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Etymology scriptorium

Welcome to the Etymology scriptorium. This is the place to cogitate on etymological aspects of the Wiktionary entries. Please note that unlike all the other Wiktionary discussion boards, the discussions are not held on this page, but on the individual entries' talk pages and the relevant thread is transcluded here. In order to add a discussion from the entry talkpage to the Etymology scriptorium just surround the relevant discussion with a <section> tag:

<section begin="etymology"/>
==etymology of [[entry-name]]==
...discussion...
<section end="etymology"/>

This will enable the transclusion of the discussion. Then, at the end of this page add the following code:

{{#lst:Talk:entry-name|etymology}}

In both cases the entry-name is the name of the entry on which talkpage the original discussion is being held. Also, if the discussion pertains to several entries (in e.g. several languages), it would be good to add the second code snippet to all of their respective talkpages in order to inform the contributors that have the entries on their watchlist.

This way, when a user tries to edit the relevant section wherever the discussion gets transcluded, they end up editing the original section where the discussion was placed, and all the places that transclude the discussion get updated.

Contents

I do not see the reason for including several ancient languages and thus encumbering the etymology. Would it be acceptable to leave only Akkadian, the most ancient one? Especially when the Coptic was not explicitly written? Bogorm 22:15, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

What do you mean by "Coptic was not written" ? I agree that ancient languages should have predominantly ancient cognates, and in this particular case linking to Proto-Semitic *labiʾ- might be the most reasonable thing (as there are other equally "ancient" languages like Hebrew, Eblaite, Ugaritic etc.) --Ivan Štambuk 22:47, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
There was neither the original Coptic(~Greek) script nor transliteration. Amongst Semitic languages, Akkadian is the most ancient and I would opt for it to remain. Proto... are reconstructions by contemporary linguists and thus a theory, not a cognate. Bogorm 22:58, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Uhm, you are aware of the existence of Coptic and Demotic scripts, used to write the latest phase of the Egyptian language? :) Egyptian language is genetically parallel to the whole Semitic branch in Afro-Asiatic terms, so mentioning it would be very much relevant for comparison purposes of this very ancient word..
The most "ancient" (in meaning "the earliest attested") of Semitic languages is not Akkadian but actually Eblaite...but lots of these "languages" are actually collections of various dialect spoken for several millenia, so you can get e.g. Ugaritic or Hebrew word for "lion" attested earlier than Akkadian! And Akkadian was not the most conservative Semitic language (Arabic is).
Proto-Semitic reconstructions are valid scientific theories (not "theories" in the abused sense of the word theory). It is doubtless that all Semitic languages have sprung from the same common source, and the fact that the reconstructions comparative method establishes were not attested does not mean that these terms did not exist in the shape the reconstructions predict them. Semitic languages are very conservative (much more than IE) due to their peculiar morphology (roots + transfixes), so these reconstructions have an aura of very great certainty around them. Just compare the reflexes of Proto-Semitic reconstructions in daughter languages on those Proto-Semitic appendix pages - in lots of cases they're retained unchanged, or with trivial sound changes a child could devise on sight. Common Semitic disintegrated approx. at the same time as Late Proto-Indo-European (4th millennium BCE), so you can get the picture in what "conservative" terms we're talking about --Ivan Štambuk 23:25, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Was Coptic written? Well, in one word ⲤⲈ!—Strabismus 00:19, 21 February 2009 (UTC)


Skok officially disproves the theory about the Tr and Arabic word meaning world. Thence I added Template:rfv-etymology. He mentions as a third theory Turkish al, red, but explicitly discourages this one:

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Svakako nema nikakve veze ni s turskom riječi alem »svijet«

Bogorm 12:49, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

There are actually two different words (sharing the spelling, but different tones)
  1. álem "world" (which is doubtless from Ottoman Turkish, ultimately from Arabic عالم (̔āläm, world), the term being spread through Islamic terminology), and
  2. àlem "jewel, treasure" and also "Islamic crescent with 3 or 4 spheres underneath" according to my dictionary, also deriving from Ottoman Turkish but ultimately from Arabic علم (̔aläm, sign, token; symbol; banner) according to my source..

Need to check this latter one though (semantic shift doesn't look to convincing IMHO). --Ivan Štambuk 13:17, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, then Skok explicitly discourages from accepting the first (which is the case here). He mentiones 3 theories about the origin, so even if you find the correct Tr. word for the third theory, the possibility that it is correct still would not exceed 34%. Anyway, I am hesitating between the Greek and Old French hypothesis, they both sound convincing... You? Bogorm 13:43, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, definitely the relationship with Arabic word for "flag; symbol" is semasiologically inexplicable and far-fetched. However, the relationship with the supposed alaniAndina < Medieval Latin al(l)amanđina < alabandina < Alabanda (notable for its gemstones, as WP article confirms) doesn't look too convincing either. Ottoman Turkish al (red) (itself borrowed from Persian آل (āl, reddish, shinning)) OTOH looks much promising IMHO, because the same root has been preserved in various adjectives (alast, alen, alav etc.) and moreover given names (Alemka), so the most economic explanation would account it as a simple synchronic derivative of the adjective denoting "red, reddish, shiny". But none of this is fully satisfactory if you ask me. Old French is not mentioned as a source BTW, but as a identically-meaning reflex of some Romance/Middle Latin verb devised from that city's name.
So prob. all 3 theories should be mentioned with the accompanying criticism. I'll see if I can find some attestations of this and related words in some old documents. --Ivan Štambuk 14:17, 16 February 2009 (UTC)


Can the Gypsy word be cognate with Sanskrit kukkura, dog? Sounds similar. Bogorm 14:43, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

They could be very easily (changes of k > č/dž and r>l or l>r are phonetically quite trivial). Interestingly, Skok does not discuss Turkish and Arabic origin at all, but Arj. 3:540 that he references doesn't mention Gypsy etymology at all. My other source claims the borrowing line as Dijan original put it. However, the Gypsy etymology is plainly superior if the meaning of the Gypsy is indeed "dog" (as opposed to Turkish/Arabic "ignorant"). I'd still like to see some additional verification though. --Ivan Štambuk 14:54, 16 February 2009 (UTC)


Is this Arabic word borrowed from (Ottoman) Turkish baklava, or the source of it? I'm perplexed as I have two dictionaries claiming both directions (though I trust more the one claiming Turkish > Arabic line of borrowing, but the usual borrowing sequence with these two languages is in the opposite direction hence the reluctance). --Ivan Štambuk 08:13, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

The structure of the word is strange for Arabic (the اوة part), so I’m convinced that Arabic borrowed it from Turkish. —Stephen 14:53, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Also see this if you haven't already.—Strabismus 19:22, 21 February 2009 (UTC)


We have conflicting information on the etymology of the term; the original borrowing sequence I've put Gujarati < Portuguese < Tamil < Sanskrit was based on Merriam-Webster, and Dijan transformed it to Portuguese < Gujarati < Sanskrit which is apparently what Random House dictionary claims. Other dictionaries don't offer much details, but simply mention that it was named after the Hindu merchants who conducted business under the tree. --Ivan Štambuk 00:01, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

AHD also claims Portuguese < Gujarati < Sanskrit. --Ivan Štambuk 00:45, 9 February 2009 (UTC)



Please, do not remove the etymology, as both claims may cohabitate tranquilly. The Doric one is at least straightforward and mainstream, but for the second any source would not prove to be superfluous. Bogorm 12:49, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

That Doric "etymology" is obsolete folk-etymologised rubbish which has no place on Wiktionary. Robert Beekes is by far the most renowned expert for Pre-Greek substratum words and we cannot compare him with some far-fetched Greek nationalist ideologically-motivated explanations in which the -dnos suffix (non-IE, non-Greek) is left as an unsolved mystery. --Ivan Štambuk 12:55, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I am not sure about this innovative person you quoted who is supportive of the non-Greek origin, but the next defamation of the explication of a Swedish professor in linguistics as folk etymology can be perceived as libelling. Bogorm 13:20, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps you haven't noticed, but Beekes actually discusses Frisk's analysis (and dismisses is). Frisk's dictionary is more than half a century old and completely obsolete. Here are the relevant quotes in case you missed them: An analysis μακε-δνος is impossible in an IE word and Not cognate with μακ-ρός, μῆκ-ος. Once again: Frisk's analysis is not some "traditional" and "classical" one, but obsolete one. --Ivan Štambuk 13:30, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
OK, would you agree to use the formulation chosen by our standard Ancient Greek wizard? If he feels that the relationship with μῆκος or μακρός needs to be mentioned, I'll agree too (not that I have any problem with mentioning of the alternative theories, it's just that giving possible undue prominence to obsolete theories is what bothers me). --Ivan Štambuk 13:34, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
This is your interpretation. Please, do not belittle Frisk's profound and convincing research. The dictionary was issued in 1960, 2009-1960=49<50. The question is whether Professor Frisk feels that it must be mentioned and he did. Please, respect that. I would agree to switch the first and second place in either-or, but not to obliterate any of them. Bogorm 13:36, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Why this hostility towards Greece, has it inflicted something baleful on Croats? Why this zest to confute the Greek origin of the geographical region? It is true that Byzantium did not like those Slavs in its territory who refused to speak Greek and to permeate the rich Greek culture, but Byzantium was an empire and as such it cannot be associated with Greece, there were many other peoples - Armenians, Egyptians before the Arab conquest, Assyrians and many more. Bogorm 13:41, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

OK, I left Jesse a note. He seems to be very buy in the last few weeks, so it might take some time before we receive an answer. I assure you that my involvement with the etymology of this particular word has nothing to do with "hostility towards Greeks" or Greek culture, whom I deeply respect. OK, I probably am a bit biased against the ideologically-motivated etymologies, or those that fuel some myths (plenty of those at the Balkans..), but in this particular case the traditional explanation is just silly. Indo-European historical linguistics has made some giant steps since the 1950s, especially with regard to what's today commonly dubbed as laryngeal theory (it has nothing to do with real laryngeals). Moreover, Robert Beekes is an expert on Pre-Greek substratum, and can spot such "anomalous" words (that cannot be derived from PIE, or formed with the usual Ancient Greek derivational morphology) on sight. Here you can find a paper of him on phonology and word structure of this Pre-Greek. I'll just quote two paragraphs from that PDF, that illustrate 2 important points IMHO (the bias against pre-Greek explanations in previous etymological dictionaries of Ancient Greek, and the obsoletness of pre-laryngeal-theory explanations).

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But if we know which variations frequently occur, we are warned to consider Pre-Greek origin if we find them. The existing etymological dictionaries often seem to "avoid" the conclusion that a word is a substratum element. It is remarkable that Chantraine was quite aware of he question in his Formation, but has very often withdrawn his - in my view correct - evaluation in his dictionary. It seems as if substratum elements were not welcome.
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Our knowledge of Indo-European has grown so much, especially in the last thirty years with notably the growth of the laryngeal theory, that we can in some cases say that an Indo-European reconstruction is impossible. A good example is the word γνάθος To explain the -a- of this word we need to introduce a "second laryngeal" (h₂). However, a preform *gnh₂dʰ- would have given Gr. *γνᾱθ- with a long a. One might think that assuming *h₂e would remedy the problem, but *gnh₂edʰ- would give *γαναθ-, so we would have again a problem. The conclusion is that no Indo-European proto-form can be reconstructed, and that the word cannot be Indo-European. There is no problem in assuming a Pre-Greek word (though the word has no typical characteristics of Pre-Greek). - Another example is the word κρημνός "overhanging bank", for which a connection with κρέμαμαι "hang (up)" seemed evident. However, we now know that long vowels cannot be postulated at random, and here it is simply impossible: there is no formation type that would allow a long vowel. The objection is confirmed by the fact that there is no trace of the expected α < *h₂ (as in κρέμαμαι < *kremh₂-). Positively one can say that features of the landscape are often loanwords from a substratum. The inevitable conclusion is that the word is Pre-Greek.

The more we know about Indo-European, the less is possible. As our reconstructions become more and more precise, they have to conform to all the rules we have established by now. This holds for all etymological work: in a way, then, it becomes more difficult. This also regards Pre-Greek, as indicated: for some forms an Indo-European origin is no longer possible.

So, essentially, this has everything to do with the advancement of linguistic science, and the scholarly freedom from the confines of "politically incorrect" etymological explanations (Pelasgian vulgarisms in noble Greek), as often the case was with Pre-Greek words. --Ivan Štambuk 14:18, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

