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  1. Word Family - Path

    Introduction

    Find the Path

    A few weeks ago, I picked up my phone to look up the etymology of "Pontic", but got distracted and looked up the etymology of "path" first. And it turned out they were the same! But wait, how does that work, cause Grimm's Law?

    *paþaz is …

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  2. Word Family - Crystal

    Dark Crystal 🔮 bonus family

    Teaser

    crystal, crust, custard, crustacean, cryo-

    Full Text

    • Proto-Indo-European *krews- to harden, to freeze
      • Proto-Indo-European *krustós hardened, frozen adjective
        • Hellenic *krustós
          • Ancient Greek κρύσταλλος krústallos ice, rock crystal [1]
            • Greek κρύσταλλο krýstallo crystal, ice
            • Latin crystallus
              • Western Romance
                • French cristal crystal
                • Spanish cristal crystal, glass, window …
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  3. Word Family - Camel

    June theme: Domestic Animals 🐕

    Teaser

    camel, gamma

    Full Text

    • Semitic *gamal- camel
      • Central Semitic
        • Arabic جمل jámal camel
          • Maltese ġemel camel
        • Northwest Semitic
          • Aramaic
            • Classical Syriac ܓܡܠܐ gamlā’ camel
          • Canaanite
            • Hebrew גמל gamal camel
            • Phoenician
              • Ancient Greek κάμηλος kámēlos camel
                • Greek καμήλα kamíla camel
                • Latin camēlus camel
                  • Old French
                    • English …
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  4. Word Family - Olive

    May theme: Plants 🌱

    Introduction

    In which "olive oil" is redundant.

    The Greek and Armenian words are often interpreted as being from a Mediterranean substrate word. But then there's the Slavic *lȏjь: "tallow, suet". And then the Old Chinese lɯw: "oil, grease", which is plausibly from the Tocharian equivalent of Slavic …

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  5. Word Family - Flower

    May theme: Plants 🌱

    Teaser

    bloom, flower, flourish, belladonna, blade, chlorophyll

    Full Text

    • Proto-Indo-European *bʰleh₃- flower
      • Proto-Indo-European *bʰléh₃e-ti
        • Germanic *blōaną to bloom, to flower
          • West Germanic
            • Old English blōwan
              • English blow [1]
                • English full-blown [1]
            • Frankish
              • Dutch bloeien to blossom, to develop, to flourish
            • Old High German bluoen
              • German blühen to …
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  6. Word Family - Pterodactyl

    April theme: Dinosaurs and Friends🦕

    Introduction

    Pterodactyl. Two cool realizations about Greek "pter-". 1) "Helicopter" is so strongly segmented as "heli-copter" in English, it's fun to realize that the Greek construction is actually "helico-pter": "twisting (helix) wing". 2) More recently I realized it's an awesome example of Grimm's Law: apply …

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  7. Word Family - Ankylosaurus

    April theme: Dinosaurs and Friends🦕

    Introduction

    Ankylosaurus! And as an unexpected bonus, I found Azhdarchid pterosaurs deep in the family, too. Pterosaurs are probably my very favorite Mesozoic animals (stay tuned for next week!). Also in this family: various spiders and snakes and fears and sins in various languages.

    I … read more
  8. Word Family - Bleak

    January theme: 98, 99, 100! 💯

    Teaser

    blue, beluga, flame, bleach, black

    Full Text

    • Proto-Indo-European *bʰel- to shine
      • Proto-Indo-European *bʰoltós
        • Balto-Slavic
          • Lithuanian báltas white
          • Latin Balthae
            • Medieval Latin Balticus
              • English Baltic
        • Illyrian balta swamp
          • Albanian baltë mud
          • Balto-Slavic *balta
            • Latin Balthae
            • Slavic *bolto swamp, mud
              • East Slavic болото boloto
                • Russian боло …
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  9. Word Family - Weasel

    January theme: 98, 99, 100! 💯

    Teaser

    virus, virulent, weasel, wisent, bison

    Full Text

    • Proto-Indo-European *weys- slime, poison, flow, melt
      • Proto-Indo-European *wisós action noun, zero-grade variant
        • Hellenic *wihos
          • Ancient Greek ῑ̓ός īós poison, venom
            • Greek ιός iós venom, virus
        • Indo-Iranian *wišás
          • Indo-Aryan *wíṣas
            • Dardic *biṣá
              • Kalasha biṣ poison
            • Sanskrit व …
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