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high languagesEdit

German has 'Hochdeutsch', high German, a name originally applied to the dialects spoken outside the flatlands. Since the standard international language over time became a High German amalgam, the term became used as a synonym for 'standard', so that even High German dialects are now opposed to 'High German' i.e. standard German. This extends into English at least in phantasy literature where 'high' is used as a term for more refined, archaic or formal variants of speech, e.g. High Elvish, High Gothic. Should this development get its own etymology section or stay under the regular etymology of English 'high'? I tend towards giving it an extra header. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 12:55, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Well, though it has a unique history, is it really anything but simply high ("lofty, elevated, positioned above or superior to others") ? If we do this for high, where does it end ? Leasnam (talk) 17:40, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I would be interested to see when phrases like “High Renaissance” and “High Middle Ages” came about. I'm not convinced that their usage has anything to do with Hochdeutsch. —JohnC5 18:59, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Hmm, maybe expressing "the Height of" (--the most quintessential or most flourishing aspects of) those eras perhaps ? Leasnam (talk) 19:02, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
That would make a great deal of sense. Given that, I would expect that High Elvish and High Valyrian refer to “the language during the height of the cultural and literary history of Valinor and Valyria (respectively)” and not to a mistaken understanding of Hochdeutch. —JohnC5 19:14, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
John, kindly be less sassy in tone and kindly do not skip to topics other than languages when I am talking specifically about languages, where for one have for example an explicit statement by the coining man of 'Høgnorsk' telling us it was analogous to Hochdeutsch and where Warhammer's 'High Gothic' is the language of the period considered most uncultured. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 20:14, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Um... At no point was I remotely sassy. Perhaps you were referring to the word “mistaken” in my last post, which was referring to you proposed reänalysis of “hoch” (from “high in altitude” to “standard”), which would have been a mistaken understanding of the meaning of Hochdeutsch by speakers. I was not accusing you of being mistaken. Also, I feel that designations like “High Renaissance” to be the origin of this meaning, since they are far more commonly used in English than “High German”. I'll admit that “High Gothic” may have been influenced by your analysis, but “High Elvish” and “High Valyrian” do not seem to fit the mold at all. I find your implication that my intentions were at all flippant or in bad faith unfounded. I do not mean to speak so sternly here, but I was blindsided by your accusations. —JohnC5 21:09, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
That's not quite how I understood you. I just, wrongly, had the impression you had left the businesslike politeness which is the oil keeping this project running. I apologise for misunderstanding you. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 09:15, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate that, and I apologize for not wording the offending post more carefully and for responding so forcefully thereafter. I've always enjoyed your contributions. —JohnC5 15:13, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
It's not quite what you asked about (“High Renaissance” and “High Middle Ages”), but The language of painting: an informal dictionary (1967), page 94, says: "HIGH. A descriptive term used in the history of art to indicate the flowering of a period, or when its style is most characteristic. For example, one speaks of the Early Gothic period, the High Gothic period, and the Late Gothic period." - -sche (discuss) 19:27, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
"High" in "High Elvish" (like "High Valyrian") seems to have similar meaning (and thus presumably etymological origin) to "high" in "High Middle Ages". Indeed, "High Elvish" is the language of the "High Elves", apparently so called because of their greater status and power relative to other elves; compare "high magic". I'm having trouble finding examples of "High Gothic" as the name of a stage of a language rather than a stage of architecture or literature; one of the few examples I find seems to hit the same note of "greater status" as "High Elvish" does (and indeed as the architectural and literary-period "High Gothic"s seem to do): "if language degenerates through time — Grimm thought the High Gothic of the Middle Ages the pinnacle of German expression — then [...]" (from Pop Pagans).
There is a connection between "Høgnorsk" and "Hochdeutsch", but Wikipedia says it's one of elevation: the term's coiner "point[ed] out that Ivar Aasen, the creator of Nynorsk orthography, had especially valued the dialects of the mountainous areas of middle and western Norway, as opposed to the dialects of the lowlands of eastern Norway, which Hannaas called Flatnorsk (Flat Norwegian, like Plattdeutsch)." In English, some uses of "High Norwegian" and "High Norse" are calques of "Høgnorsk", others seem to be using "high" as the aforementioned status designation: one of the few hits for google books:"High German" "High Norwegian", a 1916 Modern Language Notes, volume 31, page 300, speaks of and criticizes "reference to the Riksmaal as 'High Norwegian'".
I think sense 8 needs to be written to be about status and not about "standard"-ness per se, unless there are good non-calque examples of "high" meaning "standard" rather than "high-status", which seems like a hard but not impossible distinction to make. Also, as you note, it often seems to denote purer and older / more archaic varieties, possibly only because these are the varieties that tend to be accorded higher status / prestige. The use of "high" to denote high status is surely native English, but if we could find references or clearer examples of it(s use) being influenced by German, I think it would be appropriate to describe that in the same etymology section.
- -sche (discuss) 18:52, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I'll keep that in mind if I come across calque-situations in the future. The High Gothic I mentioned meant a fictional language from the Warhammer universe, not Gothic, by the way.Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 19:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Tolkien was a philologist and lexicographer. There can be little doubt that he was familiar with the meaning of "Old High German", even if he chose to play with the adjective in his legendarium. Rich Farmbrough, 14:20, 9 March 2016 (UTC).


