List of English words of Etruscan origin

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This is a list of English words that may be of Etruscan origin, and were borrowed through Latin, often via French. The Etruscan origin of most of these words is disputed, and some may be of Indo-European or other origin. The question is made more complex by the fact that the Etruscans borrowed many Greek words in modified form. Typically if a Latin word has an unknown, uncertain or disputed origin, it is considered a possible candidate for deriving in whole or in part from an Etruscan word; however, native Etruscan must then be distinguished from Greek. If no Etruscan word is clearly identifiable sometimes an attempt is made to reconstruct one. Etruscan derivations therefore are highly variable in probability; that is, some are highly speculative and others more likely.

List[edit]

ace 
from Middle English aas, from Old French as, from Latin as, "a whole, a unit, copper coin", possibly Etruscan. As was a Roman coin and was also a unit of weight equal to about one troy pound.[1]
antenna 
from antenna<antemna, "yard-arm, sail." Possibly Etruscan *antithemna>*ant(th)emna from Greek ανάτηθήμένος anatithēmenos, something set up.[2]
arena 
from arēna "arena"<harēna, "arena, sand"<archaic hasēna<Sabine fasēna, unknown Etruscan word as the basis for fas- with Etruscan ending -ēna.[3]
autumn 
from autumnus "autumn." Just as Etruscan veltha, an earth god, appears as Latin Vola or Olta and is in Voltumna and Vertumnus, so the parallel construction autumnus ought to come from Etruscan autu-, related to avil, "year": *av(i)-to-m(e)nos, with loss of the l. There are some names with both l and t: avlethaium, authnal, avtle, and so on, which appear related to autu or auta in Venetic, the idea being that autumn signifies the passing of the year.[4]
belt 
from balteus, "sword belt." The sole connection between this word and Etruscan is a statement by Marcus Terentius Varro that it was of Etruscan origin. All else is speculation.[5]
catamite 
Latin, from Etruscan catmite, from the Ancient Greek Ganymede, cupbearer to Zeus.
ceremony 
oldest form cærimonia, obscure, perhaps Etruscan [6]
cup 
defenestration 
element 
from elementum, 'letter'
fenestra 
histrionic 
from histrionicus, from histrio, "actor"
mantissa 
market 
military 
Etruscan or perhaps related to Greek homilos, "assembled crowd" (compare homily)[7]
mundane 
from mundus, 'earth', from munth, 'land'
mutule 
palace, palate One of the seven hills of Rome. Either from Latin palus "stake" or the Etruscan shepherd goddess Pales[8]
people 
Unknown, possibly Etruscan.[9]
person 
from Middle English persone, from Old French persone, from Latin persona, "mask", probably from Etruscan phersu, "mask".[10]
satellite 
from Latin satelles, meaning "bodyguard, attendant", perhaps from Etruscan satnal.
scurrilous 
Serge (first name)
serve 
from servus, 'a slave'
spurious 
style
from stilus (indirectly)
vernacular 
from vernaculus, 'domestic', from verna, 'a native slave'
viburnum
vulture from Latin.


References[edit]

  1. ^ American Heritage Dictionary, New College Edition (1976), page 76
  2. ^ Breyer (1993) pp. 174–175.
  3. ^ Breyer (1993) p. 259.
  4. ^ Breyer (1993) pp 412–413.
  5. ^ Parker & Son, John William (1852). Varronianus: A Critical and Historical Introduction to the Ethnography of Ancient Italy and to the Philological Study of the Latin Language (2 ed.). London, Cambridge: J. W. p. 154.  Breyer (1993) pp 428–429 reports on an attempt to bring in Hittite and Gothic connecting it with a totally speculative root *-lst-.
  6. ^ "L. cærimonia "holiness, sacredness; awe; reverent rite, sacred ceremony," an obscure word, possibly of Etruscan origin, or a reference to the ancient rites performed by the Etruscan pontiffs at Caere" http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ceremony
  7. ^ "military (adj.)", On Line Etymological Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=military&allowed_in_frame=0
  8. ^ palace (n.), On Line Etymological Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=palace&searchmode=none
  9. ^ people (n.), On Line Etymological Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=people&searchmode=none
  10. ^ American Heritage Dictionary, New College Edition, page 978

Bibliography[edit]

  • Breyer, Gertraud (1993). Etruskisches Sprachgut im Lateinischen unter Ausschluss des spezifisch onomastischen Bereiches (in German). Peeters Publishers. ISBN 9068313355, 9789068313352. 

See also[edit]