Strange Word Etymologies

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Scoot
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Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Scoot » 2009-02-22, 14:31

I was just thinking about the English word "black", and how it doesn't seem to match the Germanic equivalents which I know of (schwarz, svart, etc.) and nor does it match the Romance equivalents (noir) nor Welsh (du). And so on. So I checked Wiktionary, of course.

From Middle English blak, from Old English blæc. Cognates include blaze', bleach, blond, bald, bale, pale, Latin flagare, to shine, Latin blancus, white, Gothic *removed* (bala), paleness, German erbleichen, bleich, go -, turn pale, German bleichen, bleach and Russian белый, white.


So the English word for "black" actually has more to do with lightness and white things. :shock:

Anyone else know of any weird word etymologies?

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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Mutusen » 2009-02-22, 14:47

Le mot « travail » vient du latin « tripalium », qui désigne un instrument de torture. Et d’après le Wiktionnaire, en ancien français « travail » voulait dire « tourment, souffrance ». (Il a d’ailleurs toujours en partie ce sens, quand on parle du travail de l’accouchement.)

The French word “travail” (work) comes from the Latin word “tripalium”, a torture device. And according to Wiktionary, in Old French, “travail” meant “torment, suffering”. (And it still partly has this meaning, because it also means the labour during the childbirth.)

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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Aleco » 2009-02-22, 14:53

Yeah, I found out about that s couple of weeks ago :P 'Cause in Norwegian blakk is a thin milky to beige color. (blek = pale; å bleke = to bleach; BUT blekk = ink)

Things I found interesting/weird:
vanskelig/vand [hard/tough/troublesome] --> Old Norse vandr [the other way around]
venstre [left (not right)] --> from the word ven meaning friend
krabat [restless baby] --> from the original meaning of Croatian man :lol:
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby loqu » 2009-02-22, 15:05

In Spanish we have perro for dog, whose etymology is rather weird. There are several theories, but the most likely one is that the word comes from the noise the dogs do, prrrrr.

And all that even though we had a Latin word for them, can. It's as if we stopped saying campana (bell) and said tolón instead. :? :lol:
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Tenebrarum » 2009-02-22, 15:12

loqu wrote:the most likely one is that the word comes from the noise the dogs do, prrrrr.

:shock: :shock:

I can't think of any kind of dog doing that :?
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Kuba » 2009-02-22, 15:20

Draven wrote:
loqu wrote:the most likely one is that the word comes from the noise the dogs do, prrrrr.

:shock: :shock:

I can't think of any kind of dog doing that :?

I have to second that. Dogs and bilabial consonats don't go together. "grrrrr", "ghrrrrrr", "rrrrr" - okay. But "prrrrrr"? Never! :nono:
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Dminor » 2009-02-22, 15:20

There are tons. :mrgreen: Like the one of toilet, which originally meant 'piece of cloth'.
Der binne der protten. :mrgreen: Lykas dy fan toilet, wat oarspronklik 'stik klean' betsjutte.

www.etymonline.com wrote:1540, "cover or bag for clothes," from M.Fr. toilette "a cloth, bag for clothes," dim. of toile "cloth, net" (see toil (2)). Sense evolution is to "act or process of dressing" (1681); then "a dressing room" (1819), especially one with a lavatory attached; then "lavatory or porcelain plumbing fixture" (1895), an Amer.Eng. euphemistic use.
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Kuba » 2009-02-22, 15:34

As far as I remember, the Czech word for "to f*ck" comes from one of the Slavic roots for "to search for"... :lol:
Right now I remember only very obvious things like "haftować" (Polish: to embroider) comes from "heften" (German: to tack / sew / stitch) or "*iebheo" (PIE: to enter; don't ask me where to put the small number indeces or shwas) resulting in a common Slavic swearword with the meaning of my very first example in this post, loaned even to Romanian (and Hungarian, I think). But I would be really interested in the etymology of k*rwa/k*rva/к*рва/c*rva, since it has obviously nothing to do with mathematics & geometry...
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Eoghan » 2009-02-22, 15:48

A Swedish, very obscene word describing the vagina is "fitta". Apparently the word comes from an Old Norse word meaning "soft, moist place"...
Image[flag=]sv[/flag] [flag=]en[/flag] [flag=]gd[/flag] [flag=]de[/flag][flag=]ga[/flag] [flag=]fr[/flag] [flag=]pt[/flag] [flag=]nl[/flag] [flag=]it[/flag] [flag=]no-nn[/flag] [flag=]fo[/flag]

Albeit the Scot in me is of the Western stock and the red of the Cairngorms, the heather and the Lewissian gneiss, the Viking in me was there when you uttered the first word of your leid.

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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby axaxaxasz mlö » 2009-02-22, 16:44

krabat [restless baby] --> from the original meaning of Croatian man

The word "cravat" (or in French "cravate") comes from Croatian, too. It is in the first lesson in my Croatian textbook.

