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The etymology currently says that this was formed, within Middle Low German, using Latin elements. This seems very implausible to me. More likely, it existed in Latin already and was borrowed in one piece. —Rua (mew) 21:18, 1 September 2017 (UTC)


If this derives from Ancient Greek αὐθέντης, does that mean that some limited th-fronting went on in Greece? Tharthan (talk) 00:16, 3 September 2017 (UTC)

I had suspected that Turkish had mediated it from Byzantine to Modern, but {{R:DSMG}} sees it as being pure inheritance. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:22, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
No idea if it's regular, but it would be pretty trivial to simplify -αφθ- (< -αυθ-) to -αφ(φ)-. KarikaSlayer (talk) 15:49, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
@KarikaSlayer That's a really good point. I didn't even think of that. Tharthan (talk) 17:10, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Don't know if it's 'pure' inheritance; DSMG seems to say it's analogical (I'm not sure how to interpret κατά) with αφεντεύω, which would be the real inheritance from (*?)αὐθεντεύω (unattested? LSJ only has αὐθεντέω). Note the syllable is stressed in one case, not in the other; that might make a difference. But that would only shift the question from here to there. --Barytonesis (talk) 17:36, 3 September 2017 (UTC)


Even if it's from Uralic, would we be able to say that Proto-Uralic *muďa passed through a Proto-Germanic *moda-/*modda- on its way to Middle Low German modde and Dutch modder? Tharthan (talk) 18:53, 3 September 2017 (UTC)

I believe the Proto-germanic forms would have looked like *mud-, *muþ-, with the suffixal forms *mudra-, *muþra- also appearing. Leasnam (talk) 19:26, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
I've edited the etymology Leasnam (talk) 19:44, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! However, I have to ask: where would the forms with the thorn have come from, if it were derived from Proto-Uralic? Tharthan (talk) 19:54, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
Precisely. I don't know much of Proto-Uralic borrowings into Proto-Germanic, so I wouldn't know how to reconcile the th sounds Leasnam (talk) 00:56, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
No one knows "much" about the topic (there are only a few loans in this direction to begin with), but loaning pre-Grimm's Law from a form like Finnic *muta is a possibility. What evidence for a *muþ- variant is there, though? Everything seems to come from *mud-. --Tropylium (talk) 01:11, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Swiss German mûderig (moldy) and Middle High German moder (bodily decay; swampland; marsh) would need to bend back to a PGM *muþra-. A reconstructed PGmc with variant þ also appears to tie possibly with Sanskrit मूत्र (mūtra, urine), Avestan 𐬨𐬏𐬚𐬭𐬀(mūθra, excrement; filth; dirt; grime; mud) Leasnam (talk) 14:19, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Where (if anywhere) would English smut, German Schmutz fit in ? Is it from the same PIE root with a different attachment ? Leasnam (talk) 15:15, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
If the word group is instead a loan in origin (and maybe even if not), perhaps the High German forms are simply loans from Low German.
Mayrhofer in {{R:ine:EWAia}} suggests as the primary possibility that the Indo-Iranian 'urine' words are rather formed with PIE *-tlom (not *-trom), and semi-compareable to Slavic *mydlo. (He also gives just 'urine' as the meaning of the Avestan word.) The root would be *mewH- (to wash) (not in LIV); the semantics are due to cow urine being used for washing clothes. 'Mud' in Germanic does not seem semantically very close to any of this.
The only word in this range that Kroonen reconstructs in {{R:gem:Kroonen 2013}}, FWIW, is *mudena- (moldy), compared with Latvian mudēt (to decay). I wonder if the Swiss German word could or should be also assumed to be a part of this root instead. --Tropylium (talk) 17:00, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
How can PGmc *mudena- answer to Latvian mudēt where the d is concerned ? Are each separate extensions of *mu- ? Also, if the Swiss word is from *mudena-, wouldn't it be mûterig instead ? What other support is there for the Uralic borrowing ? Leasnam (talk) 03:12, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Germanic *d ~ Latvian d would be regular from *dʰ, no? We would expect SwG -t- though, yes. I won't speculate on how that could be fixed (for starters I'd like to know if this particular form has cognates anywhere else in Germanic, even just in the High German dialects). I can note however that I'm not especially sold on Kroonen's etymology: a Germanic word that has a cognate only in Latvian sounds more like a loan into the latter than anything coming from PIE.
I'm not sure what you mean by "other support". --Tropylium (talk) 17:26, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
"other support", read as support Leasnam (talk) 03:37, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

meaning of trenkʷEdit

According to Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/þrinhwaną, the meaning of trenkʷ is beat, hew, press, but its lemma says it means push, press. --Espoo (talk) 19:53, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