RFV of the etymology "From Latin secum, the only form of cum + se. (The form cum se resonated with an obscene word and was therefore shunned).", added by on this edit. --kc_kennylau (talk) 19:27, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

I just removed that bit; it's nonsense. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:30, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
The only offensive word even close to this word is in the wrong language. Looks like a silly joke about English cum, meanwhile the English word is derived from come. Hillcrest98 (talk) 02:16, 3 February 2016 (UTC)


According to calare, it comes from Latin calāre, present active infinitive of calō, from Ancient Greek χαλάω ‎(khaláō). But according to calo, this comes from καλέω. --Espoo (talk) 21:17, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Connecting what we have on Wiktionary right now semantically does not make sense... maybe they're different words entirely? Hillcrest98 (talk) 02:10, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I’ll take a look at my Italian resources. calo says it’s a cognate of καλέω (kaléō), not that it comes from it. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:18, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Treccani and Vocabolario Etimologico Italiano both say it’s from χαλάω. The former glosses it as allentare and the latter as distacco, scarico, allento, apro. Both mention chalare as an alternative form of the Latin etymon; I think it’s a different verb calo, one that we don’t have yet. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:30, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Latin-dictionary confirms the second meaning of "calare". --kc_kennylau (talk) 19:07, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

the word "ceol" meaning music, songEdit

I am presently working on a genealogy project re: my surname, "Ceol". In researching the origin of "ceol", I was surprised to learn its meaning in Old Celtic (music, song) since we are a family of musicians. (I studied classical music and performed as an opera singer; my father and his siblings were jazz musicians; my grandfather, who emigrated in 1900 from the Sud Tirol of Italy was a music teacher.) Over the last few years, I found my Ceol relatives still living in northern Italy and visited the ancestoral village (Verena, in Trento, Vicenza). It was only then that I confirmed there was never a vowel on the end of "ceol", even though my relatives were Italian. I have since traced the unchanged name back to 1676 in the Tirolean area surrounding Trento. There are many Ceols in the Trento area, but through research, I'm learning that elsewhere the name is rare. Although there are Ceol families found in the Americas (and even a few families living in China and Australia) from my research I'm suspecting it likely they are descendents of those ancestors that emigrated from Varena. Because the Celts once inhabited central Europe, especially in Austria, it seems possible that the surname is native to the area, that my ancestors are descendents from Celtic people who settled in the remote mountain area for generations. Though the area was wrought with a history of barbaric invasions and Roman, French and Austrian conquest, do you believe its logical to believe that "Ceol" could be an unchanged surname dating to the beginning of surnames in the 13th or 14th century? Could it truly be "Celtic" and meant to identify the ancestor for his music ability? I would appreciate the expert opinion of an etymologist or linguist? Anything is possible, I know. I am waiting for the lab results of a Y-DNA test we submitted to get some insight on which haplogroup and possible migration route of our ancestors who shared the inherited "Ceol" gene. I would appreciate any imput on the subject from historians of the area or expert knowledge of the history of the Celtic migration in Europe. Thank you in advance for your interest in my project!

ceol is Modern Irish, not Proto-Celtic. I'm not certain what the Proto-Celtic form would have been, but it strikes me as very unlikely to be connected to your northern Italian surname. The languages traditionally spoken in Trentino are not standard Italian at all, but the Romance languages Ladin, Lombard, Venetian, and the German varieties Mòcheno and Cimbrian, none of which follow Italian's rule of requiring content words to end in a vowel. There are thus many other languages that your name is more likely to come from than Celtic. The similarity to the Irish word (which is pronounced roughly "kyoal") is certain to be a coincidence. The results of your DNA test will also not tell you what language it is, since language is not transmitted sexually. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:04, 9 February 2016 (UTC)


In the etymology it is claimed that the proto-Germanic root of the word, kaupōną, is from Latin caupo. Really? It's a bit of a stretch to claim that Proto-Germanic derives from Latin. Surely that should be "cognate with". SpinningSpark 12:32, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

I think it's for convenience to sort all Germanic cognates in one etymological entry. Also see Category:gem-pro:Days of the week . Etymonline does not mention Proto-Germanic when dealing with this word. Hillcrest98 (talk) 12:42, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Proto-Germanic (the language) doesn't derive from Latin, no, in that you are correct; but the root of this word was borrowed into PGmc from Latin. That is what the Etymology is saying Leasnam (talk) 15:19, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I've updated it. Hopefully it's a little clearer Leasnam (talk) 15:33, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
@Leasnam: I'm confused, is cauponari a nominative lemma form? It looks more like an inflected form or a stem. But I'm not an expert on Latin declensions. --WikiTiki89 15:41, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, I believe that is a VUlgar Latin un-attested form (??; I guess for what would properly be cauponarius). I've updated the etym to just use the attested one. Leasnam (talk) 17:00, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
If cauponari exists in (Vulgar) Latin, it's a deponent infinitive. We use the first-person singular present indicative as the lemma form, though, so it should be changed to cauponor. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:50, 9 February 2016 (UTC)


