Questions tagged [étymologie]

Questions sur l'origine des mots et leur dérivation depuis des racines venues du latin, du grec et d'autres langues.

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Why does "enceinte" mean both "pregnant" and "speaker"?

I just came across the phrase "enceinte bluetooth", which caught me off-guard, since I had only heard the word "enceinte" to mean "pregnant". Why do these ideas share a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
54 views

Why does « action » mean (corporate) shares, when English "action" doesn't?

To unburden me from punctuation marks, I highlight in gray action to refer to the English noun. action in bold italics refers to the French feminine noun. action share some meanings with action. One ...
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"Le" in French family names

What is the origin of (p)article "le" in some of French family names (Lelaure, Lelandais, Leclerc)? As far as I understand, "de" in family names usually originates from the name of ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Why is the 'pas' in n'importe quoi dropped?

As an A2 level learner in a foreign country, we were taught that it is imperative to keep the 'pas' in negations, and it's okay to drop the 'ne' in spoken French. But, I observe that the case is ...
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1 vote
2 answers
109 views

Are there folk terms for "spider"?

I was remarking that the French word for spider, araignée, seems awfully technical and cumbersome compared to "spider". I'm sure native speakers don't perceive it as such, but to me it only ...
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4 votes
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Comment odyssée a pris la signification de voyage/aventure ?

Odyssée est le nom grec et Ulysse le nom latin du héros. Il m'apparait alors bien étrange qu'en français (et d'autres langues) odyssée veuille dire voyage ou aventure, et que le titre de l'œuvre soit &...
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1 vote
2 answers
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How can the same verb, gaschier, mean "to stain, soil" and "to soak, wash"?

I am befuddled that Old French gaschier "to stain, soil; soak, wash" (Modern French gâcher) is from Frankish *waskan, from the same Germanic source. Why? Because the verbs "stain, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
92 views

Does "boulevard" etymologically derive from "bouleverser"?

Does boulevard etymologically derive from bouleverser?
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Comment « vestir » 'to clothe; get dressed' sémantiquement glisse à « vêtir » 'to put in possession of a person'?

Quelles notions sémantiques sous-tendent "to put in possession of a person" avec "to clothe; get dressed" ? Ces notions ne se lient pas externement ! vest (v.) early 15c., "...
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1 answer
167 views

Comment « falloir » sémantiquement glisse de 'manquer' à 'avoir besoin de'?

Quelles notions sémantiques sous-tendent « le manquement » avec « le besoin, la nécessité » ? Ces notions ne se lient pas externement ! Par exemple : une bagnole me manque mais je ne la requiers, car ...
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3 votes
1 answer
73 views

Guerroyer et guerrer

Pourquoi la verbe 'pour faire la guerre' est guerroyer et pas guerrer ?
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2 answers
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Inverse et réciproque dans le contexte mathématique : différence entre le français et l'anglais

En français on dit, fonction réciproque (p.ex. arcsin et sin) et fonction inverse (p.ex. 1/x et x). En anglais les termes sont, respectivement, inverse function et reciprocal function. Y a-t-il une ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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D'où vient le e final de Cléopâtre en français ?

Je lisais un texte d'histoire en français et j'ai été surpris de voir comment Κλεοπάτρα (Kleopátra) était écrit: Cléopâtre. J'ai deux questions: pourquoi un accent sur le a (il y en a un en grec, ...
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2 answers
150 views

Why does present conditional of avoir + pu translate English 'could have'?

I am wildered because aurait literally means 'would have'. Then *Elle aurait pu literally means 'she would have pu — it is blindingly obvious that 'could' hasn't cropped up, and the syntax has no ...
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0 answers
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Why does present conditional of avoir + dû translate English 'should have'? [closed]

I am befuddled because aurais literally means 'would have'. Then Tu aurais dû literally means 'you would have dû'' — it is blindingly obvious that 'should' has not materialized, and the syntax has no ...
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2 answers
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Why does present conditional of devoir translate English 'should'?

I am ESL. I do not know Latin. User None commented Anyway you should bear in mind that Should is the past tense of shall, and shall was used in Old English to express necessity/obligation (OED). ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Étymologie de «Javetz», nom d'origine de «Javel» (comme «Eau de Javel»)

Est-ce-que quelqu’un connait l’étymologie / l'origine du mot « Javetz » - c'était le nom d'origine du « quartier de Javel » (à Paris), d'où vient le mot « Eau de Javel » À mon avis, le mot « Javetz » ...
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4 votes
1 answer
184 views

What are the origins of French term 'les salamalecs'

This word has been described in a previous entry on the site as 'exaggerated shows of politeness, eg when greeting or welcoming someone at a formal event. The word has a negative connotation, being ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Comment « appréhender » a-t-il glissé sémantiquement pour signifier « redouter, craindre » ?

