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Proto-Germanic frawjô and Russian правый from PIE *prōw- 'right judge, master'?Edit

Proto-Germanic *frawjô 'lord' (and hence German Frau), Russian правый 'right-hand' (the *frawjô entry actually mentioned only the secondary meaning 'rightist') and Latin provincia are all claimed in their respective entries to derive from a PIE *prōw- 'right judge, master'. I don't find this assertion elsewhere. On *frawjô, Kroonen's dictionary of PG only says that the PIE etymology is unclear and that the assumed connection to 'front', 'first' is problematic. Orel's dictionary of PG only ventures to claim some kind of connection with *pro 'forward' (he does mention that other authors have claimed a connection to provincia and право, but not a common meaning of 'lord' or 'judge'). The Indo-European Lexicon at Austin links the root in *frawjô to PIE *per- 'to pass over, beyond'. On правый, Vasmer's etymological dictionary of Russian assumes a connection to the PIE root for 'forward' and some parallel with Latin probus 'good, upright' and Old Norse framr 'forward, prominent, superior'. On 'province', the Online Etymology Dictionary considers the etymology uncertain; Vasmer does note the opinion of Pisani 1941 assuming a derivation of provincia from a root *prōv- 'having authority/right' connected to Slavic прав 'right(-hand)'. Even this conjecture of one author doesn't amount to a reconstruction of a PIE etymon meaning 'just master', from which Proto-Germanic *frawjô would be derived.-- 05:53, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

*prōw- is from Pokorny, and indeed appears to be outdated. --Tropylium (talk) 17:31, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
I see, that would be Pokorny's entry prō̆-u̯o, listed as a derivative of pro, prō 'forward' (in turn from per-, 'to go over'), which I paste below. Even if one sets aside the fact that some parts apparently haven't been accepted by newer authors, the original Pokorny entry still looks far more plausible than its reflection in the Wiktionary entries: he doesn't actually assert unequivocally that the meaning 'master' was present already in PIE, he doesn't suggest that the concrete physical meaning in Slavic is derived from the social/political meaning 'master', and he most certainly doesn't imply that this alleged PIE etymon also meant 'judge' and was derived from a notion of 'justice'. All he says is that there was a derivation from the root for 'forward' and that its reflexes meant 'inclined forward' in some languages, 'direct', hence 'right', in Slavic, and 'lord' in Germanic (and possibly, but not certainly, Italic, which would have been the only justification for dating the meaning 'lord' to PIE times at all). If I had to imagine, based just on the above, a semantic development getting us from '(inclined) forward' to 'lord', my first guess would be something like front > prominent/leading > chief/lord, not front (> direct > right? > just?) > judge, just lord > lord (and again > right in Slavic). There seems to be very little in the facts from which the whole 'justice' element would follow. The Slavic development would have been quite separate 'front > inclined forward > direct > right' and there is no reason to ascribe the Slavic secondary abstract meaning of 'justice' all the way back to PIE - nor does Pokorny do that, since he derives the Slavic meaning of 'right' from '(inclined) forward' via 'gradaus', i.e.


g. pro, prō `vorwärts, vorn, voran' ... prō̆-u̯o-: in ai. pravaṇā- `(vorwärts) geneigt, abschüssig', n. `Abhang, Halde'; über lat. prōnus s. oben; gr. πρᾱνής, hom. πρηνής `vorwärts geneigt' nach Leumann Homer. Wörter 77 f. aus *προ-ᾱνης `Gesicht voraus'; mit anderer Bedeutung ahd. frō, as. frao, ags. frēa `Herr' (*frawan-), got. frauja `Herr' (aisl. Freyr GN zum o-St. geworden), as. frōio ds., aisl. freyja `Herrin; Name der Göttin', ahd. frouwa `Frau'; daneben as. frūa, mnd. frūwe `Frau' aus *frōwōn, idg *prō-u̯o-, das auch in att. πρῷρα (lat. Lw. prōra) `Schiffsvorderteil' (πρωϝαιρα-, -αρι̯α idg. *prōu̯-r̥i̯ā); vielleicht lat. prōvincia, wenn auf einem *prōu̯iōn `Herr, Herrschaft' beruhend; abg. pravъ `recht, richtig' (`*gradaus');
-- 12:29, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
prince Lysdexia (talk) 03:50, 8 March 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 00:00, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Albanian etymologiesEdit

