|This Dictionary carries the etymology of the English language to its
logical and natural conclusion, for if the documentary history of words is
of interest and value, so is their reconstructed prehistory. The
historical component is given in the etymologies, after the definitions in
the main body of the Dictionary. This Appendix supplies the prehistoric
component, tracing the ultimate Indo-European derivations of those English
words that are descended from a selected group of Indo-European roots.
| In the Appendix, the form given in
boldface type at the head of each entry is, unless otherwise
identified, an Indo-European root in its basic form. The basic root form
is followed in some cases by one or more variants, also in boldface type.
Then the basic reconstructed meaning or meanings of the root are given
(but see the cautionary note under “Semantics” in the preceding essay, page 2011).
Meanings that are different parts of speech are separated by a semicolon:
To lie; bed, couch; beloved, dear.|
| pel-2 Flat; to spread.|
| leg- To
collect; with derivatives meaning “to
| After the basic meaning there may
appear further information about the phonological shape or nature of the
| skei- To cut,
split. Extension of sek-.|
| kwmi- Worm. Rhyme word to *wmi-, worm (see
| p- To protect, feed. Oldest form *pe2-, colored to *pa2-, contracted to *p-.|
| [lk- Body, form; like, same. Germanic
| Most, but not all, of the
additional information is self-explanatory. In the first two examples, the
boldface forms sek- and wer-2 are
cross-references to those roots, which are main entries in this Appendix.
Every boldface form appearing in the text of an entry is such a
cross-reference. In the example p- the forms *pe2-, *pa2-, and *p- represent older root forms; the nature of these
changes is explained in the preceding essay under “Speech
Sounds and Their Alternations” (page 2009). The entries lk- and re- are not, strictly speaking,
Indo-European, since they are represented in only one branch of the
family, but they are included, within boldface brackets, because of the
number of English words among their descendants.
| The text of each entry describes
in detail the development of Modern English words from the root. Each
numbered section of an entry begins with a list, in SMALL
CAPITALS, of the Modern English words derived from a particular
form of the root. (This list may be preceded by an intermediate step; see
further below.) The simple (uncompounded) derivatives are given first; the
compounds follow, separated from them by a semicolon. In some cases no
further semantic or morphological development needs to be explained, and
the lemma, the historically attested representative of the root, is
given next, as avis at the entry awi-:
| awi- Bird.
I. 1. AVIAN, AVIARY, AVIATION;
AVICULTURE, AVIFAUNA, BUSTARD, OCARINA, OSPREY,
OSTRICH, from Latin avis,
| Much more commonly, however,
intermediate developments require explanation. These intermediate stages
are reconstructions representing a word stem in Indo-European that is
necessary to explain the lemma following it (see the section “Grammatical
Forms and Syntax” in the preceding essay, page
2010). The reconstructed forms are not historically attested; they are
preceded by an asterisk (*) to note this fact. Sometimes earlier or later
developments of the intermediate forms are given in parentheses, as in the
example of st- below. In these cases the symbol < is used to
mean “derived from” and the symbol > is used to mean “developed into.”
Intermediate stages that are in fact attested (such as the stages between
Latin avis and English BUSTARD in the example
above) are usually not given in the Appendix, but in the etymology of the
word in the main vocabulary of the Dictionary. The following terms are
used to describe typical morphological processes of Indo-European:
| Full-grade form: A form
with e-vocalism (the basic form); so identified for descriptive
| O-grade form: A form with
| dhers- O-grade
form *dhors- . .
| Zero-grade form: A form
I. Zero-grade form *m-.|| 9|
| Lengthened-grade form: A
form with lengthened vocalism:
| ked- 1.
Lengthened-grade form *kd-.|| 10|
| Secondary full-grade form:
A new full-grade form created by inserting the fundamental vowel e
in the zero-grade form of an extended root:
| st- . . . V. Zero-grade extended root
*st- (< *stu-). . . . VI. Secondary full-grade
form *steu-.|| 11|
| Basic form: The unchanged
root; so identified for descriptive contrast.
| Suffixed form: A form with
one or more suffixes, written with an internal hyphen:
| laks- Suffixed
| maghu- Suffixed
1. Suffixed (comparative) form
| Prefixed form: A form with
a prefix, written with an internal hyphen:
| op- . . .
6. . . . from prefixed form *co-op- . .
| Extended form: A form with
an extension or enlargement, written without internal hyphens:
. . . II. Extended form *pel2-.|| 15|
| Nasalized form: A form with
a nasal infix, written with internal hyphens:
| tag- 1.
| Reduplicated form: A form
prefixed by its own initial consonant followed by a vowel:
| segh- . . .
6. Reduplicated form
| Expressive form: A form
with “expressive gemination” (doubling of the final consonant), written
without internal hyphens:
| gal- . . .
3. Expressive form
| Compound form: A form
compounded with a form of another root, written with internal hyphens:
| dem- . . .
3. Compound form *dems-pot- . .
| Shortened form: A form with
| sy- . . . III. Suffixed shortened
| Reduced form: A form with
loss of one or more sounds:
| ambhi 1.
| Oldest root form: A root
form showing a laryngeal () in a position, typically at the beginning or end of
a root, where it is preserved in only a few Indo-European languages, such
as Greek or Hittite:
Star. Oldest form *2ster-.|| 22|
| Variant form: A form
altered in any way other than those described in the above categories:
| deru- . . .
2. Variant form
| These terms can be combined freely
to describe in as much detail as necessary the development from the root
to the lemma.
| dh(i)- 1. Suffixed reduced form
*dh-mn-. FEMALE, FEME, FEMININE;
EFFEMINATE, from Latin fmina, woman (< “she who
| ger-1 1. Suffixed
lengthened-grade form *gr-s-. AGERATUM,
GERIATRICS, from Greek gras, old age.|
| pet- . . . 2. Suffixed (stative)
variant zero-grade form *pat--. PATENT, PATULOUS,
from Latin patre, to be
| In order to emphasize the fact
that English belongs to the Germanic branch of Indo-European and give
precedence to directly inherited words in contrast to words borrowed from
other branches, the intermediate stages in Germanic etymologies are
covered in fuller detail. The Common or Proto-Germanic (here called simply
Germanic) forms underlying English words are always given. Where no other
considerations intervene, Germanic is given first of the Indo-European
groups, and Old English is given first within Germanic, although this
order of precedence is not rigidly applied.
| The final item in most entries is
an abbreviated reference, in brackets, to Julius Pokorny’s
Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch [Indo-European
Etymological Dictionary] (Bern, 1959). This, the standard work of
reference and synthesis in the Indo-European field, carries a full range
of the actual comparative material on which the roots are reconstructed.
Our Appendix presents only those aspects of the material that are directly
relevant to English. For example, the English word MANY is found at the root menegh-, “copious.” This
entry describes the transition of the Indo-European form through Germanic
*managa- to Old English manig, mænig, “many.” It does not
cite the comparative evidence from outside English and Germanic on which
this assertion is based, but it refers to “Pokorny men(e)gh- 730.”
The entry men(e)gh- on page 730 in Pokorny’s dictionary cites, in
addition to the Old English word, the forms attested in Sanskrit, Celtic,
Gothic, Old High German, Old Norse, Slavic, and Lithuanian, from which the
reconstruction of the root was made. These references should serve as a
reminder that the information given in this Appendix is assertive rather
than expository and that the evidence and evaluation upon which its
assertions are based are not presented here.
- * unattested
- < derived from
- > developed into
| Parentheses within a form enclose
sound(s) or letter(s) sometimes or optionally present.