I cannot figure out how two independent professors, one French and one Swedish can be influenced by the ideologically-motivated etymologies, or those that fuel some myths (plenty of those at the Balkans. If you seek political motivation at any cost, rememebr that the Republic of Skopie was not recognised by France (but the Dictionnaire Étymologique... was issued 23 years before the breakup of Yugoslavia), but was recognised by the USA, just to mention. Howbeit, I shall make myself familiar with this new US non-IE theory. I advocate the representation of both theories in the section and am against the removal of any of them - I did not dare to erase the non-IE claim, but only tagged it as unsourced, as I did to the established, mainstream, cogent one, until I find more sources. Let the reader make oneself familiar with both possibilities and decide on one's own which to embrace, please be tolerant to them, especially when the first originates from two independent sources. Bogorm 14:32, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
They were influenced in a sense that they ignored "abject" and "ignoble" alternative explanations, even though these were very much known to them (well, not really to Frisk, at his time the Pre-Greek research was in its infancy). With the advancement of modern IE scholarship, obsolete theories must be discarded and replaced with new ones, much more likely. And please, this is not some "US theory" - FYI Beekes works at the University of Leiden (the last stronghold of the glottalic theory of PIE, but fortunately for us, unlike some of the other proponents of that school, Beekes completely ignores the glottalic framework for the etymological dictionary he is currently writing). It is up to us (in this case, Atelaes :) to decide which one of those theories is corroborated by the most substantiated evidence, and which one should be and how presented to the reader. 99.9% of Wiktionary users have no knowledge of pre-Gree or PIE, and wouldn't care less if we gave them the explanation of makednos being brought to Greeks by Martians. --Ivan Štambuk 14:46, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
must be discarded and replaced ... Beekes completely ignores the glottalic framework - the worse for this person. Please stop promoting some innovative new age theories which emerged after the inflammation of the Macedonia naming dispute. It is not very difficult to fathom that the impact of the recent political altercations around the Republic of Skopje can't have spared the theories or at least their authors can't have remained callous to that. Therefore do not disparage further Chantraine's and Frisk's explications who enlighten us about the ineptitude of some Macedonist far-fetched fabrications of any connection whatsoever between Vardar Bulgarians and Ancient Macedonians. I will tell you an analogous advancement of linguistic science - after Nikolaj Derzhavin, a leading Russian historian, exposed the Iranian origin of the Proto-Bulgarians in the 20es and 30es, a myriad of Stalinist aparatchiks began after his death to promote the tosh about their Turkic origin and even oppressed the linguist Georgy Turchaninov in his quest for the meaning of the acient Alanian and Proto-Bulgarian inscriptions (must be discarded! ). That overshadowed and crippled the Bulgarian historiography for 5 decades until our historians reached the same conclusion as Derzhavin and Turchaninov. So, please, show more respect to the venerable Swedish and French professors! There is a suffix donos, don, which added to the derivation of mekos, produces Macedonian, thereby corroborating the Hellenic origin of Macedon and their indissoluble connection with the Ancient Greek language and culture, all is IE and as clear-cut as possible. Bogorm 15:07, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Trust me, rejecting glottalic theory of PIE is Good Thing, as that theory is rubbish (it might hold for pre-PIE, definitely not for Late PIE, but pre-PIE glottalic theory is unfortunately unprovable as IE doesn't have any known genetically related families to compare to (though North-West Caucasian and Uralic are fairly good candidates)). I also assure you that laryngeal theory is not some "innovative new age theory" ;) and that mr. Beekes has absolutely zero personal or ideological take when explicating the etymology of makednos (the suffix is -dnos, not -donos). I have respect for Frisk and that French dude as much as I have for Isaac Newton and Archimedes - their theories were correct in their respective timeframes, but today need to be replaced by much more likely scenarios. --Ivan Štambuk 15:34, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Professor Pierre Chantraine! I am dumbstruck given the fact that you mentioned his name in your quotation, but you still refer to him as “French dude”... strange. Bogorm 16:00, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I didn't feel like scrolling the mouse up to copy/paste his name..with what he's done per Beekes (crime against intellectual honesty and freedom), he deserves nothing less IMHO ;) --Ivan Štambuk 16:05, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
No, it is your Mr. Beekes, who has perpetrated all those misdeeds by persevering in this diehard non-IE hocus pocus (you did not even mention what substratum that was! - Thracian (IE though!), Sea peoples..., what kind of substratum???, Sea people №2, Highlands people №1?), there is one marvellous German word, hervorzaubern, here is the best description for that. (Too bad that we do not converse in German...) Bogorm 16:21, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
My perseverance on non-IE focus is plainly due to it being by far the most probable explanation, and this word is problematic enough that it better had all the folk-etymologised and obsolete rubbish wiped away. Whether the Pre-Greek substratum is IE or not is doubtful..according too Beekes it prob. is not (-dnos suffix is non-IE). It was certainly not Thracian and has nothing to do with "Sea People (among which there were Greek tribes according to Egyptian records BTW), that's for sure. I wouldn't know that German word, maybe you should create it to illustrate its applicative convenience? --Ivan Štambuk 21:48, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
hervorzaubern = conjure up, conjure into existence. I would have added the German translation, if one of those two had been created, but as you see, the meaning is specific. Expurgating the sourced theory supported by two venerable linguists by simply pushing a brand new version is one-sided, to put it mildly. What was the reason to exhort me to shew tolerance, when you are now eager to obliterate the sourced, established theory in favour of a substratum which you do not even know of which language family is?? (In mine opinion, one-directional tolerance is worse than intolerance) Well, you claim that mentioning substrata in etymologies of IE languages was discouraged, this is simply not true! V. I. Abaev mentions in his Etymology dictionary of Ossetian Caucasian substrata on every 3rd page, even though he is Ossetian. When they are inept and far-fetched, they are inept and far-fetched, or at least fail to provide a satisfactory, cogent or even a little bit more circumstantial informatian. Abaev at least knows that his substrata are Caucasian, but this here... Bogorm 22:20, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the explication on semantics of that German tongue-twister (aren't they all). Once again I reiterate the essence of my arguments: this is not just about listing various theories: it is about questioning the relevance of the theories expounded when modern interpretative framework of comparative Indo-European linguistics, as well as that of pre-Greek substratum evidence, did not really exist, or was not deliberately taken into account by intellectually dishonest etymologists (like that French dude). We are now light years ahead. The way the etymology section currently lays out "competing" theories is not only degradeful towards the one incarnating the pinnacle of modern scholarship, propounded by Robert S. P. Beekes, but also peculiarly misleading to a reader where "fancy" explanations are listed first, with no mention of their untenability by modern scholarship, in a suggestive and apparently straightforward cogitation that μακεδνός can be scanned as μακε-δνός (non-existing derivational morpheme in either Greek or PIE), or the second part being a "zero-grade" derivative of underlying suffix -δόνos (only 1 match for the development similar to that, plus the problem that zero-grade cannot be postulated wherever one imagines it to be, only in roots where it regularly morphophonologicaly ablauts with other vowels, having etymologically-compatible matches in cognate words). Furthermore, any kind of relationship of the aforementioned with μῆκος, μακρός or μηκεδανός is strictly etymologically impossible (despite the apparent superficial semantic compatibility) and thus ad-hoc.
Ossetian abounds with substratum words as Ossetians migrated to Caucasus in historical period (Tatar incursions it was, IIRC) and have merged with native cultures. This is particularly pertinent to Hellenic civilisation which itself rose to prominence after the two-wave invasion of Hellenic speakers obliterated native cultures, as it implies rather recent ethnocultural discontinuity, which is disturbing to Greek nationalists and indoctrinated Hellenophiles which would rather postulate Greek being spoken in Upper Paleolithic on the entire Balkans. We must not succumb to nationalist-driven mythomania and history-fabricating propaganda machinery, at least not under the silly arguments of "NPOV" and "political correctness" of presenting badly outdated linguistic research on a par with cutting-edge one. --Ivan Štambuk 23:11, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

A list of words of uncertain etymology: ἀφρός, γέφυρα, μηχανή, ῥέμβω, ἄνθρωπος, ἔλδομαι, ἄρκευθος, ἀγχίλωψ, κάμπτω, ῥάβδος, μαρμαίρω, θρῆνος, τόξον etc. So far, we have treated all these cases in the same way. Couldn't we do just the same thing here? --flyax 22:56, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

First thing's first, let's contain the controversy. If the origin is in dispute, then the dispute needs to be localized. So, I've trimmed the etymology for this entry down to the fairly straightforward bits, and will also do so for Μακεδονία. I suggest we move our discussion to Talk:μακεδνός, the talk page for an entry which I will shortly create. While that does little to solve the issue at hand, it does take Macedonia, and any nationalist nonsense which we don't need in our discussion out of it. Beekes does not seem to have a terribly strong case to make, and so I think it would be imprudent to simply dismiss other theories. On the other hand, Beekes' opponents don't have an incredibly strong case either, and Beekes has rather more modern research on his side. I suggest the etymology show the traditional etymology, but give it less credence. Since I will be the one writing it, that is what we'll start with.  :-) -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:06, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I am fine with the current formulation though I still hold that way too much prominence is given to obsolete theories that we know today are 100% wrong. This amounts to mentioning flat-Earth theory on the Wikipedia article on Solar cycles just because it used to be general communis opinio of scholars for centuries before the advent of scientific methods dispelled Biblical myths. However, I cheerfully acclaim the advancement of linguistic science, looking forward to the day when mr. Beekes' research will penetrate all the standard handbooks and manuals, obsoleting the "politically correct" 20th century scholarship in the dustbin of history, thus making it inappropriate to make even mention of it existing. --Ivan Štambuk 10:03, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
The quæstion is closed, please do not incandesce it afresh. flyax and Atelaes (Beekes does not seem to have a terribly strong case to make) consider that it is worth mentioning both theories. Just because something is new, it does not mean it is a step in the right direction. By changing, science can either approach the truth or divert itself from it and in this particular case we both defend each one of these two possibilities, respectively. Lysenko's ideas were also innovative and brand-new but I hope you (and Mr. Beekes) know how all this ended. These were not scholars, they were clergymen and theologians. Which means that the mediæval opinio could not have been of scientists, before the science emerged in the 16th century. Bogorm 10:14, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
They were scientist by their contemporary criteria, using their faulty methods to deduce truth on natural phenomena. They also intentionally inhibited the advancement of modern scientific methods (based on experimental verification of hypotheses, postulated on the basis of infallible self-supportive mathematical structure), by throwing to jail anyone who disagreed on their "proofs". In both cases, of mediaeval orthodox monk-scientists and 20th century etymologists turning a blind eye on "unwelcome" theories, the net result is ultimately the same - hindering the one and only truth from the masses, ultimately leading to superstition, mythomania and general degradation of collective intellect of humanity.
OK, now that we've done with this, perhaps we can relocate our confabulations on other amusing etymons, like the etymology of Hellene - the decomposition to el- and relation to electron and Helios is most entertaining. You can prob. assume how mr. Beekes etymologises this obscure ethnicon. --Ivan Štambuk 10:35, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
No, not again. It took me one whole morning yesterday to disprove the claims of that Leiden chap by finding out Pierre Chantraine and Hjalmar Frisk, I do not want to sacrifice another one. Please, spare the etymology of Hellenic, may it stay as it is, ok? Anyway, it is in my watchlist, so that I can defend the sound theory again against the encroachments of Lysenko-like innovations, if necessary. This words dude, jail... it took me a while to understand that in standard (not slang) English their correspondence is chap, gaol... You almost infected me with the first, but I rectified myself... Bogorm 10:46, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
English language has no institutional body regulating its "properness"! (unlike most of the other languages), so there are no "standard" and "non-standard" words. There is nothing less english in d00d than in chap, if you ask me. Anyhow, I've expanded the etymology of exogenous non-Indo-European Hellenic ethnicon Ἕλλην with the research of world's foremost expert on Greek substratum, in order to provide Wiktionary readers insight into the cutting-edge of modern Indo-European studies. But I promise not to touch it (or any other (topo)nomastics lexeme) further. --Ivan Štambuk 14:11, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
By standard I meant non-slang, otherwise the vocabulary except the unrefined vocabulary. chap is at least marked as informal and although I struggle to evade informal words, this time I was provoked by your too familiar reference to Prof. Pierre Chantraine. As for Ἕλλην, I am deeply aggrieved by your edit and by the fact that both Chantraine and Frisk do not go beyond Σελλοί in their explications, i. e. in that case I cannot write a sourced and sound counterbalance to the obfuscting substratum-claim. Professor Chantraine explains notwithstanding that Commes bien des termes géographiques ces mots sont sans étymologie which you and the Leiden chap are evidently disregarding. Bogorm 16:51, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Boy, you two sure like to bicker. A couple things the you might want to keep in mind: First, Bogorm, a lot of the sources you're working with are outdated. You've been told this time and again, and yet you seem to keep forgetting or refusing to listen. Now, just because a scientist is from the past does not mean that everything they say is wrong, but it would be silly to ignore modern research and the previous claims which it has repudiated. However, historical linguistics is a bit more reliant on older work than other disciplines (a fact which Ivan would do well to remember), simply because no one cares where Ancient Greek words came from (and why should they? Such knowledge does not feed hungry people, cure diseases, or stimulate the world economy.). Thus, we have a great deal less research to draw upon than, say, physics. If someone were to cite sources as old as yours, Bogorm, within a discussion of physics or cell biology, they would be immediately dismissed and laughed off the stage, so to speak. As people working in an area with such a paucity of good research, we need to do what we can with the few modern researchers in existence, and also take older researchers a bit more seriously than we'd like, simply because we have less to go on. Finally, as a native English speaker (the only one involved in this convo, as far as I can tell), I'd like to note about dude and jail. To begin with, jail is not slang, not at all. It is simply American. American English is every bit as valid as British English. If you'd like to limit your learning of English to stodgy/archaic British English, that is certainly your right. I will admit that I tend to temper my own English with archaisms such as "whom" and "shall." The difference is that I know that such things are largely obsolete, and have the good sense not to tell other people that their language is "wrong." Any worthwhile linguist knows that the only measure of valid language is comprehension. So, as much as a sentence which uses the word "like" a dozen times in a single sentence irks me, it is completely correct English (incidentally, I helped my roommate write a paper on the many uses of the word "like" in modern English. It's, like, a totally robust word). Also, you may want to note that modern American English is the more influential of the English dialects, and such a course of education may leave you as the odd one out in the future, just so you're aware. Dude is indeed slang, but no more so than chap. Chap is older, and so perhaps carries with it a slightly greater degree of formality, but not much. Again, the difference is largely one of regions. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:25, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

I am aware that jail is not slang, just regional, I never wanted to imply that. Chap is tagged in its entry here as informal and I only used it after Ivan made use of dude, id est I did not initiate the usage. I would certainly not have shewed causticity if Ivan had called dude anyone but Pierre Chantraine, that was the main reason for me to object. I do not intend to conceal my prædilection for archaic/obsolete English words as well and did not mean any harm with referring to his source as chap, it served only as a retort. Bogorm 23:12, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I concur on the influenciality part: in Croatia (and mesuspects also in lots of European countries) schools officially (in theory) teach British English, but nevertheless I never saw the spelling gaol for jail in my lifetime before Bogorm mentioned it (in fact I had to look it up), and the last time I heard chap spoken on TV was on Monty Python shows. Bogorm's strong predilection for "proper" and "improper" English comes from his background with languages in which the properness is dictated by certain academic institution which prescribes which spellings and words are more "proper" than the others. Since such institution lacks for English, the nearest equivalent would be the most proper British English (as a place of the "origin" of the language). However, since linguistic development of modern-day English has for the last 5 centuries been taking place outside its historic "homeland", it's pointless to apply the same argument as the resulting divergent dialects are all historically equivalent with respect to the Middle English speech they originated from. IMHO, no person in the world one can tell you that your mother tongue is not "proper" enough, as opposed to some imaginary literary standard that has been bestowed prestigious by some fancy suits on the basis of some imaginary criteria (being used by some great writes, or spoken by most of the population). Same is valid for both "slang" and "archaic/obsolete" words - both categories are IMHO imaginary. I mean, words are not computer protocols that they can grow "obsolete". Literary lexis can never become obsolete, it can only just hibernate until it regains usage by people freed from the confines of "properness". Bogorm himself uses some of the "obsolete" spellings (naïve, quæstion..) not to mention the obscure words one can never encounter in spoken languages, as opposed to dude which is spoken daily prob. more times than all of those obscure words B used combined in the last 100 years. So the "properness" of words, pronunciations and meanings is just another face of modern-day intellectual hypocrisy IMHO. --Ivan Štambuk 23:12, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
naïve is not obsolete, it is not even dated, it is the standard. As is façade. Check their entries out, if you have any doubts. Bogorm 23:17, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
In this case, I have to agree with Bogorm. "naïve" is actually in use, as is "façade." They may well be two of perhaps five words in English which are commonly spelled with nonstandard characters (nonstandard for English orthography, that is). "quæstion," on the other hand, is most certainly not in use. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:24, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's at least 2-3 orders of magnitude less frequent than naive, which should prove the point. --Ivan Štambuk 00:13, 21 February 2009 (UTC)



Is there any possibilty this English word is related to Danish dræbe, Faroese drepa, Icelandic drepa, Norwegian drepe, Old Norse drepa, Swedish dräpa? Some dictionaries I've looked at say unknown and others say possibly or perhaps from Arabic ضرب (ḍarb, beating, hitting) / ضرب (ḍáraba, to beat, to strike). —This unsigned comment was added by Hippietrail (talkcontribs) 07:47, 19 February 2009.

