Word Family - Web

November theme: Spiders 🕷

Teaser

sweep, weave, web, wasp, Vespa, whip, veer, vibrate

Introduction

*ksweyb- is a _very_ weird root. It has too many consonant, and way too many in the onset. It has a /*b/ which is an unusual/marginal phoneme in PIE. It is related to a number of variant roots, including some which appear to vary between /p/, /b/, and /bʰ/ for the last consonant (collectively symbolized as P). Further, one of the apparently derived roots uses morphology that was mostly lost in late Indo-European, so as a secondary root it must have been derived very early.

Only Indo-Iranian really can fully preserve a /*ks/ onset. Here are the four other Indo-Iranian words I can find starting with /*kš/, which demonstrate how weird this is as an IE onset

  • *kšatrám: "kingdom, rule, reign". Unknown origin, tenatively linked to PIE *tek-: "to take, to receive, to obtain" (though I think a BMAC origin is also a possibility)
  • *kšnáwti: "to hear, to sharpen". Derived from a reanalysis of the root *kes-: "to scrap, to comb" and with a *-néwti compound, that is something like a transitive imperfective causative??
  • *kšáwdas: "swell of the sea, flush of water?", unknown source. Might have a Baltic cognate in Lithuanian šūdas: "smoke, sweat, shit"??
  • *kšīrám: "milk", unknown source, assumed to be a BMAC borrowing.

Simalrly, I know of no other case where Welsh /hw-/ onset corresponds to Irish /sc-/, which tentatively gives a Celtic reconstruction of /*xsw-/.

I have to theorize that this has an unusual origin, either a borrowing from an unknown adstrate or a possibly an onomatopoeia, which IE speakers have been desperately trying to fit into a reasonable shape ever since.

I wonder if it was related to a technology event, adopting some piece of weaving technology.

To get into completely wild speculation: the complex onset and the makes me wonder about a Sino-Tibetan connection, possibly the Sino-Tibetan root meaning "to weave" that gives Tibetan btang and Mandarin zhi/Cantonese zik (Old Chinese <*tjɯɡs); and presumably Thai tàk and chák.

That in turn calls to mind the example of the **mr root for "horse" which appears through out Asia (link), and suggests further possible connection to (as a doublet) Indo-European *teḱ-: "to produce, to weave", Proto-Turkic *doku-: "to weave", and/or Proto-Finnic *kuda-: "to weave". This is vastly beyond the scope of the comparative method, but if the word was borrowed from a highly marked source (and *ksweyb- certainly suggests a highly marked source!), those are all possible attempts to fit the word into native phonologies.

