Word Family - Water

August theme: Elements So Slow 🌎🌊


I love how Indo-European *udrós, "aquatic", became the word for "otter" in 4 out of the 5 branches where it is attested, except for Greek where it became "sea serpent".


vodka, whiskey, water, hydrogen, otter, hydra, wash

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *wed- water
    • Proto-Indo-European *wódr̥ water oblique form: *udén-
      • Pre-Albanian *udrijā
      • Anatolian
        • Hittite 𒉿𒀀𒋻 wa-a-tar water [1]
      • Balto-Slavic *wandō water
        • Lithuanian vanduõ water, flow, current
          • Lithuanian vandenilis hydrogen
        • Slavic *vodà water
          • East Slavic
            • Russian вода́ vodá water
              • Russian водоро́д vodoród hydrogen
              • Russian во́дка vódka vodka, distilled alcohol вода́ + -ка, a nominal derivational suffix, often dimunitve [2]
                • English vodka
                  • Japanese ウォッカ wokka vodka
          • South Slavic
            • Serbo-Croatian во̀да vòda water
              • Serbo-Croatian во̀дӣк vòdīk<, `водоник` hydrogen
          • West Slavic
            • Polish woda water
              • Polish wodór hydrogen
          • Slavic *vědro (water) bucket
            • East Slavic
              • Russian ведро́ vedró bucket
            • South Slavic
              • Serbo-Croatian ве̏дро vȅdro bucket
            • West Slavic
              • Polish wiadro bucket
      • Celtic *udenskyos water
        • Irish uisce water
          • Irish uisce beatha whiskey, distilled alchohol
            • English whiskey
              • Irish fuisce whiskey
              • Japanese ウィスキー wisukī whisky
      • Germanic *watōr water
        • East Germanic
          • Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐍄𐍉 watō water
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse vatn water, lake, river
            • Danish vand water
            • Icelandic vatn water, lake
              • Icelandic vetni hydrogen
        • West Germanic
          • Old English wæter water
            • English water
              • Jamaican Creole wata water
            • Scots watir water
          • Old High German
            • German Wasser
              • German Wasserstoff hydrogen "water-stuff"
            • Yiddish וואַסער vaser water
      • Hellenic
        • Mycenaean Greek 𐀄𐀈 u-do water
          • Ancient Greek ῠ̔́δωρ húdōr water, rain, sweat, time
            • English hydro-
            • French hydro-
              • French hydrogène hydrogen
                • Translingual H
                • English hydrogen
      • Indo-Iranian
        • Indo-Aryan
          • Dardic *udá
            • Kashmiri odūr
          • Sanskrit उदन् udán
            • Hindi उदजन udjan hydrogen learned borrowing. None of Hindi's words for "water" are related.
            • Telugu ఉదకము udakamu water
      • Italic
        • Latin unda wave
          • Sardinian unda
          • Eastern Romance
            • Romanian undă wave
          • Western Romance
            • French onde wave (technical) [3]
              • French onduler to wave (a hand) [3]
            • Italian onda wave
            • Spanish onda wave, style, mood
            • Latin undulātus wavy
              • English undulate
            • Latin inundō flood "in-wave"
              • English inundate
              • Spanish inundar to flood
            • New Latin undina female water spirit, undine coined by Paracelsus in the 16th C
              • German Undine undine
              • English undine
              • French ondine undine, mermaid
              • Italian ondina undine, mermaid, female swimming champion
        • Umbrian 𐌖𐌕𐌖𐌓 utur water
          • Latin ūter water skin, wineskin, hide bag for flotation
      • Tocharian
        • Arshian wär water
    • Proto-Indo-European *wéd-os- action noun, "waterer"?, "wateringness"?
      • Armenian գետ get river
      • Indo-Iranian
        • Indo-Aryan
          • Sanskrit उत्स útsa spring, fountain
    • Proto-Indo-European *wed-ro-
      • Italic *wedrom glass
        • Latin vitrum glass
          • Eastern Romance
            • Romanian vitră
          • Western Romance
            • French verre glass
            • Italian vetro glass
            • Spanish vidrio glass
          • French vitre pane of glass, car window re-borrowing
            • French vitrine shop window, glass-panelled showcase, vitrine
              • English vitrine
              • Swedish vitrin vitrine
              • Greek βιτρίνα vitrína vitrine
            • Welsh gwydr glass
          • French vitrifier to vitrify, to lacquer
            • English vitrify
          • Latin vitriolum iron sulfate, sulfuric acid, vitriol