We seem to have another editor of Albanian (Herakliu (talkcontribs)) who is removing a lot of evidence of Latin or Slavic borrowing. I'm not certain whether the user is correct, but I would like someone to check as this is a fairly frequent occurrence for Albanian. —JohnC5 15:39, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Correcting few (6-7?) etymologies doesn't look like "Removing a lot of evidence" to me. Relax, I'm not vandalazing.Herakliu (talk) 16:50, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, if what you're doing is motivated by nationalist sentiment, then yes, it is vandalism. @Vahagn Petrosyan? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:28, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
He is replacing one unsourced etymology with another. I would revert him, but I would also delete the rest of unsourced Albanian material. --Vahag (talk) 11:19, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Do we need a source to state that 2+2=4? Notice how I corrected only very few and manifestly false etymologies. Perhaps, instead than blindly reverting, we could debate the lemmas that are controverse. Herakliu (talk) 15:37, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
@Herakliu: Bring up the debates at WT:ES, we'll see if it's indeed 2+2=4. --Vahag (talk) 04:46, 10 March 2017 (UTC)


It says peritus comes from periri whereas experior says its pp. is expertus and pereo says its pp. is peritus. Lysdexia (talk) 03:50, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

@Lysdexia:: From pereō peritus, from *perior perītus (notice the difference). Why not *pertus and expertus or perītus and *experītus may be from diverse corruptions or formations as elsewhere we see verbs in -īre produce perfect passive participles in -tus or -ītus (e.g. from ambiō ambītus and ambītor, but ambitus (subst.) and ambitiō, pariō parere, but reperiō reperīre, both -tus). Also of note is the voice of both participles, as perītus seems derived from some intransitive verb and, as experior is transitive, corresponds to experiēns (not quite expertus, which thus passively used contradicts its active use in this deponent verb). And I would want to know certainly what caused this... -GuitarDudeness (talk) 14:41, 30 June 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the glyph origin. Added by an anon back in 2011. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:48, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

:Sorry for reviving old posts, but just saying, says that it is a pictograph. Johnny Shiz (talk) 03:12, 6 July 2017 (UTC)


I want to challenge the claim that it is a "calque of English fennec fox". —suzukaze (tc) 18:12, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Another of Fumiko's copious and generally unresearched additions.
Sans any findable evidence, I judge this to be a mistake. Japanese terms for animals, foreign and otherwise, often append the specific appellation with a more general term. I see no reason to treat フェネック狐 (fenekku-gitsune, fennec fox) as an English calque any more than 日本狼 (Nihon ōkami, Japanese wolf). Especially considering that フェネック (fenekku) is overwhelmingly more common -- the shorter gets 794 ostensible hits at google books:"フェネック" -"フェネック狐", collapsing to 49 when paging through, while the longer gets only 2 at google books:"フェネック狐", one of which is a manga (notable as manga are known for neologisms and odd spellings). Searches on the wider web show similar trends (google:"フェネック" -"フェネック狐" -wiki -glosbe @ 750K vs. google:"フェネック狐" -wiki -glosbe @ 4,930).
I'll clean up the entry. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:40, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
(It seems like the usual spelling for this term is the katakana form フェネックギツネ, which may be why the Google Books results for ~狐 are so meager. —suzukaze (tc) 23:51, 9 March 2017 (UTC))


RFV of the etymology.

The Talk page has an old two-post discussion-stub about this, but the argument then boiled down to "see Wikipedia". I had a look, and Wikipedia's content seems to suggest that hamburger in reference to the food was an English innovation, as the name changed from earlier Hamburg steak. See, for instance, [[w:Hamburg steak]], which describes the history of the food, with this appellation apparently older than hamburger. As the dish metamorphosed from a chopped-beef patty on a plate to a ground-beef patty on a bun, it seems the name shifted as well. This jives with my own understanding of the foods and the related terms, although where I came by my own recollections is since lost in time.

Does anyone have anything more authoritative? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:24, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

I've updated the etymology Leasnam (talk) 22:11, 1 April 2017 (UTC)


In Sargeant (Sargeant, Winthrop (2009), The Bhagavad Gita, SUNY Press, 2009, p. 303) and Hagen (Hagen, Steve Buddhism Plain a Simple, Charles E. Tuutle Co 1997 p.25) it says that the root meaning of dukkha is "a wheel out of kilter" or "an axle hole that is badly aligned" obviously causing discomfort to the rider of the vehicle. Do you any of the experts here know if this is correct? If so, should it be added to the definition? Thanks! Talk to SageGreenRider 14:19, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Monier-Williams's 1899 Sanskrit Dictionary says that the analysis of दुःख (duḥkha) (the Sanskrit ancestor of Pali dukkha) as दुस्- (dus-, bad) + (kha, axle hole) is a folk etymology and it's probably actually a Prakritization of दुस्- (dus-, bad) + स्थ (stha, standing). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:05, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! I see someone has added this to the corresponding Wikipedia page. Talk to SageGreenRider 22:06, 1 April 2017 (UTC)


@Equinox: I'm doubtful that the sense "to kill" comes from Russian. French has the same metaphorical meaning, and I'm sure other languages too; the semantical link is pretty simple. --Barytonesis (talk) 20:35, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