There are serious sources corroborating the Germanic origin. In drub in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913 the kinship with drepa is explicitly mentioned and a kinship with OE drepen/drepan is listed as probable. In ODS the kinship between OE and ON is undoubted. I am just curious how and since when this Arabic claim was started to be promoted. Can someone check the entry in OED? And præferably, juxatapose an older edition, let's say, before the 1930es, with the most recent one. Bogorm 21:26, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Ernest Klein's 1966 Etymological dictionary of English mentions that the original meaning was "to bastinado", and that the word probably comes from Arabic ضرب (ḍarb), while Germanic origin is not even mentioned.
Old English drepen (to strike), Old Norse drepa (to strike), Old Saxon ofar-drepan (to outdo, to surpass) and Old High German treffan (to strike) are cognates, stemming ultimately from Proto-Germanic strong verb *đrepanan obviously originally meaning "to strike, hit". That Germanic verb is sometimes postulated to gave Indo-European origin, and compared to Common Slavic *drobiti (to crush), tho the formal relationship is a bit problematic from modern IE theories (lack of Winter's law in Slavic requires PIE *dʰro-, while Germanic form presupposes *dʰreb-)
The real question is whether the English drub is a reflex of Old English drepen. It seems rather not. --Ivan Štambuk 00:21, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
It seems almost impossible that this is from any kind of Old English, since it is not recorded before the 17th century. The OED notes that, ‘all the early instances [...] are from travellers in the Orient, and refer to the bastinado. Hence, in the absence of any other tenable suggestion, it may be conjectured to represent Arabic đaraba [ie ضرب] "to beat, to bastinado".’ Ƿidsiþ 07:05, 27 February 2009 (UTC)


Is this cognate to Ancient Greek ἀράχνη (spider)? Nadando 04:39, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

A derivative of arāneus (spider). Those very similar words for "spider" are found only in Greek and Latin, and tho doubtless related, probably not of Proto-Indo-European origin (beside the lack of cognates and of other productive derivations of the same root, the proto-form would be also difficult to reconstruct formally). According to Beekes, they're most likely both borrowed from some unknown Mediterranean source. If ancient Indo-European, which is not likely, then the word stem is prob. related to Greek ἄρκυς (arkus, net).
According to one theory (itself prob. not worthy mentioning in the etymology sections as being too ORish), those would be compounds originally meaning "wool-spinner", derived from lāna and λάχνη respectively, both meaning "wool", and comparable to clear-cut Sanskrit compound ऊर्णनाभ (ūrṇa-nābha, spider) orig. from ऊर्ण (ūrṇa, wool) + nābha ( < nāha < root √nah (to bind, tie, fasten)). However, the addition of prothetic word-initial /a/ and the change of /l/ to /r/ (phonetically very trivial sound change, occurring in many languages, e.g. PIE *wĺ̥kʷos (wolf) > Sanskrit vṛ́kas) would then be unexplained. So it might be "wool-something" type of compound/derivation in some extinct and unattested IE language, whence borrowed to Latin and Greek, but that remains a big speculation. Like Sanskrit, in lots of languages the word for spider is derived from the root "to spin" (e.g. German Spinne < spinnen). --Ivan Štambuk 04:12, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, very interesting. Nadando 05:16, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
According to Professor Alfred Ernout and Dictionnaire Étymologique de la langue latin, the word stems undoubtedly (sans doute) from *arak-sn . However, he ends on that and I am not sure what *arak may stand for and whether it has any connection with Greek ἄρκυς. Bogorm 10:57, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Note that according to modern laryngeal theory framework PIE did not have */a/ sound, and that the word-initial ἀC- in Greek is nowadays (usually, it could also come from other sources) reconstructed as a reflex of word-initial laryngeal *h₂C, which would regularly be lost in Latin. Plus there's the problem of this alleged *h₂rh₂ek- (post-PIE > *arak-) stem 1) not having cognates in other IE branches 2) not being productive at all beside in this particular word, and in this reconstructed form cannot be formally matched to ἄρκυς 3) *-sn- is not a valid suffix in PIE (or Greek and Latin, for that matter) derivational morphology AFAIK. Ernout's Dictionnaire from 1951 is a bit outdated when it comes to matters such as this.. --Ivan Štambuk 16:02, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
It is classical, please reconsider misusing that outdated. Atelaes already explained its applicability to science - physics, biology asf., but the entirely different measurement in linguistics. Professos Alfred Ernout is an incontestable authority in research of Latinity. Why, why all these novelties, when all is well explained, cogent and sound in 1951? Bogorm 16:38, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry Bogorm, but the reconstruction of the form *araksn- is way too outdated to be used on Wiktionary. A few centuries ago similar "incontestable authorities" derived Greek and Latin words from Hebrew (the "language of God"). I'm sure that Ernout's Dictionnaire has its place in the annals of linguistic science, just as Etymologicum Magnum, Nirukta writings by Yāska or Pāṇini and other obsoleties do now. I'm not saying that either of them is 100% wrong or obsolete in every respect, but they certainly are in great many, and we simply cannot treat hypotheses and conclusions reached by modern scholarship as being equally conclusive as those of the previous centuries. --Ivan Štambuk 18:18, 20 February 2009 (UTC)



WNWD (1959)

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[Sp. < Ar. al, the + Peruv. paco, animal]

Arabic and Peruvian together?—Strabismus 19:48, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

  • That seems crazy. According to the RAE, it's from Aymara all-paka. Ƿidsiþ 17:34, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I concur. I have no idea what Guralnik, et al. based that on. Unless, of course, they were assuming that all non-Latinate/-Indo-European words in Spanish beginning with "al-" have an Arabic origin. But even there it's an overgeneralization.—Strabismus 02:01, 28 February 2009 (UTC)


WNWD (1959):

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[OFr. mahaigner]

Strabismus 20:02, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes, the Old French word was mentioned in Harper's Onl. Et. Dict., but he explains further that it is from Proto Germanic origin and compared it to the ON one. Bogorm 21:16, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Then should we reflect that in the etym. in the main article (or should I say "maim" article)?—Strabismus 19:34, 23 February 2009 (UTC)



Online Etymology Dictionary claims some Old Norse word flak (torm piece) as the origin for the Old English word. However, there is not such word in Old Norse and the corresponding one (according to ODS) is fleka/fleki (wicker-work shield). Interestingly, there is a Norwegian word flak which means torn piece. I think that claiming OE < Norwegian descendance would look strange, but here comes Bokmålsordboka on succor and explains that the Norwegian word descends from unattested ON *flaga (torn piece) and I am fairly convinced that this provides the solution to the issue whence the OE word was borrowed - the answer is English flake < OE ... < ON *flaga (torn piece) ( > Norwegian flak (torn piece)). Are there any objections against putting the italicised text in the etymology section? Bogorm 12:57, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Yes. ON flaga seems more analogous to English flay to me. Flake is a weird one... the OED say "of difficult etymology: possibly several distinct words have coalesced", so I am wary of any "simple" solution. It may have existed in OE, though it's not attested before Chaucer. OED also suggests ON flóke (lock of hair, flock of wool) as cognate. I don't think we can reasonably just invent a solution, however tempting, unless there is some authority for it. Ƿidsiþ 16:54, 26 February 2009 (UTC)


(From WT:TR:)

The etymology contradicts the Wikipedia entry, which says that "bonspiel" comes from Scots, while this says it comes from German and French, but bonspiel describes a tournament of curling, which is a Scottish sport... 76.66.193.90 12:33, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

  • It entered English from Scotland, that's for certain, and is attested in Scots earlier than "proper" English. Where the Scots word came from is a mystery though. Probably it is some kind of Germanic, because of the spiel, but Wikipedia sounds like it's overstating the case a little. The OED suggests unattested Dutch *bondspel as a source. (PS this should probably be at Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium..) Ƿidsiþ 15:48, 27 February 2009 (UTC)


Etymology says "German ich + Laut". Really? Not from German ich + English umlaut? (Similar question for ach-laut.)—msh210 20:26, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

But umlaut is directly and unchanged from German Umlaut, going in circles? ;) Mutante 20:34, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Furthermore, Umlaut and Ablaut refer to vowel mutation or roughly recapitulated, concern only vowels, whereas this here is a consonant. Laut seems more convincing. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:40, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
These were borrowed fully formed from German Ich-Laut and Ach-Laut. —Stephen 15:37, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Moreover, Laut just signifies sound (cf. English loud, with which it is a cognate), as in Lautschrift (“phonetic script/writing”).—Strabismus 23:01, 13 March 2009 (UTC)


From ab origine + -al directly, or from the English word aborigine? OED says the former, MW3 says the latter. Normally I would give the OED the last word on such matters, but "aborigine" is attested a good century earlier, and it seems odd that such an odd coinage would be made independently. -- Visviva 06:21, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Just to make it more confusing, Etymonline says that aboriginal is the correct Latin singular.[1] It might simply be unclear when the expression is to be considered naturalized English, and OED and MW made different calls on it. Or maybe aboriginal is still considered a Latin phrase at the same time that the mistake aborigine must be considered an English coinage. Just speculating. Michael Z. 2009-03-11 15:15 z
I don't think that's what Etymonline is saying there; I think that sentence is meant to say that the correct singular of the English term "aborigines" is "aboriginal". OED entry for "aborigine" also mentions "aboriginal" was used in this way. So does that mean it's ab origine -> Aborigines -> aborigines -> aboriginal? Weird. I can see why the OED went with their ab origine explanation. -- Visviva 16:54, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, you're right. But I still wonder if the Latin collective noun was Aborigines, was an individual an Aboriginal.
English Aborigines seems to date from exactly the period when transportation of convicts to Australia was replaced by free colonists. Maybe the popularization of the concept brought it from the realm of Latin speakers, and prompted the English back-formation. Any idea if a particular publication popularized aborigine? Michael Z. 2009-03-11 20:11 z
In word aboriginal, original is clear but the "ab" has unknown meaning to me,if you guess what ab means, you will get the clear meaning of that word.Willy agrimano
See ab#LatinMichael Z. 2010-04-13 16:14 z
ab means from in Latin. So ab origine should mean from the origin, i.e. originally. Note that origine is the ablative case of origo.
Anyway, the etymology is wrong; that is because -al is used only for neuter nouns, cf. animal, but note -alis adjectives which enters English as -al and which accepts m and f genders; cf. medicinal, fraternal, maternal.—This unsigned comment was added by 218.186.8.242 (talkcontribs).
See the more complete etymology at Aboriginal. The -al ending is added in English, not Latin, and it is based on considering the Latin ab( )origines as an English plural. (I had consolidated the main entry there, but for some reason other editors have built it into two fuller entries again.) Michael Z. 2010-04-16 15:43 z
Also the note at aborigineMichael Z. 2010-04-16 16:15 z

Just wondering, why do we have "Alternative capitalization of Aboriginal" as Adj sense 2 & Noun sense 1 when "aboriginal" isn't capitalised? --Tyranny Sue 13:08, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

What do you mean? Did you look at [[Aboriginal]]? —RuakhTALK 14:57, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes I have. I mean why is an entry which begins with a lower-case letter described twice in its definition as a "capitalization"? Obviously "Aboriginal" is capitalized and "aboriginal" is not capitalized. How can the verb capitalize apply to a non-capitalized word (i.e. "aboriginal")? --Tyranny Sue 03:58, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Wouldn't something like "Lower case spelling of Aboriginal" make more sense?--Tyranny Sue 04:11, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Its capitalization is “uncapitalized”. “Ab-” and “ab-” are the alternative capitalizations. Perhaps some invocation of “case” would be technically better, but how would you state that, simply, in the definition? Michael Z. 2010-02-25 14:07 z
Well, the problem is that the verb 'capitalize' seems to actually indicate the opposite of 'uncapitalization'.
My suggested alternative (above) was something along the lines of "Lower case version of Aboriginal" or "Lower case spelling of Aboriginal". At least it makes sense, whereas using "capitalization" to try to indicate to "uncapitalization" is pretty weird, really.--Tyranny Sue 05:25, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
I understand your point, but the wording isn't typed into this entry, it's embedded in the general-purpose template {{alternative capitalization of}}, which is used for terms in lower case, in mixed case, and in all capitals. The status of how a term is capitalized, or not, is known as its “capitalization,” so the wording is not wrong, although I can see how it might confuse a reader. I am open to suggestions for improving the template's wording. Michael Z. 2010-03-01 17:22 z
You might be tempted to split the template into {capitalized version of} and {lowercase version of}. But that would require creating a specific template for each obscure case: {initial-cap version of}, {all-caps version of}, {inner-caps version of}, {title-caps version of}, etc. Michael Z. 2010-03-02 18:56 z
With Hebrew form-of templates we eventually reached the limit of what can reasonably be front-loaded, and started putting information after the lemma-link in some cases. (See e.g. [[לו]], and compare it to the more Wiktionary-style "Third-person-masculine-singular-personal-pronoun-object-including form of ל־ (l'-).") It was very freeing. In the case at hand, we might consider something like:
  1. Alternative spelling of aboriginal, with different capitalization.
O.K., I admit that's pretty awkward, but maybe it's a starting-point for someone to think of a better idea? :-)
RuakhTALK 19:55, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
How about
  1. Alternative lower-case spelling of aboriginal.
 ? --TyrS 00:01, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, firstly, it's the only lower-case spelling of aboriginal, so taken literally, it doesn't make sense to say it's an alternative lower-case spelling of said. And secondly, see Mzajac's last comment above. :-/   —RuakhTALK 01:07, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

True. I think I meant to put

  1. Lower-case spelling of Aboriginal.

Sorry about that. Would that also require a lot of stuffing around with templates?

