Word Family - Path


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 apparently a borrowing from late Scythian/Pre-Alanian into either West Germanic or Late Common Germanic in the Migration Period.

The other possibility is PIE *gʷeh₂-: "to go" -> Celtic *bā- -> Celtic *bāda -> Germanic *patha-. On the one hand, this would be a more common borrowing path; on the other hand, both Kroonen and Matasovic expect that the Celtic would already have shifted semantically to "pass away, die" by then. The apparent restriction of the word to West Germanic also circumstantially supports the argument that it is a post-Grimm borrowing, e.g. from Scythian.


find, Pontus, peripatetic, path, pontificate

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *pent- to pass, path
    • Proto-Indo-European *pénteti primary verb
      • Germanic *finþaną
        • East Germanic
          • Gothic 𐍆𐌹𐌽𐌸𐌰𐌽 finþan to discover, to find out
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse finna to find
            • Danish finde to consider, to find
            • Icelandic finna to find, to meet
        • West Germanic
          • Old English findan to find, to meet
            • English find
              • Welsh ffeindio to find
          • Frankish *findan
            • Dutch vinden to find
          • Old High German findan
            • German finden to find
            • Yiddish געפֿינען gefinen to find
        • Germanic *fandōną to investigate, to search for, to test
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse fendinn to test, to tempt
              • Danish fanden hell, devil
              • Swedish fan devil
          • West Germanic
            • Old English fandian to test, to visit, to examine
            • Old High German fantōn
              • German fahnden to search
                • German Fahnder investigator
    • Proto-Indo-European *póntoh₁s path, road
      • Pre-Armenian *fon-
        • Armenian հուն hun riverbed, ford, direction
        • Georgian ფონი poni ford
      • Balto-Slavic *pontis
        • Slavic *pǫ̃tь way, path
          • East Slavic путь putĭ
            • Russian путь putʹ way, path, road, journey
          • South Slavic
            • Bulgarian път pǎt
            • Old Church Slavonic пѫть pǫtĭ
            • Serbo-Croatian пу̑т pȗt road, path, journey
          • West Slavic
            • Polish pąć travel, pilgrimage
      • Celtic *φāntīs [1]
        • Old Irish áitt place, position, dwelling
          • Irish áit place, holding, situation
      • Hellenic *póntos
        • Homeric Greek πόντος póntos the sea, the Mediterranean
          • Ancient Greek Πόντος Póntos The Black Sea, Pontus
            • Latin Pontus The Black Sea, Pontus
              • English Pontus
            • Ancient Greek Ποντῐκόν κάρυον Pontikón káruon hazelnut lit. "Pontic nut"
              • Latin nux Pontica hazelnut partial calque
              • Middle Persian pndk'
                • Persian پندک pondok hazelnut archaic
                • Arabic بُنْدُق bunduq hazelnut
                  • Armenian պնդուկ pnduk hazelnut
                  • French bonduc nickernut, nicker tree
                    • English bonduc
                  • Spanish albóndiga meatball
                  • Arabic بُنْدُقِيَّة bunduqiyya rifle, gun [2]
                    • Persian
                      • Hindi बंदूक़ bandūq gun, rifle
                        • English bundook
                    • Swahili bunduki gun
                • Arabic فُنْدُق funduq hazelnut
                  • Ottoman Turkish فندق funduq
                    • Turkish fındık hazelnut
                    • Greek φουντούκι fountoúki hazelnut [3]
                    • Russian фунду́к fundúk hazelnut
              • Syriac ܦܢܕܩܐ pendəqāʾ hazelnut, pill
        • Ancient Greek πάτος pátos
          • Ancient Greek πᾰτέω patéō I walk, I tread, I reside in, I trample
            • Ancient Greek περῐπᾰτέω peripatéō I walk around
              • Ancient Greek περῐπᾰτητῐκός peripatētikós given to walking around
                • Ancient Greek Περῐπᾰτητῐκοί Peripatētikoí Peripatetics
                • Latin peripatēticus
                  • French péripatétique peripatetic, Peripatetic, Aristotlean
                    • English peripatetic
      • Indo-Iranian *pántas
        • Indo-Aryan
          • Sanskrit पथिन् páthin way, path, doctrine
        • Iranian *pántah
          • Avestan 𐬞𐬀𐬧‎𐬙𐬃 paṇ‎tā̊
          • Northern Iranian
            • Scythian
              • Ossetian фӕндаг fændag road
              • West Germanic *paþaz
                • Old English pæþ path
                  • English path
                • Frankish
                  • Dutch pad path
                • Old High German
                  • German Pfad path
          • Pashto پونده punda heel
          • Western Iranian
            • Northwestern Iranian
              • Parthian 𐫛𐫗𐫅𐫀𐫗 pndʾn path
            • Old Persian 𐎱𐎰 paθi
              • Parthian
      • Italic *ponts
        • Latin pōns bridge
          • Sardinian ponti
          • Eastern Romance
            • Romanian punte footbridge, deck
          • Western Romance
            • French pont bridge, deck
              • English Pont
              • French du Pont
                • English Dupont
            • Italian ponte bridge, deck
            • Spanish puente bridge
          • Latin pontō ferryboat, floating bridge, pontoon
            • French ponton pontoon
              • English pontoon
          • Latin pontifex high priest, pontiff apparently lit. "bridge-maker"
            • French pontife
              • English pontiff
            • Italian pontefice pontiff
            • Spanish pontífice pontiff
            • Latin pontificare to preside as high priest
              • English pontificate


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Collected English words

find, Pontus, bonduc, bundook, peripatetic, path, Pont, Dupont, pontoon, pontiff, pontificate


  1. ^

    Questionable. Matasovic find this unconvincing. But he's not super happy with his replacement, either.

  2. ^

    The bullets shot by a "stone bow" or pellet-firing crossbow were shaped like hazelnuts. Thus "hazelnut" became a word for bullets, then for crossbows, then for firearms.

  3. ^

    Greek from Turkish from Persian from Arabic from Persian from Greek! "Find the path"!