I simply moved that text from the definition to the etymology, where it belonged. I didn't add the claim. Equinox 20:38, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, sorry about that. @Ulmanor. --Barytonesis (talk) 20:41, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Etymonline makes the same claim. Crom daba (talk) 13:25, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

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Separate PIE root for are?Edit

Wikipedia has this:

"This has been claimed as the origin of the Old Norse and later Scandinavian languages' present stem: Old Norse em, ert, er, erum, eruð, eru; the second person forms of which were borrowed into English as art and are.[3] It has also been seen as the origin of the Latin imperfect (eram, eras, erat) and future tenses (ero, eris, erit). However, other authorities link these forms with *h1es- and assume grammatischer Wechsel (/s/→/r/), although this is not normally found in the present stem. Donald Ringe argues that the copula was sometimes unaccented in Pre-Proto-Germanic, which would have then triggered the voicing under Verner's law.[1][page needed] He explains the Germanic first person singular form *immi as such, deriving it from earlier *ezmi, since -zm-, but not -sm-, was assimilated to -mm- in Germanic (for which other evidence exists as well). Furthermore, the third person plural form *sindi (from PIE *h₁sénti) shows that this word, too, was unaccented. If the accent had been preserved, it would have become *sinþi, but that form is not found in any Germanic language. In this view, it is likely that stressed and unstressed varieties of the copula (with corresponding voiceless and voiced fricatives) existed side by side in Germanic, and the involvement of a separate root *h₁er- is unnecessary."

So is Ringe's position more solid than assuming a whole new PIE root entirely?

Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 03:23, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

cochlear and descendantsEdit

The descendants all seem to reflect *cochleara (and not **cochlearia), and Alkire-Rosen 2010 references it, but I'm not sure if -ara is a specific suffix or just feminine -a grafted onto a neuter. KarikaSlayer (talk) 20:43, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

grind to a haltEdit

RFV of the etymology.

Both the original etymology and the more elaborate reworking refer to windmills grinding grain/corn, which seems a bit of a stretch. It seems to me to simply refer to the grinding of hard surfaces against each other when something goes wrong with machinery. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:34, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

camel through the eye of a needleEdit

Is there any indication that this phrase has been adopted from Luke rather than Mark or Matthew, since the Greek isn't all that different? If not, it makes more sense to put the text from Mark (oldest) or Matthew (most influential) there if a full quote is necessary.

Also, it would be nice to have an indication of when the phrase began to be used as an independent idiom. The oldest hits on Google Books date to around 1800. Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 13:29, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

It's probably best to cite all three gospels; people remembering the phrase from the Bible and using it in other contexts are probably not going to be remembering it from only one of the gospels and not the other two. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:24, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Added to the Citations page. Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:09, 20 March 2017 (UTC)


More likely from Ancient Greek γένος (génos) than Latin genus, no? Anyone have a good reference? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:58, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

I agree with "more likely", though it isn't definite. Arabic does have a fair number of old Latin loanwords. However, these themselves were often transmitted through Greek. If we can't find a reference, let's just mention both. Kolmiel (talk) 12:14, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
It might also come from Classical Syriac ܓܢܣܐ(gensa, absolute and construct state gnes), which also lacks a vowel corresponding to "o" or "u". In that event it would derive from the Ancient Greek. Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:15, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that's one of the commonest tracks: Latin → Greek → Syriac → Arabic. Of course, it need not start at Latin. And in this case it makes it even more likely that it doesn't, but that the origin is Greek. Kolmiel (talk) 12:31, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Considering that Greek already had the word γένος (génos), it would not make sense for it to have borrowed Latin genus as well, although the meanings could have influenced each other. However, the native Greek word is enough to explain the rest of the borrowing chain, so there is no need to bring Latin into the picture. --WikiTiki89 12:40, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, but we don't seem to positively know how the word actually entered Arabic. We know that it's not inherited and that there are these Greek and Latin terms that fit perfectly. So let's just say:
"Probably from Classical Syriac ܓܢܣܐ(gensa), from Ancient Greek γένος (génos). Less likely from Latin genus. In either case eventually from Proto-Indo-European *ǵénh₁os."
Kolmiel (talk) 23:33, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Unless there's a chance it came directly from Latin or a Romance language, I don't think there is a reason to consider Latin as a source. --WikiTiki89 21:16, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Our etymology is not based on any actual research in this word, just on our general knowledge and experience. So yeah, maybe it was borrowed directly from Roman soldiers in the Jordanian desert in the 1st century AD. Or maybe... Or maybe... All of this is improbable, so we say "less likely", but why not even mentioning it when we can't rule it out? Kolmiel (talk) 19:24, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Source for no relation between deus and θεόςEdit

The claim that those terms aren't related is sourced, but the source (Fortson) is lacking. Is this a good place to dispute the source?

