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 Grimm's Law to "pter-" and you get "f(ea)ther".[2]

peth₂-: "to fly" and peth₂-: "to spread" (in some cases, "to spread arms wide") are not very distinct. For example, the Greek words which are the origins of "petal" and "hippopotamus" are ambiguous as to which meaning they come from. Is a petal shaped like a feather or is it characterized by unfolding or being flat? (probabaly the latter.) Is a river characterized by falling or by spreading out? (no one knows.)

There is some blurring in descendants with ped-: "to walk, to step, to stumble" which sometimes converges with peth₂-: "to fly" on a meaning of "to fall"; with *peh₁-: "to hurt" which sometimes converges with peth₂- on meanings of "to befall, to happen, to experience"; and with *peh₂w-: "few, small" which sometimes converges with peth₂- on meanings of "little bird, chick".

Teaser

compete, feather, pterodactyl, helicopter, pen, hippopotamus, petal, past, fathom

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *peth₂-
    • Proto-Indo-European peth₂- to fly, to fall?
      • Proto-Indo-European *péth₂-eti primary verb, imperfective
        • Balto-Slavic
          • Slavic *pariti to fly
            • East Slavic парити pariti
              • Russian пари́ть parítʹ to glide
            • South Slavic
              • Old Church Slavonic парѧщѧ paręštę they flew
          • Slavic *pьrati to fly
            • South Slavic
              • Old Church Slavonic перѫтъ perǫtŭ they fly
        • Celtic *ɸeteti to fly
          • Celtic *exs-ɸeteti to fly out of, to fly from
            • Brythonic
              • Middle Weslh ehedec fly
          • Celtic ɸettiyā
            • Old Irish ette wing, fin, feather
              • Irish eite wing, fin, feather
                • Irish eiteog wing
                  • Irish aereiteog airfoil
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek πέτομαι pétomai I fly, I hurry
        • Indo-Iranian *pátati
          • Indo-Aryan *pátati
            • Sanskrit पतति pátati to fly, to hurry, to fall, to happen
              • Magadhi
                • Bengali পড়া pôŗa to fall
              • Pali pataiti to fall, to jump
              • Sauraseni 𑀧𑀟𑀤𑀺 paḍadi
                • Madhya
                  • Hindi पड़ना paṛnā to fall, to happen, to stay, must (modal auxiliary)
                • Pahari
                  • Punjabi ਪੈਣਾ paeṇā to fall, to lie down, must (modal auxiliary)
              • Telugu పడు paḍu to fall, to experience, to be possible
          • Iranian *pátatī
            • Avestan pataiti falls
            • Western Iranian
              • Persian فتادن fatadan to fall (archaic)
                • Persian افتادن oftâdan
        • Italic *petō
          • Latin petō to aim for, to seek, to request
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian a peți to petition, to propose (marriage), to sue
            • Western Romance
              • Italian pezzire
                • Italian pezzente beggar, wretch, miser
              • Spanish pedir to request
            • Latin competō I come together, I meet, I agree, I am equal to "together aim" [1]
              • English compete [1]
              • English competent
          • Latin impetō I rush in, I attack "in aim"
            • English impetus
          • Latin *perpetō "through aim"
            • Latin perpetuus uninterrupted, continuous, perpetual
              • English perpetual
          • Latin petītiō an request, an application, an attack
            • English petition
          • Latin petulāns
            • English petulant
          • New Latin centripetam aiming toward the center, centripetal coined by Isaac Newton in 1687
            • English centripetal
          • Venetic *-pet- to ride
            • Venetic ekupetaris of a horse-rider, of the horse-riding upper class, equestrian
      • Proto-Indo-European *pípth₂-eti reduplicated secondary imperfective
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek πῑ́πτω pī́ptō I fall
            • Greek πέφτω péfto I fall, I drop, I hang
      • Proto-Indo-European *péth₂r̥ feather, wing
        • Anatolian
          • Hittite 𒁁𒋻 pát-tar wing, feather
            • Old Armenian փետուր pʿetur feather
        • Old Armenian թեր tʿer wing, feather, side
          • Armenian թեր tʿer petal, leaf, to be one the side of
          • Old Armenian թռչիմ tʿṙčʿim to fly
            • Armenian թռչել tʿṙčʿel to fly, to leap
          • Old Armenian թիթեռն tʿitʿeṙn butterfly
            • Armenian թիթեռ tʿitʿeṙ butterfly
        • Celtic *ɸetnos bird
          • Brythonic *edn
            • Welsh edn bird
          • Gaulish Etnosus Gaulish bird divinity
          • Old Irish én bird
            • Irish éan bird, young bird, young animal
        • Germanic *feþrō feather
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse fjǫðr feather
              • Danish fjer feather
              • Icelandic fjöður feather, spring
          • West Germanic
            • Old English feþer feather, pen
              • English feather
