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Synonyms of the New Testament :: Richard C. Trench

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Some Etymological Notes

By A. L. Mayhew, M.A.

Note 1

The German ‘duom’ or ‘domus.’

The modern German form is Dom, which is used in the sense of a cathedral church, the church in which is placed the bishop’s throne. The ordinary Old High German form was tuom, which is not a native German word but a word borrowed from ecclesiastical Latin. Both G. Dom and OHG. tuom represent the Latin domus used in the sense of ‘domus dei.’ See Kluge’s Etym. Dict.

Note 2

The author, in dealing with ἀνάθημα and ἀνάθεμα, gives seom instances of a word separating into two forms in consequences of what was at first a mere variety of pronunciation, which two forms in course of time acquire distinctive meanings, and are looked upon as independent words. From these instances we must set aside ‘rechtlich’ and ‘redlich,’ which are of course words of radically distinct origin. These two forms ‘fray’ and ‘frey’ never acquire a distinct meaning; in fact the form ‘frey’ no longer exists.

Note 3

‘Wiessagen’ and ‘wahrsagen’

These words are contrasted by the author, but it must not be supposed that the -sagen in both verbs is sagen (to say). German weissagen, Old High German wîssagôn, is derived from wîzzago (a prophet); compare O.E. witga (a prophet). On the other hand, German wahrsagen is connected with Old Saxon wâr sago (lit. sooth-sayer).

Note 4


The δοῦλος . . . is properly the ‘bond-man,’ from δέω, ‘ligo.’

This derivation is now given up by comparative philologists. Gr. δέω represents *δε-ιω (compare Sanskrit dyati) from a root dē, to bind; see Brugmann’s Gram. ii. § 707. It would be impossible to bring the δου- of δοῦλος into connexion with an original root dē. The etymology of δοῦλος is unknown. See Prellwitz, Etym. Dict. (s. vv. δέω, δοῦλος).

Note 5

θεραπεύειν . . . connected with ‘faveo,’ ‘foveo,’ θάλπω.

It is utterly impossible that any of these four words can have any etymological connexion with one another. They correspond neither in form nor in meaning. They are all four difficult words of very obscure derivation.

Note 6

διάκονος . . . is probably from the same root as have given us διώκω, ‘to hasten after.’

No comparative philologist would now accept this etymology. The formation of διάκονος from διώκω is not supported by analogy, no instance occurring of the suffix -ονο- being added to a present verbal stem. The α for ω is not accounted for. Besides this the sense of the two words do not agree—pursuit and service being very different things. The etymology of διάκονος is unknown.

Note 7

Latin verna identical with the Gothic bairn.

The Gothic form is barn (not bairn) and is quite distinct etymologically from the Latin verna. Barn (a child) is derived from the root ber, appearing in O.E. beran, Goth. bairan (to bear). Lat. verna (a slave born in the house) is derived from the root ves (Indo-European wes), to dwell; see Brugmann, ii. § 66. From the same root wes we find Lat. vesta, Gr. ἑστία, a hearth.

Note 8

For (Godel) read (Godet).

Note 9

πόντος . . . being connected with βάθος, βυθός, βένθος, perhaps the same word as this last.

Of these four words the only two that are etymologically connected are βάθος and βένθος. These two have nothing in the world to do with βυθός, and the word πόντος stands quite apart from all these three.

πόντος (the sea) is probably related to Sanskrit panthan, path, way (cp. ὑγρὰ κέλευθα), Lat. pons (pont-), from an Indo-European root pont (to come, to go); see Prellwitz, Etym. Dict.

Note 10

‘Sloes austere.’

These words occur in Cowper’s Task, i. 122.

See New Eng. Dict. (s. v. austere). It may be noted that αὐστηρός is closely related to our word sear (O.E. sėar), meaning properly ‘dry.’ They are both derived from a root saus, cp. Lithuanian sausas, dry.

Note 11

‘Imago’ == ‘imitago.’

This question may mislead the student; he may think that the author intends to say that ‘imago’ is a contraction of and identical with ‘*imitago’ etymologically. Doubtless Dr. Trench merely intended to say that ‘imago’ and the verb ‘imitor’ were from the same root im. This im may perhaps be for mim; compare Gr. μιμ-εῖσθαι; see Roby’s Lat. Gram. § 845.

Note 12

The etymology of ἀσέλγεια (1) from Selge, a city of Pisidia . . . ; (2) from θέλγειν, probably the same word as the German ‘schwelgen.’

There is no scientific value to be attached to any of these etymological conjectures. The comparison of ἀσέλγεια with θέλγειν is phonetically impossible, as is that of θέλγειν with German ‘schwelgen.’ The etymology of ἀσέλγεια is really quite unknown. Some etymologists fancy that the element σελ is from a root swell (to swell); see Prellwitz, Etym. Dict. p. 278.

