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Q&A

Posts tagged etymology

Etymology is the study of words. For a list of resources about etymology, check out our resources

This tag doesn't have a detailed wiki yet.

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Q&A How can a prepositional phrase shift to become a verb?

I don't know why, but the embolded semantic shift for agree (v.) below unsettles me. a gré is a prepositional phrase, correct? If so, how can a prepositional phrase transmogrify into a ve...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 2d ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How's inVEST semantically related to VEST? How did the "idea of dressing your capital up in different clothes" arise?

Isn't "the idea of dressing one’s capital up in different clothes by putting it into a particular business, stock, etc" batty? This semantic relationship would never cross the mind of an amateur re...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie 'to advise, counsel, guess' (rǣda) 🡺 'peruse' (read)?

How did ‘advise, consult, guess’ semantically shift 🢂 to signify ‘interpret, interpret letters, read’? How do they semantically appertain? read [OE] In most western European languages, the wor...

0 answers  ·  posted 2mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 2mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie 'anger, agitation' (PIE *ǵʰéysd-) 🡺 'ghost'?

On October 31 2016, Kevin Stroud wrote The connection between “ghost” and “guest/host” is mentioned on page 303 of ‘The Horse, The Wheel and Language” by David W. Anthony [quoted on English Stac...

0 answers  ·  posted 2mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 2mo ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How did in- + partire compound to mean "communicate as knowledge of information" (impart)?

What semantic notions underlie in- + partire 🡺 with "communicate as knowledge or information"? This semantic shift flummoxes me, because in- + partire "was not originally restricted to immaterial ...

0 answers  ·  posted 5mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 3mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A What does Etymonline mean by 'to raise (someone) out of trouble'?

I have never heard of "to raise (someone) out of trouble"! What does this mean? relieve (v.) [on Etymonline] late 14c., releven, "alleviate (pain, etc.) wholly or partly, mitigate; afford comfo...

1 answer  ·  posted 3mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 3mo ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie 'con-' + 'sign' 🡺 with "deliver or transmit (goods) for sale or custody"?

How did con- + sign semantically shift 🡲 to this modern sense in Commerce? Why did con- + sign shift so radically, but NOT 'sign'? In Modern English, "sign" alone doesn't possess this Comm...

0 answers  ·  posted 4mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 4mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How did 'rendre' semantically shift from meaning 'give back' to 🡺 1. 'make, cause to be' 🡲 2. 'represent, depict'?

What semantic notions underlie "give back" with 🢂 "make[,] or cause to be in a certain state"? 🡪 "represent, depict"? render (v.) [on Etymonline] late 14c., rendren, rendre, "repe...

0 answers  ·  posted 4mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 4mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A Demise — How did "dismiss, put away" semantically shift to mean 🡲 a transfer of property, or the grant of a lease?

What semantic notions underlie "dismiss, put away" (desmetre) 🢂 with transferring property or granting a lease (demise)? This semantic shift befuddles me, because — Humans "dismiss, put away"...

1 answer  ·  posted 5mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 4mo ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How did "dispose" semantically shift from meaning "put apart" 🡺 to "transfer title to property"?

What semantic notions underlie "put apart" 🡺 "a transfer of title to property"? This semantic shift addles me. Why? Because "put apart" feels casual and laid-back! In modern English, "put apart" r...

0 answers  ·  posted 5mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 4mo ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A Why did linguists impute Proto-Italic *moini-, *moinos- "duty, obligation, task" 🡺 to PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move"?

What semantic notions underlie Proto-Italic *moini-, *moinos- "duty, obligation, task," 🢂 with PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move"? How do they semantically appertain each other? I quote from...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 5mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology pie
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Q&A How did commeātus semantically shift from meaning "passage" 🢂 to "leave of absence"?

What semantic notions underlie meaning 1 ("The act of coming and going") 🡺 with 5 ("Leave of absence)? Please fill in the gaps, and show the steps, between meanings 1-4 and 5? The Oxford Latin Dict...

0 answers  ·  posted 5mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How did mittō (to send) semantically shift 🢂 in Vulgar Latin 🡺 to mean "put"?

Wiktionary allegates that, for the Latin mittō (“to send”), The semantic shift from "send" to "put" probably occurred in Vulgar Latin. What semantic notions underlie "send" and "put"? I can'...

0 answers  ·  posted 5mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 5mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie “to exchange” (PIE *meyth₂-) 🢂 “to give, bestow” 🡺 “to let go, send” (Proto-Italic *meitō)?

Wiktionary asservates May be for *mītō (with lengthening of the consonant; compare mitāt), from Proto-Italic *meitō, from Proto-Indo-European *meyth₂- (“to exchange”), an extension of the root...

0 answers  ·  posted 5mo ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How did « re » + « partir » compound to 🡲 "repartee", which means "rejoinder"?