Appréhender a trois sens : D'abord « prendre, saisir, attraper » qui est le plus fidèle à son étymologie (du latin apprehendere de même sens). Ensuite « comprendre, saisir par l'esprit », qui se ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What does "changement très rare dans ce sens, mais plus courant dans l’autre" mean for the etymology of "morigéner"?

I know that Wiktionnaire can be unreliable, but is it correct? I can translate the quotation in question — very rare change in this sense, but more au courant in the other. Mais lequel est "ce ...
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0 votes
1 answer
55 views

For tancer, how did « tendre, faire effort » semantically appertain "to scold, rebuke"?

How did « tendre, faire effort » semantically shift to mean to repimand/reprimander? What semantic notions underlie them? Doubtless, TENDING, TENDERING, or EXTENDING (« tendre ») or making an effort ≠...
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1 answer
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If "par" ≠ quelque ("some"), then how can parfois ≅ quelquefois = sometimes?

Unquestionably, par doesn't necessarily mean quelque. For example, you can't replace par with quelque in en quelque sorte, quelque peu, quelque temps, quelque'un. But then why does parfois = ...
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3 votes
1 answer
63 views

Pourquoi jus et juteux ont-ils des orthographes incohérentes ?

Pourquoi écrit-on « le jus » ? L'adjectif correspondant c'est « juteux ». Il serait donc logique d'écrire « le jut ».
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5 votes
2 answers
219 views

How do soit's 3 significations semantically appertain each other [1] 3SG PRS subjunctive of être, [2] "let be" in math, and [3] "either ... or"?

What's the semantic field of soit? What notions underlie these 3 significations that look completely unrelated to me? Alain Rey, ed. Dictionnaire historique de la langue française, 4th edn. 2 vols. ...
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1 vote
1 answer
44 views

What do the verb prefixes in "aborder/déborder" mean ?

In this case of "aborder" and "déborder", the "a-" and "de-" seem to related to a direction. Is this generally so? Are "a-" and "dé-" ...
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1 vote
1 answer
64 views

How did « comme » + « bien » compound to signify « combien » (quelle quantité, quel nombre)?

How do comme and bien semantically appertain to comme's definitions below in 2021 Modern French? Neither of them signifies the definitions below. Dans quelle mesure, à quel point. quelle quantité, ...
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2 votes
2 answers
575 views

I am a little bit confused due to the difference between dictionaries on the verb "ficher". Can native speakers take a look?

When you look up in these two dictionaries (Collins, Cambridge) the verb ficher has meanings like to file, to put on file, to record. However, Google Translate has completely different definitions ...
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2 votes
2 answers
252 views

Why is 'jouer' used with à?

Consider the sentence: Il joue au tennis. Is the true meaning he is having fun time / feeling joy at tennis? EDIT BELOW By 'true meaning' I mean the etymological/ancient/root/deep meaning or a ...
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  • 483
1 vote
1 answer
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Peut-on établir un lien quelconque entre "mousse" et "moissine" ?

Peut-on supposer que l'origine étymologique de mousse et de moissine est identique ? On trouve dans le Littré : mousse : Berry, mosse ; provenç. mos ; ital. mozzo ; du germanique : rhétique, mutt, ...
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5 votes
3 answers
135 views

C'est quoi l'explication étymologique du "c" au milieu de "coincer" ?

Bonjour, j'ai une question très, très "niche" à vous poser. Pourquoi y-a-t-il un deuxième 'c' dans le verbe "coincer" alors qu'il est basé sur le mot "coin" ? Autrement ...
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2 votes
1 answer
152 views

Pourquoi "le vin rosé" et non "rose"?

Comparer: "vin rouge", "vin blanc", mais "vin rosé", alors qu'on attendrait "vin rose". Pourquoi cette différence?
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0 votes
2 answers
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"Il faut la taille mince et le prix léger" : signification, origine ?