“Lower-case” is not a spelling. Aboriginal and aboriginal have the same spelling. Lower-case is a capitalization. Michael Z. 2010-03-04 21:05 z
How about "Alternative letter-casing of ____"? —RuakhTALK 21:35, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I think that has the right meaning, but sounds awkward to me. Perhaps because this casing is a verbal noun, but we don't “case” when we write. We do, however, selectively or variably capitalize.
Hmm, maybe our definition of capitalize needs to be expanded or adjusted.--TyrS 02:45, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I can't find this definition of casing in any dictionary but ours (labelled computing). G-Books only finds about 18 instances of letter-casing or letter casing in this sense, 16 of them in computer programming. Michael Z. 2010-03-04 22:23 z
Maybe “Alternative letter case of ___” is better. (Note that case standing alone could be confused with grammatical case.)
But to me, case an absolute quality of a letter or uniform set of letters: upper or lower only. This comes from the etymology: a type compositor only had two physical cases to pick his types from. Initial caps is not a case, it is an example of mixed-case writing or typesetting, or capitalization. Michael Z. 2010-03-04 22:39 z
"Decapitalization of Aboriginal"?--TyrS 03:10, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Not nicely symmetrical (Aboriginal isn't a "decapitalization" of aboriginal). I wouldn't object to "alternative casing", if "casing" is generally accepted to mean the obvious. Perhaps it isn't. Equinox 03:15, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I think "Alternative case" (or "Alternative letter case") sounds better - I've never heard 'casing' used that way. Is it really an English verb with this meaning?--TyrS 03:57, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Casing is only used as a verb by computer programmers; not by writers, editors, type compositors, or designers. One doesn't case a letter or word, one sets type in uppercase or lowercase. The OED defines case as a physical box for letter types, not as an abstract attribute of written text, and not even as an adjective, much less a verb.
Thinking on it more, I think case is just wrong. Individual letter types are stored in upper and lower type case – there are no other cases. Words and phrases do not come from a case but are composed of letters belonging to either or both cases. Words have a pattern of letter-case: all lowercase, all caps, small capitals, or mixed case, including initial caps and inner caps. Computing has come up with the corruptions “title case” and “camel case,” but these are not true to the definition of caseMichael Z. 2010-03-05 18:05 z
The OED may never have heard of computers, or of handwriting, but I have. And everyone else here has. Etymology is not destiny. —RuakhTALK 18:34, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're saying about the OED, but it sounds like a strawman argument, or just plain wrong. (The OED is updated regularly.[2])
We should use the conventions of quality publishers and dictionaries, not the ad hoc improvisations of a few software manual and handbook writers. Michael Z. 2010-03-05 19:59 z
I don't know if I'm really saying anything about the OED: I haven't looked at the relevant entries yet. But you state, for example, that "[t]he OED defines case as a physical box for letter types, not as an abstract attribute of written text", even though obviously case is an abstract attribute of written text. So either the OED is wrong or out-of-date, or you're misreading it. —RuakhTALK 22:31, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Upper-case and lower-case originate as attributive use of the noun case. A is an uppercase letter, but we wouldn't say that A's case is upper, or that it has a case of upper. Michael Z. 2010-03-05 22:48 z
We also wouldn't say "My car was driven by me to work this morning." That doesn't mean the passive-voice "be driven" is non-existent; it means only that that isn't a good example sentence to demonstrate it. But an example like this one is perfectly fine, and obviously terms like case-sensitive did not spring from the void. It's pretty rare that people want to talk about the case of a letter, but when they do, they use a word like "case". —RuakhTALK 23:12, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
BTW, -ing is not used only on verbs; I'm not sure where y'all got that idea. —RuakhTALK 22:34, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, if casing is not a verb, then it's a verbal noun, no? Certainly the meaning of a protective covering or shell is separate from either a type compositor's case or abstracted letter case. Michael Z. 2010-03-05 22:48 z
No. At least, not necessarily. —RuakhTALK 23:12, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Sounds to me like "Alternative letter case of aboriginal" (& its equivalent, "Alternative letter case of Aboriginal) might be the way to go.
(I just noticed that the Pedia entry on capitalization also makes our current template's wording look a bit odd.)--TyrS 01:09, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

But Aboriginal is not “a letter case”, or “in a letter case”. It is printed with letters of both cases. Ipod and iPod do not differ in the set of letter cases used to print them (that is, they are in mixed case); they differ in the pattern of capitalization.
The case is what an individual letter of type belongs to. Case is not an attribute of a word or phrase, and it is technically normally applied to typeset or printed material, not to writing in general (in handwriting, for example, it is better to use the more general terminology of capital and small letters). Michael Z. 2010-03-08 01:36 z
Sorry, but I think you're talking out of both sides of your mouth here. "Case" is not appropriate because it applies only to typeset letters? Fine. Then "capitalization" is not appropriate because, according to the OED, its only relevant sense is "The action of printing in capitals."[3] The fact is, both terms have evolved, and broadened, and both are used to fill what would otherwise be a gap in the language: the lack of a way to refer to the pattern of capital and small letters in text. —RuakhTALK 14:55, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Maybe the OED's editors were giving the reader the benefit of having some judgment. Their quotations make it clear that that sense is intended, referring to the modern capitalization of an old text. If old an new capitalization differ, then clearly the text's “capitalization” doesn't refer only to a text that is in all caps. It means the pattern of capitalization, whether it be all caps, some caps, or no caps. Michael Z. 2010-04-13 16:21 z
OED's earliest usage citation is of notes about an 1843 edition of a 1500s play (there's also an 1864 reference to Webster's dictionary):
  • 1906 R. L. RAMSAY in Skelton's Magnyf. p. xx, The orthography is that of the original; punctuation and capitalization are modern.[4]
Obviously, the edition's “capitalization” doesn't mean that it is printed only in caps. We can infer that the “action of printing in capitals” has degrees and details (as indicated by the 3rd quotation: “details of [...] capitalization”).
(And my objection to “alternative case” is not that case is used chiefly with type. But that letter case is a binary attribute of individual letters. A word set in upper and lowercase, i.e. in mixed-case type, is set with letters of both cases; it can't be said to be “in an alternative case”.) Michael Z. 2010-04-19 04:51 z


The similarity between this English verb and Serbo-Croation šljapati/шљапати, Bulgarian шляпам is too manifest to be dismissed. Petar Skok did not mention any relation, but explained that it is onomatopædic. As far as I know it is præsent only in English, (related somehow to German Schlappe (defeat) according to slap in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913) and the two Slavic languages. Many theories about Germano-Slavic kinship were widespread in the past, but often rejected, but in mine opinion this similarity is not accidental. What do others think about that? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:56, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

"To slap" as in to hit, esp. with the palm? It seems onomatopoeic to me. In Dutch, slap means either “soft” (alone or in compounds) or “sleep” (in other compounds), but this similarity is immaterial as it ignores sound shifts. What about slap being the Croatian, Serbian, and Slovenian word for “waterfall” or “cascade”? Where the water seems to "slap" the earth (???). (Pokorny, et. al would be laughing their heads of if they read this…). Keep in mind, too, that parallel innovation is very common among echoic/imitative terms. Oftentimes they will differ considerably; e.g., English bang ~ Spanish zis, both for the sound made by a gun. À propos the similarities between Teutonic and Slavic languages: yes, there are many: EN: loaf (originally meaning bread), DE: Laib, RU: хлеб —vs.— FR: pain, GA: arán • EN: water, DE: Wasser, RU: вода —vs.— FR: eau, GA: uisce • EN: deal, DE: Teil, RU: доля —vs.— FR: partie, GA: cuid, etc. But then again there are similarites between Slavic and Baltic languages that neither of them shares with Teutonic, same goes with certain Teutonic and Indo-Iranian isoglosses. Tell me what you think.—Strabismus 23:26, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate your opinion. However, the astounding was that the Bg and SC words shew exactly the same meaning as the English one (kick so that a cetain sound is emitted) slap and not a vague connection like waterfall. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 14:53, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Yea. I hadſt merely caſt the “waterfall” notion thereïn. Nathleſs, do you not fancy that thiſ is perchance onomatopoetic? Aye, if theſe wordſ do spring from yᵉ same waterſ then, verily, ’t would certainly be odd that they shew up not elſewhere.Strabismus 22:28, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Well, Hrvatski enciklopedijski rječnik on šljȁpati says:

  1. hodati po blatu i sl. (predodžba da se pri tome čuje šljap); šljapkati (Translation: to walk on mud and similar (a conception of hearing šljap [ʃʎap] along)
  2. hodati vukući noge nespretno i ružno, ne moći dizati stopalo u hodu (kao kad papuče spadaju s nogu); lapati (Translation: to walk by dragging one's feet clumsily and ugly, not being able to elevate one's feet during the walk (as if slippers falling off one's feet))

So, I can't really see any kind of similarity between these two meanings, and the meanings of the English verb to slap. What does шляпам mean in Bulgarian?
SCr. slȃp (waterfall) is of Common Slavic *solpъ origin, and is unrelated to this verb, obviously onomatopoetic IMHO (and hence not really etymologizable). --Ivan Štambuk 12:37, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Hm, шляпам means to kick or hit lightly so that a sounds is emitted. It can mean emit a specific sound while wading through a morass or liquid, as I understand your two definitions, but the first meaning is more proliferated and I am baffled that it is missing in SC... Anyway, the emission of sound is at hand, but if no source corroborates the similarity, I suppose I should discard this contrivance of mine. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 13:34, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't want to discourage you, Bogorm, but it really does seem to be onomatopoeic, the sound s(/ˇ)lVp. Think of <POP!>. That has a labial coda and they both have to do with hitting-sounds. The English word "bounce" is supposedly from German bums. Y'know, with echoic/imitative words and hypocorisms it's really difficult to trace the words back to a native root. Many such words are likely to be understood universally, more or less.—Strabismus 18:45, 16 March 2009 (UTC)



Should Armenian descendant գայլ (gayl) be here, or it belongs under wĺ̥pos with its own prospective appendix? --Vahagn Petrosyan 02:06, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I would create Appendix:Proto-Indo-European *wĺ̥pos as a redirect to Appendix:Proto-Indo-European *wĺ̥kʷos. We of course want the correct form in the Armenian ety, and yet it's nice to have everything link to the same page, so that the variants can be discussed in a single place. Fortunately, Ivan is clever enough to have already noted wĺ̥pos. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 04:33, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
OK then, I created a redirect. If needed, one can always elaborate Appendix:Proto-Indo-European *wĺ̥pos to list Armenian and Hittite descendants there. --Vahagn Petrosyan 21:13, 15 March 2009 (UTC)


See also: Wikipedia talk on Etymology
Reformated
Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 20:13, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I have some doubts about the etymology. Alcohol refers to that chemical substance contained in drinks and perfumes among other uses. I think alcohol actually comes from Arabic: al ghoul http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D8%BA%D9%88%D9%84 ghoul and ghaal from Arabic means to take away or to cover something, Arabs used the term to refer to alcoholic beverages as well as to describe the mind altering affect of alcohol because it takes away or covers the mind.

have a look at the Quran surah number 37 (AL Saffat) verse numbers 45 - 47

http://www.ahadees.com/english-surah-37.html

45. There will be a round of a flowing drink cup before their eyes.
46. White coloured, delicious to those who drink.
47. Wherein neither there is intoxication and nor their heads will become giddy wherewith. 

God is describing heaven and that one of its bounties is that there will be abundant drink that does not "intoxicate" and in another translation "causes headiness". the arabic word used for it is ghoul.

how alcohol came about from ghoul? it was probably a pronunciation problem because English doesn't have the Arabic letter "ghaa" and when the Arabic word "al ghoul" is spoken by an English speaker it would come out as al goohl or alcohol. Which is not powder of Antimony (Arabic al kuhl).

- —This unsigned comment was added by 212.116.219.62 (talkcontribs).


The source of the English word alcohol comes from the Arabic word al ghoul not from the current Arabic word al kuhool which is actually a semi modern introduction from the English alcohol which in turn was modified from the original Arabic word al ghoul.

Edit: i found that this is already mentioned in the wiki of alcohol http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol#Etymology

- —This unsigned comment was added by 212.116.219.62 (talkcontribs).

We use the standard etymology, not POV revisionism. Robert Ullmann 15:22, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

If by "standard etymology" you mean the one printed in most if not all English dictionaries since their beginning then please remember that the one who put it is only human and i can see how easily it is to mix up alcohol with al kuhl since they have very similar pronunciation.

This is not POV revisionism, I'm giving you a case and explaining and giving evidence, dictionary entries are not beyond revision and change. words can be deformed while passing from one language to another due to different pronunciations and letters.

Take the Spanish alforno for example, it came from Arabic al furn, yet Spanish has added the o at the end due to their language specifics. there are a lot of examples and between many different languages, i can't recount all of them but have a look how some German words morphed and changed when used in English.

I have no political, cultural, religious or any other ulterior agenda besides attempting to point out what seems to me to be an error that was overlooked or unknown.