In French, « partir » means "to (de)part". What semantic notions underlie « re » + « partir » 🡺 with the 2020 AD English meaning of repartee (i.e. riposting))? (de)parting and replying don't see...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 5mo ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How did 'videlicet' (it's permissible to see) semantically shift 🢂 to signify 'to wit, namely'?

How did meaning 1 beneath semantically shift to 2? How does seeing or sight 🡲 semantically appertain to wit or knowledge? viz. 1530s, abbreviation of videlicet [2.] "that is to say, to wit, nam...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 5mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How did 'to wit' shift (from "to know") 🡺 to mean 'that is to say'?

Unquestionably, "wit" or "knowing" are concepts distinguishable from "saying". Thus how did 'that is to wit' shift 🢂 to denote 'that is to say; namely'? wit Both the noun wit [OE] and the verb...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 5mo ago by gmcgath‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How can fulsome constitute "a case of ironic understatement"?

Pretend that you're Devil's Advocate. 1. How can you possibly contend that fulsome is "a case of ironic understatement"? What's ironic? What's fulsome understating? "fulsome" feels r...

1 answer  ·  posted 9mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 5mo ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How does 'contango' semantically appertain to (1) 'continue'? (2) Or 'contain' as in Spanish 'contengo'?

I know that in Spanish, contengo is the first person singular conjugation of contener "to contain". I surmise that English transcribed the Spanish /e/ into an "a". Etymonline 1853, "charge made...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 8mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology finance
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Q&A How did 'in' + 'as' + 'much' (⟶ inasmuch) compound to mean "in an equal or like degree"?

I quote the OED 's etymology for the adverb inasmuch. originally 3 words in as much (in northern Middle English in als mikel), subsequently sometimes written as 2 words, in asmuch, and now (espe...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 9mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How did prae + scribere semantically shift from meaning "write before" ⟶ "a title or right acquired through long use or uninterrupted possession"?

I grok that prae- + scribere ⟶ praescribere literally meant write before. But what semantic notions underlie write before with a title or right acquired through long use or uninterrupted possession...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 9mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How did (the cross-linguistic univerbation) 'nothing/not/none/no + less' semantically shift to mean 'despite'?

Several West European languages, most spoken in 2022, feature cognate adverbs with the meaning of ''nevertheless' by univerbating "nothing/not/none/no" +"less". What semantic notions underlie...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 9mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How did 'ad-' + 'rogare' compound to mean 'to make great claims about oneself'?

What does the prefix ad- semantically mean here? How did the compounding of ad- + rogare yield 'to make great claims about oneself' and "to claim for oneself, assume"? What semantic n...

1 answer  ·  posted 9mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 9mo ago by dsr‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie the legal meaning of 'vest' — with its original meanings of 'robe', 'gown'? [duplicate]

How does the legal meaning of 'vest' (quoted first below) semantically appertain to its original lay meanings of 'robe', 'gown' (quoted second)? VESTING the satisfaction of all the requirements...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  closed as duplicate 9mo ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Q&A How did 'security' semantically shift to signify 'tradable financial asset'?

What semantic notions underlie the Latinate meanings of 'security' (quoting Etymonline first) mid-15c., "condition of being secure," from Latin securitas, from securus "free from care" (see secu...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 9mo ago by dsr‭

Question etymology finance
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Q&A How does the semantic notion of “in defiance of” signify “notwithstanding”?

The semantic notion of “in defiance of” feels unrelated to “notwithstanding”! What underlies or relates these semantic notions? This question appertains to all languages that founds this conjuncti...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 9mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie "pull, drag" (in tractō) 🡒 "negotiate, bargain" (in 'treat')?

Etymonline below blazons the sense of "negotiate, bargain" in treat. Please see the green line for the sense of "pull, drag" from tractō. I added the red lines beside 8(b) and 9, because these sen...

1 answer  ·  posted 11mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 11mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie vērum's 2 superficially unrelated senses — "truly" vs. 'but; yet; however'?

How did the adverb vērum semantically shift from "truly" to mean 'but, yet, however'? These 2 senses look completely unrelated to me! Oxford Latin Dictionary (2012 2 ed), pp 2254-5.

0 answers  ·  posted 11mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 11mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A Why does "counter" mean the area of a letter entirely, or partially, enclosed by a letter form or a symbol?

Etymonline's entries for the homonyms "counter" don't semantically appertain to its meaning in typography. How does "counter" in typography relate to the common lay English 2021 meanings of "co...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 11mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology English
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Q&A How can the Latin prefix 'in-' possibly befit imputare?

I quote Etymonline on impute (v.): early 15c., from Old French imputer, emputer (14c.) and directly from Latin imputare "to reckon, make account of, charge, ascribe," from assimilated form of ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 12mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How does taking, buying, procuring (emō) semantically appertain to destruction, annihilation (perimō)?

As you can read below, emō meant to take, buy, gain, procure. But perimō meant to destroy and annihilate. Plainly, their meanings differ! So why was perimō formed from emō and compounded with per-?...

