Word Family - Taran

February theme: Weather ⛈️


Thor, thunder, astonish, tornado, detonate, Tarquinia

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *(s)tenh₂- thunder [1]
    • Proto-Indo-European *(s)ténh₂eti to thunder
      • Balto-Slavic
        • Lithuanian steneti
        • Slavic *stenàti to groan, to moan
          • East Slavic стенати stenati
            • Russian стена́ть stenátʹ to groan, to moan (archaic)
          • South Slavic
            • Bulgarian сте́на sténa
            • Serbo-Croatian стењати stenjati to groan, to moan
      • Hellenic
        • Classical Greek στένω steno I am loud
      • Indo-Iranian
        • Indo-Aryan
          • Sanskrit 𑀲𑁆𑀢𑀦𑀢𑀺 stánati to resound, to thunder, to roar
    • Proto-Indo-European *(s)tenh₂tōr thunderer
      • Germanic *þunraz thunder, Divinity of Thunder
        • Old Norse Þórr Divinity of Thunder
          • Danish Tor Divinity of Thunder and a personal name
            • Danish Tordis Thor's-Goddess (personal name)
          • Icelandic Þór Thór Divinity of Thunder and a personal name
            • English Thor Norse Divinity of Thunder
          • Old Norse Þorfinnr Thor/Thunder of/to the Finns (personal name)
          • Old Norse Þórslundr Thor's-Grove (place name) and later family name
            • Swedish Torslunda
          • Old Norse Þórbjörn Thunder-Bear (personal name)
            • Danish Thorbjørn
          • Old Norse Þórhildr Thor's-Battle(-Maiden) (personal name)
            • Norwegian Torhild
          • Old Norse Þórsø Thor's Island (place name)
            • Swedish Torsö
          • Samic
            • Northern Sami (T)Horagalles Divinity of Thunder
        • West Germanic
          • Old English þunor thunder, Divinity of Thunder
            • English thunder
            • English Thunor Divinity of Thunder
              • English Thundersley Thunor's Clearing (place name) probably originally a worship site
          • Old High German donar thunder
            • German Donner thunder
            • German Donar Divinity of Thunder
          • Frankish *thonar
            • Dutch donder thunder
              • English dunderhead [2]
              • Dutch donderbus thunder-box, blunderbus
                • English blunderbus
        • Germanic *Þunrastainaz Thunder-Stone (personal name)
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse Þórsteinn
              • Swedish Torsten
              • English Dustin
          • West Germanic
            • Old English Thurstan
              • English Thurston
        • Germanic *Þunras dagaz Thursday "Thunor's Day", calque of Latin diēs Iovis: "Jove's Day"
          • Old Norse þórsdagr Thursday
            • Icelandic þórsdagur Thursday archaic [3]
            • Swedish torsdag
            • Finnish torstai Thursday
            • Northern Sami duorastat Thursday
          • West Germanic
            • Old English
              • English Thursday
            • Old High German
              • German Donnerstag Thursday
              • Yiddish דאָנערשטיק donershtik Thursday
      • Hellenic
        • Classical Greek Στέντωρ Stentor herald in the Illiad, noted for his loud voice
          • Latin Stentor herald in the Illiad
            • English stentorian
      • Indo-Iranian
        • Iranian
          • Persian تندر tondar thunder, roaring
    • Proto-Indo-European *stonh₂éyeti? iterative or causative
      • Germanic *stunōną to groan, to crash
        • West Germanic
          • Old English (ġe)stunian to make a loud sound, to crash, to strike with a loud sound, to confound, to astonish, to stupify
            • English stun
            • English astonish
            • English astound
          • Old High German
            • German stöhnen moan, groan
          • Frankish *stunōn
            • French étonner surprise
            • Dutch steunen to moan, to groan, to hold up, to support
              • Dutch steunbeer buttress lit. "support boar"
      • Italic
        • Latin tonō I thunder, I speak thunderously
          • Eastern Romance
            • Romanian a tuna to thunder, to speak thunderously
          • Western Romance
            • French tonner
            • Spanish tronar
              • Spanish tronada thundered, thunderstorm
                • English tornado
                • French tornade tornado
                • Italian tornado tornado
                • German Tornado tornado
            • Italian tuonare
          • Latin tonitrus thunder
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian tunet thunder
            • Western Romance
              • French tonnerre thunder
              • Spanish estruendo racket, din, noise
          • Latin dētonō I cease thundering, I cease raging, I thunder down/forth
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian a detuna to strike with lightning, to explode, to detonate
            • Western Romance
              • French détoner to detonate
                • English detonate
              • Italian detonare to explode, to detonate
              • Spanish detonar to detonate
          • Latin tonus tension, pitch, sound, thunder [4]
            • English tone
            • English tune
            • English ton
    • Proto-Indo-European *(s)tn̥h₂ros thunderous
      • Anatolian
        • Hittite 𒀭𒅎 Tarḫunna Divinity of Weather, esp. Thunder [5]
        • Etruscan Tarchon
          • Classical Greek Τάρχων Tarchon
          • Etruscan Tarchna city of Tarchon, Tarquinia A founding city of the Etruscan Leage
            • Latin Tarquinii Tarquinia
              • English Tarquinia
            • Etruscan Lauchume Tarchnaś? King of Tarquinia [6]
              • Latin Lucius Tarquinius Either of two legendary Etruscan Kings of Rome [6]
                • Latin Tarquinia Roman plebeian family associated with the Etruscan Kings
          • Etruscan Tarchies?
            • Latin Tages child prophet of Etruscan religion associated with lightning
      • Celtic *toranos thunder, Divinity of Thunder
        • Brythonic
          • Welsh taran thunder
          • Pictish [7]
            • Welsh Taran
            • Irish Tarachin
        • Old Irish
          • Irish Tuireann
          • Irish torann noise, tumult
          • Irish toirneach thunder
        • Gaulish Taranis Divinity of Thunder