You are overlooking the fact that the word alcohol did not always mean what it does today. When the word was first used in English, it meant collyrium (antimony sulfide), which you will recognize as كحل. It did not get its modern meaning until about 200 years ago. After it came to mean ethanol, it was re-introduced into Arabic as الكحول, which was then related to كحل by the process of backformation. —Stephen 20:53, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I say we stick with the traditional etymology, which is and has almost always been, that of the collyrium used for painting the eyes. Despite its old meaning, it is still, to my awareness the only REAL etymology of our “alcohol”.—Strabismus 23:55, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Let me share with you part of the entry on alcohol in the work Dictionary of Word Origins by Joseph Shipley (1945):


alcohol.
    When a happy drinker refers to his liquor as “eye wash,” he little knows how exact his expression falls. Alcohol is from Arab. al, the + koh’l (Heb. kahhal, to stain, paint), a fine black powder (collyrium) for painting the eyelids. The word kohl is still used in this sense.
    Applied later to any fine powder, the word alcohol was then used also of liquids extracted, distilled or “rectified”—that is, the spirit or quintessence of a substance. Since the most common of these was spirit of wine, the term came to be applied to the spirituous or intoxicating element in any liquor.
    In 1834 Dumas and Péligot, in France, demonstrated the relation of spirit of wine with “wood-spirit” (wood alcohol, methyl alcohol, CH3; and the term came into its chemical use indicating a large group of related substances (CH3; C2H5; C3H7; etc. CH4; C2H6; C3H8; etc.) not all of which are liquid.
    Intertangled in part of its history with the word alcohol is L. collyrium, from Gr. kollyrion, poultice, eye-salve, from diminutive of Gr. kollyra, a roll of coarse bread. (Country folk still make a little ball of the inside dough of a roll, to lay on a sore eye.) Ben Jonson (in The Fortunate Isles, 1624) uses collyrium for alcohol, as a coloring for the eyelids; this use persists to the end of the 19th century. And truly alcohol has colored many an eye!
Pretty interesting, huh?—Strabismus 03:40, 16 March 2009 (UTC)


An anon changed the etymology of murder here, which looks plausible. Should maybe the old and new etymologies be merged? Or is this murdrum thing a load of tosh? --Jackofclubs 07:35, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like tosh to me. Here's what Shipley says:

murder.
     Most deaths were violent; murder meant just death, AS. morthor, common Teut. G. Mord; L. mors, mort—[…]

Pretty straightforward, eh?—Strabismus 19:17, 22 March 2009 (UTC)


Copied from User talk:Bogorm#hale

Could you state your sources for this splitting of etymology of hale? Firstly there is no Old Norse noun meaning health, the Old Norse noun means only omen. Then Vigfússon and hale in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913 explain the Old Norse origin of both the English adj. and noun. If this northern English claim stems from OED, meseems that it would be good if we mention both versions, yours and Webster's. But before that would you clarify from which Old Norse word you claim the descendance of hale#Noun? (I am asking only about the noun and adjective, not the verb) The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 09:33, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

  • You're right, I was apparently getting confused; the source for the noun is Old English and not Old Norse. In fact the OED has citations for both going back to the 11th century. They are both northern forms though, so probably were influenced in some way by whatever forms of early Danish were being spoken nearby. However, they are definitely different words (though ultimately from the same proto-Germanic origin). Ƿidsiþ 19:31, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
    Widsith, you misunderstood me - I am contesting the Old English origin of the adjective. If you are sure that the noun is not derived from the adjective(contrary to hale in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913), then well, but let us focus on the adjective, ok? If you claim Old English origin for it, it would be advisable to provide sources, as I already have for the Old Norse origin. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:55, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Look, hāl is a very common word in OE. From Genesis, ‘Iosep axode hwæðer hira fæder wære hal’; from Beowulf, ‘Higelace wæs sið Beowulfes snude gecyðed, þæt ðær on worðig wigendra hleo, lindgestealla, lifigende cwom, heaðolaces hal to hofe gongan.’ It developed in two ways in modern English. In the south, the vowel changed as expected and it became whole. In the north – probably influenced by the Old Norse dialects spoken round about – it did not change quite so much, and became hale. There is clear evidence in the citation history at the OED that it has been used continuously in English from the earliest times. The ON was probably an influence on the northern forms, but the word already existed. Ƿidsiþ 20:13, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
    I understand your point. Probably it has something to do with the fact that MW admits a partial origin from OE. But as partial as from Old Norse. The other two sources do not mention OE and Vigfússon is an illustrious scholar in the realm of Germanic languages. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 21:12, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
    It is also vital to mention that the word was spelt heil (hale in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913), which suggests the opposite version. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 21:15, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Aha, all right I think I see where the confusion is now. The word which was spelt heil is different. That is the word which we have at hail#Etymology 3, and it does indeed come from Old Norse. But it was never spelled hale. In northern Middle English, there were therefore two ‘doublet’ words of the same meaning. The first can be seen in quotes like ‘Al heil and sund’ (from a 13th-century bestiary), or ‘He es bath hail and fere’ (from the turn of the 14th century) – this was from ON, and was later spelt hail (now obsolete). It was pronounced with a diphthong. Alongside that was the word seen in quotes such as, ‘Godess follc all hal & sund Comm [...] to lande’ (from c. 1200), or ‘It kepez þe lymmes of a man hale’ (from Mandeville) – this was from OE and is now spelt hale. It was pronounced with a long central vowel. Both words meant the same thing and only the second survived (and even that's no longer common).
  • The situation is confused slightly by the fact that the second (OE) form was sometimes also spelt hail. The OED says the following: ‘In Scotch from 15th c., long ā was spelt ay, ai; hence, the later Sc. forms hayl, hail, haill, for earlier hale, OE. hál, must be distinguished from original north Eng. HAIL, in same sense, derived from Norse heill.’ I think that gets to the root of the confusion we have been discussing.
  • In conclusion. ON heill > E hail#Etymology 3. OE hal > E whole, hale.
  • I don't know what to say about Webster's except that it seems they got it wrong; it's an old source. If you look in modern works (OED 1993, Shorter OED 2002, Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins from 1990, Etymology Online), they all give OE as the root of hale. Ƿidsiþ 09:27, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
    What you quoted from OED (OE. hál, must be distinguished from original north Eng. HAIL, in same sense, derived from Norse heill) is a direct contradiction to what Guðbrandur Vigfússon explicitly and unambiguously explained in his Icelandic-English dictionary (hale#References) and has severely damaged the authority of this dictionary in mine eyes. You accuse Webster 1913 of suggesting amiss, but if you look again at MW online, it is clear that they præferred to assume a moderate position of partly from OE, partly from ON. Well, after you quoted OED, you may get rid of the Template:rfv-etymology, but I am convinced that both positions need to be repræsented and that OED is not Sacra Scriptura and personally embrace Guðbrandur Vigfússon's claim of Old Norse origin for both hale and heil. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 09:42, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Vigfússon's dictionary is well over a hundred years old – no matter how brilliant he was, our understanding of word histories has improved vastly since then. The fact is that it has been superceded. However, I'm very happy to include Webster's ideas on the matter (even though the evidence seems very much against them..). Ƿidsiþ 09:46, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
    Well, I do not object against the format you went for, but why did you remove the three references? Some inquisitive users may wish to trace back the etymology and immerse themselves in those authoritative sources and you bereft them of this possibility. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 09:54, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Perhaps the Talk Page would be a better repository for that. We should probably copy this conversation there as well. Ƿidsiþ 09:57, 4 April 2009 (UTC)


QuestionThere is a word in arabic - alfalfa - which means 'luxurious growth' this word does seem closer to 'alfalfa' Could it not have come from this word?

I don’t know of the Arabic word you mention. How do you write it in Arabic? —Stephen 01:56, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

QuestionII: My dictionary writes the Hungarian lucerna is lucern(e) in (British) English and can also be alfalfa in American English. My teacher said it was alfalfa. The alfalfa page writes about no synonyms. The entry named lucerne writes it's alfalfa but writes it as the meaning not as a synonym, although it is English so if it really means that should be given as a synonym (too). I haven't found a page called lucern. So could anyone tell me how it is and correct both pages lucerne and alfalfa in the spheres of synonyms and meanings, please? By the way, if I'm here, I'll answer: I don't know anything about Arabic but it really seems a good source, should be discussed or dunno. Sincererly --Ferike333 19:01, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

It is difficult to understand what you are saying. I can imagine that lucerne might be British English. As an American, I do not know that word. To me, Lucerne is only a city in Switzerland. The only word I know for alfalfa is alfalfa. —Stephen 01:56, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Might be. Because it's difficult to explain :) My dictionary writes there are two other words for alfalfa, one is lucern and the other is lucerne. The entry lucerne exists but the entry alfalfa doesn't mention it as a synonym. About lucern I know nothing but my dictionary may be wrong in this case and I wanted to ask if it existed. See? But I think you've answered my question even if you didn't understand.So thank you very much and sorry for being difficult to understand. I was tired when wrote my last message and when I'm tired my English can be dangerous :D --Ferike333
You were right. I've found the most exact explanation however it wasnt easy. Lucerne is a British word but alfalfa is used everywhere (even in Britain, I think) but formerly it was used only in the United States. About lucern I think my dictionary was wrong. Now you know another word too :) --Ferike333 13:56, 7 April 2009 (UTC)


etymonline says this past form is not dated but humorous, not etymological, first recorded 18c.

etymonline seems to be quite specifically American and doesn't reflect usages of the wider English-speaking world.
For example, the listing for spat in etymonline [5] completely fails to list it as p.t. & p.p. of spit, as the Oxford dictionary defines it (and as I and everyone I know uses it). Whereas spit used as the past tense sounds wrong and, basically, kind of hill-billyish (in other words, uneducated). (My Oxford, unfortunately, is too polite, or possibly too short, to list "shit".) --Tyranny Sue 13:48, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Just wondering, would that mean that "sat" (p.t. of "sit") is not etymological too? Are tenses usually etymological?--Tyranny Sue 23:28, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
No, sat, swam, sang, rang, and so on are etymological. When we say that a form is not etymological, it means that it’s a backformation or other innovation. Etymological forms (such as sat) come down from the ancient protolanguages along with the infinitive. —Stephen 23:41, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Stephen. Is 'spat' (p.t. of 'spit') etymological? (And what about 'hit'? Is there a good reference place I could find this info?)--Tyranny Sue 01:21, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and also, do we know why the p.t. of 'sit' became 'sat' (though 'shit' didn't etymologically become 'shat')? (And is there any known reason for the parallel nature of the p.t. usages for 'spit'?)--Tyranny Sue 01:46, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, "spat" is an etymological form. From Old English spittan, spætan (spātl = spittle), from Proto-IE base *sp(y)eu-, to spew. I don’t know of a good reference for this info, but it helps to consider the forms in related languages such as German and Norse, or Romance languages for some words. The American Dictionaries such as the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and probably the greater OED would also list these forms. Etymological past tense will just be indicated as the past tense, but there should be a remark about innovative forms such as shat. For example, my American dictionaries give shit as the past tense of shit, but do not even mention shat. I think your OED would probably have something to say about shat, but it probably makes it clear that it is not the original form. —Stephen 01:55, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks again Stephen. So, would 'spit' as p.t. be an innovative form? Or non-etymological? (Or is it regarded as in any way anomalous?)--Tyranny Sue 02:00, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Both spit and spat are etymological past-tense forms, not at all anomalous. In American dictionaries, spit as p.t. is given preference, but spat is also permitted. —Stephen 02:13, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Is there a Wiktionary qualifier (the kind that's formatted with 2 curly brackets and immediately precedes a definition) for 'backformation' or 'grammatical innovation' (or 'non-etymological' even)? I do think the etymological info about 'shat' is worth including somehow, it's just that "dated" has unnecessarily pejorative overtones.--Tyranny Sue 00:41, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
But, Stephen, MW online is also an American distionary, but and lists both. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 08:32, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Right, it’s the same as in Britain, except not nearly so naturalized or common. Shat first appeared in the 18th century as a jocular past tense, and has become a standard form in Britain. In the U.S. it is understood, occasionally used jocularly, occasionally used when we want to add an antiquated, formal caste. It’s a backformation that is perceived as dated and something that must have (but was not) used in Middle English and in the time of King James. Just because it is a fairly recent innovation does not mean that it isn’t a real word. It is a real word. Just not as prevalent or standardized in the U.S. as in Britain. As for the original and etymological p.t. form shit, there is a feeling in Britain that it is an incorrect or illiterate form, while in the U.S. we still consider p.t. shit to be correct. —Stephen 12:44, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Also, is there a wiktionary category (or categories) for such words (i.e. non-etymological tenses or innovations or backformations or early 18c innovations)? Perhaps we need to create a new one? (I also posted a question about this somewhere at the Village Pump, but can't remember where now).--Tyranny Sue 06:18, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

At Etymology scriptorium (Wikipedia qualifier for non-etymological verb form ([shat])?). :) Pingku 19:23, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Copied back from where it was mistakenly posted on the ES

Is there a Wiktionary qualifier (the kind that's formatted with 2 curly brackets and immediately precedes a definition) for 'backformation' or 'grammatical innovation' (or 'non-etymological' even)? The full discussion is at: [[6]] & I'd really prefer if any replies could be posted there, if that's ok, as it's much less clutterred/crowded than here. Thanks very much in advance for any help with this.--Tyranny Sue 03:13, 7 April 2009 (UTC)


The RAE gives for the etymology of this word 'perhaps from Celtic, from Proto-Indo European *bhudh-skō, cf. Celtic *boudi-, winning, victory, Old Irish búaid, victory.' Does this sound reasonable? I couldn't find anything similar to this on Appendix:List of Proto-Indo-European roots, so I also need help on the formatting for the PIE. Nadando 02:03, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

I don’t know about the PIE forms, but there seems to be evidence that buscar is related to English busk (to cruise about [on a ship]) < French busquer (to shift, filch, prowl). Possibly related to bosco (wood) and bush related to hunting. —Stephen 10:01, 10 April 2009 (UTC)


Since there were no potatoes in India until modern times is the potato sense just an extension of the presumably older plum/prune sense, and did the other Indian languages really borrow their potato sense from Sanskrit which was already a minority language by the time potatoes were introduced? —This unsigned comment was added by Hippietrail (talkcontribs) 09:04, 13 April 2009.

Sorry about the "no explanation" part. I was getting to it. --Dijan 22:48, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
"potato" sense of Sanskritism ālu evolved from its earlier sense of "esculent root" in modern Indian languages/dialects, being applied not only to potatoes, but apparently to yam and other similar objects. --Ivan Štambuk 09:22, 13 April 2009 (UTC)


What do you think of these etymologies ?