            • Frankish *fethera
              • Dutch veer
            • Old High German fedara feather
              • German Feder feather, spring, pen
              • Yiddish פֿעדער feder pen
              • Italian federa pillowcase
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek πτερόν pterón feather, wing
            • Greek φτερό fteró wing, feather
            • French ptéro-
              • French Ptéro-Dactyle pterodactyl lit. "wing(ed
                • Interlingual Pterodactylus a taxonomic genus of pterosaur
                  • English pterodactyl
            • French ptère
              • French hélicoptère helicopter lit. "spiral-wing", coined by Gustave de Ponton d'Amécourt in 1861
                • English helicopter [2]
                  • English copter
        • Indo-Iranian *pátram
          • Indo-Aryan *pátram
            • Sanskrit पत्र pátra leaf, sheet, paper
              • Hindi पत्र patra letter, document, paper, leaf
          • Iranian *pátram
            • Avestan patarəta winged
        • Italic *petnā
          • Latin penna feather, wing, fin, quill, pen
            • Sardninian pinna
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian pană feather
              • Albanian pendë feather, quill, fine, vane, weir
            • Western Romance
              • Old French
                • French penne large feather, penne
                  • English pen
                • Old French pinnion
                  • French pignon pinion, gearwheel, sprocket
                  • English pinion
              • Italian penna feather, pen, penne
                • English penne
              • Spanish peña cliff, rock, circle of friends, people
            • Old Irish penn pen
              • Irish peann pen
            • Latin pinnāculum peak, pinnacle diminutive
              • Western Romance
                • Italian pennacchio plume
                  • French panache panache
                    • English panache
                    • Italian panache panache
                    • French panacher to add panache, to mix colors
                      • German panaschieren to split one's vote
              • English pinnacle
              • French pinacle pinnacle
              • Italian pinnacolo pinnacle, spur
              • Spanish pináculo pinnacle, spire
            • Latin pennale
              • German Pennal quill box, pencil case
                • Danish pennalhus pencil case
                • Romanian penar pencil case
                • Russian пена́л penál pencil case
        • ?
          • Ancient Greek πτῐ́λον ptílon feather, down, leaf
        • Proto-Indo-European *perHt-
          • Celtic *ɸratis fern
            • Brythonic *ratinā
              • Welsh rhedyn fern, bracken
            • Gaulish ratis fern
            • Old Irish raith
            • Celtic *ɸratinākā
              • Old Irish raithnech
                • Irish raithneach fern, bracken
          • Hellenic
            • Ancient Greek
              • Greek φτερι fteri fern
        • Proto-Indo-European *pornóm wing, feather
          • Proto-Albanian *pʰera
            • Albanian fier fern
          • Balto-Slavic
            • Lithuanian spar̃nas wing
            • Slavic *pero feather, quill
              • East Slavic перо pero
                • Russian перо́ peró feather, plume, pen
              • South Slavic
                • Old Church Slavonic перо pero
                • Serbo-Croatian пѐро pèro feather, plume, pen, author, plectrum
              • West Slavic
                • Polish pióro feather, plume, fountain pen
          • Germanic *farnaz fern
            • West Germanic
              • Old English fearn fern
                • English fern
                • Scots fairn fern
              • Frankish *farna
                • Dutch varen fern
              • Old High German farn
                • German Farn fern
          • Indo-Iranian
            • Indo-Aryan
              • Dardic *panná
                • Kashmiri pan leaf
              • Sanskrit पर्ण parṇá pinion, feather, wing, leaf
                • Magadhi
                  • Bengali পান pan betel leaf, paan
                • Maharashtri 𑀧𑀡𑁆𑀡 paṇṇa
                  • Marathi पान pān leaf, page, playing card, betel leaf, paan
                • Pali paṇṇa leaf, feather, quill, book
                • Sauraseni 𑀧𑀡𑁆𑀡 paṇṇa
                  • Madhya
                    • Hindi पान pān betel, betel leaf, paan
                      • English paan
                  • Hindi पन्ना pannā page, paper, sheet, emerald
                • Hindi पर्ण parṇ feather, leaf
            • Iranian
              • Avestan parəna feathers
        • Proto-Indo-European *h₂eḱu-péth₂r̥ swift-winged, hawk
          • Balto-Slavic
            • Slavic *àstrę̄bъ hawk
              • East Slavic ꙗстрѧбъ jastrębŭ
                • Russian я́стреб jástreb hawk
              • South Slavic
                • Serbo-Croatian ја̏стријеб jȁstrijeb
              • West Slavic
                • Polish jastrząb hawk
          • Hellenic
            • Ancient Greek ὠκύπτερος ōkúpteros swift-winged