Says "from Canaanite", which is a language family. Can we be more specific? Wikipedia has a nice list of cognates and a Proto- Semitic form we could copy. - -sche (discuss) 16:42, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Phonologically at least, it could only have come from Hebrew, since other Canaanite languages don't much surviving record of pronunciation, and the best guess would be "Il". However, the polytheistic meaning was certain influenced by the other Canaanite languages. The second definition is completely wrong, but I'm not sure how to fix it. --WikiTiki89 16:49, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I've modified the entry some more, following up on your changes, and converted sense 2 into a Related terms section. - -sche (discuss) 20:59, 11 February 2016 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. I highly doubt it comes from English, since 猶太 does not have any trace of the initial /dʒ/ in the English word Judah. It's more likely to be from Latin Iudaea, Greek Ἰουδαία (Ioudaía) or Hebrew יהודה‎. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 21:15, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

  • If I'm reading it right, the relevant section of the Chinese Wikipedia article suggests it comes from Hebrew יְהוּדִי‎. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:23, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
    • When is it first attested? That would establish the likelihood of it having come directly from Hebrew. --WikiTiki89 22:51, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
      • I have a hunch it came from missionaries, pehaps via a Bible translation. Most of the earlier missionaries were educated in Latin and Greek, and sometimes used those instead of their native languages for Biblical names. As for the zh wikipedia: everything ultimately came from the Hebrew, so that wouldn't be mutually exclusive with Greek or Latin as the immediate source. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:21, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
        • I agree, @Chuck Entz. IMO, the Greek sounds closer to the Chinese than the Latin. @Wikitiki89 The earliest Chinese Bible I can find using 猶太 for Judea (just looking at Acts 1:8) is 救世主耶穌新遺詔書,郭實臘譯 (1839). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:57, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
          • (perhaps [1] and w:zh:中國猶太人 could be helpful —suzukaze (tc) 10:02, 6 February 2016 (UTC))
            • It turns out it was in use much earlier. Christian presence in China apparently goes back to the 7th century BCE (see w:Church of the East in China). Jews were present then, and probably centuries earlier (see w:History of the Jews in China), but known by other, more descriptive names. This seems to be the earliest, dating to after Jesuit missionaries reached China. In spite of a year of Mandarin at UCLA a quarter century ago, I don't have a prayer of reading it, but it does seem to contain the term. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:29, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
              • It does contain the two characters beside each other, but not meaning Jew or Judea at all. It says "此 猶 太陽 一照", which means "This is like the sun shining". — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 17:47, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
              • I've check all of the results from the Google search. Many of them are simply misreadings by OCR. Of the ones that actually have 猶太, they all (from my understanding) are not actually using it to mean Jew/Judea. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 18:03, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
                • How much has Mandarin phonology changed since 1839? Would this word have been pronounced differently, or pretty much the same as now? And I don't think the Greek sounds any closer to the Chinese than the Latin does, since the Greek and the Latin sound pretty much exactly the same. --WikiTiki89 02:28, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
                  • Actually never mind my comment above. I was basing that purely on the way it was spelled, so the Greek seemed closer. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 08:16, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

I changed the etymology to a buffer one (יהודה‎) to be fixed later. Hillcrest98 (talk) 22:58, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

τέχνη and τίκτωEdit

What's the semantical link between the two? The etymology makes no sense to me. --Fsojic (talk) 13:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

'To procreate' — 'to create' — 'to craft' seems pretty straightforward to me. --Tropylium (talk) 18:05, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Indeed. I was put off by the "plait" part. --Fsojic (talk) 22:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I wonder why the "plait" part is there, since it seems to be only Latin that has it. Also, I wonder if the "s" in *teḱs- vs. *teḱ- is significant. Finally, does tignum belong in the cognate lists? Chuck Entz (talk) 00:04, 7 February 2016 (UTC)


What's the etymology of this? Nothing to do with elite? --Fsojic (talk) 22:17, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

No, it looks like pretty straightforward social + -ite. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:18, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

testify = testicle?Edit

See Latin testis. Is there any relation between testicle and testify? A friend said something to me that made my folk etymology-detector go off.

He said that testify came from testicle because only men could testify in a court of law when the word was originated. He probably saw this on the internet as there are some sites alluding to a relation between these words. [2][3] --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:56, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

You have it backwards: Latin testiculus (testicle) is a diminutive of testis (witness), presumably because testicles "serve as a witness" to a man's virility. Testify is from testificor, which is just testis (witness) + a form of faciō (to make, do). Chuck Entz (talk) 03:33, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

wisdom toothEdit

Can we get a reference for the Dutch "far-standing molar" theory? It had been tagged as needing verification. - -sche (discuss) 20:55, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

@-sche I think that theory is just pure nonsense. Etymologiebank tells me that verstandskies is indeed just from dens sapientiae, verstand indeed being a direct translation of sapientia, making the theory even less likely. The pronunciation of verstandskies in Dutch (stress on second syllable) also suggests it is a compound of verstand and kies; if that unsourced theory were true, the stress would have to lie on the first syllable. Onze Taal also treats this theory as a folk etymology. If you are unfamiliar with them, both Etymologiebank and Genootschap Onze Taal are considered respectable sources, as any Dutch Wiktionarian will confirm. - Rathersilly (talk) 18:22, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I've remove the "far-standing molar" theory. - -sche (discuss) 19:16, 18 February 2016 (UTC)


