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

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How's “drag” (tractāre) semantically related to “handle, deal with, discuss”?

How exactly did tractāre branch out "metaphorically to ‘handle, deal with, discuss’"? How does "dragging" semantically appertain to ‘handle, deal with, discuss’? Dragging connotes phy...

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

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How did 'in-' + 'putare' compound to mean 'to attribute, credit to'?

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 ...

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

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How does the original meaning of “but” (“outside”) relate to its current 2021 meanings?

How do the principal 2021 meanings of "but" relate, if any, to its original meaning of "outside"? E.g. how does "no more than; only" appertain to "outside"? CONJUNCTION Used to introduce ...

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

Question etymology
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Q&A Why did David Ricardo coin "rent", to signify income from a factor of production that exceeds the minimum amount necessary (to beget that factor of production)?

At the time that Ricardo (1772-1823) coined "rent", did "rent" already signify Modern English's lay meaning of 'rent' (tenant's regular payment to a landlord for the use of property or land)? ...

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

Question etymology English
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Q&A How did "as" amass all its confusing "broad and vague meanings"?

as. Do not use the conjunction as when you mean “since,” “because,” “when,” or “while.” Its broad and vague meanings can create confusion. For example, As a potential work stoppage threatened to ...

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

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Q&A How did 'forfeit' shift to signify ‘penalty imposed for committing such a misdeed'?

I don't understand this semantic shift, because a misdeed differs from a penalty or "something to which the right is lost through a misdeed". Can someone please fill in the gap? forfeit [13] ...

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

Question etymology
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Q&A How did 'solicit' semantically shift to signify ‘manage affairs’?

I don't understand the semantic shift from sollicitāre ‘disturb, agitate’ to the meaning of "manage affairs", probably because "disturb, agitate" pejoratively connotes discontentment and upheaval, ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology
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Q&A Why “chose” in action? Why not “right/droit” in action?

Chose (in action) this can be translated as ‘thing in action’. It is an intangible right which is essentially a right to sue. JC Smith's The Law of Contract 2021 3 ed, p 476. Law French us...

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

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Q&A Why do the most spoken human languages in 2021 greet with words related to health or peace?

Why do most Asian, Middle Eastern and European languages greet with words anent health or peace? I know that "salutation" itself meant "health". salute [14] Salute goes back ultimately to ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How did “negotiable” mean “a good or security whose ownership is easily transferable”?

I knew merely the first most popular meaning of negotiate. I never knew this second legal meaning A document of an amount of money, or a title, which is readily transferable to another. Diff...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How did "join issue" mean ‘jointly submit a disputed matter to the decision of the court’?

Kindly see the embolded phrase below. Etymonline is written too abstrusely. issue [13] The words issue and exit are closely related etymologically. Both go back ultimately to the Latin v...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A How did "put under" shift to signify "cause to take the place of", then "enough"?

How did "put under" shift to signify "cause to take the place of"? Then how did "cause to take the place of" shift to signify "enough"? sufficient [14] _Sufficient _originated ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A How did 'quibus?' shift to mean 'evasion of a point at issue'?

quibble [17] _Quibble _probably originated as a rather ponderous learned joke-word. It is derived from an earlier and now obsolete _quib _‘pun’, which appears to have been based on quibus...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology Latin
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Q&A Please expound and simplify the semantic progression behind "reduce"?

I don't understand the "semantic progression" that I emboldened below. The steps in the "semantic progression" feel too farfetched and unconnected. Can someone please fill in, and expound, the ste...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A How did kúklos ("circular") shift to signify "general"?

encyclopedia [16] Etymologically, encyclopedia means ‘general education’. It is a medieval formation, based on the Greek phrase egkúklios paideíā (egkúklios, a compound adjective formed ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology Greek
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Q&A Why are service or maintenance contracts called 'warranties', when they aren't Legal Warranties?

The term 'warranty' is used to distinguish between a term (warranty) and a mere representation, and also to distinguish between terms that give no right to termination upon breach (warranties) an...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology English
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Q&A How can "lemma" be translated as "rede-ship" with merely Germanic etymons?