              • Ancient Greek ὀξυπτέριον oxuptérion hawk
                • Byzantine Greek ξιφτέρι xiphtéri
                  • Albanian qift kite (predatory bird)
          • Italic *akupeter
            • Latin accipiter hawk, falcon
              • Eastern Romance
                • Albanian skifter falcon
              • Western Romance
                • French autour goshawk
                • Italian astore goshawk
                • Portuguese açor goshawk
                  • Portuguese Açores Goshawk (Islands), Azores
                    • English Azores
                • Spanish azor goshawk
                • Basque aztore falcon
              • English accipiter
      • Proto-Indo-European *poth₂mós a falling?
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek ποτᾰμός potamós river, stream, canal
            • Greek ποτάμι potámi river, stream, flow
              • Greek ποταμάκι potamáki rivulet, stream, brook [3]
            • Ancient Greek μεσοποτάμιος mesopotámios between rivers
              • Koine Greek Μεσοποταμία Mesopotamía Land between the rivers (Euphrates and Tigris)
                • Latin Mesopotamia
                  • English Mesopotomia
            • Ancient Greek ῐ̔πποπότᾰμος hippopótamos hippopotamus lit. "river-horse"
              • Latin hippopotamus
                • English hippopotamus
    • Proto-Indo-European *peth₂- to spread, to expand
      • Proto-Indo-European *peth₂eti primary verb
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek πετᾰ́ννῡμῐ petánnūmi I spread out, I open, I am scattered
            • Ancient Greek πέταλος pétalos broad, flat
              • Ancient Greek πέτᾰλον pétalon leaf, slice
                • New Latin petalum petal
                  • English petal
            • Ancient Greek πέτᾰσος pétasos broad-brimmed hat, petasus, awning
              • Latin petasus travelling hat, broad-brimmed cap [4]
        • Italic *patnō
          • Latin pandō I spread out, I open, I unfold
            • Latin expandō I spread out, I expand, I explain
              • Western Romance
                • Old French espandre
                  • French épancher to pour out, to erupt, to emit
                  • English expand
                    • English spandex
                  • English spawn
                • Italian spandere to spread, to spill, to scatter
            • Latin passus spread out, dried, pace (unit of length), step
              • Sardinian passu
              • Eastern Romance
                • Romanian pas step, pace, stride, gait
              • Western Romance
                • Old French
                  • French pas step, pace, not [5]
                    • English pas de deux
                  • English pace
                • Italian passo footstep, step, pace, pass, passage, backlash
                • Spanish pasa
              • Vulgar Latin passāre to step, to walk, to pass
                • Eastern Romance
                  • Romanian a păsa to walk, to try, to look for
                • Western Romance
                  • French passer
                    • English pass
                      • English past
                  • Italian passare to pass
                  • Spanish pasar to pass, to happen
      • Proto-Indo-European *poth₂mós an expanding, a spreading
        • Germanic *faþmaz armful, embrace, bosom, fathom (unit of measurement)
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse faðmr embrace, fathom
              • Danish favn arms, embrace, armload, fathom
              • Icelandic faðmur outstretched arms, embrace, fathom
            • Samic
              • Northern Sami fáŧmi
          • West Germanic
            • Old English fæþm outstretched arms, embrace, grasp, control
              • English fathom
            • Frankish *fatham
              • Dutch vadem fathom
            • Old High German fadam
              • German Faden yarn, thread, fathom
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek ποτᾰμός potamós river, stream, canal
            • Greek ποτάμι potámi river, stream, flow
              • Greek ποταμάκι potamáki rivulet, stream, brook [3]
            • Ancient Greek μεσοποτάμιος mesopotámios between rivers
              • Koine Greek Μεσοποταμία Mesopotamía Land between the rivers (Euphrates and Tigris)
                • Latin Mesopotamia
                  • English Mesopotomia
            • Ancient Greek ῐ̔πποπότᾰμος hippopótamos hippopotamus lit. "river-horse"
              • Latin hippopotamus
                • English hippopotamus
        • Indo-Iranian
          • Iranian
            • Avestan paθana spacious, broad
      • Proto-Indo-European *peth₂no?
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek πατάνη patáne broad flat, dish
            • Latin patina dish, pan, crib, manger
              • Western Romance
                • Italian patina patina, oxidation on old bronze dishes
                  • French patine
                    • English patina
              • Latin patella small pan, plate, kneecap
                • English patella