Phonologically impossible to come from English. Any equivalents to /i:/ and /ə/ are nowhere to be seen. Hillcrest98 (talk) 03:42, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Japanese often doesn't derive words phonologically, but instead based on orthography (with certain phonologically-based changes always being made), which is unsurprising given that many words are adapted to Japanese directly from English written materials. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:28, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
That statement would be fine and dandy (that deals with the schwa) if there wasn't a choonpu in the way. The choonpu makes it look like "demon" was misread as /deɪmon/, which is unbelievable even from a phonics perspective. Or it could be a phonological lengthening later on after a /dɛmon/ reading? Or daemon? Hillcrest98 (talk) 05:14, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
  • This appears to have come from English demon, possibly first as /demon/ given the existence of alternative form デモン (demon). I suspect that the lengthening of the first vowel is to account for the stress on the first syllable of the English. See コーヒー (kōhī), for instance.
I agree that maybe lengthening to convert the stress over may account for the choonpu. Hillcrest98 (talk) 13:44, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Numerous monolingual JA dictionaries source this as from English demon. I'll have a go at referencing the entry tomorrow. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 05:33, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
@Hillcrest98: Do you suggest that it comes from Latin? --kc_kennylau (talk) 04:29, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
No idea. At least there seems to be a phonics complication down the pipe. Hillcrest98 (talk) 05:14, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Re /deɪmon/: daemon (sometimes pronounced /ˈdeɪmən/) is periodically encountered as an alternative form of demon, even in the non-computing, evil-spirit senses. Perhaps that english variant had influence on the loan, or perhaps the first Japanese homograph (etymology 1) had influence. - -sche (discuss) 07:52, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
It's entirely plausible that the "evil spirit" sense first came from some other language, like Dutch, and then the computing sense came about as a calque of the English term. English is not the only European language that Japanese borrows from. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:59, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
As noted above, that hypothesis appears to be at odds with the entire mainstream Japanese lexicographical tradition. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:55, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Blivet - entymologyEdit

Hi, I have looked over some of the discussions here and quickly realized that I have no idea what I am doing here. However, I would like to add some information to an entry. I attempted to find the word "Blivet". I found it, but it said there was no entymology.

I learned the word from my husband (79 years of age), who learned it from a Korean War veteran (in the late 1950s), who learned it from a WWII veteran. There is no entymology, but the meaning stated in Wiktionary was: "Anything overfull." This is misleading, as the meaning of this slang term I was taught (indirectly from WWII) is thus: "Ten pounds of shit in a five pound sack." Anything overfull is correct, but loses something in the translation. It's more fun to use the rude version!

As a note, we ran into another couple who also use the word, and their definition was exactly the same. That was definitely not a coincidence.

Is there any way someone could check this out and perhps add that information to the entry? I wouldn't even attempt it!

Please note that etymology and entomology are very different. In any case, I have added an etymology and reference that includes the definition you mentioned, as used in the OED. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:04, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Etymology of Esperanto "-iĝi"Edit

Is it from Latin -īscō (to become)? --kc_kennylau (talk) 07:42, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Pig LatinEdit

I know that Pig Latin and Dog Latin and those things originated on the streets of England and such amongst the youths, but can anyone hazard a guess as to where the "-ay play" of Pig Latin originates? Tharthan (talk) 14:42, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps from the abundance of -e ending words heard in spoken Latin ? (e.g. Domine sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus ...) Leasnam (talk) 18:02, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
I very much enjoy Leasnam's theory. I have no idea whether it is true, but I like it. —JohnC5 18:15, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
That would make a good bit of sense, actually. Tharthan (talk) 19:40, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Vocative case endings for Pig Latin, seriously? Hillcrest98 (talk) 17:43, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Well I don't know, man. Do you have any better idea for where the "-ay play" of Pig Latin comes from? Tharthan (talk) 17:57, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I thought the "Latin" in the name was some sort of joke misnomer about its weird foreign-ish speech the game produces. I think the rules are just arbitrary, and then the game spread imitatively. Nothing to do with Latin. Hillcrest98 (talk) 22:13, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I've always thought that Pig Latin mimicked the -e endings, which can sound very frequent to a casual listener. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 22:58, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
It's not as though the people (children) who invented Pig Latin would have known that -e is a vocative ending. They just happen to hear it a lot when they hear Latin. --WikiTiki89 23:10, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Usage chronologyEdit

On Wiktionary words have a list of usages of the word, categorized by discourse. I think it would be a neat feature to include which discourses used the word first. Sometimes a discourse will be written as (____, archaic) to indicate a non-extant usage. This is useful, however it does not indicate in general which usages precede another. For example, 'nucleus':


February (plural nuclei or nucleuses) <-- for some reason this template is bugged here

  1. The core, central part of something, around which other elements are assembled.
  2. An initial part or version that will receive additions.
    This collection will form the nucleus of a new library.
  3. (chemistry, physics) The massive, positively charged central part of an atom, made up of protons and neutrons.
  4. (cytology) A large membrane-enclosed organelle found in eukaryotic cells which contains genetic material.
  5. (neuroanatomy) A ganglion, cluster of many neuronal bodies where synapsing occurs.
  6. (linguistics) The central part of a syllable, most commonly a vowel.