Fortson doesn't give direct evidence and thus doesn't meet Wikipedia's standards on it's own ( Exceptional claims require exceptional sources), in my opinion, because it's the only source and the claim is only mentioned in passing. The claim is surprising because of older sources and therefore frequently disputed by laymen like myself. I started a lengthy discussion that I don't expect to continue in good faith. Additional sources would be welcome.

The argument on the talk page goes, the PIE roots were completely different, because there was no way d (as in *dyew- (sky, heaven)) or (as in *dʰéh₁s (sacred place)) could have any relation. A negative is hard to prove. Lack of mention of a relation in e.g. (Ringe) does not directly support the claim. At the very least a common pre-PIE origin cannot be ruled out.

Although, this lack of relation supposedly is basic knowledge within the field of PIE reconstruction, simply because of sound laws. I don't believe d and are too far apart, given the mostly converging development of these phonemes. Can that be confirmed or denied here? 11:06, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Indeed, you cannot, strictly speaking, prove a negative. What's possible is to show that the resemblance that we see between deus and θεός (theós) is accidental:
  1. Latin eu comes by contraction from earlier -ejwo- (actually attested in Old Latin), and Greek meanwhile comes by contraction from earlier *-eho- < *-eso-. While e ~ e and -us ~ -ος (-os) are regular and unproblematic correspondences, -jw- versus -s- is very much not.
    (We do not have direct evidence for Proto-Greek *-h-, but we do have evidence against -w-. I suppose in theory a Proto-Hellenic *tʰejos cannot be ruled out without appealing to evidence outside Greek, though.)
  2. The meanings of the terms diverge: the Latin word comes with regular development from a root meaning 'bright, shining' (> 'heavenly' > 'god'), while the Greek word comes from a root meaning 'to place' (> 'placed' > 'dedicated' > 'worshipped' > 'divine; god').
Given just the basic roots, *dyew- (heaven) versus *dʰeh₁- (to place) (or even the specific pre-forms: *deywós versus *dʰh₁sós, there remains no reason to suspect that they might be related, though this is of course still theoretically possible. --Tropylium (talk) 14:51, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
@ What do you mean the source, Fortson, is lacking? It's right there at the bottom of the page: "Fortson, Benjamin W. (2010) Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, second edition, Oxford: Blackwell, page 1". And it isn't just him. All Indo-European scholars agree that θεός (theós) and deus are unrelated and their similarity is coincidental. It's true that you can't prove a negative, but in this case the positive claim (that the two are related) has no evidence whatsoever to support it, so the negative claim (that they're unrelated) is not exceptional at all; it is of necessity the default assumption in the absence of evidence to the contrary. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:55, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
"All Indo-European scholars agree" means nothing as far as they're concerned. I think the basic problem is that references like Fortson aren't going to give detailed explanations of the theory underlying their statements, because everyone who reads them is presumed to know it already. This person has never studied Indo-European historical linguistics, so you have to construct the theory for them from the ground up in order to explain anything. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:52, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
You're right; I hadn't seen the whole thread at Talk:θεός before. It's pretty clear he's arguing along the same lines as someone who, never having taken a class in biology, believes that bats and butterflies must be birds because they have wings and can fly, and is unwilling to accept the word of a textbook that mentions in passing that they aren't. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:45, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: I believe it's simply part of the scientific method to explain from the ground up. Fortson surely doesn't presume any knowledge at the beginning of an introductory book. Sure I'm not qualified in this field, so I'm not contesting the validity, but the verifiability of the source. "All Indo-European scholars agree" means, I expect multiple sources. I acknowledge that's grabbing for a straw. 23:30, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: "It's true that you can't prove a negative" - I claim nothing more, no positive claim, no evidence, with regard to edits to the article, but the default is "we don't know" (w:Null hypothesis).
I merely tried to justify the motivation of my doubt. Hence, absence of evidence is not w:Evidence_of_absence. With regards to Latin and Greek, substantial evidence might be obvious, though only against the naive assumption that one was directly borrowed from the other.
@Tropylium:, that's very thorough. I'd like to speculate and argue, but I suppose that would distract from the dispute about the source. I just want to remind you that the claim in Fortson is not limited to classic Greek and Latin, likewise the claim in the article which doesn't even appear in the context of PIE and is thus an outright generalization including pre PIE. Apart from that, PIE itself is dated with a precision of 500 to 1000 years and I am supposed to accept arguments about precise sound changes according to a small amount of rigid rules of a language without direct record? I don't mean to belittle the scholarship, that's actually awesome, but you have to admit certain limits to the comparative method. 23:30, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
If that's your entire point, then yes, it's completely possible that the two PIE roots are indeed related at some distant level many thousand years off. But then again, maybe it might be instead some other correspondence, such as θεός (theós) ~ febris, or ~ libum? If we do not bother working with regular sound correspondences and the other constraints that have been set up in historical linguistics, then we end up with nothing more than a w:just-so story, and literally any arbitrary relationships can be considered. --Tropylium (talk) 00:01, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