1 answer  ·  posted 12mo ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 12mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How does "happening" appertain to "(be)falling"?

I don't understand why English and Latin (see the two quotations below) uses the notion of "(be)fall" to signify "happening". How are they related semantically? accident [14] Etymologically, an...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 12mo ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How does saeculum ( “generation” or “lifetime") semantically relate to PIE root *se- "to sow"?

Why did historical linguists impute saeculum to PIE *se-? What semantic notions underlie them? All boldenings are mine. secular (adj) c. 1300, "living in the world, not belonging to a religious...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How did 'less than' semantically shift to mean 'if not'?

What semantic notions underlie less than and IF NOT? How did less than semantically shift to mean IF NOT in at least these 5 languages? Just edit this post if you pine to add other languages with t...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How does propitius (“favorable, well-disposed") semantically relate to PIE root *per- (1) "forward")?

Why did historical linguists impute propitius to PIE *per-1? What semantic notions underlie them? All boldenings are mine. propitiation (n.) late 14c., propiciacioun, "atonement, expiation," fr...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology pie
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Q&A How did 'consideration' shift to signify grounds and the act of deliberation, then inducer of a grant or promise?

        The name of Consideration appears only about the beginning of the sixteenth century, and we do not know by what steps it became a settled term of art. The word seems to have gone throug...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How did 'style' signify names of court cases?

Can you please expatiate on ohwilleke's answer? She asseverated My suspicion is that the Latin/French word for a writing instrument ends up being used for the act of using a writing instrument t...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How did 'unless' evolve to mean 'if not'?

[Etymonline:] mid-15c., earlier onlesse, from on lesse (than) "on a less condition (than); see less. The first syllable originally on, but the negative connotation and the lack of stress changed ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How did syn + ek + dekhesthai compound to signify "supply a thought or word; take with something else, join in receiving"?

In particular, the ex- befuddles me, because synekdekhesthai doesn't appear to signify any notion of outness or outwardness! I quote Etymonline. synecdoche (n.) "figure of speech in which a par...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Greek
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Q&A Is the etymology of 'amphigory' semantically related to the English idiom 'go round in circles'?

Any semantic relationship between amphigory amphigory (n.) "burlesque nonsense writing or verse," 1809, from French amphigouri (18c.), which is of unknown origin, perhaps itself a nonsense word...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Greek
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Q&A How did 'equity' semantically broaden to mean 'common shares'?

I ask about its meaning merely for stocks here (not Equity = Assets — Liabilities). See Personal Finance For Canadians For Dummies (2018), p 217. Equity — not to be confused with equity in real ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology finance
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Q&A How did "bail" shift to signify "money deposited as a guarantee when released"?

I fail to understand this etymology for bail (n.1), particularly the first paragraph. [3.] "bond money, security given to obtain the release of a prisoner," late 15c., a sense that apparently de...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Ullallulloo‭

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Q&A How did 'equity' semantically shift to signify 'Assets — Liabilities'?

Here I ask merely ask about Equity = Assets — Liabilities here, not its meaning as stock. 1. Why was 'equity' was adopted to describe this difference? equity: In the real-estate world, this ter...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How did « histoire », in « histoire de/que », semantically shift to signify "in order to/that"?

This French StackExchange post merely paraprhased "histoire de/que" as afin de / afin que, meaning pour / pour que — all this can be translated as "in order to/that" in English. But nobody in fact...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology French
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Q&A How did "re" + "join" semantically compound to mean "riposte"?

In French, « joindre » means "to join". What semantic notions underlie « joindre » with the 2020 English "rejoin", which means to riposte? How did rejoindre shift to signify the 2020 English "rej...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How did “-able” semantically shift to mean “requiring”?

Etymonline on "-able" doesn't expound the origin of "requiring". -able common termination and word-forming element of English adjectives (typically based on verbs) and generally adding a notion...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

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Q&A How does "drive out" shift to signify "weigh out"?

I boldened the relevant parts of the quotations, so that you don't have to read all of the quotations. I'm untrained at metaphors! How did "drive out" develop the metaphor of "weigh out"? exact ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A What's the semantic field of "putare"?

What SINGLE bigger picture and base meaning relates, bestrides, and underlies all 9 of putare's superficially UNrelated, but multitudinous, meanings below? Oxford Latin Dictionary (2012 2 ed), ...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How did 'repraesentāre' semantically shift to signify 'standing in the place of another'?

To wit, how does "present again, bring back" (in repraesentāre) semantically appertain to the notion of 'standing in the place of another'? represent [14] English borrowed represent from Latin...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How did 'folding back' semantically shift to mean 'reply'?

To wit, how does the notion of "folding back" semantically appertain to "respond"? reply [14] Etymologically, reply means ‘fold back’. It comes ultimately from Latin replicāre ‘fold back, unf...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by PSTH‭  ·  edited 1y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology Latin

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