  • Sing( chanter) comes from the root "seduct", with prefix "se" and root "duc"( take apart, drive apart). In Latin, the word means seduce, charm, take apart. It's connected with "sectus"= cut ( syncop of syllable du)
  • Sink( couler, évier)comes from the same root. The meaning of destruction of a boat comes from the idea of taking apart. The meaning of place to wash is perhaps connected with the idea of going apart
  • Ring ( anneau, ring de boxe) comes from the root "reduct", with prefix "re"(again, back) and root "duc"( take back, drive back). In Latin , it means also reduce. Ring would mean reduced place. It's connected with rectus ( right) with the meaning of re-erect.
  • Thing, German Ding( chose) comes from the root "deduct" with prefix de ( from) and root "duc" ( take from, drive from). In Latin, it's connected with the word tectum( with an alternance of mute and voiced consonant), which means protect, roof. In my opinion, it's connected too with Greek thêtos (posé, laid) that would come from disappeared "thektos".
  • Think, german denke, comes from the same root with the meaning of deduce( one of the meaning of the verb in latin).
  • Thank,german danke comes from dedic with prefix "de" (from ) and root "dic"( say). In Latin, it means dedicate.
  • Wing (aile) comes from the prefix ve( away) and root duc( drive , take). The word doesn't exist but is supposed by the series. It's connected with the word vectus( transport)
  • Wink( cligner de l'oeil) comes from the same root. The meaning comes from the fact that winking is used as a way of seducing.
  • Bonus( good) comes from adjective bovinus( related to a beef) with the syncop of syllabe vi( as in amasse coming from amavisse). It comes also from divinus (related to god) with the same alteration that gives bis (twice)from duis. The two meanings are found together in greek adjective theotauros( god-Bull), attributed to Zeus.

Thank you for your answer. --Mark Mage 14:22, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Since the OED attributes most of these to common Germanic, and some to Proto Indo-European before that, I assume you are proposing an alternate theory.
I don't think we publish original research on etymology in principle, at least not what can't be derived from published attestations. Michael Z. 2009-04-23 15:29 z

i think all the "ing" and "ink" endings are the same rune in Old English or Old Norse, but i'm not sure which, the latin and vulgate, or the indo-european Old English etymology predates.-VitaminN

Good morning.

  • h₁, the "neutral" laryngeal
  • h₂, the "a-colouring" laryngeal
  • h₃, the "o-colouring" laryngeal

Copied from laryngeal theory in Wikipaedia

So,

  • amé( 1st person singular, preterit, Spannish) comes from amH1
  • amo'( third person singular, preterit, spannish) comes from amH3
  • amai( 1st person singular, dipthongue, Italian) comes From AmH1bis
  • j'aimai( 1st person singular, pronounced é, French) comes from AmH1 or Amh1bis
  • and finally il aima ( Third person singular,) comes from AMh3
  • That's science and PIE theory.
  • Amé comes from "amavi", amo' comes from "amavit" and "amasse" is "amavisse" is folk etymology.

What would have given neohitit? Amh6 of course ! --Mark Mage 07:33, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Generally, for PIE, you want to look at the earliest possible language, (i.e. Latin), not any modern language. Take a look at Appendix:Proto-Indo-European *bʰer- for an example of PIE conjugation. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 08:16, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Latin the earliest possible IE language? What about Hittite (15th century BC) or Tocharian (10th century BC)?? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 08:31, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, Mark Mage was discussing a Romance language (Spanish, perhaps?), and Latin is the earlier Romance language. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 08:49, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I just wanted to say with a joke that there would be alternative theories to explain the alteration of vowels from PIE to Latin, as there were alterations of wovels explained by "vi" disappearing between latin and modern speeches.

--86.212.190.235 10:33, 24 April 2009 (UTC)


The noun entry for "speak" has two definitions which I strongly suspect should be two different etymologies. The first "jargon" as in IT speak, could either be a suffix rather than a noun, and/or is the same etymology as the verb. The second, "speakeasy" is almost sure to be a shortening of that same word. -- ALGRIF talk 12:54, 24 April 2009 (UTC)



Good morning.

What do you think of this theory ?

  • Observation N°1
  • In latin, 2 is duo, twice is bis from duis , and viginti seems to come from disappeared duiginti*
  • Observation N° 2
  • In Greek, ballô, iallô, pallô mean "trow". Bdallô means milk ( a cow). In many languages(as in modern french)milk is pull ( traire comes from trahere,). We can consider that we can add "bdallô" to the list.
  • Observation n° 3
  • In Greek, Iacchos is a nickname of Bacchos. With observation n° 2, we can consider it's a deformation of his name.
  • Observation n°4
  • Between bos and bouis, syllable "ui" disappears as in "amasse" coming from "amauisse" (plusferfect infinitive)
  • Reasoning :

1st example : Bacterion( stick)in Greek is near to iactare( latin)( throw) 2nd example :

  • If we add syllable "vi" to bonus(good), we obtain bouinus, that means related to a beef.( no doubt the meat)
  • If we replace b with i, we obtain iouinus( related to Jupiter)

We know that In Greek, one of a nickname of Zeus is theotauros( god-Bull)

  • If we approximate the pronounciation, we obtain iuvenis ( young)
  • If we cut, we obtain, Iu-Venus( Zeus, Venus)
  • if we replace "b" by "du", we obtain duouinus( related to two)( beefs were often joined with a yoke)
  • if we push the analysis, we can find iunginus( related to joining)

In one trow, we've got 6 meanings,( three certain, one dubious, two intuitive) all related in a way to the meanings of " bonus"

  • Observation n°5
  • In latin, haedus means goat, and in Greek, hêdus means pleasant. ( -->hedonism)
  • In English, good, goat and God seam very similar.
  • If we replace this analogy in the context of the previous reasoning, good is the adjective related to God and to the meat of goat, and goat a synonym of God.

For instance, in Matthew 25, final doom, false gods are called goats. Can anybody tell me if there is anything about that anywhere or must I write my own article ? --90.3.114.109 10:29, 25 April 2009 (UTC)--Mark Mage 10:30, 25 April 2009 (UTC)


According to recent additions to the etymology of Latin sol, it is cognate with Old English and Old Norse sol. But doesn't Old English have sonne as the native term for the "sun"? I have always understood that sol in Old English and Old Norse was borrowed from Latin, like so many other words. --EncycloPetey 01:08, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

According to “sol” in Ordbog over det danske Sprog Old Norse sunna is a sideform til (lateral form to), which methinks is similar to cognate and sunna and sól (most likely 𐍃𐌰𐌿𐌹𐌻 and 𐍃𐌿𐌽𐌽𐍉 too) have a common predecesser, but do not descend from one another. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 09:53, 8 May 2009 (UTC)


Is the Hindi word कुत्ता also a descendant? If so, then Bulgarian куче (kuče) must also be a descendant as well. Cf. this research into common words in Bulgarian, Avestan and Sanskrit transmitted via the Eastern Iranian Proto-Bulgarian language, there the author compares Avestan kuti. Ossetian cognate куыдз (kuydz) looks also pretty similar. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 09:37, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Is Ossetian куыдз/куй really a descendant? My Ossetian dictionary does not go beyond Eastern Iranian *kuti. --Vahagn Petrosyan 09:43, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
To me *ḱwṓ resembles pretty much куыдз. V. I. Abaev lists also the Bulgarian word, Nepali kuti (dog), Kurdish kučak and Latvian kutsa (female dog, сука) and notes that in Old Persian and Persian the sp root is predominant. Why is it then listed here instead of the East Iranian, Hindi and Nepali root?! The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 10:04, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Vahagn, I found where we discussed this with Ivan three months ago - here. I shall add it forthwith to the Etymology scriptorium, so that more users can partake of the conversation. He must have looked into some sort of pro-Ugro-Finnic dictionary... Supposed that the Bg. word is of Hungarian origin, how would it end up on the other end of Eurasia, in Nepali and Kurdish? I already quoted modern Bulgarian research, linking the East Iranian words with куче (kuče) through Proto-Bulgarian. And as it is known, Alanians were the closest associates of Proto-Bulgarians, therefore куыдз. Everything sounds sensible and sound. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 10:16, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian kuče / куче are borrowed from Hungarian kutya (dog) (with historically attested /tj/ > /č/ change). PIE palatovelars such as */ḱ/ cannot yield /k/ in Satem group of languages like Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian (except in a small number of well-known exceptions, and *ḱwon- is not one of them). I am also very skeptical on Ossetian kuydz, which looks very dubious as rest of the Indo-Iranian reflexes have expected word-initial /s/ or /š/. Indo-Aryan *kutta/*kuttā is according to Turner ultimately onomatopoetic in origin [7], hence not PIE. --Ivan Štambuk 14:34, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Ivan, in indorsing Turner's stance you will suggest that all the East Iranian languages + Kurdish + Nepali + Latvian have come to the same word by means of onomatopœetic generation? It turns out that only East Iranian people + Nepalese people + Kurds + Balochi and other Indo-Europæan languages (Latvian) can derive it? So it is ultimately Indo-Europæan? And if it were Ugro-Finnic, it can not have ended up in said Indo-Aryan languages... I really do not see valuable reasons for acceptingt the Ugro-Finnic hypothesis. The Proto-Bulgarians have carried the East Iranian word westwards, have came in contact with Ugro-Finnic tribes, who in their turn had contact with Latvians. This sounds much sounder, and although it is unambiguously promulgated(here: Думата "куче" в съвременния български език е доказано източно-иранска и санскритска, т.е. прабългарска етимология. Нейното множествено число също се образува по начин, различен от този при славянските езици, чрез скито-сарматския суфикс за множественост "-т" - кучета. - The word куче in the modern Bulgarian language is demonstrated to be East Iranian and Sanskrit, id est Proto-Bulgarian etymology. Its plural form is also formed in a way dissimilar to the one in the Slavic languages, through the Scytho-Sarmatic suffix for plurality -t - кучета) by Dr. Tanev from the above research, I abandon for now the hope to insert it into the appendix... Ivan, tell me, how is the plural form of the Serbo-Croatian word? Any other Hungarian loanwords with -t- in the plural? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 15:08, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
SC kuče "puppy" is neuter t-stem, like the general category of neuter t-stems in Common Slavic and OCS, denoting young of an animal or human (obviously generalized and not inherited in this case..). This Proto-Bulgarian stuff (not to mention "Scytho-Sarmatic"..) is really way too ORish to be included.. The word was obviously originally onomatopoetically coined in Indo-Aryan (possibly Indo-Iranian), whence it possibly spread elsewhere, tho I have no idea on the exact relationship to Kurdish and Latvian words you mention (note that Latvian has a regular Satem reflex already listed), but they simply can't get listed unless corroborated by some verifiable evidence (i.e. etymological dictionary or a research paper published in a respectable journal). Note also that there are quite a few Iranian/Indo-Aryan/Indo-Iranian borrowings in Finno-Ugric, but no known borrowings in the opposite direction. --Ivan Štambuk 16:11, 31 May 2009 (UTC)



Old English Norweg, Norþweg from Old Norse Norvegr north way contrasted with suthrvegar south way, i.e. Germany, and austrvegr east way, the Baltic lands. Norwegian (1607) is from Medieval Latin Norvegia, with the -w- from Norway.

Although I added this etymology, I have an unanswered question. Is it sure that English (and at least the other Germanic languages) adopted Norway from Old Norse? I mean, in Bokmal Norse, which basically means Old Danish more or less, the name of Norway is Norge. In modern Danish, and although I'm not sure (so it would be great if someone knows this) it also is Norge in the Old Danish language. I thought of this because if the so-called "ways" make sense if you see it from a topographic point of view, Norway would be to the north of Denmark, Germany to the south and the Baltic states to the east. If you follow those "ways", you end up in Denmark. Understand my confusion now about the origins lying in Old Norse? I hope someone can answer this. Thanks Mallerd 19:21, 20 November 2007 (UTC)



Anon added an etymology from Proto-Slavic, is this correct? Nadando 21:19, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

According to my sources it's indeed from Slavic. Not sure from which Slavic language though. Luckily, code {{etyl:sla}} covers them all. --Vahagn Petrosyan 10:38, 6 June 2009 (UTC)


Currently listed as compartmental +‎ -ization but I'd assume compartmentalize +‎ -ation is correct. Anyone know?msh210 18:30, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

"Compartmentalization" predates "compartmentalize" according to OED cites. "Compartmental", even in a nonphysical sense, predates "compartmentalization". So, against my prior preferences and expectations, the current etymology might be right. I couldn't find any earlier citations by doing by own google research. DCDuring TALK 19:18, 10 June 2009 (UTC)


Can someone please sort out the abbreviations in this page? What is O.S? --Jackofclubs (talkcontribs) 12:24, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Old Saxon, lang=osx. DCDuring TALK 21:15, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


The etymology does not make sense: there are no cognates between Germanic and Arabic. Between Farsi and Germanic possibly, but then it is said that it is an Arab loan... Jcwf 02:28, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Arabic word is an ancient borrowing from Germanic, just like Medieval Latin burgus, and has also apparently also passed into Hebrew and Aramaic. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Volume 2, p. 1315, entry for burdj (you can find a download link for a scanned PDF at gigapedia..): But the borrowing must be very old, for it is to be found already in Sabaean inscriptions). The PIE root which gave Germanic root is usually explained as a zero-grade of PIE *bʰerǵʰ- "high" (hence the prothetic vowel /u/ next to the syllabic sonorant - Balto-Slavic had the same behavior), and can be by regular correspondence be connected to Sanskrit बृहत् (bṛhát, lofty , high , tall), Armenian բարձր (barjr, high) and perhaps Ancient Greek πύργος (purgos). So strictly speaking they are not really cognates, but are nevertheless deeply related. --Ivan Štambuk 08:47, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Does the Encyclopedia of Islam say anything about borrowing through Syriac būrgā, whence also Armenian բուրգն (burgn, tower, pyramide)? It's too big for me to download and see. --Vahagn Petrosyan 12:21, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
It only mentions that it was borrowed into Aramaic (which would presumably also include Syriac language/dialect). You may wanna ask User:334a to add the corresponding Aramaic word [8] to Wiktionary, as he's the only Aramaic contributor around here. --Ivan Štambuk 14:36, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Sadly, the Neo-Aramean User:334a isn't around anymore. Which, on the other hand, is a good thing in making me the most exotic user on WIktionary :) --Vahagn Petrosyan 06:46, 24 June 2009 (UTC)


The original contributor of this entry says it's from Yiddish. Googling for cites of this English word, though, I found that there seems to be a German noun Gemish (though we don't have it, and I don't know what it means). Anyone know whether the English word comes from that or from Yiddish?msh210 19:46, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