I do not know which usages preceded others from this information. Although, I can guess in this instance it is rather chronological top-to-bottom. Any thoughts? 20:49, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

It's a nice idea, but not really something we could implement in any meaningful way: we have very little of such information available, not to mention that anyone could edit the entry at any time and knock everything out of synch. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:34, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
We do have a template to tag the earliest date of specific senses, though I don't know what it is. —CodeCat 03:37, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
And we have the {{defdate}} template for indicating the date of a definition's first attestation. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:41, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
That's the one. —CodeCat 15:58, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Meaning of Edit

According to the comment left on my talk page by User:Sholokhov:


Actually I did make a mistake in that edit. I would like to re-write my opinion here.

In his dictionary, Thiều Chửu said that 鳩 is the Eudynamys bird. He said that 鳩 cannot make a nest for its own, therefore people use the word 鳩 to refer to a clumsy man who cannot handle his house affairs.

Thiều Chửu also said that, 鳩 never get choked when eating, therefore people usually carve the image of 鳩 into a stick for elder people. That stick is called "鳩杖".

His originial Vietnamese words: "鳩 cưu. Con tu hú. Tính nó vụng không biết làm tổ, nên hay dùng để nói ví những kẻ không biết kinh doanh việc nhà. Nó lại là một loài chim ăn không mắc nghẹn bao giờ, cho nên những gậy của người già chống hay khắc hình con cưu vào. Như cưu trượng 鳩杖 gậy khắc hình chim cưu."


Probably you already know the word "雎鳩" i.e. the osprey. Honestly I believe 鳩 may not be the dove.


@Wyang: Any opinions? --kc_kennylau (talk) 15:34, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

  • Chiming in...
China Language finds nothing for 雎鳩 as a single word.
MDBG likewise comes up empty.
Baidu has an entry suggesting that 雎鳩 is instead a waterfowl superficially resembling a seagull, and which mates for life. This kinda makes sense from the constituent parts, as the osprey is noted for its loyalty to its mate, and the bird could look like a (osprey) + (dove, pigeon) combination, in some ways. The phonetics might also make sense: 雎鳩 in Mandarin is apparently read as jū jiū, which could sound like the bird's call.
Zdic also has an entry that seems to match the Baidu content.
Long story short, I can't find evidence that 雎鳩 means osprey. Granted, my Chinese Google-fu is weak.
As an alternative data point, in Japanese, the only meaning for is pigeon, dove. Perhaps the character was imported into Vietnamese to describe a different bird? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:30, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
(Bing Dictionary, The ROC's Ministry of Education dictionary, and this Chinese-English dictionary have entriestwo entries and a mention. Bing says that in English, it means "osprey; fish hawk" and in Chinese that it is 'in old texts, the 鱼鹰'. 鱼鹰 seems to translate to "osprey" according to a quick Google search. —suzukaze (tc) 19:40, 10 February 2016 (UTC))
  • suzukaze, your Chinese reading is better than mine. Can you find any indication of geographical or dialectal differences in this usage? (edit): I see Bing also lists plover as a meaning, which matches the Baidu content. Any idea what the na. marker next to the osprey sense means? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:14, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
The FAQ says that na. means "none": Nibiko (talk) 01:48, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Also, FWIW, I have found a couple allusions in Japanese sources to meanings similar to cuckoo, part of the Eudynamys genus that Sholokhov mentioned: 鳩時計 (hato-dokei, cuckoo clock, literally pigeon clock), and also 鳩居 (kyūkyo, living in a rental, apparently from the way that many pigeons are not very good at building nests, and thus will borrow a magpie's nest (at least, in Japan)). ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:14, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

@Eirkir: "guan guan ju jiu" (關關雎鳩) [4][5]. The sources says that "雎鳩" is traditionally though as the osprey, but some opinions claim that 雎鳩 may be the mallard duck, as osprey cannot make the sound "guan guan".
關 關 雎 鳩/ 在 河 之 洲/ 窈 窕 淑 女/ 君 子 好 逑. Sholokhov (talk) 06:29, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

circular etymology: dag, daglockEdit

see dag#Etymology_2 and daglock#Etymology

--Money money tickle parsnip (talk) 18:58, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Hypothetically, daglock to be derived from one of the other senses of dag (e.g. "shred"), making this non-circular. - -sche (discuss) 20:58, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Theoretically possible, but seems unlikely. I suggest removing any etymology that lacks evidence. --Money money tickle parsnip (talk) 16:30, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Merriam-Webster says that's what happened. However, I've still combined etymology sections 1 and 2 and simply noted the development to the longer form and its influence on the (re)short(ened) form. - -sche (discuss) 03:32, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

old Romance or Slavic Yiddish wordsEdit

The discussion at User talk:Tropylium#Meaning_of_.22inherited.22_in_linguistics about how Yiddish originated makes me curious: can anyone point me to Yiddish entries of Romance or Slavic origin (other than borrowings which happened at some point after Yiddish had become the distinct, largely Germanic language that it is)? Various websites mention פּאיאץ, בענטשן/bentshen/benčn, davenen, kinigl ("coney"), לייענען/lejenen, fačejle, čulent, poliš, אָרן/orn ("pray"), prajen, and memern "and the personal names אַנשל Anshl, cognate to Angel or Angelo [and] בונים Bunim, probably from bon homme" as candidates for Romance origin; and the -itse of mefunitse, and pyeshtshen+pesten, blondzhen, plónte(r)n, and pluten, as candidates for Slavic origin, which unterzogn being a "loan translation" (with German elements) of a Slavic verb pidskazaty. But we don't seem to have any Yiddish entries with etymologies that categorize them as deriving from Romance or Slavic. - -sche (discuss) 22:35, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