Chicken or egg on the Bay of NaplesEdit

Βαΐαι (Baḯai) says it's a borrowing from Latin Baiae, which in turn says it's a borrowing from Βαΐαι (Baḯai). They can't both be right. Which is? (Wikipedia says it was named after Odysseus's helmsman Baius, but that could be folk etymology.) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:39, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

Saturnus/σάτυρος connection?Edit

A while ago I was wondering if it's possible there could be a connection between the Latin word Saturnus, which is variously believed to either derive from the Latin word satus or from Etruscan, and the Greek word σάτυρος (sáturos), which is of unknown etymology. My speculative reasoning for this connection is that in Greek mythology, satyrs were the followers of the god Dionysus. Dionysus, under his epithet Liknites, was depicted with a winnowing fan to separate the chaff from the grain. This connects him with the Roman deity Saturnus, who was often depicted with a sickle or scythe to cut grain. I'm no expert, and this is all speculation on my part, but what I'm wondering is if any linguists have hypothesized a connection between these two words before. -- 17:55, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

Georgian ნიკრისი (niḳrisi), Persian نقرس(neqres)Edit

There's a reference to the Georgian word here, page 71 (I don't know the script). Are these cognates, and if so what is their specific relationship? DTLHS (talk) 05:36, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

@Dixtosa, Simboyd, Vahagn Petrosyan (although the latter two are unlikely to respond). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:51, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Arabic also has نقرس. DTLHS (talk) 06:13, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
The languages are all in different families, so cognate would not be correct, but there's lots of borrowing in that part of the world- some of it extremely ancient. Other than the foregoing statement of the obvious, though, I'm out of my depth here. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:22, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Why wouldn't I respond? I'm not dead. I added نِقْرِس(niqris) with references. --Vahag (talk) 15:08, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. One more question, is this also related to the place name Nekresi? DTLHS (talk) 15:12, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
I don't have any information on the place name. --Vahag (talk) 15:40, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks for reporting on your life status, Vahag. I may have misinterpreted your melodramatic statements on your talkpage. xD —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:35, 7 September 2017 (UTC)


Found a garbage etymology from this very productive IP: [1].

I'm puzzled a little bit by some of the derivations, although I'm certain that this guy is good-faith.

  • [2] (Etymology one is the problem. Etymology 2 clicks to me.) I'm puzzled at how the rendaku could have resolved to /n/ over here...
  • [3] He replaces an okay derivation of his with one with even more phonetic issues.
  • [4] The IP himself asked for verification on this one and a few others.

Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 21:13, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

  • Wow, that's a whole lot of rubbish. Verifiably awful rubbish.
I've already made some fixes to the entry. I'll get to the others as I'm able. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:07, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

Maori te, Hawaiian keEdit

Are these two terms related? Can a proto-form be reconstructed? —Rua (mew) 22:18, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

Seems so, especially since Hawaiian had the change t > k and Maori didn't. And Hawaiian also had the change ng > n, and the plural definite article in Hawaiian is , while in Maori it's ngā. What are the forms in other Polynesian languages? --WikiTiki89 22:42, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Tongan and Niuean, outliers in the Polynesian group, have e and e. Samoan, which is Nuclear, has le, and Rapa Nui, which is Eastern, has te. We have an entry te for Tongan, but Wikipedia disagrees.
Neither Tongan nor Samoan have a plural article it seems, while Rapa Nui has ŋā, a clear cognate. One source says that it was originally a determiner, and mentions that it behaves differently from the singular article in Rapa Nui. —Rua (mew) 23:55, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Anecdotally, I've heard that Māori and Hawaiʻian are close enough still that large chunks can be mutually intelligible, even in terms of some of the social protocol (formalized speech by both hosts and guests at the beginning and end of meetings). ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:17, 14 September 2017 (UTC)


rfe: "vernish, resin" from Βερενίκη "bringer of victory"? What's the relation? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 12:08, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

@Sobreira: see the wikipedia article on varnish: "The word "varnish" comes from Latin vernix, meaning odorous resin, the etymology of which comes from the Greek Berenice, the ancient name of modern Benghazi in Libya, where the first varnishes in the Mediterranean area were used and where resins from the trees of now-vanished forests were sold. Berenice comes from the Greek words phero (to bring) + nike (victory)." A similar case would be parchment. --Barytonesis (talk) 12:15, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

Japanese personal namesEdit

@Eirikr So let's take some Japanese given name, like まさと (Masato) or けんじ (Kenji) or てつや (Tetsuya). Is it generally possible to pin down a single etymology of given names like these? Or do they incorporate conflations? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 21:39, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