Dans l'avant-propos d'un ouvrage on lit : L'organisation en crédits d'enseignement entraîne des variations entre les Universités. Les deux premières années de licence (L1 et L2) ont cependant ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Comment est le b apparu dans "humble"?

J'étais en train de penser comment expliquer la différence entre humble et humility en anglais, et je me suis rendue compte que cette différence a dû passer du français en anglais. Sur l'étymologie du ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Why does 'pis-aller' mean 'dernier ressort'?

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898. defines 'pis-aller' as 'dernier ressort'. English Wiktionary translates the etymons. From French pis-aller, from pis (“worst”) + ...
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1 vote
1 answer
125 views

How did 'à savoir' semantically shift to mean 'c’est-à-dire'?

Undeniably, "savoir" and "dire" are different concepts. Thus how do they appertain to each other? The same semantic shift also happened in English, from "that is to wit" ...
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1 vote
1 answer
135 views

How did tôt shift from denoting « chaudement » to « promptement »?

I don't understand the emboldening from CNTRL. How does « chaudement » semantically appertain to « promptement »? Du lat. pop. tostum, neutre prés. adv. de tostus « grillé, rôti, brûlé », part. passé ...
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0 votes
0 answers
47 views

Does this site include questions for Louisiana French?

I wanted to add information pertaining to the term "titi" but it said I was restricted and I didn't know if this site included Louisiana French as I've been told it's, not the same, to put ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
57 views

How did 'solliciter' semantically shift to signify ‘manage affairs’? [closed]

How did sollicitāre ‘disturb, agitate’ semantically shift to the meaning of "manage affairs"? I don't understand because "disturb, agitate" pejoratively connotes discontentment and ...
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1 vote
2 answers
172 views

How did 'gratuité' shift to signify 'an additional payment given freely as thanks for service'?

Undeniably, graciousness differs from money! Graciousness is a behaviour and quality, whilst money is a physical a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value. gratuity (n.) 1520s, &...
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0 votes
1 answer
43 views

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]...
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2 votes
1 answer
50 views

Etymology of 'motet'

This word is by definition a short piece of choral music and a word of French origin according to the etymology section on Wiktionary. Although it is not stated specifically if motet falls under the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why did Old French borrow de- to mean "academic degree", not sup-?

I hope my befuddlement is self explanatory and obvious. In Modern English and French, degrade and degrader still negatively connote debasing or demeaning. But academic degrees, goals, and progress are ...
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2 votes
1 answer
63 views

Why did Old French borrow "praemissa" for "premise"?

It feels weird to think of premises as being "sent ahead". It makes more sense to think of premises as being put down, like in the etymology of the English thesis or French thèse quoted ...
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1 vote
2 answers
66 views

How did "trouver", which originally meant "compose", shift to mean "find"?

Kindly see the embolded phrase below. How's the notion of inventing related to finding? Can you please expound this semantic shift? troubadour [18] A troubadour is etymologically someone who ‘finds’ ...
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1 vote
0 answers
337 views

How did "attendre" shift from signifying "direct one's attention to" to "wait"?

Ayto doesn't expound how attendre signifies "to wait" in French. Unquestionably, directing one's attention to something differs from waiting. E.g. when people wait in line or for their ...
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2 votes
0 answers
52 views

How do bungs semantically relate to eyes?

I'm assuming Etymonline signifies "A stopper for closing a hole in a container" for bung. But I can't think of any semantic relationship between bungs and eyes! Their functions and purposes ...
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1 vote
1 answer
208 views

How exactly did agréer invert in French?

agréer flipped the subject and direct object like like (v.) and please (v.), correct? But what were the steps? I'm guessing French commenced with Mes desiderata m'agréent. Syntactically how did this ...
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5 votes
2 answers
151 views

Prononciation du mot "haricot"

Je sais que l'h du mot "haricot" est aspiré. Le haricot ; les haricot (pas d'élision ; pas de liaison). J'ai entendu plusieurs fois des natifs dire "les haricots verts" en faisant ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Écriture du mot 'été'

Pourquoi le mot été (saison) s'écrit comme le participe passé du verbe être. Je pense à l'étymologie Wallon, osté ; Berry, sté, asté, sécheresse ; bourguign. étai ; provenç. estat, s. f. ; ital. ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why is the French name for Greenland 'Groenland'?

Today, I learned that the island of Greenland is called 'Groenland' in French. In Spanish and Italian, it is the same. The Wikipedia page did not explain why it is not 'Pays Verte' or something like ...
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