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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Trapy » 2009-02-22, 20:21

maybe darkness wasn't as dark as it is now. global warming, and all, might make black look darker than the beige it used to be.

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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby KingHarvest » 2009-02-22, 20:31

Someone just asked this in the Old English discussion topic, and that etymology is completely wrong. The normal form of black in OE was blæc-, but it had an alternative form in poetry that was blāc-, which is sometimes confused with the OE word for "shining white." Black is probably descended from a word that meant "burnt."
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Formiko » 2009-02-22, 20:40

One I thought was cool, was the Navajo word for car chidí
It comes from the sound the old Model T's made when they started up in the morning:
chidí chidí chidí!

The Hopi word for heart is tùn, which comes from the sound of a beating heart:
tun tun, tun tun
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby eskandar » 2009-02-22, 20:56

Kuba wrote:Dogs and bilabial consonats don't go together.

Why not? According to some sites I've seen, they say "bow wow" in English, "bau bau" in Italian, "bjäbb-bjäbb" in Swedish, "bow bow" or "bho bho" in Hindi/Urdu, "mrrr" (growling) in Finnish, "bau bau" in Bulgarian, and "bup bup" in Catalan. All of those begin with bilabial consonants.
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby pittmirg » 2009-02-22, 22:04

loqu wrote:In Spanish we have perro for dog, whose etymology is rather weird. There are several theories, but the most likely one is that the word comes from the noise the dogs do, prrrrr.


In Polish prr means "whoa" (said to a horse) :P Maybe perro is borrowed from some obscure non-IE Iberian language, who knows. I guess such a theory must exist at least.

@Kuba: kurwa from Proto-Slavic *kury (gen. *kurъve), with the same root as in *kurъ. It's been also borrowed by Romanian and Hungarian from surrounding Slavic languages.
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Mulder-21 » 2009-02-23, 3:08

Eoghan wrote:A Swedish, very obscene word describing the vagina is "fitta". Apparently the word comes from an Old Norse word meaning "soft, moist place"...


In Faroese, 'fitta' is an adjective meaning 'cute'...

Off-topic: @wolfox477: Love your avatar. ;)

On-topic:

The Faroese adjective for left-handed 'lámur' apparently comes from Irish láimh (or something similar to that), which means 'hand'.

Also, the original Faroese word for a 'negro' is/was 'blámaður' (blueman).

OK, maybe these aren't that strange (well maybe since they are 2 Celtic words), but I'll find some others.
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Eoghan » 2009-02-23, 4:46

Mulder-21 wrote:
Eoghan wrote:A Swedish, very obscene word describing the vagina is "fitta". Apparently the word comes from an Old Norse word meaning "soft, moist place"...


In Faroese, 'fitta' is an adjective meaning 'cute'...

Off-topic: @wolfox477: Love your avatar. ;)

On-topic:

The Faroese adjective for left-handed 'lámur' apparently comes from Irish láimh (or something similar to that), which means 'hand'.

Also, the original Faroese word for a 'negro' is/was 'blámaður' (blueman).

OK, maybe these aren't that strange (well maybe since they are 2 Celtic words), but I'll find some others.


That is so cool! I knew Irish monks went to the Faroes and Iceland so it's cool to see that the Gaelic language has affected the Faroese language :)
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Albeit the Scot in me is of the Western stock and the red of the Cairngorms, the heather and the Lewissian gneiss, the Viking in me was there when you uttered the first word of your leid.

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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Aleco » 2009-02-23, 5:48

About the dog barking/sounds, I say [bf̩] whenever I want to imitate my dog ;)
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby Tukkumminnguaq » 2009-02-23, 6:10

eskandar wrote:
Kuba wrote:Dogs and bilabial consonats don't go together.

Why not? According to some sites I've seen, they say "bow wow" in English, "bau bau" in Italian, "bjäbb-bjäbb" in Swedish, "bow bow" or "bho bho" in Hindi/Urdu, "mrrr" (growling) in Finnish, "bau bau" in Bulgarian, and "bup bup" in Catalan. All of those begin with bilabial consonants.


Well, so Inuit/Yupik and Aleut are isolated because not related this word for 'bow wow' or any those dog's sounds..

Our dogs sounds is

Bow wow/bark
Qihluxs [Aleut]
Qiluk [Yupik/Inuit']

Growl, grrr
Qiniq/Ugik [All of Eskaleut]

hiss
saqaq! or haqaq! [Inuit dialects]

Dog/wolf's howl

Hwaadal (Aleut)
Maruaq (Yupik)
Maguq/Marruuq/Miaguq/Miaq (Inuit dialects)

expect Wolf sounds 'Amaruq'

so does those are isolated?
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Re: Strange Word Etymologies

Postby voron » 2009-02-23, 14:47

pittmirg wrote:@Kuba: kurwa from Proto-Slavic *kury (gen. *kurъve), with the same root as in *kurъ. It's been also borrowed by Romanian and Hungarian from surrounding Slavic languages.


... which means 'a cock' (BSC also has a related "kurac" with the meaning membrum virile).


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