  • @Hillcrest98: In some cases, there are clear roots: さとし is the classical terminal form of modern adjective 聡い (satoi, clever, sharp-witted). めぐみ is the continuative or stem form of verb 恵む (megumu, to bless someone with something, to do someone a favor or kindness). In other cases, there are too many possibilities to determine a clear derivation, such as まさと or けんじ. If you have the kanji spelling, there's more to work with: 正人 for Masato would clearly mean “correct, proper + person”, for instance.
Does that answer your question? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:06, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
More than answered. But with the various kanji spellings of a name, would one search for the etymology by checking against the non-nanori readings of the kanji in the spellings? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 22:10, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
@Hillcrest98: Hmm, that depends. Some names with known etymologies may still have very inventive kanji spellings. Have a look here at the ENAMDICT entry for めぐみ. Apparently there are 100+ spellings listed.
Even readings can be a mess to figure out, and sometimes you just have to ask the person themselves how they pronounce their names. Have a look at the 20 known possible readings for 純. Oofda.
I'd start by seeing if there are any regular words or obvious conjugation forms with the same readings (like for Satoshi or Megumi). Next, I'd try breaking the name up into likely-looking chunks and seeing if any probable etyma present themselves, with an eye to one- or two-mora chunks (like, say, for Takamasa - 98 spellings listed in ENAMDIC, but we can guess pretty well here that taka is from (taka, height, in compounds, with connotations of “high” and “lofty”), and masa is from (masa, right, correct, proper)).
The nutshell version is that names are tricky. :-P Good luck! ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 05:59, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

Latin *sānitōsusEdit

Obviously this is some derivative of sānus with the suffix -ōsus, but what's the source of the -it- infix? My first thought was sānitās, but then I'd expect **sānitatōsus. KarikaSlayer (talk) 21:46, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

ax to grindEdit

The etymology of this idiom refers to a tale by Benjamin Franklin about a guy who wanted to grind his ax but he ended up grinding it himself. The other etymology is about a person who wanted to sharpen his ax to kill someone. -- 08:57, 16 September 2017 (UTC)


If from *dʰer-mo-s, why would it have a long vowel? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 00:45, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

I can find no evidence for the long vowel. Especially since Osthoff's Law precludes it. —JohnC5 01:12, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

Rubber = eavesdropEdit

Surely a contraction of "rubber-necking"

Celtic plural endingsEdit

For Irish, -acha, -aí, -ta/-tha, -anna. For Welsh, the -dd plurals.

Any ideas on where they come from? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 16:28, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

-acha is from the Old Irish vocative/accusative plural ending of the k-stems, e.g. cathir (city), voc./ cathracha; -aí, earlier -aidhe, is from the same thing of the d-stems, e.g. arae (poet), voc./ arada (not sure where the palatalization of the dh comes from though); -t(h)a from the same thing when the medial syllable underwent syncope, e.g. cin (fault), voc./ cinta and traig (foot), voc./ traigthea; -anna is from the same thing of the n-stems, e.g. imbliu (navel), voc./ imblenna. During Middle and Early Modern Irish these endings were reinterpreted as general plural endings and spread to other words, especially ones in which sound change would have made the plural homophonous with the singular, e.g. guide (prayer), nom./voc./ guidi, which would have become singular guí, plural guí by normal sound change, so the -anna ending was added to it to make it unambiguously plural guíonna.
Welsh -edd is from the Proto-Celtic nom./ of feminine yā- and ī-stems, *-iyās, and the same form of neuter yo-stems, *-iyā; -ydd is from the of i-stems, which was *-iyes in Proto-Insular Celtic, from Proto-Celtic *-eyes (though our {{cel-decl-noun-i-mf}} gives the form as *-īs in PC, but I don't think that can be right). According to Peter Schrijver, -oedd comes from an *-es-ī that arose when certain neuter s-stems (whose original plural was in *-esa) became masculines; but the older explanation of John Morris-Jones is that -oedd is from any of *-iyoi, *-iyās, *-iya or *-iyes when the stress was on the antepenult. Frankly, neither of them sounds very convincing to me; I'd say the jury is still out. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:07, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
What I do find convincing is the argument, going all the way back to Pedersen, that -oedd is from *-esa, the nom./ of the neuter s-stems; it's paralleled by the verb form oedd (was) < *esāt (cf. Latin erat). Schrijver, however, is unconvinced by both -oedd < *-esa and oedd < *esāt. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:52, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

modality in devil-may-careEdit

What modality does the verb 'may' show in the adjective devil-may-care? --Backinstadiums (talk) 22:26, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

IMO: possibility, a kind of epistemic modality. DCDuring (talk) 02:45, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Thanx for replying. Coincidentally, are you a native speaker, and of what dialect? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:04, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
I explain it all on my user page. DCDuring (talk) 12:25, 20 September 2017 (UTC)


Is there a pun with cumwhore? --Canonicalization (talk) 22:20, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Almost certainly not. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:55, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
I don't know if you're being ironic. --Canonicalization (talk) 23:21, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
I don't think so. And I don't think Metaknowledge was being ironic. --WikiTiki89 17:05, 25 September 2017 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. Seems to have been taken from the Japanese Wikipedia section which hasn't been sourced either. ばかFumikotalk 13:37, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