Note 13

Βόσκειν, the Latin ‘pascere,’ is simply ‘to feed.’

The student must not suppose that this is an etymology; the two words are not related to one another. Gr. βόσκειν has been supposed to be for βόρσκειν, root βορ + suffix σκω, cp. βορά, food, Lat. vorare; see Brugmann, Gram. § 432.

Lat. pasco is from a root pa, to protect, feed; whence Eng. food.

Note 14

Ζωή, as some will have it, being nearly connected with ἄω, ἄημι, to breathe the breath of life.

Greek ζωή is now generally connected by comparative philogists with βίος, both words being derived from an Indo-European root gwei; see Brugmann, Gram. ii. § 737, and Prellwitz, Etym. Dict. pp. 46, 110. For the ζ from a velar guttural, cp. νίζω from root neig.

Note 15

The scientific term ‘Biology’ was invented by Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus, born in Bremen, 1776. He studied in Göttingen, and his chief work was Biologie oder Philosophie der lebenden Nature, Göttingen, 6 vols. 1802-1822. See Pierers’ Conv. Lexikon.

Note 16

The derivation of ἀλαζών from ἄλη (a wandering about) has nothing to recommend it; it fails to account for the latter part of the word, -αζων, and there is no connexion between ‘bragging’ and ‘wandering about.’

Note 17

On the relation between the two verbs defoul and defile see New Eng. Dict. There has been confusion in the case of defile between the Old French defouler (to trample down) and Old English fylan (to befoul) from fūl (foul).

Note 18

‘Spurcare’ (itself probably connected with ‘porcus’).

This suggestion has nothing to recommend it; the stem-vowels of the two words do not correspond.

Note 19

Λατρεύειν allied . . . perhaps to λεία, ληΐς.

Gr. λεία, Doric λαία for λᾱFίᾱ, should rather be placed with ἀπολαύω, cp. Latin lucrum; see Bréal’s Lat. Dict., and Prellwitz, Etym. Dict.

Note 20

Λεῖτος == δημόσιος.

The Gr. λεῖτος does not mean ‘public,’ but ‘an offering, a service.’ Λειτουργός  means ‘one who undertook for the State a public service.’ See the account of the word in Prellwitz, p. 182.

Note 21

Πένης connected with . . . the Latin ‘penuria.’

These two words are probably of distinct origin.

Πένης is probably (as stated in the text) connected with πόνος. M. Bréal says that we have in ‘penuria’ a substantive formed from an old desiderative *penurio, to be in need of provisions, from penus, provisions; penus is probably connected with penes, in the power of; so Bréal, and Brugmann, Gram. ii. § 132.

Note 22

עֵבֶר the same word as ὑπέρ.

The author no doubt got this surprising equation from Gesenius. It is hardly necessary nowadays to point out that it is quite impossible to connect Indo-European prepositions with Semitic ones.

Note 23

‘Demuth,’ born . . . in the heathen period of the language . . . and only under the influences of Christianity attained to its present position of honour.

Kluge (s.v. Demuth) says that neither the word nor the conception belonged to the heathen period of the language. Both the word and the idea came into the old German language with Christianity.

Note 24

‘Robber,’ from ‘Raub,’ booty.

Our word ‘robber’ is the Anglo-Norman robbere, cp. Old French robeör, a word derived from Old High German roub (mod. G. Raub), booty. See Kluge’s Etym. Dict.

Note 25

Φῶς and φέγγος, which are quite different forms of one and the same word.

These two words are quite distinct: φῶς is the same word as the Sanskrit bhas, light.

Φέγγος may be derived from an Indo-European type (s)phengos. Prellwitz gives some Lithuanian forms in which the initial s- is retained.

Note 26

The German ‘Aberglaube’ == ‘Ueberglaube.’

Kluge (s.v.) shows that the prefix in ‘Aberglaube’ is quite distinct from the preposition über. The same element occurs in M. H. G. aberlist; Germ. Abergunst, Abername, Aberwille, Aberwandel, Aberwitz. The word occurs in Alberus in the year 1540; he distinguishes ‘diffidentia’ (Missglaub) from ‘superstitio’ (Aberglaub).

Note 27

Καίρος, derived from κείρω, as ‘tempus’ from ‘temno.’

These derivations are no longer believed in by Greek and Latin grammarians. The etymologies of καίρος and ‘tempus’ are unknown. Kluge (s. v. weil) with praiseworthy hesitation suggests that καίρος may be from the same root as while, Goth. hweila, time.