While perusing Beekes' Comparatice Indo-European Linguistics, I noticed that he explicitly states on page 14 that deus and θεός (theós) are unrelated. Just thought I'd mention here. —JohnC5 04:33, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

@JohnC5: Not in the edition I'm looking at (2010).
Second edition. —JohnC5 05:21, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I was looking at the etymological dictionary that you pointed me at, not the 2011 text book on the comparative method. So, he doesn't explicitly say the words are not related and from a first reading I get the impression after trying really hard to, that he only claims that theos wasn't borrowed from deus. 05:47, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
The anonymous IP reminds me of Voltaire's definition of etymology as a field in which "the vowels count for nothing, and the consonants for very little"...   -- AnonMoos (talk) 23:43, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Anatoly Liberman, the author of Word Origins…And How We Know Them and An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology, responding to someone who similarly argued that the unrelatedness of good and god was "counterintuitive and undemonstrable", has this to say:
"Etymology is a study of word history and presupposes a professional look at the development of sounds, grammatical forms, and meaning in many languages. “Intuitively,” deus and theos are two variants of the same word, but they are not. The term folk etymology covers suggestions of the theos-deus and god-good type: the temptation to connect look-alikes is irrepressible, but, unless we choose to remain in pre-scientific etymology, it should be resisted. Although 'scientific etymology' stumbles at every step, there is no need to make it limp even more by burdening it with naïve medieval hypotheses."
- -sche (discuss) 21:22, 27 March 2017 (UTC)


I did this a month ago, but I wonder if it was a good idea. It looks like a word suffixed in -unculus, but it's not; it really is the -culus suffix attached to a third declension -n- stem (-unculus comes from there by metanalysis). A true occurrence of the -unculus suffix would be ranunculus. --Barytonesis (talk) 17:26, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

I agree that is should be homō +‎ -culus or maybe -ulus. homunculus would be the natural outcome of *homon-k-elos (See here for more on the vowels). —JohnC5 18:35, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
@JohnC5: but don't you think that synchronically speaking, it makes sense to see it as homo + -unculus? --Barytonesis (talk) 17:45, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
An interesting question. —JohnC5 18:10, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
@JohnC5: Hmm, that is a neat table. Perhaps it should be moved to an appendix, and your analysis of the derivation be given at homunculus, with a link to the table. — Eru·tuon 05:46, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon: I had intended on making it an appendix but never finished the examples list. Please make it into an appendix if you'd like. The data is primarily culled from Sihler. —JohnC5 17:59, 26 March 2017 (UTC)


In what sense is "parallel" being used here? A calque? DTLHS (talk) 01:30, 22 March 2017 (UTC)