To judge from google books:"ein Gemish" and google books:"ein Gemisch", the latter spelling is far more common in German (23/89 vs. 579/600,000). I'm not sure <sh> even exists in German; if so, w:German orthography doesn't mention it. This might suggest that it comes from Yiddish, which is regularly transliterated to English with <sh> for /ʃ/. As for the German noun's meaning, some of the hits seem to mean "mixture", or maybe specifically "solution" — see e.g. http://books.google.com/books?id=2qQOAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA422&lpg=PA422&dq=Gemisch — but I don't speak German, and the few hits I can decipher may not be representative. Regardless, it's clearly related to mischen and gemischt, and presumably cognate with English mix. —RuakhTALK 20:10, 23 June 2009 (UTC)


Hello. Is there any grammatical name for the words that are formed by adding multiple suffixes at once, so that the between forms are not used (do not exist)? It happens sometimes in Hungarian entries that a word has a suffix at the end but taking it off will produce an unused form, not even worth an entry. It means the word got its suffix in a bunch, not one-at-a-time. Is there a name for this? It is not back-formation but rather a fastforward-formation. But that is not too linugistical. Thanks Qorilla 14:26, 2 July 2009 (UTC)


Our entry for chereme presently states that the word derives from the Modern Greek χέρι (chéri, hand”, “arm); however, google books:chereme "cheri" OR "kheri" does not support this. It does, however, support the alternative theory that chereme instead derives from the Ancient Greek χείρ (kheir, hand)google books:chereme "cheir" OR "kheir". That said, the evidence is also consistent with chereme deriving from the Modern Greek Katharevousa variant χειρ (cheir, hand”, “arm). Rarely do academic–technical terms derive from Modern Greek — most come from Ancient Greek; however, I hesitate to change it without consultation because none of the hits yielded by {{b.g.c.}} qualify Greek with Ancient and because the loss of the iota (cheir-cher-) needs explaining (an intermediate Latin etymon (cf. eirenicon with irenicon) or an extant English suffix (such as *cher- (hand)) would do the trick). A referenced pronunciatory transcription would also help me to decide (/ˈkiːɹiːm/ instead of /ˈkɛɹiːm/ would further suggest the Ancient Greek derivation). Anyone know for sure?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 22:23, 2 July 2009 (UTC)


As far as Czech is concerned, given by Jiri Rejzek (Cesky etymologicky slovnik) as cognate with sluch, both derived from PIE klewos, ḱlewos is built on *ḱleu- "to hear" source ancient greek κλύω, kluō (« hear ») & κλέος, kléos (« fame, (things we heard about »).

I think it is better to underline the root "hear" than the one "fame" in the etymology.

--Diligent 08:26, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Czech sluch < Common Slavic *sluxъ "hearing, rumour" < PIE o-stem *ḱlówsos "fame, rumour" (note the o-grade in the root).
Common Slavic s-stem *slovo "word" < Early Proto-Slavic *slawa < PIE s-stem *ḱlewos- "fame, honor" (note the e-grade in the root), and that is the meaning preserved in basically all the other branches: Ancient Greek κλέος (kléos, fame), Sanskrit श्रवस् (śrávas, fame, honor) (s-stem! Sanskrit nouns are lemmatized as stems..), and more importantly Baltic: Lithuanian šlãvė (honor, respect, fame) and Latvian slava (rumor, reputation, fame).
Common Slavic ā-stem *slava "glory, fame" < Early Proto-Slavic *slāwā, reflecting Balto-Slavic vrddhi, also seen in Žemaitian Lithuanian šlóvė (honor, fame) (standard Aukštaitian Lithuanian has shifted accent). Balto-Slavic */ā/ yielded Lithuanian /o/ and Common Slavic */a/, Balto-Slavic */a/ yielded Lithuanian */a/ and Common Slavic */o/. Baltic and Slavic words also match in accent paradigm ("a"), which is an additional ultimately-conclusive evidence of the common innovation. Ultimately also deriving from the root *ḱlew ~ *ḱlow- "to hear", of course.
The related family of words are Common Slavic *slovo "word" (> Cz. slovo), *slava "glory, fame" (> Cz. sláva), *sluxati "to listen" (no Czech reflex), *sluxъ "hearing, rumor" (> Cz. sluch), *slušati "to listen" (> Cz. slušeti), *sluti "to be called" (> Cz. sluoti), *slyšati "to hear" (> Cz. slyšeti). So basically mentioning either of the cognate terms would be valid, but the PIE s-stem noun *ḱlewos- from which Common Slavic *slovo derives must be mentioned, as its original meaning was doubtless "fame, honor", with semantic shift to "word" only coming later in Slavic (in Baltic the sense is preserved in both vrddhi variants). --Ivan Štambuk 09:35, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


This term is under discussion also at WT:RFV#dateless. There may be a use of the word in northern UK meaning thick-headed. There is an attestable use in the same area meaning recorded in the 19th century meaning something like "mentally deranged" ("dotty"?). I have entered a possible etymology, whose source I neglected to insert. Can someone familiar with the differential evolution of words in the north vs south of UK take a look? Is it possible that the term deedless is connected to this? DCDuring TALK 21:03, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


There is an unsupported assertion in the Etymology that a BDSM sense predates other usage. A quick review of b.g.c. does not yield evidence. DCDuring TALK 11:38, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

The closest I found was: [9]. Not specifically related to the phrase, though. Pingku 17:13, 31 October 2009 (UTC)



User Bogorm has (quite rightly) questioned my claim that fordo / foredo is "from" foredoom. I have noticed a connection, but it is probably more complicated than I first thought. Note: see also citations at citations:foredo. Pingku 18:42, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, but German vertun should perhaps also be included in the etymology. It means to waste (time, money...). ver- + tun. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 21:05, 21 July 2009 (UTC)


Skok quotes A. Matzenauer's theory of the kinship between this Serbo-Croatian word and German Rumpf. How can we mention this? Probably cognate with German Rumpf (trunk)? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:48, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, SC word is a reflex of Common Slavic *rępъ (Polish rząp, dialectal Ukrainian репиця (repycja)) which itself is apparently of obscure origin. German word traces to MLG rump (trunk) < Proto-Germanic *xrumpaz, which you cannot formally match to Proto-Slavic word because the sequence -um- would've yielded Common Slavic *ǫ and not *ę, which presupposes pre-form with *-em-/*-en- or *-im-/*-in-. Common Germanic reconstruction furthermore doesn't really agree with Common Slavic reconstruction in meaning, which renders the connection rather dubious. I wouldn't mention Matzenauer's speculation unless it can be corroborated by additional evidence, as the match is far from ideal. --Ivan Štambuk 20:19, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
But they do differ in meaning, as trunk, torso is dissimilar from tail. Moreover, according to Gebrüder Grimm, Rumpf descends from an older verb rimpfen (Prät. rampf, P.P. gerumpfen), so the pre-form with *-im- is at hand. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:44, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I did say that they do differ in meaning, and that is one of the argument why they could not be related! My sources (Vladimir Orel's lexicon of Proto-Germanic from 2003) say that the German word is descended from MLG form, and the shift /p/ > /pf/ is perfectly in accordance with High German consonant shift, and given the cognates in other Germanic languages (Orel mentions only dialectal Norwegian rump (flat hill top, butocks) and Middle English rump (podex) - the scarcity of which disturbs me), it's highly unlikely that the the etymology by Gebrüder Grimm made in times of advent of Indo-Europeans Studies can be held as plausible today..
Germanic borrowings into Proto-Slavic, which were quite excessively assigned in the past, are today very meticulously analyzed, and it is highly unlikely that these two proto-words, *rępъ and *xrumpaz, incompatible both formally and semantically, will be accepted as related in some general etymologist circles.. I must strongly suggest that we drop this one, unless some recent up-to-date research proves otherwise. --Ivan Štambuk 01:59, 3 August 2009 (UTC)


Certainly most dictionaries give the etymology simply as "Turkish yoğurt" but it's actually more interesting.

Turkish until 1928 used the Arabic alphabet yet most dictionaries say the term came into English centuries before this.

The letter ğ did not exist in any alphabet as far as I can determine prior to 1928, and does not seem to have been used for the original Arabic / Ottoman letter غ prior to this time.

Most English dictionaries do not use Arabic script for any languages in their etymology sections.

Modern Turkish Latin script is an apparently pretty convenient way for dictionary makers to transcribe Turkish words even from Ottoman times.

Currently our entry implies via its templates and categories that "yoghurt" is borrowed both from Ottoman Turkish and Modern Turkish. For English unlike French this is clearly not the case or English would also not pronounce the g(h).

So is the English word a descendant of both the Ottoman word and the modern word, or are our templates and categories wrong and most dictionaries oversimplified to the point of being misleading? — hippietrail 00:50, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Ottoman Turkish is more of a literary style than a different language. The Turkish people a hundred years ago when Ottoman Turkish was being written spoke Modern Turkish. In the 1920’s, a new literary style was mandated, which dropped the unfamiliar Arab and Persian words in favor of the extant, standard Turkish ones, and to be written with a new alphabet.
I don’t know what you mean about ""or English would also not pronounce the g(h)". How do you think we would pronounce a Turkish gh in a word adopted into English? —Stephen 01:31, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Apparently it used to be pronounced as a voiced velar fricative and still is in some dialects. This is the reason that ğ exists now and why the Arabic letter غ which has a similar sound was used before. Neither Arabic nor Persian has any equivalent to the standard/modern/Istanbul ğ. — hippietrail 02:21, 3 August 2009 (UTC)


The above page is being deleted (most likely) so here are the only requests that were on it. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:22, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

--200.171.77.82 19:38, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

--Connel MacKenzie 16:00, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

--Connel MacKenzie 16:01, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

There is no etymological entry for the word "royalty," in the sense of Wiktionary's definition #4:

4. (by extension) payment made to a writer, composer, inventor etc. for the sale or use of intellectual property, invention etc.

Macmillan's Dictionary for Students (Copyright (c) 1984, Macmillan Publishing Company) provides the following derivation:

Old French roialte kingship, from roial regal, kingly. See ROYAL.

Being that the preceding definitions of the word are unrelated to this sense (monetary compensation vs. words describing a ruling caste,) I would be interested in seeing how this particular definition came to be. I imagine it concerns the feudal taxation/tithing of "owner/monarch" to "user/fief," as "artist" to "consumer," but a more precise derivation would be fascinating.

--Caen 00:52, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

scorbuticus174.3.103.39 02:10, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Transferred here by Mglovesfun (talk) 11:14, 18 August 2009 (UTC)


This etymology says that the India English term derives via French, Catalan, Spanish, Arabic, Persian, from Sanskrit. The word is not used much among English speakers anywhere else. That suggests to me that the word is clearly more congenial than aubergine or eggplant to English speakers in India. I find it hard to believe that this comparative preference does not have some connection with other current languages of India. DCDuring TALK 19:13, 26 September 2009 (UTC)


I find it hard to believe that the English name used virtually only in India, of a plant and fruit native to India, with names in Sanskrit, Hindi, and other languages used in India that seem quite close to "brinjal" owes much of anything to any European influence. The current etymology seems embarrassingly wrong. DCDuring TALK 14:50, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

I think what it's saying is that the English word used in India is derived from the Portuguese word (there are Portuguese speaking communities in India) that was inherited into Portuguese through those other languages. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 15:33, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
I see from the translations provided so far that only Gujarati has a near-terminal "l" (or "r"). So the Portuguese influence may account for this particular form. Presumably the apparent widespread acceptance of the term is attributable to proximity to the word in the other languages. I wonder what the word for eggplant in southern India c. 1000-1400 was. That would be close-to-definitive evidence, I suppose. I should look to find evidence of first use date in English, too. DCDuring TALK 16:32, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
  • [10] - Yeah it's from Portugese into Indian English. Ultimately both aubergine/brinjal are from Sanskrit/Old Indo-Aryan vātiṅgaṇa/bhaṇṭākī, both of which are prob. borrowed from the same Dravidian source (Turner points to entry #4339 in the Dravidian Etymological Dictionary but I can't see anything related there). The exact route of origin of the Portuguese word should be researched. --Ivan Štambuk 17:50, 27 September 2009 (UTC)


When it comes to categorising etymologies, which language is taken as the "derivation"? Take 布加勒斯特 (Bucharest) for example. It's a transliteration from English Bucharest, itself from Romanian Bucureşti. Should I categorise that under "English derivations" or "Romanian derivations"? Tooironic 19:38, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Both, I think. If you use the {{etyl}} templates it should automatically categorize it. L☺g☺maniac chat? 19:40, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
In the absence of contrary evidence, I would assume that the Chinese didn't go through English to get their Romanian place names. Also, don't forget the 2nd lang parameter in {{etyl}}: {{etyl|ro|cmn}}. DCDuring TALK 20:22, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if Chinese did go through English to get any number of proper nouns. Somehow I don't see a direct Sino-Romanian connection likely, although who knows. At any rate, I guess I will categorise these kinds of entries under all their respective derivations from now on. Just wondering though why you put it under "cmn:Romanian derivations"? All the other categorises are under "zh-cn:____". Am I missing something? Tooironic 09:15, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
The route the word took to enter China would depend on the dates of early use. Sometimes I am surprised at the extent of European influence (eg, Jose being a "common" name in Kerala India according to an anon contributor (probably from Portuguese influence)). I suppose that English influence esp via Hong Kong, is plausible, but what about other countries that had influence in China, like Russia or Germany or Portugal? I simply don't know enough to have anything but questions. We don't seem to have much by way of sources on the specifics of etymology for place names and proper names, for many languages.
"cmn" was the one I knew. I thought it would draw attention if it was wrong, possibly from you. I usually figure that putting something in a not-too-wrong category where it might draw attention is better than having it sit uncategorized, in which state it would take some special run on an XML dump to find it. DCDuring TALK 14:27, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, no worries. Fixed up the tags now. Cheers. Tooironic 21:52, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Do the instructor/teacher sense and the vehicle sense really have the same etymology? Just a curiosity. L☺g☺maniac chat? 16:23, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Yes, we have some senses missing which obscures the development of the word, but basically it went "vehicle" > "trainer for university exams" > "athletic trainer". The idea seems to have been that a trainer "pulls you along" in the same way as a vehicular coach does. Ƿidsiþ 17:42, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. Thanks! L☺g☺maniac chat? 18:52, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