(@TAKASUGI Shinjisuzukaze (tc) 13:49, 23 September 2017 (UTC))
Which part do you not believe? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 14:01, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
I fail to believe that an amphibian could be named after a caterpillar, in the first place. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 02:21, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Several sites say it is from super- + looper, but that is not written in the entry and is irrelevant to this RFV. The date (1985) and source (TV commercial) are clear if you search the TV commercial on YouTube (日清やきそばUFO 1985). — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 08:39, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Was it first ever used in that very commercial? Could "uupaa" be a cutesy corruption of "super" + "UFO"? Or is it just baby talk like "papa" or "mama"? ばかFumikotalk 05:37, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
It was the first usage of the word, because they named it so. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:17, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
A looper, of course. My own take on all of this is that it might be inspired by super-duper, but that it's basically a string of nonsense syllables intended to be vaguely reminiscent of the quasi-taboo original. Come to think of it, h and p are phonemically related, so it might be a fanciful reworking of the original, with the second half supplied by reduplication. It's all guesswork, anyway. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:54, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, many webpages say they first meant to name it スーパールーパー but they figured it would take longer to trademark スーパールーパー because of the abundance of other trademarks with "スーパー" so changed it to ウーパールーパー. This book confirms it, but it's by no means a scholarly work and has no citation so I'm not sure if it counts as a reliable source (at least it's better than no source though). Nardog (talk) 09:31, 2 October 2017 (UTC)


Literally, "one who runs through the dust" after his master, as per w:Holy_orders_in_the_Catholic_Church_and_women#Women_deacons. Sure? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 08:23, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

No, that's bullshit. I removed it from Wikipedia. Someone has misunderstood διᾱ́κονος (diā́konos) as being related to κονῑ́ω (konī́ō, make dusty), which it isn't. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:12, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: btw, would you know why the alpha is long? --Barytonesis (talk) 17:53, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
No, I don't. Maybe the PIE root was *Hken-? Or maybe there's an alpha intensivum or alpha copulativum between the δια- and the root? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:27, 30 September 2017 (UTC)


vesicant (causing blistering) has an "rfe" tag. Is there any reason not to follow the etymology of vesicle (a blister)? -Stelio (talk) 13:37, 28 September 2017 (UTC)

Pinging @Daniel Carrero, who put that notice there. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 14:24, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
Could be straight from vesica? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 17:42, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Done, present participle of the verb vesico, indeed related to vesicle. --Barytonesis (talk) 17:47, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Super; thank you very much! That's this request resolved. :-) -Stelio (talk) 18:29, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

not the sharpest knife in the drawerEdit

The suggested source, not the sharpest knife in the draw, is not an English idiom I've ever heard of. Cnilep (talk) 01:31, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

I know @Equinox was using a semi-automated method on these English etymologies, so I suspect this is probably one that went astray. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:16, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
I've removed it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:30, 30 September 2017 (UTC)


Is this etymology saying that Medieval Latin borrowed the term from Italian? (please don't use this "via" syntax, ever). DTLHS (talk) 05:53, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

The only way I understand it with my non-native English is MoHG zed(d)el < MiHG zedel(e) < IT cedola < MedLat cedula Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 17:40, 29 September 2017 (UTC)


So the infinitive and future forms of this verb are false cognates? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 21:14, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

@Hillcrest98 Yes, the future is a Vulgar Latin creation from *essere habeō based on the other forms with initial s-. It's much more widespread in Romance than the suppletive infinitive that's used in Spanish.KarikaSlayer (talk) 15:37, 30 September 2017 (UTC)

What is the preferred way of adding archaic spellings to a page…?Edit

I want to add a line about surde on the page surd. It is part of the title of the 1557 mathematics book famous for first introducing the equals sign, The whetstone of witte, whiche is the seconde parte of Arithmetike: containyng thextraction of Rootes: The Coßike practise, with the rule of Equation: and the woorkes of Surde Nombers. Its modern English counterpart is surd. I also want to make an §English entry on the page surde. I don't want to do these things improperly because I really don't want to rub anyone else the wrong way. Warmest Regards, :)—thecurran Speak your mind my past 03:32, 30 September 2017 (UTC)

On surde you can add an English entry in the normal way with {{obsolete spelling of}} as the definition. You can also put the quote there. DTLHS (talk) 03:35, 30 September 2017 (UTC)


Initial voicing is unbelievable. A borrowing? Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 16:40, 30 September 2017 (UTC)

Not to mention the "i". I've removed the whole etymology as completely incorrect. I'm sure there are plenty of better explanations out there, but if not, a blatantly wrong one is worse than nothing. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:11, 30 September 2017 (UTC)