Full Text

  • Pre-Proto-Indo-European *ksweyb- to swiftly, to swing, to shake, to cast
    • Proto-Indo-European *kswéyP-eti
      • Germanic *swībaną to revolve, to sway, to stray
        • East Germanic
          • Gothic 𐍃𐍅𐌴𐌹𐌱𐌰𐌽 sweiban
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse svífa to rove, to ramble, to swerve
            • Icelandic svífa to hover, to glide, to soar
        • West Germanic
          • Old English swīfan to move along a path, to revolve, to sweep, to intervene
            • English swive
              • English swivel
      • Indo-Iranian *kšwáyPati
        • Iranian *xšwáypati to vibrate, to tremble, to whip
          • Western Iranian
            • Northwestern Iranian
              • Kurdish šēwā to be excited
            • Old Persian
              • Persian šīwīdan to be mixed up, to mix, to tremble, to shake
          • Iranian *fraxšwáypati whip forward?
            • Northern Iranian
              • Saka
                • Wakhi rәšíp to whip
    • Proto-Indo-European *kwseybʰeh₂y-eti causative
      • Balto-Slavic
        • Slavic *šibati to whip
          • East Slavic шибати šibati to beat, to hit
            • Russian шиба́ть šibátʹ to throw, to hit
          • South Slavic
            • Old Church Slavonic шибаахѫ šibaaxǫ whipped
            • Serbo-Croatian ши̏бати šȉbati to whip, to flog
    • Proto-Indo-European *kswip-éti
      • Indo-Iranian *kšwipáti
        • Indo-Aryan *kṣipáti
          • Sanskrit क्षिपति kṣipáti to throw, to cast off, to move hastily, to pass over
    • Proto-Indo-European *kswibʰnéh₂-ti
      • Germanic *swippōną to move swiftly, to swerve
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse svipa
            • Danish svippe
            • Icelandic svipa riding crop, whip
        • West Germanic
          • Old English swipian
            • English swipe
        • Germanic *swaipaną to sweep, to sway, to swing, to wrap o-grade intensive
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse sveipa to sweep, to stroke, to wrap, to fling
              • Icelandic sveipa to swaddle, to wrap
              • Old Norse sveipr fold, stir, disturbance
                • Danish svøb swaddling blanket
                • Icelandic sveipur curl (of hair), gust (of wind)
          • West Germanic
            • Old English swāpan to sweep
              • English sweep
              • English swoop
              • Old English *swappian to hurl, to strike
                • English swap
            • Old High German sweifan to swing, to sway
              • German schweifen to wander, to rove, to curve
    • Proto-Indo-European *kswoybʰéy-eti
      • Celtic *xswibīti to move, to recede
        • Brythonic *hwɨβid
          • Welsh chwifio to wave, to brandish, to flourish
        • Old Irish *scibid
          • Middle Irish scibid to move, to flinch, to draw back
      • Indo-Iranian *kšwaypáyati
        • Indo-Aryan *kṣaypáyati
          • Sanskrit क्षेपयति kṣápayati to throw into, to injure, to cause to descend into
    • Proto-Indo-European *kswiPtó-s quick, shaking adjective
      • Germanic *swiftaz quick, swift
        • West Germanic
          • Old English swift quick, swift
            • English swift
    • Early Proto-Indo-European *webʰ- to weave
      • Proto-Indo-European *wébʰ-eti thematic imperfective
        • Germanic *webaną to weave
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse vefa to weave
              • Danish væve to weave
              • Icelandic vefa to weave
          • West Germanic
            • Old English wefan to weave
              • English weave
            • Frankish *wevan
              • Dutch weven to weave
            • Old High German weban
              • German weben to weave
              • Yiddish וועבן vebn to weave
      • Proto-Indo-European *wébʰ-ti athematic imperfective
        • Indo-Iranian *wabdʰi
          • Iranian *wabdi
            • Avestan vaf- to weave
            • Western Iranian
              • Northwestern Iranian
                • Parthian wfyd weaves
              • Old Persian
                • Persian بافتن bâftan weaves
      • Proto-Indo-European *wobʰéy-eti causative
        • Germanic *wabijaną
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse vafra to flicker, to wander, to totter
              • Icelandic vafra to hover, to roam
              • English waver
          • West Germanic
            • Old English wafian to wave
              • English wave
      • Proto-Indo-European *unébʰ-eti ne transitive imperfective
        • Indo-Iranian *umbʰáti
          • Indo-Aryan *umbʰáti
            • Sanskrit उम्भति umbháti to unite, to lace together, to cover over
            • Sanskrit उनब्द्धि unábddhi to bind, to compress
      • Proto-Indo-European *ubʰy-éti ye intransitive imperfective
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek ῠ̔φαίνω huphaínō I weave
            • Greek υφαίνω yfaíno I weave
            • Ancient Greek ῠ̔φή huphḗ web
            • Ancient Greek ὑφάντης huphántēs weaver
              • Greek υφαντης ifantis weaver also an occupational surname
        • Indo-Iranian *ubʰyáti
          • Iranian *ubyáti
            • Avestan ufiia- to weave, to web
      • Proto-Indo-European *ubʰnéH-ti stative?
        • Indo-Iranian *ubʰnáHti
          • Indo-Aryan *ubʰnā́ti
            • Sanskrit उभ्नाति ubhnā́ti to entangle, to cover, to hurt
          • Iranian *ubnáHti
            • Western Iranian
              • Northwestern Iranian
                • Kurdish hûnan to braid, to plait, to knit
      • Proto-Indo-European *wobʰeh₂-ti iterative
        • Tocharian *wäp-ṣə
          • Arshian wäp-ṣ to weave
          • Kushean wāp-ṃ to weave
      • Proto-Indo-European webʰnyo?
        • Proto-Albanian webnja
          • Albanian vej to weave
      • Proto-Indo-European *ubʰt-ós woven adjective
        • Indo-Iranian *ubdʰás
          • Iranian *ubdáh
            • Avestan ubdaēna woven, made of cloth
      • Proto-Indo-European wébʰ-us Caland adjective
        • Indo-Iranian *wabʰuš
          • Iranian *wabuš
            • Avestan vafūš web, hymn, prophecy, teaching
      • Proto-Indo-European *wobʰy-os probably an adjective?
        • Germanic *wabją web, woven thing
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse vefr web
              • Danish væv web, loom, tissue
              • Icelandic vefur web, tissue
          • West Germanic
            • Old English webb web
              • English web
              • Scots wob piece of woven cloth
            • Frankish *webbi
              • Dutch web web
            • Old High German webbi
              • Old High German spinnūnwebbi
                • German Spinnwebe spiderweb, cobweb
      • Proto-Indo-European *wobʰs-éh₂ wasp animate substantive "~weaver"? [1]
        • Balto-Slavic *wops(w)aʔ
          • Lithuanian vapsvà wasp
          • Old Prussian wobse wasp
          • Slavic *osà wasp
            • East Slavic
              • Russian оса́ osá wasp
            • South Slavic
              • Old Church Slavonic ⱁⱄⰰ osa wasp
              • Serbo-Croatian о̀са ósa wasp
            • West Slavic
              • Polish osa wasp