This word evidently comes from India, but which language and what etymon? @DerekWinters, Wyang (I'm really not sure who's best to ping for Indian etymologies, hope one of you guys knows.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:07, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, I've checked all the resources I have. Swahili Indic loanwords chiefly come from Gujarati, Hindi, and Marathi. Probably Kutchi too but I have no data on that. I don't have a big Marathi dictionary, but with what I have I've found nothing. DerekWinters (talk) 05:37, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
John M. Mugane's 2015 Story of Swahili (2015, →ISBN, page 51, says jora and tola are both Hindi, although he also says rangi is from Hindi, whereas we say it's from Persian; that's a lead to take with grains of salt. An article in this Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika (1988, page 118), mentioning Malagasy and Swahili borrowings, compares gora (using an older / alternate orthography / spelling) to Hindi jorā. None of our definitions of जोड़ा leap out as obvious sources, though The Kilindi, by Abdallah Bin Hemedi 'lAjjemy, points out that sometimes a Hindi "word tends in Swahili to be rather a measure of length than a description of material" or whatever else it originally denoted. Sharifa Zawawi, Kanga: The Cloth that Speaks (2005), page 10, says self-inconsistently that "Johnson derives the word jora from Hindi juwr[sic], "a length of calico in the piece of about 30 yards. The change of Arabic[sic] sound /uw/ to /o/ in Swahili is a phonological change seen in other cognates such as suwq > soko "market" [...]. In this example, jurra becomes jora or gora." A Uganda Journal article also lists it as a borrowing from Arabic. Perhaps someone with better Hindi and Arabic dictionaries can check these leads. - -sche (discuss) 06:47, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm reading Mugane's book; he's an engaging writer, but unfortunately a truly awful source for reliable etymologies! Zawawi can be frustrating, but she's usually better than that... I consulted Hans Wehr, but jurra revealed nothing relevant and I think juwr is what he would spell as jur, but I coudn't find that either. (That said, I have never studied Arabic, so I may be going at it wrong.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:15, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Does the alternation of g- ~ j- (gora ~ jora ~ jura) point to an Arabic origin? Malagasy gora, which is from Swahili gora, means "bundles or bales of cotton goods; a bolt of cloth". I think this may be derived from Arabic جُرَز(juraz), plural of جُرْزَة(jurza, bundle (of hay, etc.)). Wyang (talk) 07:52, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel, can you assess whether this seems right? Swahili does sometimes borrow from the Arabic plural directly, although it is relatively uncommon. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:51, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, the word جُرْزَة(jurza) exists, the plural is correct, and so is the sense "bundle of hay". It is also correct that an alternation between g and j can easily explained on the basis of dialectal variation within Arabic. I'm wondering why a word apparently meaning "thirty yards of cloth" should be from one meaning "bundle of hay". As to جُرَّة(jurra), it means a) a kind of arrow, and b) a kind of sieve used in sowing wheat according to this. And جُورَة(jūra) means "hole", but I think it's chiefly dialectal. I would have to check the old dictionaries. Maybe I can do that tomorrow. Kolmiel (talk) 01:18, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel, that would be much appreciated. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:36, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
I checked Lane's lexicon for the roots j-w-r and j-r-r, and the only thing I found that was remotely plausible was that جُرَّة(jurra) means a piece of wood about a cubit long that was used to catch gazelles. But I have a hard time seeing that being the source of jora. Maybe Kolmiel will have more luck. --WikiTiki89 02:21, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: What about j-r-w and j-r-y? Lane's isn't online, is it? — Your gazelle sense is the same as what I mistakenly glossed as "a kind of arrow" above. More precisely, Al-Ma‘ānī says in the linked entry that it's "a piece of wood with a snare [or net] on the top, with which gazelles are hunted." I'm checking the old Arabic dictionaries right now. Kolmiel (talk) 12:26, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel: Of course it's online. Looks like you need to be made aware of this site which lets you search and browse 20 dictionaries at once, most notably including Hans Wehr, Lane's Lexicon, and Lisaan al-Arab. --WikiTiki89 12:52, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: Thanks. I work chiefly with modern texts and I have my Wehr at home. On the rare occasion that I'd need Lane I'd make a detour to the university. But all right, that won't be necessary anymore. Kolmiel (talk) 13:13, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh I totally forgot about those "modern text" things. --WikiTiki89 14:02, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: Neat site. I wasn't aware of it either. — Eru·tuon 20:52, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
جُرَز(juraz, bundle/bale (of hay)) → (jura,) jora, gora "bundle/bale of cotton/cloth" (a sense still present in Malagasy) → "length of cloth (as would be transported/sold in a bale)" seems not-implausible. The Kanga book linked-to above quotes another work (I can't see enough to find out which one) as saying " [] jora one very long piece [of cloth] that comes in [a] bale," and The Kilindi notes that some words for types of material and other non-length things have shifted semantically to denoting lengths in Swahili, like doti (piece of cloth ~2-4 yards long), which is apparently cognate to dhoti. It's curious to me that so many books — even ones that literally spell out the Arabic etymon they say jora has — say it's from Hindi, though. - -sche (discuss) 04:01, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Wait, the "j" in jora represents /j/? --WikiTiki89 14:02, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
No, I think it represents /ɟ/ or something like that. Kolmiel (talk) 14:04, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Apparently it's an implosive /ɟ/, that is /ʄ/. --- At any rate, I haven't found anything interesting in Tāj al-‘Arūs and Lisān al-‘Arab. Of course, the entries are exceedingly long and one could search on for a day. But I've found the most relevant forms and that hasn't yielded anything new. So what we have is jurra meaning "a stick with a snare at the top" and jurza meaning "a bundle of hay". Both seem far off as such. However, if the sense "bale of cloth" is attested in Malagasy, then maybe jurza is somewhat less far off. Kolmiel (talk) 14:09, 23 March 2017 (UTC)


Please help to add the Punjabi script in the etymology section of pukka. Thanks! — SMUconlaw (talk) 17:08, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Added. Wyang (talk) 12:35, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Thank you! Any idea what the Punjabi and Urdu words mean? We could add those to the entry as well. — SMUconlaw (talk) 14:55, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
@Smuconlaw The Punjabi and Urdu meanings can be found here and here. Wyang (talk) 21:56, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Great, thanks! — SMUconlaw (talk) 10:14, 24 March 2017 (UTC)


There is a lot wrong with this entry. Firstly, the initial k- matches none of the languages, not even Germanic (Grimm's law). Then there's the -a- which is also suspicious. Finally, roots can't end in two sonorants, -lw- in this case. —CodeCat 17:48, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