Note 28

Κόσμος connected with κόμειν, ‘comere,’ ‘comptus.’

It is impossible to connect κόσμος with these words, because the σ of κοσ- is thus left without explanation. Prellwitz and Brugmann agree in connecting κόσμος with Sanskrit çamsati (he praises), and Lat. censere (to pass judgment on).

Note 29

We must reject the etymology of αἰών which Aristotle propounds: ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀεὶ εἶναι εἰληφὼς τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν.

The fact is that Aristotle’s etymology is accepted by comparative philologists; see Prellwitz, Brugmann, i. § 96, Kluge (s.v. Ehe), Bréal (s.v. oevum).

Note 30

‘World’ == whirled.

It is a pity that this absurd guess should have found a place even in a foot-note. The etymology of ‘world’ given by Dr. Trench from Pott is perfectly correct.

Note 31

Κῶμος . . . is the Latin ‘comissatio,’ which, as it hardly needs to observe, is connected with κωμάζειν.

Cōmissor, mot emprunté au grec. Le primitive est κῶμος "festin." Les formations en issare, assez maladroitement imitées des verbes grecs en ιζω, étaient fréquentes dans le latin du temps d’Ennius et de Plaute. On avait, par example, badissare == βαδίζω, patrissare == πατρίζω, atticissare == ἀττικίζω, &c. Comissor est un des rares verbes qui ont survécu dans le latin classique; la forme greque employee par les auteurs n’est pas κωμίζω mais κωμάζω.’—Bréal.

Note 32

Gr. ἁμαρτία is no doubt connected with the verb ἁμαρτάνω. Brugmann (see Gram. ii. § 682) says that ἁμαρτάνω is probably from -μαρ-το-, -μβρα-το-, ‘without share of,’ connected with μέρος μόρος. He quotes the gloss ἀμαρεῖν · ἁμαρτάνειν (Hesychius).

Note 33

Ψαλμός, from ψάω.

These words are quite unconnected etymologically, and are far apart from one another in meaning. See Prellwitz on the two words. The verb ψάλλω is from an Indo-European root sphal, cp. Sanskrit sphalati. The verb ψάω, ‘I rub,’ is supposed by Prellwitz to be from a root bhas.

Note 34

Θήρ, which in its AEolic form φήρ reappears as the Latin ‘fera,’ and in its more usual shape in the German ‘Thier’ and in our own ‘deer.’

The older forms of ‘Thier’ and ‘deer’ prove conclusively that these words have no connexion whatever with the Greek θήρ. The Germanic forms point to an Indo-European ground-form dheuso-, which shows a difference from θήρ (φήρ) both in stem-vowel and in the two radical consonants. See Kluge (s.v. Tier) and Prellwitz (s.v. Θήρ).

Note 35

Φαύλος cannot possibly be connected with the German faul, our foul.

Such an equation shows an utter disregard to Grimm’s law.

‘Schlecht’ and ‘schlicht’ in German are not merely different spellings of the same word. The difference in spelling goes back for its origin to the working of a phonetic law in primitive Germanic. The fact is, ‘schlecht’ and ‘schlicht’ are not forms of precisely the same word. See Kluge.

Note 36

Καθαρός, connected with the Latin ‘castus,’ with the German ‘heiter.’

These words have absolutely no connexion with one another. The German heiter, Old English hador, point to an Indo-European root kait-, which in Greek would be represented by καιτ- (not καθ-).

Note 37

Ἱερός, probably the same word as the German ‘hehr.’

The German hehr goes back to a base haira, and is probably radically related to ‘heiter’ (see previous note). This presupposes an Indo-European root kai-. German ‘hehr’ cannot, therefore, have anything to do with Greek ἱερός, which is related to Sanskrit ishira-; see Brugmann, Gram. ii. § 74.

Note 38

Ἅγιος, ἁγνός . . . have in common that root ἁγ, reappearing as the Lating ‘sac’ in ‘sacer.’

Comparative philologists connect this Greek root ἁγ- with Sanskrit yaj, ‘to honour a god’; see Brugmann, Gram. ii. § 140. If this comparison holds good, there can, of course, be no connexion with the Latin ‘sac.’

Note 39

νέφας, νέφος, γνόφος, and ζόφος, a group of words . . . perhaps only different shapes of what was once a single word.

This could no longer be held by the best modern scholars.

Note 40

Καλός, affirmed to be of the same descent as the German ‘heil,’ as our own ‘whole.’

Their relationship is no longer held by modern scholars. The vocalisation  of the Germanic words renders any connexion with καλός impossible. See Kluge (s.v. heil.).

A.L.M.

Oxford:

May 28, 1895.

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