There are, e.g. Category:Yiddish terms derived from Russian or Category:Yiddish terms derived from French without proper parent categories. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:05, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Many are just waiting to be created, eg דוואָרעץ(dvorets) from Russian дворе́ц (dvoréc) or פּאַלאַץ(palats) from Ukrainian пала́ц (palác). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:11, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Re the categories: aha, thank you! I looked in Category:Yiddish terms derived from other languages, but those categories weren't in it (only Turkic and Uralic are). I wonder if someone with a bot could fix all such categories. - -sche (discuss) 00:19, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Re OP: Your orthography above causes me a bit of pain... in any case, some of those seem to be largely speculation, in my opinion (like the etymology of טשאָלנט(tsholnt)), despite being accepted by Yiddishists. There are more interesting ones from Romance, like מילגרוים(milgroym), and some names that may date back to Roman usage of Greek names, even, but those are too murky for me to work out (like קלמן(kalmen)). As for very old Slavic loans, the classic examples are from the Western part of the Slavic world, like צי(tsi), נעבעך(nebekh), and כאָטש(khotsh).
  • Re Anatoli: Modern Slavic loans (like the ones you mentioned, but distinct from what -sche is talking about) are pervasive in Yiddish, and there are lots of words left to document. If you have any more that you want created, just leave them at WT:RE:YI. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:10, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
    • Thanks. No, I just mentioned casually that there are many borrowings from Slavic languages, primarily Russian, Ukrainian and Polish. They don't have to be created but they can. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:22, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

There is even a surviving Greek word טראָפּ(trop), presumably from pre-Romance times (see the canitllation sense of English trope, which should probably be split into a separate etymology section). As for old Romance words that we already have: טשאָלנט(tsholnt), בענטשן(bentshn), לייענען(leyenen). --WikiTiki89 02:46, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Is ברעג(breg) really from Polish brzeg? Maybe old Polish?. Phonetically it's closer to Proto-Slavic, cf. poetic Russian брег (breg).--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:15, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Presumably some older form of Polish, not necessarily all the way back to "Old Polish", but maybe. The Polish rz presumably retained rhotic qualities (much like the Czech ř) for a while, I'm not quite sure of the timeline of these changes and Wikipedia's History of Polish is not much help in that regard. --WikiTiki89 16:18, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Is there a source for that? @Embryomystic added it (after adding an rfe). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:40, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Take a look at the descendants of Proto-Slavic *bergъ. East Slavic is ruled out phonologically, South Slavic is ruled out geographically (with the potential exception of Church Slavonic, which would have been used on East Slavic territory, but Yiddish did not have direct contact with Church Slavonic), so we're left with whatever West Slavic languages retain the [g] sound and something resembling an /e/ vowel. Polish is empirically the largest West Slavic source for Yiddish words. I'm not quite sure where to find a source for the timeline of Polish phonology, but there was certainly a stage in between [rʲ] and [ʐ], and the spelling rz itself implies something that was both rhotic and z-like. --WikiTiki89 16:17, 15 February 2016 (UTC)


Is this correct, that there were two Proto-Germanic verbs *mainijaną with different PIE origins, or at least that *mainijaną represents the combination of two PIE verbs? We're not alone in splitting the senses; the Middle English Dictionary also has separate entries for the homographs, as does Bosworth-Toller's dictionary of Old English; Köbler, on the other hand, combines them into one entry. - -sche (discuss) 17:16, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

Watkins in the AHD's Indo-European appendix also combines them:
Opinion, intention.
moan, from Old English *mān, opinion, complaint, from Germanic *main‑.
mean1; bemoan, from Old English mǣnan, to signify, tell, complain of, moan, from Germanic *mainjan.
"mean1" refers to the "signify; intend" sense. So he thinks they're from the same root, with "opinion" sometimes moving to "complaint". (I know lots of people whose opinions always seem to be complaints.) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:03, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
There were two different PIE etymologies for PGmc *mainijaną, but the two means mentioned above are actually from the same one (the other PGmc *mainijaną meant "to share; partake", and was derived from the root of the English adjectives mean and common. Leasnam (talk) 12:56, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
The thing with Old English mǣnan though is that it seems to be the only language which has this "complain" sense. So it may have a separate (though ultimately related) etymology, being a slightly later derivation from the noun after it had acquired this new "complaint" sense, but not everyone touts this (but personally, I see it this way) Leasnam (talk) 13:04, 14 February 2016 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

When Proto-Finno-Ugric was converted to an etymology-only language, this is one of the entries where I swapped the language code fiu-pro for Proto-Finno-Ugric with the replacement we had agreed on, urj-pro for Proto-Uralic. At the time, I didn't actually look at the etymology. Now that even use of fiu for Finno-Ugric is causing module errors, I took a second look, and I'm confused: the etymology talks about borrowing between Finno-Ugric and Latvian- not Proto-East Baltic, but Latvian, and not Finnic or even Finnic-Samic, but Finno-Ugric. Unless Latvian is far older than I thought, or Finno-Ugric is far younger than I thought, this doesn't add up, chronologically. The etymology is referenced, but the source is in Latvian and I have no access to it. Would someone be so kind as to sort through all of this so the entry can be fixed? Chuck Entz (talk) 08:16, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