        • Celtic *woxsā
          • Brythonic *gwoxi
            • Welsh gwchi drone
            • Irish foich cankerworm?
        • Germanic *wapsō
          • West Germanic
            • Old English wæsp wasp
              • English wasp
            • Frankish *wespa
              • Dutch wesp wasp
              • Old French wespe [2]
            • Old High German wafsa
              • German Wespe wasp
          • Germanic *wapsijō
            • West Germanic
              • Old Saxon wepsia
                • Low German Weps wasp
                • Danish hveps wasp
        • Indo-Iranian *wabžʰáH wasp
          • Iranian *wabžáH wasp
            • Western Iranian
              • Northwestern Iranian
                • Medean *vabžā́
                  • Tari وآژ vāž red bee
                • Kurdish moz hornet, wasp, gadfly, bee
                  • Armenian մոզ moz to shy, to flinch, to shirk
              • Old Persian *vabžā
                • Persian بوز bûz wasp
            • Iranian *wabžakah [3]
              • Avestan vaβžaka scorpion
          • Nuristani *wašpiku
            • Kamviri wušpi
        • Italic *waspā
          • Latin vespa wasp
            • Sardinian espa
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian viespe wasp
            • Western Romance
              • Old French wespe wasp [2]
                • French guêpe wasp
              • Italian vespa wasp
                • Italian Vespa a brand of motor scooter
                  • Italian vespa motor scooter
                  • English Vespa
              • Spanish avispa wasp influence by abeja: "bee"
            • Translingual Vespa a taxonomic genus of wasps
      • Proto-Indo-European *wébʰt-is a weaving noun
        • Germanic *wiftiz act of weaving, a weaving
          • West Germanic
            • Old English wift
              • English weft
            • Old High German giwift weaved, woven
    • Proto-Indo-European weyP- to move back and forth, to wind, to wrap
      • Proto-Indo-European *wéyP-eti thematic imperfective
        • Indo-Iranian *wáypati to tremble
          • Indo-Aryan *wáypati
            • Sanskrit वेपते vépate to waver, to tremble, to be agitated
          • Iranian *wáypati to swing, to shake
            • Avestan vaēpaiia to be homosexual
            • Northern Iranian
              • Scythian
                • Ossetian и́вын ívyn
            • Western Iranian
              • Old Persian
                • Persian گیفر geyfar butterchurn
      • Proto-Indo-European *wiPy-éti intransitive imperfective
        • Balto-Slavic
          • Lithuanian viẽpti to make a face, to gape
        • Germanic *wibjaną to move back and forth, to waver
          • West Germanic
            • Frankish
              • Middle Dutch
                • Dutch wippen to see saw, to overthrow, to hop
                • English whip
          • Old High German wipfōn to scurry, to bob
        • Tocharian
          • Kushean wip-ṃ to shake, to swing
      • Proto-Indo-European *woyPeh₂y-éti iterative or causative
        • Germanic *waibōną
          • West Germanic
            • Old English wāfian to be agitated, to be amazed, to wonder at
            • Old Saxon
              • Low German wabbeln to wobble, to shake, to wiggle
                • English wabble
                  • English wobble
      • Proto-Indo-European *woyPéy-eti causative imperfective
        • Germanic *waibjaną
          • East Germanic
            • Gothic *waibjan
              • Gothic 𐌱𐌹𐍅𐌰𐌹𐌱𐌾𐌰𐌽 biwaibjan to wrap, to clothe
              • Galician gueifa mouldboard part of a plow which turns over the furrow
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse veifa to swing
          • West Germanic
            • Frankish *weiven
              • Dutch wuiven to wave, to beckon
            • Old High German *weibjan
              • Old High German ziweibjan to scatter, to disperse
      • Proto-Indo-European wiPéh₁-ti to be moving back and forth state/factitive
        • Germanic *wīpōną to wipe, to swing
          • West Germanic
            • Old English wīpian to wipe
              • English wipe
            • Frankish *wīpon
              • Dutch wipen to wipe
            • Old High German
              • Middle High German wīfen to wind, to swing
                • German gewieft cunning
      • Proto-Indo-European *wiPó-s swinging, trembling, agitated adjective
        • Germanic *wibraz arrow
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse vifr sword
          • West Germanic
            • Old English wifer arrow, javelin, dart
        • Indo-Iranian *wiprás
          • Indo-Aryan *wiprás
            • Sanskrit विप्र vipra excited, inspired, seer, Brahmin, theologian, poet
              • Sanskrit विप्रता viprata the rank or condition of being a Brahmin
          • Iranian *wifráh
            • Avestan vifra (wave-)tossed epithet of Paurva, a legendary sailor
        • Italic *wibrāō trembling
          • Latin vibrō I shake, I agitate, I launch, I vibrate, I glimmer
            • Western Romance
              • Old French
                • French virer to veer, to turn into, to transfer
                • English veer
                • Italian virare to veer, to turn, to come about
                • Spanish virar to veer, to tack
              • Italian vibrare to vibrate
              • Spanish vibrar to vibrate, to brandish, to roll an /r/
            • English vibrate
            • French vibrer to vibrate
            • Latin vībrissae nose hairs
              • English vibrissae
              • Italian vibrissae vibrissae, whiskers
      • Proto-Indo-European wéyPyōs very moving? intensive adjective
        • Indo-Iranian *waypas
          • Iranian *waypah
            • Western Iranian
              • Old Persian *waipa inspired song
                • Old Armenian վէպ vēp story, myth, epic [4]
                  • Armenian վեպ vep novel, romance, legend, epic
                • Old Persian *waipa-sāhana singer [4]
                  • Old Armenian վիպասան vipasan storyteller, historian
                    • Armenian վիպասան vipasan novelist, author
      • Proto-Indo-European wéyPō banner, waving thing noun
        • Germanic *waibjō banner
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse veifa banner, flag
              • Icelandic veifa flag, pennant
        • Tocharian
          • Kushean waipe banner, flag
      • Proto-Indo-European ?
        • Tocharian
          • Kushean waipalau dizziness, vertigo
    • Proto-Indo-European *sweyg-
      • Proto-Indo-European *sweyg-ti
        • Balto-Slavic
          • Lithuanian svaĩgti to become dizzy or giddy
      • Proto-Indo-European *sweygéy-eti causative
        • Germanic *swaigijaną
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse sveigja to bend, to bow
              • Icelandic sveigja to bend
          • West Germanic
            • Old English
              • English sway
            • Frankish *swaigen
              • Dutch zwaaien
        • Indo-Iranian
          • Indo-Aryan
            • Sanskrit स्वजते svájate to embrace, to enfold
          • Iranian
            • Avestan pairi-šxuaxta to surround

