliminated (i.e. executed) the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy--some 100.000 people, and all clerics, save one. All nobles, land-owners, etc. were dead, and with them went the educated words of Old English. Forgotten. So yes, when the English began to come into the middle class, their language was somewhat bankrupt in certain terms. Leasnam (talk) 01:30, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I think nonkel/nonk is fairly recent? 1950's? Leasnam (talk) 01:35, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
That's funny--there also is neam as a rebracketing of mine/thine/an eam (eme)! Leasnam (talk) 01:42, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
  • This might be a horribly silly question as I'm quite naive about the Celtic tongues, but does this fusion of a preceding "n" as in nuncle or neam have any similarity to the mechanisms of consonant mutation in Gaelic? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 03:32, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Only in a very vague way. The n's in nuncle and neam and the like arose from a reinterpretation of things like "mine uncle" and "an eam" as "my nuncle" and "a neam". (Likewise the nicknames Ned < Edward and Nan(cy) < Ann.) The Celtic consonant mutations also arose when word-final consonants affected the beginnings of the words that followed them. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:56, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Angr, I thought "Nancy" was "Mine Agnes"-y? Is it not? Tharthan (talk) 14:58, 26 November 2014 (UTC)