I don't have access to the Baltic source, but we can probably clean this up a bit regardless. For starters, several of the references to "Finno-Ugric" here seem to be actually talking simply about Proto-Finnic *maa, not its PFU/PU antecedent *mëxe. I also took the liberty of removing the Indo-Uralic speculation, which does not belong in a Latvian entry.
{{R:fi:SSA}} mentions the possibility that the Finnic maja words are not from Baltic but from an earlier *maǵo- (with reference to Old High German gimah), but phonologically it does not seem possible to derive māja from either this or *méǵh₂s. --Tropylium (talk) 20:02, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Can we just lose the sentence "In this case, Latvian māja might not be a borrowing, but a retention from Proto-Indo-European."? There's no explanation given for how the PIE could have produced anything different from the expected mazs. For a peripheral speculation like this, I don't care whether or not the reference says it- we don't have to include everything from the reference. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:43, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Pereru has put many etymologies like these in entries. Any attempts I made to fix them up were reverted, because I had to "follow the source". Wiktionary standards be damned. We even kept Proto-Baltic as a language just so he could stick to his sources. —CodeCat 20:08, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
There's a saying I've heard from entomologists, that even the greatest expert in the world can be an amateur outside of their specialty. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:53, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

lord of the fliesEdit

(Referring to the etymology)

Is it really a mistranslation, or is it an intentional mockery? I really think that it is the latter.

It seems more to me that they were trying to make fun of the baal by mocking its name.

Thoughts? Tharthan (talk) 21:36, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

I think the etymology has a couple of things mixed up: lord of the flies is a more or less literal translation for בעל זבוב(ba'al-z'vúv) (זבוב(z'vúv) means fly), given in the Hebrew scriptures as the name of a god associated with the Philistine city of Ekron (Βααλ (Baal, Lord) μυῖαν (muîan, fly [accusative]) in the early Septuagint Greek translation). There's plenty of speculation that this is an intentional pun on similar names for the Semitic deity Baal (the name literally means "lord" or "master"), but lord of the flies itself is an accurate translation of the Hebrew (if you ignore the singular/plural issue). The Hebrew scriptures don't describe בעל זבוב(ba'al-z'vúv) as any kind of demon or devil- that concept only emerged later. Indeed, people back then knew that there was some kind of association between flies and disease, so it doesn't have to be an insult.
In the Christian New Testament, Jesus is quoted as referring to Βεελζεβούλ (Beelzeboúl), the ruler of demons/Satan. The last part of that could be זְבֻל(height, lofty abode), which could be part of a title for Baal. In some Greek texts and in the Latin Vulgate translation, this is "corrected" to Βεελζεβούβ (Beelzeboúb)/Beelzebub


I rather doubt that the etymology is correct; it looks like it's a new formation, sin + -y, after the old one died out. Note that one of cites in the entry explicitly calls it a new word. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:30, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Compare with funny, sunny. I agree that an OE origin theory is trash. None of the citations go before the 20th century. All of the uses look humorous or exaggerated. Hillcrest98 (talk) 03:41, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
I've corrected the etymology at sunny.
Know too that the citations on page (sinny) are not citations in their totality. They are citations sufficient to keep the entries from rfv. Thats all. Leasnam (talk) 13:18, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Not disputing the possibly iffy-stretchy-wishful sounding etymology, but just because the author of a cite says a word is this or that doesn't necessarily make it so...they write solely based on their own thoughts (researched or unresearched)--I mean, authors are not necessarily language experts. But it could be a new formation, yes...sure... Leasnam (talk) 04:13, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Also, what exactly does a tag of humorous mean ? Does it mean the word itself relates only to things of a humorous nature, or the word is used humorously, or that the word is not to be taken seriously as a real word ? Leasnam (talk) 04:20, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I've edited the etymology and added an informal tag. Leasnam (talk) 04:23, 16 February 2016 (UTC)


Do we want that information about sax in the etymology section? I find it rather irrelevant to the entry in question, even by trivia standards. — Ungoliant (falai) 17:49, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Quite obviously irrelevant, even inappropriate. I've removed it and fixed the formatting. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:13, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
So apparently Tharthan is reverting anybody who tries to remove it. Something being "interesting" does not mean it has anything to do with the etymology of the word (which in this case it does not). Perhaps somebody else could weigh in? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:45, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
@Tharthan: That information is maybe relevant at sax, but certainly is completely irrelevant to axeman. --WikiTiki89 22:40, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Fair enough. I see your point, looking at it again. Tharthan (talk) 22:44, 16 February 2016 (UTC)


Sami obviously didn't borrow this directly from Chinese, so which neighbour did they get it from? - -sche (discuss) 17:13, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