Visual

Image is a visual representation of the text content above.

Collected English words

swive, swivel, swipe, sweep, swoop, swap, swift, weave, waver, wave, web, wasp, Vespa, Vespa, weft, whip, wabble, wobble, wipe, veer, vibrate, vibrissae, sway

Footnotes

  1. ^

    The *-eh₂ suffix is a complicated morpheme. In late Proto-Indo-European, which had three grammatical genders: feminine/masculine/neuter, it would become a feminine suffix (note that *-eh₂ becomes -a in almost every branch, the prototypical Indo-European feminine ending). But early Proto-Indo-European had two grammatical genders, animate/inanimate, and *-eh₂ was probably used to derive secondary animate nouns that you would otherwise expect to be inanimate nouns. The result is something similar to an agentive (and is preserved in the Latin -a agentive suffix).

    Unrelatedly on *wobʰs-éh₂, note that metathesis is extremely common in the descendants, moving the (reflex of the) /s/ in front of the (reflex of the) /bʰ/. These are convergent developments driven by a common pressure for ease of articulation. Forms like Danish hveps and Avestan vaβžaka perserve the original sequence.

  2. ^

    Re-merger of Latin vespa and Frankish *wespa.

  3. ^

    There are several Iranian secondary nouns derived with the *-aka- infix like this. I haven't been able to deterime if there's any meaning attached to it (e.g. dimunitive).

  4. ^

    Old Armenian վէպ vēp: "story, myth, epic" could also be from Archaic Greek ϝέπος (wépos), the older form of ἔπος épos: "a thing spoken, epic poetry" (whence English epic).

    If so, the agentive վիպասան vipasan would have to be an internal Armenian derivation of վէպ vēp + ասեմ asem + -ան -an: "epic speak -er". But -an is more of an instrumental suffix than an agentive. The only other clear agentive of this form is գովասան govasan: "praiser, panegyrist", internally derived as գով gov + ասեմ asem + -ան -an; but this is suspiciously similarly to, again, Persian گوسان gôsân: "minstrel" (which would have had a b/v/w sound in the middle in older Western Persian).

    The Iranian derivation is a proposal by G.S. Asatrjan, an Iranian-Armenian philologist.