Open main menu


Editors of Latin etymologies may wish to add to the discussion on the talk page. - -sche (discuss) 16:34, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

Reconstructed Old Median, Middle Median, and its descendentsEdit

@-sche, JohnC5, Metaknowledge, could I get one of your to either comment on Wiktionary talk:About Median or make the changes I'm recommending? Thanks. --Victar (talk) 21:02, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

I already expressed my doubts on the reliability of Median reconstructions, but let me quote Encyclopaedia Iranica:

"The confusion described above is compounded by additional factors. Thus, the Parthians came into close contact with the Armenians only after having spread over Northwest Iran in the second half of the second century B.C. They thus contributed much to the extinction of the old “Median” or “Atropatenian” dialect spoken there, a dialect apparently closely related to their own language. This “Middle Median” dialect (see above), whose country bordered on that of Armenian, is virtually unknown. Périkhanian (1966, especially pp. 21f. n. 7; 1968, especially pp. 25-29) thought she had found the key to its characterization in older Aramaic inscriptions from the region, particularly in that of King Artašês/Artaxias (189-160 B.C.) from Zangezowr. Her main shibboleths “Mid. Med.” hr from Proto-Ir. *θr and “Mid. Med.” prothetic vowel before initial sp- and - (whence Arm. šx) rested chiefly upon one single piece of evidence, namely the proper name Axšahrsart (written as Aram. ʿḥštrsrt) containing “Mid. Med.” *axšahr as first element (by contrast with Parth. xšahr “country, empire”). Moreover, Périkhanian considered that many of the Northwest-Ir. loanwords in Armenian that are usually regarded as being from Parthian, are to be attributed in fact to an older stratum, a “Middle Median,” layer, although these words presented none of those peculiarly Med. characteristics of which a limited number can be established for the Old Iranian period (see Périkhanian herself, 1966, p. 21 n. 7). This line of approach had been anticipated by W. B. Henning, who in 1963 had assigned those words containing the group nj instead of Parth. (like Arm. brinj “rice” beside NPers. berenǰ or Arm. ganj' “treasure” as Man. Mid. Pers. ganz beside Man. Parth. gazn, NPers. ganǰ) to Median. This approach appears to be correct in principle but it is difficult to work out the details because of the scanty evidence available for the older Iranian dialects."

--Vahag (talk) 21:35, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Yep, you did, giving your Armenian perspective, and you and others can find my reply there, along with my sources. --Victar (talk) 21:50, 4 July 2018 (UTC)


I was surprised to find we haven't got the etymology for this common Chinese term yet. Could any of our brilliant Chinese editors take a stab? Pinging @Wyang @Justinrleung @Suzukaze-c @Atitarev et al. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:18, 6 July 2018 (UTC)


Our Germanic/PIE experts may want to review this. - -sche (discuss) 20:43, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

tribalis, tribal issuesEdit

From [1], "As the OED explains, “tribal” is an English formation (first attested 1632). French “tribal” is a recent borrowing from English (1872). Latin “tribulis” is not an adjective, but a noun, meaning “fellow tribesman”. DTLHS (talk) 23:19, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

Good catch. I've changed the etymology of tribal. As to the question of whether or not tribalis has ever been used in Latin, there are at least a few instances in modern Latin. - -sche (discuss) 02:49, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

Turkish kahvaltı (breakfast)Edit

I would think this would have to be derived from kahve, wouldn't it? You drink coffee in the morning, you eat breakfast in the morning. I'm not sure what the derivation would be, though, since I'm still no expert in Turkish. Finsternish (talk) 21:48, 7 July 2018 (UTC) slight edit Finsternish (talk) 21:49, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

Hello, that is correct. Equivalent to kahve + altı. --Anylai (talk) 18:56, 19 August 2018 (UTC)


auto#Etymology_2 says "Clipping of autorickshaw, from Hindi ऑटो रिक्शा (oṭo rikśā)." But autorickshaw says auto- +‎ rickshaw, with auto from the Greek and rickshaw from the Japanese. I'm guessing that Hindi doesn't really play a part in this, or if it does that it's autorickshaw -> ऑटो रिक्शा -> ऑटो -> auto.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:52, 8 July 2018 (UTC)


It looks like the first part is Hebrew שרף in the sense "venomous serpent", which is in the title of the Hebrew Wikipedia article about the snake. PierreAbbat (talk) 16:08, 9 July 2018 (UTC)

The snake species that produces the toxin has a range that seems more or less centered in Jordan, including Lebanon and Syria. A Hebrew/Aramaic origin seems more than likely. DCDuring (talk) 17:20, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
Georg Haas (paleontologist), who described the species in 1950, was an Austrian-born Israeli who joined the Hebrew University of Jerusalen in 1931. I'd go with the Hebrew origin. DCDuring (talk) 17:26, 9 July 2018 (UTC)

hẹp hòiEdit

RFV of the etymology. ばかFumikotalk 14:27, 10 July 2018 (UTC)

Cited. Wyang (talk) 23:23, 10 July 2018 (UTC)

Finnish kappaEdit

Is the current etymology a homespun complete fabrication, or is wrong in claiming the exact opposite derivation? --Espoo (talk) 08:18, 13 July 2018 (UTC)