The candidates are Finnish tee, Swedish te and Norwegian te. These are all pretty much homophones, so it's not really possible to tell from this alone. That said, the Sami form has been extended to a pre-form *tee-ja, followed by the usual assimilation to Northern Sami phonology. This is because Northern Sami doesn't allow for monosyllabic nouns. —CodeCat 17:33, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
Lule Sami and the older literary standard of Northern Sami have t- [tʰ], so more likely Scandinavian. The Álgu database suggests Swedish (though this may be simply due to reasons of encoding; their 2nd reference actually simply derives the word from "Scandinavian").
There are probably many other cases like this where we cannot distinguish between various candidates for a Wanderwort's immediate origin, and we might have to just go with something like "from North Germanic (cf. Swedish X, Norwegian X')". --Tropylium (talk) 21:52, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you both for the explanation, particularly for the second syllable (which had looked almost like Sami might have taken Scadinavian te and Russian-derived cha and just put them together). Tropylium's wording would work; an alternative wording would be "from Chinese, via ..." and a list of the possibilities (in a case like this where that's feasible because there are only three). (Partially related: Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2016/January#Internationalisms_in_etymologies.) - -sche (discuss) 06:34, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

κόσμος and mundusEdit

Rather confusing etymologies—kosmos' entry claims that mundus has the same etymology, yet that entry in turn only brings this up as a possible conflation in one of two possibilities. Additionally, the *muh₂-, *meuh₂- etymology of kosmos seems suspect, considering the sense of "decoration" is found in both Latin and Ancient Greek. The sources I have managed to find online seem to corroborate this, claiming that kosmos in the sense of "world" comes from "something decorated" or "ordered". In fact, you would rather expect Latin to have this etymology, as the adjective form actually means "clean". It would be very helpful if anyone with access to a good Greek and/or Latin etymological dictionary could clear this up. Riagu (talk) 02:23, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

I also found this JSTOR article which for mundus gives "*mew-H- or *mew-d-" with "washed, cleansed" as the original meaning, with semantic contact resulting in "decoration" and "world", and then for kosmos yet another possibility—PIE *kes- "to comb" (see PSlav *kosa). I would like to know if there is any merit to this. Riagu (talk) 03:47, 21 February 2016 (UTC)


English labia claims to be from Latin labiālis, not (directly) from Latin labia. Seems doubtful at best. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:04, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree. That makes no sense at all. I've changed it. –Pinnerup (talk) 22:41, 21 February 2016 (UTC)


Popularly translated as "king in the mountain". I have a bit of trouble discerning the etymology of this. It looks on the surface as Berg + Entrückung, but the semantics aren't what I'm used to seeing. Hillcrest98 (talk) 22:04, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

It is indeed "Berg" and "Entrückung". It's the common German term for the trope where a person disappears from the world of the living, but does not die and instead lives on in a supernatural realm, in this case understood to be "below the mountain". "Berg" of course means "mountain" and "Entrückung" is formed from the verb "entrücken", meaning "to carry away (to another realm)". Thus "Entrückung" means "a carrying away" or "a rapture" and "Bergentrückung" means "a being carried away (to another realm) under the mountain". So the term does not _literally_ denote "King under the mountain", but pragmatically the term serves the same function in German. The German Wikipedia says:
"Die Bergentrückung bezeichnet im deutschen Sprachraum ein Sagenmotiv, dem zufolge besonders Helden oder Herrscher nicht sterben, sondern in einen Berg entrückt werden, bis sie zurückkehren, um das Land von seinen Feinden oder vom Antichristen zu befreien."
("The Bergentrückung in the German language sphere denotes a legendary motif, as a result of which heroes and rulers in particular do not die, but are carried away into a mountain, until they return to free the country from its enemies or from anti-christs.")
Pinnerup (talk) 22:59, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

peek & peepEdit

There is a circular etymology problem going on with these entries.

From what I understand, these are the true etymologies:

peek- a dissimilated form of keek.

peep- an assimilated form of peek

Peep has the correct etymology given, but peek purports that it is a fusion of peep and keek.

Before I go and edit the etymologies, does anyone with more information on these etymologies have anything to say about this? Tharthan (talk) 18:10, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

BUMP. Tharthan (talk) 14:25, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Please don't bump. There is no circular logic problem. peek references peep and keek, but neither peep nor keek reference peek. --WikiTiki89 16:31, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
"From Middle English pepen, variant of piken". Piken is peek. Tharthan (talk) 18:10, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Oh, whoops I was looking at Etymology 1. --WikiTiki89 18:12, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

About the -вать suffix that forms imperfectives in Russian (and other Slavic languages)Edit

Related to проплывать, the current foreign WOTD, I tried to create the etymology as проплыть + imperfectivizing suffix -вать. This appears synchronically correct but diachronically I'm not sure. Synchronically, -вать is added to prefixed perfective roots ending in vowels (cf. нагреть -> негревать, вдуть -> вдувать etc.), whereas -ывать or -ивать is added to consonant-final prefixed perfective roots (with stem endings -ить, -ать, -нуть, etc.). Can someone help with the etymology? The only thing I could find in Vasmer is the special-case unprefixed давать and плавать. See e.g. [6] For the former, Vasmer says it's derived from дать; for the latter, he says "Преобразовано из итер. *plaviti (см. след.) под влиянием итер. форм на -vati; см. Траутман, ВSW 223; Бёме, Асtiоnеs 15." That is, it comes from *plaviti (where the -v- may be a root consonant) under the influence of the "iterative" suffix -vati. Possibly it changed from being an iterative to an imperfective suffix? Benwing2 (talk) 01:48, 24 February 2016 (UTC)