            • Western Romance
              • French vitriol vitriol
                • English vitriol
          • Medieval Latin vitrosus glass, transparent
            • French vitreux glassy, vitreous
            • English vitreous
      • Proto-Indo-European *udrós of water, aquatic (animal)
        • Balto-Slavic *ūˀdrāˀ otter
          • Lithuanian ū́dra otter
          • Slavic *vỳdra otter
            • East Slavic
              • Russian вы́дра výdra otter
              • Yiddish ווידרע
            • South Slavic
              • Serbo-Croatian ви́дра výdra otter
              • Greek βίδρα vídra otter
            • West Slavic
              • Polish wydra otter
        • Germanic *utraz
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse otr otter
              • Danish odder otter
              • Icelandic otur otter
          • West Germanic
            • Old English oter otter
              • English otter
              • Scots otter
            • Frankish
              • Dutch otter
            • Old High German ottar otter
              • German Otter otter
        • Hellenic
          • Mycenaean Greek 𐀄𐀈𐀫 u-do-ro
          • Ancient Greek ὕδρα húdra sea snake, sea serpent, hydra
            • Latin hydra
              • English hydra
        • Indo-Iranian *udrás
          • Indo-Aryan *udrás
            • Sanskrit उद्र udrá otter, aquatic animal
              • Magadhi
                • Assamese উদ ud otter
              • Sauraseni
                • Madhya
                  • Hindi ऊद ūd otter, beaver rare
                    • Hindi ऊदबिलाव ūdbilāv otter, beaver more common. derivationally, "otter-civet"
              • Telugu ఉద్రము udramu otter
          • Iranian *udráh otter
            • East Iranian
              • Scythian
                • Ossetian уырд wyrd otter
              • Avestan 𐬎𐬛𐬭𐬀 udra- otter
            • Western Iranian
              • Old Persian
                • Middle Persian ʾwdlk' udrag
                  • Persian اودر‏ ūdar otter archaic
        • Italic
          • Latin lutra otter [4]
            • Sardinian lontra
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian lutră otter
            • Western Romance
              • French loutre otter
              • Italian lontra otter
              • Spanish lutria otter
              • Spanish nutria otter
            • Translingual Lutra
      • Proto-Indo-European *wodsḱe iterative
        • Germanic *waskaną to wash
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse vaska to wash
              • Danish vaske to wash, to launder, to shuffle
              • Icelandic vaska to wash
          • West Germanic
            • Old English wascan to wash
              • English wash
            • Old High German waskan
              • German waschen to wash
              • Yiddish וואַשן vashn to wash
            • Frankish *waskan to wash
              • Dutch wassen to wash
              • French gâcher to soak, to ruin, spoil, to waste, to mess up
    • Uralic *wete water [5]
      • Finno-Ugric
        • Finnic *veci water
          • Finnish vesi water, lake, rheum, hydro-
            • Finnish vety hydrogen
        • Ugric
          • Hungarian víz water
      • Samic *vëcë freshly fallen snow
        • Northern Sami vahca freshly fallen snow
        • Finnish viti freshly fallen white and dry snow archaic
      • Samoyedic *wet
        • Nenets иʺ yiq water


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Collected English words

vodka, whiskey, water, hydro-, H, hydrogen, undulate, inundate, undine, vitrine, vitrify, vitriol, vitreous, otter, hydra, Lutra, wash


  1. ^

    Hittite 𒉿𒀀𒋻 wa-a-tar is the word that first triggered the realization by Bedřich Hrozný that Hittite was an Indo-European language, during his decipherment of Hittite in 1917.

  2. ^

    As distilled alcohols, whisky and vodka come from words meaning "water" because they are calques of the Latin aqua vitae, coined as the process of distillation was spread through Europe by monks during the late Medieval and early Renaissance eras.

  3. ^

    French onde is a technical term. The normal term for a wave is vague, from the Germanic *wēgaz, same as English wave. Note that even though the French onduler, "to wave one's hand", is derived from onde, the English wave of that meaning is from a different Germanic root *wabjaną: "to wander, to sway".

  4. ^

    The initial 'l' in Latin lutra is irregular and unexplained. Suggestions include modification by association to lupus, "wolf" (cf. lobo del río https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_otter) or ludo, "play".

  5. ^

    Uralic *wete was likely borrowed from Indo-European to Uralic, replacing the inherited *śäčä in many branches.