Visual

Image is a visual representation of the text content above.

Collected English words

compete, competent, impetus, perpetual, petition, petulant, centripetal, feather, pterodactyl, helicopter, copter, pen, pinion, penne, panache, pinnacle, fern, paan, Azores, accipiter, Mesopotomia, hippopotamus, petal, expand, spandex, spawn, pas de deux, pace, pass, past, fathom, patina, patella

Footnotes

  1. ^

    Latin competō, literally "aim together", in Classical Latin, "I come together, I meet, I agree, I am equal to". "Compete" … originally means "cooperate"

  2. ^

    helicopter from Greek roots is very nearly equivalent to a purely Germanic formation "wheelishfeather"!

    Properly, Greek ἕλῐξ hélix is from PIE *wel-: "to turn" with standard loss of digamma by Classical Greek. This root gives Germanic "willow" and "waltz". Where as English wheel on the other hand is from *kʷel-: "to turn", which gives Greek κύκλος kúklos: "circle" (-> English cycle), πόλος pólos: "pivot, axis" (-> English pole), and τέλος télos: "completion" (-> English teleology).

    But it's not like the roots *wel-: "to turn" and *kʷel-: "to turn" can be really be considered completely distinct from eaach other!

  3. ^

    Though a Neoclassical derivation from Greek ποταμάκι potamáki: "river (diminutive)" could plausibly result in Potomac, the Potomac River by Washington, D.C. is not related to the Greek. Potomac is from Algonquin Patawomeck or Patawomke: "River of Swans". The standardization of the spelling as Potomac in 1931 may have been influenced by Latinate aesthetics.

  4. ^

    The petasus, the broad-brimmed travelling hat, is associated with Hermes in his role as a traveller and messenger. The broad, floppy brim is later re-interpreted as the winged cap.

    Compare: Odin's broad-brimmed travelling hat as described by his kenning "Siðhottr".

  5. ^

    The French use of pas as part of negation is a fossilization of an expression to the effect of "to not do even one step" of something.