Well then... What consonant would match all the languages? And what would match the -lw-/-lv-/-lu in nearly all the languages? --WikiTiki89 18:06, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
According to Philippa there is no way to unite all of the Slavic, Germanic and Italic forms. Slavic and Germanic could be from *gol(H)-uo-; then Italic is out. Germanic could be borrowed from Italic; then Slavic is out. She argues in favour of a substrate word, but doesn't mention the Indo-Aryan forms. Kolmiel (talk) 20:24, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Derksen reconstructs *golH-o, and says "In spite of the incompatibility of the initial consonants, it is tempting to connect the (Balto-)Slavic and the Germanic forms with Lat. calvus "bald" and Sanskrit kulva- "bald, thin-haired". Benwing2 (talk) 06:53, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
The most effective solution would seem to be Derksen's suggestion that Balto-Slavic 'head' is from a different root than 'bald'; the former would have originally had *g-, which secondarily influenced also the latter.
Medials-wise, de Vaan notes that *lw > ll in Latin, so calva would have to be from pseudo-PIE *kl̥Hweh₂ (or perhaps rather, an inter-Latin derivative from calvus). --Tropylium (talk) 14:53, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
When you say the Slavic root for 'head' had PIE *g-, I understand that you suggest the one for 'bald' did have *k-. But that doesn't work with Germanic. Kolmiel (talk) 17:02, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Note also that the Slavic descendant has been connected with Armenian գլուխ (glux, head) and derived from quasi-Indo-European or "European" substrate *gʰolHu-. See Martirosyan 2010, page 220. --Vahag (talk) 13:52, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Germanic would need to be considered a loan from Latin under that approach, also due to *-l̥H- > *-al-. (A lost Celtic or substratal reflex would probably also work.) --Tropylium (talk) 16:24, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
  • So what about that entry now? Should be deleted, right? Although it seemingly could be a lot of things, it can't be *kalw-. Kolmiel (talk) 13:17, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
    I'd rather if we could keep it. Perhaps we could use a magical laryngeal (or two)? It could also serve to explain Vedic खलति (khalati). Crom daba (talk) 14:52, 26 March 2017 (UTC)


It's a popular joke in Canada, but seems highly unlikely that Trudeau comes from "trou d'eau", as someone edited in. Can we get an actual, serious etymology for this surname? I've heard that it may have a Germanic origin, possibly related to Thor (specifically, "Thorvald"), but it's not from the best source, either. -- Cirxe (talk) 22:54, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

The Dictionary of American Family Names says that it's "from a pet form of the personal name Thouroude or perhaps Gertrude". — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 16:24, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Arabic عُثْمَان(ʿuṯmān)Edit

What's the Etymology of this? claims that it means "baby bustard", does anyone have a good source on this? Crom daba (talk) 14:43, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

@Crom daba: Here's the entry in Lane's Lexicon (exact quote, brackets are original):
عُثْمَانٌ‎ The young one of the [species of bustard called] حُبَارَى‎. (Ṣ, Ḳ.) — And The young one of the [serpent called] ثُعْبَان‎. (AA, Ḳ.) And, (Ḳ,) some say, (TA,) The serpent, (AA, Ḳ,) of whatever species it be : (AA :) or the young one thereof. (AA, Mgh, Ḳ.) And أَبُو عُثْمَانَ‎ is a surname of The serpent ; (Ḳ, TA ;) mentioned by ’Alee Ibn-Ḥamzeh. (TA.)
--WikiTiki89 14:13, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
That sounds awfully specific, like something copied from a medieval glossary or a dis legomenon. In any case I wouldn't be comfortable editing the entry based on it. Crom daba (talk) 14:42, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
@Crom daba: It's not copied from a medieval glossary. You can read about how Lane compiled his Lexicon. All of those parenthesized abbreviations are Arabic-language sources. --WikiTiki89 14:51, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
It does say it's based primarily on Arabic medieval dictionaries. Indeed it appears to be a great source, but it's too raw and needs to be encapsulated into a Wiktionary etymology or entry and I wouldn't trust myself to do it. Crom daba (talk) 20:56, 27 March 2017 (UTC)


To me, this is very simply explained as a nasal-infix present, *bʰi-né-h₂-ti ~ *bʰi-n-h₂-énti, of the root *bʰeyh₂-. User:Victar has provided a cite by Kroonen giving instead *bʰih₂-néh₂-ti, with a -néh₂- suffix. But this derivation doesn't give the right result, as i + laryngeal results in a long vowel in Celtic and none is attested. —CodeCat 21:58, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

I'm not disputing it and updated the root to reflect this. I'm not sure why Kroonen cited an néh₂-present, but a source shouldn't be deleted simply because you disagree with it. --Victar (talk) 22:06, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
But then, if you're sourcing the etymology from that source, and the etymology is changed so that it no longer matches, should the source still be there? —CodeCat 22:08, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes. Alternative etymologies should always be cited if a proper source exists, even when they are incorrect. Regardless, the source cites the correct PIE root for the Celtic derivative and is valuable on that merit alone. --Victar (talk) 22:14, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm not disputing the use of the reference for the Celtic term itself. —CodeCat 22:17, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Than what is it you are recommending? --Victar (talk) 23:05, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
How about this? Crom daba (talk) 00:09, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
No wait, that doesn't make sense. Never mind. Crom daba (talk) 10:38, 25 March 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology, or, more specifically, the part that says "possibly influenced in meaning by ancient Egyptian dšrt (red land, Sahara)".