When a prefix has more than one meaning, how to we indicate the meaning in the etymology section of a word. For instance, the Italian word francobollo is derived from franco- meaning "free from duty" (but also has other meanings). SemperBlotto 11:37, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Like this. --Vahagn Petrosyan 12:37, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm proposing to add more etymological info to this entry, which will mean splitting it by etymologies. Please see Talk:tip for more details.--Tyranny Sue 14:02, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I've added the etymology to Sony, can someone help me add category tags for Latin and and Japanese derivations? Cheers, Tooironic 06:56, 31 October 2009 (UTC)


What is the connection between this Slovenian word and Slovak bozkať? They seem so similar in phonology. As well as French bisou, bise, Latin basio (I kiss), but I would be flabbergasted if the Romance words are related as well. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 10:37, 31 October 2009 (UTC)


Why do so many currency symbols look like one or two lines struck through a letter? Are they all following the lead of one such symbol? If so, which? Where the symbol comes from should be noted in the etymology section of each symbol, imo.​—msh210 18:31, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Can someone please take a look at the etymologies @ w:Kumis and try to adapt them to the wiktionary entry (kumis) I just made? Thanks. Tooironic 11:39, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

We already have a full entry at koumiss. --Vahagn Petrosyan 14:06, 24 November 2009 (UTC)


Are there really three etymologies? Is this the best partition of senses among whatever separate etymologies there truly are? The sense evolution distinctions in modern English are at least as important and worthy of an explanation as the common Old English origins. The PoS distinctions in the etymology don't seem especially important in this case. DCDuring TALK 12:08, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Better. Thanks, Widsith. DCDuring TALK 16:13, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I did some.....oh. You saw. Ƿidsiþ 08:29, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


Can someone check the etymology I added? Not sure if the formatting's right. Feel free to comment on the example sentences I added too (and extra noun sense). Tooironic 12:16, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Necromancing, but you should add the version of the bible you quoted from, IMO 218.186.8.242 02:13, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

What was the path by which the Persian word for check entered English, especially with the current meaning, as in checking account. When did the Persian word assume that meaning? Most sources show a flow from Anglo-Norman through Middle English, with the bank check sense not much earlier that 1700. DCDuring TALK 21:10, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

The chess connection may be somewhat earlier (see w:History of Chess). Chess apparently reached Europe from two directions, and came to be associated etymologically with the Persian shah, "king" (see checkmate). See also "check" and "cheque" at etymonline. Pingku 14:46, 13 December 2009 (UTC)


Is it true that this has an English derivation? I always assumed it derived from Chinese! Tooironic 16:20, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

  • My understanding is that it represents the sounds of the ball hitting the bat and the table. SemperBlotto 16:22, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
  • It was originally a trademark name used by an American company who made table-tennis equipment. It seems accepted that they got the name as Semper says above, although who exactly came up with it is the subject of some debate among...whoever it is that cares about table tennis. Ƿidsiþ 10:17, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia has some (unreferenced) history at w:Table tennis#History, claiming both the game and its name for England. "Ping-pong" and "wiff-waff", we are led to believe, were early nicknames for the game, the former name being trademarked in Britain in 1901 and the American rights sold to Parker Brothers. Commercial competitors used the name "table tennis". Presumably "wiff-waff" just didn't cut it. Pingku 12:08, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Seeing it derived from the Russian creator's name Léon Theremin, should probably be categorised under Russian derviations right? Tooironic 03:12, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Try Category:English eponyms. Pingku 13:32, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
    • I've added both categories.​—msh210 19:05, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
      • From the article in Russian wikipedia about this man I read that he was ethnic French with the surname Theremin wich was russified as Термен. The name of the instrument in English is obviously taken from the French spelling, as Russian Термен would never be anglicized as Theremin but Termen. So, I am going to remove the {{etyl|ru}} part. IMO, the eponym category is enough. --Vahagn Petrosyan 03:21, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
        • You're kidding! :o So what will I categorise the Chinese translations under? "French derivations"? It sounds so bizarre. Tooironic 07:18, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
          • Why do you have to categorize? I would leave the text you have written, and remove the categorization. By the way, here is what I found about Theremin: "Dubbing the device with his French ancestral name, Theremin, he toured Europe and America, training several to play it". So, you could put Chinese under French derivations. In any case, Chinese tèléimén was not transliterated from Russian Termen, because there are no letters between r and m in Russian spelling, while you have éi. --Vahagn Petrosyan 07:45, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
            • The thought processes that went behind how the transliteration was created are almost impossible to figure out on our own (unless some research can enlighten us, but I've yet to come across any that explains it). The Chinese transliteration does not have éi, it has léi - but, again, we have no way of knowing which syllables it is actually transliterating (theremin or Termen) because Mandarin usually does funky things with 'l' and 'r' syllables (see Brisbane - 布里斯班 - for example). I will put it under French derivations for now. Tooironic 22:18, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

The definition lines say this is "derived from the surname" but don't list a surname sense. They also contradict the Etymology section, which cites older given names; and both contradict varius "baby name" Web sites, which give another etymology altogether.​—msh210 19:10, 18 December 2009 (UTC)


Wikipedia gives a totally different etymology to us (though I am fairly sure theirs is tripe), http://www.infoplease.com/dictionary/brewers/threadneedle-street.html makes more sensible claims, should we include both or is ours the actually correct one. Conrad.Irwin 20:21, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

According to my Oxford Dictionary of English: “Origin: Threadneedle from three-needle, possibly from a tavern with the arms of the City of London Guild of Needlemakers”. --Vahagn Petrosyan 20:36, 13 January 2010 (UTC)


Can someone please please add the etymology for this word? It's important. Thanks heaps. Tooironic 10:28, 2 February 2010 (UTC)


Can someone check this entry? Isn't it rather Old French bucler as in bouclier rather than Old Norse? --Diligent 06:36, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

  • Yes. Now fixed. Ƿidsiþ 06:46, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
    • that was quick! thx. --Diligent 06:52, 17 February 2010 (UTC)


wife beater, etymology: wife +‎ beater... beater, etymology 2: By shortening from wife beater! Tooironic 21:53, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Makes sense to me. Michael Z. 2010-03-01 16:19 z
But a wife beater top isn't something which beats a wife as this circular definition would suggest. ---> Tooironic 11:29, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
This is no definition at all but an etymology which refers to two definitions. Beater (2), meaning a shirt, is short for wife beater, which comes from wife and beater (1), meaning one who beats. There's no problem. Michael Z. 2010-03-04 20:59 z
But aren't we assuming quite a lot? Anyway, beater has five senses, how is a non-native speaker supposed to know which one it refers to? The idea of a singlet-wearing redneck as an abusive husband is not shared in all cultures. ---> Tooironic 22:10, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
The etymology is not incorrect, although it could certainly be improved. I think the inadequacy you point out equally affects native speakers. Michael Z. 2010-03-04 23:28 z

By the way, we should keep the etymology at the main entry wifebeaterMichael Z. 2010-03-04 23:33 z


hi. Could someone please elaborate on the etymology at suppedaneum? I am not sure how to do the formatting. Here is a link explaining it (you'll need to scroll down a bit). thanks, 24.56.166.100

Done. --Vahagn Petrosyan 09:31, 16 March 2010 (UTC)


Moved from Tearoom

In the US, the technical legal term power of attorney is roughly synonymous with attorney-in-fact (which may also be true in the UK or elsewhere, but I don't know). In this usage, can we validly place on the Etymology section of attorney-in-fact that "fact" in its archaic sense meant "deed" or "action," thus attorney-in-fact means, "attorney for an action" or "attorney for an act"? Is this generally the correct etymology?--152.3.129.133 18:12, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I'd always thought so. Clicking on fact in the inflection line should take the user (eg, you!) to fact#Noun. Perusal of the entry should lead to the sense you refer to. DCDuring TALK 19:15, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Makes sense, but since we try to create etymology sections, perhaps we can but that brief content in the actual entry...--达伟 19:25, 19 March 2010 (UTC)


Or it could also be cabbaling or cabbeling. It might well have the same root at cabal. It would be nice to find out, so we could decide which of these forms is the main spelling and which the alternative spellings. -- ALGRIF talk 16:55, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

This is a mess. It contains lots of useless information, and lots of information of general nature which should not appear on this page. -- Prince Kassad 13:36, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Useless to you, maybe. The information there is a perfectly valid and full treatment of etymology and belongs in Wiktionary. --Vahagn Petrosyan 06:08, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
What exactly do you find useless, and of general nature, in there? --Ivan Štambuk 06:11, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
First of all, I think the etymology lists too many cognates. They should be on a PIE page, along with that last note listing other PIE words for water, but certainly not cramped in this etymology section. I also think that the last part is too much w:Indo-Uralic hypothesis, which we probably don't want to support. -- Prince Kassad 10:52, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
The last two sentences should be relocated to the respective PIE page but otherwise the entry is exemplary. Indo-Uralic theory is not as fringy as you think, and many evidence arose in the last few decades supportive of it. But it should probably be mentioned only in the appendix namespace. Let it be until somebody creates an appendix on the PIE word for "water". --Ivan Štambuk 13:32, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, I noticed someone added Appendix:Proto-Indo-European *wódr̥ only recently. -- Prince Kassad 20:38, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

What's with the template inserted below? There isn't even a [[:Template:#lst:Talk:obey]], so what is going on? If a wiki user can't just click “edit” on this talk page and know where she's at, then things are broken. I've been here for years and I have no idea what is going on here. Either move the talk here, or link to there, but please let's not start inserting completely opaque code on busy public talk pages. Michael Z. 2010-04-16 15:05 z


I would like someone to confirm this etymology. It seems legit, but my (elementary) dictionary as well as Perseus mention only the supposedly "less proper" obedire. Possibly, this is folk etymology, esp. the ob + audire portion. 218.186.8.242 05:34, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

  • It's fundamentally right. The Romance forms (and English) definitely come from the variant form oboedire (not obaedire as currently given), and everyone seems agreed that this is from ob- + audire. Ƿidsiþ 05:42, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
    • 'Kay, thanks --- (now logged in as) VNNS 08:50, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

< Middle English obeyen from Old French obeir < Latin obaedire, less prop. obēdīre, later L. also obaudire, ML. obēdīre (to listen to, harken, usually in extended sense, obey, be subject to, serve) < ob- (before, near) + audīre (to hear); cf. audient.



I suggest reconsidering the etymology of the Serbo-Croatian word, since the Bulgarian Etymological Dictionary states from It. palanca, but due to the widespread use of the word in the neighbouring languages it is difficult to determine the path of the derivation in Bulgarian. Therefore, it is a sheer speculatian to assert the ota origin (the word is præsent in Romanian, Hungarian, Greek). Italian < Latin < Anc. Gr. is the ultimate origin. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 21:12, 25 April 2010 (UTC)


Is there a reason why prestige and prestidigitator/prestidigitation have different etymologies? It would seem that they come from the same root (since prestige once had the meaning "delusion, illusion, trick", according to its entry), but I might be wrong. Please enlighten me :) --Waldir 06:45, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

  • They don't come from the same root at all; the resemblance is coincidence. The root of prestige is Latin praestringere (to bind), which was used in the sense of ‘to blindfold; to dazzle or confuse someone’. The prest- in prestidigitation goes back to Latin praestō (ready), in Romance languages indicating speed (compare presto). The two words probably ultimately share a use of the Latin prefix prae- (pre-), but that's about it. Ƿidsiþ 06:56, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Would you please add this information to the entries? Namely the "to blind" sense of 'praestringere' isn't mentioned. And maybe a note mentioning the similarity but unrelatedness of the words... --Waldir 07:15, 13 May 2010 (UTC)


Could a speaker of Arabic check and transcribe the word "safīn" in the etymology of saphenous? Divinenephron 09:54, 17 May 2010 (UTC)


Can someone who knows Japanese please check this etymology? Cheers. ---> Tooironic 23:26, 27 May 2010 (UTC)


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pink has the flower (and several other meanings) under a different etyomology from the colour, whereas we have them under the same. I don't know myself which is right, but I'd be more inclined to believe M-W.

  • Actually, MW doesn't seem to give any etymology for the colour sense so it's not clear whether they think it's distinct or not. But the OED and two dictionaries of etymology in front of me all say it's the same word, and the colour is originally used in the sense of "the colour associated with the flower". Ƿidsiþ 05:35, 29 May 2010 (UTC)


In Appendix:List of Proto-Indo-European roots/h₂ it says that Old Norse fiskr is derived from Appendix:Proto-Indo-European *h₂ep-. In Appendix:Proto-Indo-European nouns it is said to derive from Proto-Indo-European *peisk-. Are they related or is one of them wrong? The etymology should be the same for Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, and in accordance with etymology 1 on fish, and Old High German fisk.--Leo Laursen – (talk · contribs) 14:11, 29 May 2010 (UTC)


There is widely held myth about the etymology of pinscher dog breeds, that the word comes from the German Pinscher (de:Pinscher), and that in German it means biter.

Another idea indicates the reverse, that the German word is taken from the English word, which refers to the ears of the breeds which are often docked, per Online Etymology Dictionary. I doubt that this is correct.

Yet another hypothesis holds that the German word is either taken from the English word pinch or the French word pincer (fr:pincer). It describes the restrained biting action that the dogs use when catching rodents or biting people. See the German Wikipedia on Pinscher breeds. This seems most likely to me, but my opinion is pointless here if this receives input from a native German speaking person. ~ heyzeuss 04:26, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

OED revised the entry in last March: "< German Pinscher (a1832), of uncertain origin.
A derivation [from] Pinzgau, the name of a region in north-western Austria, has been suggested, although this cannot be confirmed (compare German -er [link to entry def.]).
An alternative suggestion links the term with PINCH v., on account of the dog's clipped ears and tail, but this seems unlikely as there is no parallel for the dog's name in English."
Circeus 21:06, 5 July 2010 (UTC)


Following a (one-sided) discussion at innit, I was wondering how we arrive at our etymology sections. What evidence do we use? Can we just make it up if, for example, a Greek or Latin word looks suspiciously like the word in question? Is it all guesswork? SemperBlotto 15:59, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

  • No. It is one of the sections where disagreements have to be settled by appeal to authority (ie, a good, modern etymological dictionary). Ƿidsiþ 14:27, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

I imagine it derives from French, is that right? ---> Tooironic 00:51, 16 August 2010 (UTC)


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