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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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
  5. 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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  6. 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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