Yeah, we have etym 1 backwards: the word is from Germanic, but Swedish kappe is a back-loan, and the real source is a word-family reconstructed as *skappa- instead (mostly obsolete in modern Germanic I gather). --Tropylium (talk) 12:14, 13 July 2018 (UTC)
Fixed for now, I hope. --Tropylium (talk) 12:45, 13 July 2018 (UTC)

oligodendrocyte, polydendrocyte, dendrocyteEdit

The dates of the citations suggest to me that "oligodendrocyte" entered English first (from French?), and that "dendrocyte" is a derivative. Any other ideas or evidence? DTLHS (talk) 07:16, 15 July 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 19:25, 17 July 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

@Eric Kvaalen "fixed" this by adding Ancient Greek at the beginning, which makes it a bit of a two-headed monster. Granted, the modern form probably couldn't have arisen by regular changes from Middle English sisamie, but it seems to me that the most likely explanation is learned alteration of the spelling after the Greek, rather than direct borrowing of the whole word from the Greek. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:02, 21 July 2018 (UTC)

@Chuck Entz:: Yes, I think you're right. Somehow the "native" word got replaced by a form borrowed directly from Greek. Actually, I wonder whether that Middle English form is correct -- why would they add an "i" to the Middle French word after the "m"? The modern pronunciation is exactly how we pronounce similar words borrowed from Greek, like "apocope" or "Terpsichore". If you have a better idea how to present this in the Wiktionary entry, please do. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 05:25, 22 July 2018 (UTC)


Is the Buddhist "fiery chariot" sense an original concept from Chinese Buddhism or translated from the original Sanskrit (term)? ~ POKéTalker) 08:48, 24 July 2018 (UTC)


I'm pretty sure it means "ossicle-bladder", referring to the Weberian apparatus. Οστάριο is a diminutive of οστό; I don't know the Greek word for "bladder", but it's probably related to φυσώ. PierreAbbat (talk) 12:01, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

Ancient Greek φυσαλλίς (phusallís) is the only one I can find easily, but there are lots of words related to blowing and swelling that start with φυσ- such as φυσόομαι (phusóomai), and φυσοειδής (phusoeidḗs) suggests that φυσο- is the combining form of a word for bladder. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:48, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
φῦσα (phûsa) means bladder as well as bellows etc. DCDuring (talk) 17:35, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
So can we put ὀστάριον (ostárion)+φῦσα (phûsa)+-i (Latin masculine plural)? PierreAbbat (talk) 20:51, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
I would. I usually put New Latin at the beginning to excuse departures from classical inflections or other taxonomic naming outrages. DCDuring (talk) 03:37, 25 July 2018 (UTC)

German etymologyEdit

A transcription of Kluge's Etymological Dictionary of the German Language is available on Wikisource. I proofread about a third of the dictionary so far (that's about 1700 lemmas). The source material is quite dated, but there are no other freely available German etymological dictionaries in English, so perhaps it will be useful to integrate some Wiktionary entries. Cheers,--Underlying lk (talk) 19:03, 25 July 2018 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology, said to be from Dutch, but a native compound sneki + fisi makes infinitely more sense. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:17, 27 July 2018 (UTC)

...and Dutch seems to use paling and aal for "eel", and slang for "snake", with snaak having no relevant meaning anymore, so I can't even reconstruct what the supposed Dutch etymon might have been to check for references to it (*snaakvis gets no hits). I would just replace the etymology with your theory. - -sche (discuss) 17:17, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
@-sche Yes, that is true on all counts; I had never heard of any "slangvis" before. Now "slangvisch" does give some results, but most of it is from Suriname so the direction could just as well be the reverse. It seems to denote fish from the genus Ophidion. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:39, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Latvian niereEdit

Should it be added to *negʷʰrós, or is it a loanword from Germanic languages? RubixLang (talk) 01:04, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

tie as in "draw"Edit

Where does sense 4 of tie come from? ("The situation in which two or more participants in a competition are placed equally.") I can't figure out a semantic connection with any of the knot/fastening-related senses. —Granger (talk · contribs) 08:37, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

I thought that the derivation was from the past participle of the verb, the idea being that two competitors were bound together, linked. Apparently the meaning is attested only in the late 19th century, so transitional usage might be discoverable if the hypothesis were true. DCDuring (talk) 10:06, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
The earliest use i found of tie/tied near score is from 1859 in the context of archery in a book of rules for archery contests. DCDuring (talk) 10:18, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
See “tie” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019., citing 17th century use. DCDuring (talk) 10:37, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
There's a common metaphor between untying/loosening and solving/determining. Compare Serbo-Croatian riješiti (to solve, to decide), neriješeno (tie, draw), odriješiti (to loosen, to untie). Crom daba (talk) 13:55, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
See also Unentschieden (tie, draw) < entschieden (decided, resolved) < scheiden (separate (archaic)). DCDuring (talk) 18:06, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, that explanation seems plausible to me. It would be interesting to look at early citations of this sense (or the related verb senses). —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:51, 31 July 2018 (UTC)