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Collected English words

Thor, thunder, Thunor, Thundersley, dunderhead, blunderbus, Dustin, Thurston, Thursday, stentorian, stun, astonish, astound, tornado, detonate, tone, tune, ton, Tarquinia


  1. ^

    The (s) in the root like this means an "s-mobile" root. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-European_s-mobile. In these roots, there is random variation in whether the descendants in a particularly branch has the [s] or not. Probably because of the large number of PIE grammatical endings that end with 's' means it's very hard to tell difference between, e.g., *ǵénh₁os sténh₂eti vs. *ǵénh₁os ténh₂eti, so s is always getting added and removed at the beginning of roots like this.

  2. ^

    dunderhead is sometimes linked to Dutch donder, though it's at least as likely to be from Spanish redundar: "overflow" -> West Indies English dunder: "dregs of cane juice left after distilling rum" -> dunderhead.

  3. ^

    Replaced during Christianisation by fimmtudagur "fifth day".

  4. ^

    Latin tonus is generally considered to be from Greek τόνος tónos: "strain, tension, pitch" referring to stringed instruments, from τείνω teínō: "I stretch". But a number of Romance words for thunder are generally traced to tonus, e.g. Italian tuono, Spanish trueno.

    My interpretation is that when Latin borrowed tonus from Greek, it became conflated with the existing tono.

  5. ^

    The derivation is usually given from *terh- "through, conquer". I was originally skeptical. But the *terh derivation (as well as the possibility of connection to *tenh-) are covered by Calvert Watkins says:

    "Mark Hale pointed out to me a numer of years ago the suspicious similarity of the name of the Hittite Storm God *Tarḫunnaš to that of his closest equivalent in the Germanic pantheon, Old Norse Þórr. For the former we may construct *trh₂Vno-, for the latter *tnh₂Vro-, and the two look like metathesis variants of each other. Both ostensible roots, *terh₂- 'overcome' and *tenh₂- 'thunder', are firmly established in the proto-language. But on the other hand folk etymology or tabu deformation by metathesis are well-docmented precisely in divine names; we can observe the process from *per[k]-aunos (Slavic god Perunъ) and *ker[p]-aunos (Greek κεραυνός 'thunderbolt') to English doggone and goddam. The result is an etymological quandry: is the similarity just accident, or is one divine name metathesized from the other by folk etymology or other deformation--and if so, which?"

    Watkins, Calvert (1995) How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics. 343, note 1

  6. ^

    It gets pretty speculative on the connection to Tarhun, but here's an interesting set of circumstanial evidence:

    A. Genetic evidence is inconsistent between a local origin Italian origin of the Etruscans or an Anatolian origin. A mix of local and Anatolian genetics seems like a strong possibility. There is evidence of linguistic affinity between Etruscan and the pre-Greek language on the island of Lemnos (c. 6th century BCE), which is in the Aegean Sea, close to the coast of Anatolia.

    B. Even as little as we know about the figures of Tarchon and Tages, both include associations with lightning: One of the few stories of Tarchon in Roman records is that he planted white bryony trees around his house to protect it from thunderbolts. Tages is supposed revealed the methods of divination by lightning used by Etruscans and Romans, and in some Roman writings is said to be a grandson of Jupiter.

    C. There's good evidence to suggest that Etruscan is descended from Pre-Etruscan rh. That is, if Hittite or Luwian Tarḫun(na/t/d) was borrowed into Pre-Etruscan in Anatolia, Tarchon is exactly what we'd expect it would have become in Etruscan.

    Another interesting linguistic note about Tarchon:

    There's good indication that what the Roman record as the first two names (and therefore, by Roman convention, the personal name and clan name) of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus ("Tarquin the Elder") and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus ("Tarquin the Proud") are misunderstandings, by mixing up Etruscan words with similar sounding Roman names.

    Livy says that Lucius Tarquinius Priscus (Tarquin the Elder) came from Etruria (i.e. Etruscan territory) and that his original Etruscan name was Lucumo. But Lucumo is just a variant spelling of the Etruscan word for king, Lauchume. So Lucius Tarquinius is better understood as "King Tarchon", with Tarchon as the personal name, or even as "King of Tarchna" or "King from Tarchna", with no personal name recorded. (In both cases, the third name is a cognomen, or nickname, as expected in Roman names: Priscus: "the Elder" and Superbus: "the Proud")

    Note: The Tarquins are from about the 500s BCE, but Livy is writing about 20 BCE. The last of the Etruscan cities were absorbed into Rome by about 100 BCE, and most of Rome's records of the Regal Period were lost in the sack in 390 BCE (by the Sennones, they'll come up again in May!). So Livy being pretty confused is reasonable.

  7. ^

    Taran mac Entifidich appears in the Welsh stories of the Old North as the name of a Pictish king, and likely the same figure appears in the Irish Annals of Ulster as Tarachin (and the Annals of Ulster also mention Ainfthech, almost certainly the same name as Entifidich recorded in Welsh, and Amfodech in Anlgo-Norman).

    (It's also the name of my son, whose birthday is this week)