Attempts to fashion a purer form of literary English can be seen in the poetry of Edmund Spenser in the 16th century and William Barnes in the 19th century. Barnes’ arguments against borrowing ...

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

Question etymology
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Q&A What did the etymons of “on by + out, over, up” mean?

What did the etymons of "on by out", "on by up", "on by over" mean? Why did Old English tack and jam these different prepositions together? E.g. didn't ufan alone mean "above"? Why prefix...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭

Question etymology
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Q&A Expound and simplify the "semantic progression" behind "must"?

I don't understand the "semantic progression" that I emboldened. The steps in the "semantic progression" feel farfetched and unconnected to me. Can someone please fill in, and elaborate, the steps...

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

Question etymology English
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Q&A How does backwardation semantically relate to "backward"?

What semantic notions underlie any sense of 'backwardness' (like "backward" or "backwards"), with the meaning of 'backwardation' below? Etymonline overlooked this term. OED is too brusque and doesn...

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

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Q&A What explains Arabic "Greater Etymology"?

This article discusses "Greater Etymology" (الاشتقاق الكبير) in Arabic, which "recognizes the common meanings words with different base letters share," as opposed to "Lesser Etymology" (or morpholo...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by user53100‭  ·  edited 2y ago by user53100‭

Question etymology
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Q&A Etymology of "ohyra"?

I'm wondering about the origin of the Swedish word ohyra (vermin). Someone humorously suggested that this would be because vermin are unwanted guests not paying rent (hyra), though they had no sour...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Lundin‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by tommi‭

Question etymology Swedish
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie "gasket" with "little gird, maidservant"?

I see that Etymonline warns of gasket's uncertain origin, but I still pine to understand this possible etymology. I know little about sailing, and Wikipedia annunciates: gaskets are lengths of r...

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

Question etymology
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Q&A What semantic notions underlie 'privity' with 'privity of contract'?

The OED 3 ed, June 2007 defines b. privity of contract n. the limitation of a contractual relationship to the two parties making the contract, which prevents any action at law by an interested...

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

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

I ask about Equity = Assets — Liabilities here, not its meaning as stock. See Personal Finance For Canadians For Dummies (2018), p 468. equity: In the real-estate world, this term refers to the...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by PSTH‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A Etymology of "son of a gun"

What's the origin of the expression "son of a gun"? This comic explains a possible origin: British Navy used to allow women on naval ships, and any child born on board who had uncertain paternity ...

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

Question etymology English
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Q&A How did 'the better to —' semantically shift to mean 'So as to — better'?

I screenshot Collins and Lexico. Let's treat this like a math problem. How exactly does "the better to —" = 'So as to — better'? Please show all steps between these two expressions.

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

Question etymology
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Q&A What does "unused root" mean?

Often when I search for the origins and meanings of certain words in Tanach, I'll come across something like Strong's saying that it's from or probably from an "unused root". For example: What e...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Harel13‭  ·  edited 2y ago by msh210‭

Question Hebrew etymology
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Q&A Using adjectives that are related to taste for describing emotions

You might have seen that most of the adjectives that are related to taste are used to describe emotions. It is very common. Salty, sour, sweet, bitter etc. We use these adjectives to describe peopl...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Melancholy‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

Question etymology
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Q&A What is the origin (etymology) of the word مسدس (pistol)?

In Arabic the word مُسَدَّس refers to pistol when an arm is meant (see here on wikipedia). But it also refers to a hexagon (see here on wikipedia) -also سداسي أضلاع or سداسي- as it is a description...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Medi1saif‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Moshi‭

Question etymology Arabic
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Q&A Why is “timbre” pronounced “tamber”?

One thing that’s always bothered me about the musical term timbre is its pronunciation. The word begs to be pronounced “timber,” yet it’s widely pronounced “tamber” instead. I understand the etymol...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by DonielF‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user8078‭

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Q&A Whence אֶת between partners' names?

The word אֶת /et/ is used with the following meanings: In Biblical Hebrew, it means "with". In modern Hebrew it survives, but only with a complement-of-the-preposition pronoun suffix: "with me", ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by David‭

Question Hebrew etymology

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