The original version, added in this diff, suggested that The Latin might have come directly from Ancient Egyptian, but an IP softened this, and for good reason: Latin dē- + serō seems to explain the Latin verb just fine without bringing in other languages. Likewise, normal Latin morphology and a quite unremarkable progression of the semantics is enough to explain Latin dēsertum.

Of course, not needing the Ancient Egyptian to explain the origin doesn't mean that it can't be involved anyway. The resemblance is indeed striking and there was contact with Egypt. My question: is that enough reason to include this speculation in the etymology? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:09, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

Utter fluff. I've removed it. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:09, 26 March 2017 (UTC)


Wikipedia gives the following account: "A popular etymology deriving the term from the name of a Hind goddess, Amba Mata (a form of Durga riding a Tiger) has been proposed, supposedly via Hindu railway linesmen carrying loads of iron rails and sleeper blocks who would chant "har, har Ambe!" ("praise Amba") when working." I have seen this etymology elsewhere, but not in any particularly authoritative sources. What I would like to know is if the supposed Hindi (well, it may be Gujarati or something else) even makes sense in the first place. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:19, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

English root (etymology 2)Edit

Can Proto-Germanic *wrōtaną be from the PIE root *red-? Dictionaries I've seen have *werd- < *wer-. Kolmiel (talk) 22:05, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

No it can't, it would leave the w unexplained. And also the long ō, which generally implies a laryngeal. —CodeCat 22:10, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
  • On another note, is Proto-Germanic *wrōtaną related to *wrōts? (i.e. do the two etymologies in the English section come from the same root?) Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 14:23, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure. Semantically it could make sense, but the verb is strong, which means it's not derived from anything at least in Germanic times. —CodeCat 14:31, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

κιθάρα vs. κῐθάραEdit

Why does Greek κιθάρα come from Italian chitarra instead of Ancient Greek κῐθάρα? Lysdexia (talk) 06:24, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

The lute (κιθάρα (kithára)) took on various forms in Greece and they needed to use specific words for the different forms, such as λαούτο, ούτι, μπουζούκι, and πανδοῦρα. So the word κιθάρα (kithára) began to fall out of use. Centuries later, Italians introduced the guitar to Greece, so they transliterated the Italian name for it. Since the Italian word came from κιθάρα (kithára), transliterating it happily revived κιθάρα (kithára), but with a different meaning. —Stephen (Talk) 06:49, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
I would have expected the Italian chitarra to yield the Greek transliteration κιταρρα (kitarra) or κιταρα (kitara), since the Italian word does not contain a dental fricative. It would probably be more accurate to say that the Ancient Greek word was repurposed to signify the meaning of its Italian descendant: a semantic calque. — Eru·tuon 20:10, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
It may well have been transliterated κιταρρα by the original Greek recipients of the first guitar, but soon after, educated Greeks, being knowledgeable of the Ancient κιθάρα (kithára), would have corrected it to κιθάρα (kithára). Probably under the influence of the government-supported Katharevousa movement that tried to make Modern Greek as much like Ancient Greek as possible. —Stephen (Talk) 03:10, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
The same thing happened to Armenian կիթառ (kitʿaṙ), which was repurposed to mean the modern instrument. --Vahag (talk) 06:31, 29 March 2017 (UTC)


@Tropylium An IP changed the etymology to something else. Is there any merit to it? —CodeCat 17:08, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

Yes, that's the canonical etymology. The pre-1809 Finnish/Swedish-speaking boundary was further to the west on the coast, around Luleå, so derivation from Swedish is clearly anachronistic. --Tropylium (talk) 18:13, 28 March 2017 (UTC)


Is this a back-formation from cheerleader? --Barytonesis (talk) 15:03, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

Yes. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:57, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
I wonder how common "cheerled" really is? Most often, a verb derived from a noun derived from an irregular verb will have regular inflection (as is well-known to linguists), e.g. "broadcasted" etc. AnonMoos (talk) 13:30, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
Broadcast as a participle seems to be more common than broadcasted, though. Particularly on google books "was/were broadcast" are more than ten times as common as "was/were broadcasted". Maybe a couple of the former aren't participles, but the margin will still be considerable. It's less in a general google search. Kolmiel (talk) 14:41, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
BGC ngrams can't even find enough instances of cheerleaded to plot, but cheerled is common enough: [1], [2], [3] (though the last is split across a line, so it might have been intended as cheer-led). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:50, 1 April 2017 (UTC)