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Word Origins and also How We recognize Them

Anatoly Liberman"s tower on native origins, The Oxford Etymologist, shows up on the wgc2010.orgwgc2010.org every Wednesday. Subscribe to Anatoly Liberman’s weekly etymology articles via email or RSS.

You are watching: Greek word for hunt


The posts for the previous two weeks were committed to every kinds of bloodsuckers. Now the time has come to say something about hunters and also hunting. The beginning of the verbs an interpretation “hunt” can provide us a deeper insight into the background of civilization, due to the fact that hunting is one of the most old occupations in the world: beasts of food hunt because that food, and also humans have always hunted pets not only for food but additionally for fur and also skins.

When lions hunting antelopes and also fleas hunting dogs, they perform not reflect on the outcomes of your actions, while world take hunting seriously. In the remote past, they could not draw a line between humans and animals and endowed beasts through the very same capacity for reasoning they themselves had. They wanted to explain to their prey why they had actually behaved therefore cruelly toward it, apologize, and, if possible, propitiate the master of the creatures castle hunted.

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" data-medium-file="https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt-180x125.jpg" data-large-file="https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt.jpg" loading="lazy" class="size-full wp-image-143474" src="https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="445" srcset="https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt.jpg 640w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt-180x125.jpg 180w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt-120x83.jpg 120w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt-128x89.jpg 128w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt-184x128.jpg 184w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Buffalo_Hunt-31x22.jpg 31w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />Primitive hunting. Hunting Bison in USA by George Catlin, 1844. Publicly domain via Wikimedia Commons.This approach also had a valuable side. Killing a bear, for example, was believed not just to enrage other bears; it decreased the opportunity of prospering a year later, because, when the next searching season concerned an end, it was understood that the bear lugged home was the same one they had killed earlier: reborn. To ensure the bear’s rebirth, intricate feasts were celebrated. All this is known from the descriptions made through ethnographers, and, obviously, such rites go earlier to the hoariest antiquity. The words because that “hunt” had actually the condition of religious terms, and they are occasionally notoriously tough to etymologize.

One the the factors for the an obstacle is that sacral terms were not an alleged to be pronounced “in vain” and also often fell victim come taboo. Because that example, the actual verb can be “to kill,” but it would be distorted or changed by a gentler or vaguer synonym or also by a word of opposing meaning. One of such native is German jagen “to hunt.” It occurred in the oldest period; however the cwgc2010.orgle of attempts to describe its derivation resolve themselves right into “intelligent guessing.”

Another necessary German native is Weidmann “hunter,” more than likely not regarded weiden ”to graze.” The equivalent old verb to be weidenen “to hunt.” It each other Engl. win, indigenous winnan, and Latin vēnāri “to hunt.” (From the root of the Latin verb English has venery “the arts of hunting” and also venison “the meat of an pet killed in the chase”: such an pet was in the job of Robin Hood the deer, and also that is why the germanic word for “animal,” such as German Tier, has got the meaning “deer.”) but winnan seems to have actually meant “to toil; suffer,” that is, “to acquire something ~ hard and painful struggle” (so in Gothic, a germanic language videotaped in the fourth century).

The contours of this photo become blurred, because next come win we uncover Latin venus “love” (hence the name Venus, and also compare Engl. venerate, venerable, and also alas, venereal). The source must have actually meant “to desire,” and also it is usually stated that germanic winnan and also Latin venerāri are reflexes the the exact same protoform, yet that in Germanic, the verb acquired a specific meaning (“to struggle” or “to suffer”). However, castle may have been homonyms.

What comes to us here is Latin vēnor “to hunt” (compare vēnātor “hunter”). The verb hardly referred to toiling and suffering. That was quite a taboo word: one “loved” one’s prey. Words hid the hunter’s intention and also turned killing right into its opposite (as far as the language to be concerned). The love-hunt symbiosis has a near parallel in Slavic: thus, the Russian for “hunt” (noun) is okhota (stress on the 2nd syllable), its source (khot-) way “to want, wish.” Incidentally wish, a cognate the German Wunsch (the exact same meaning), share the root through win. Thus, the Slavic hunter is a “wisher,” that “desires” (“loves”) his prey, a close semantic relative of the Latin vēnātor.

See more: What Happens If You Get Caught Shoplifting On Camera, How Long After Shoplifting Can You Be Caught

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" data-medium-file="https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project-180x147.jpg" data-large-file="https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg" loading="lazy" class="size-full wp-image-143475" src="https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg" alt="" width="512" height="418" srcset="https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 512w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project-180x147.jpg 180w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project-120x98.jpg 120w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project-128x105.jpg 128w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project-184x150.jpg 184w, https://42796r1ctbz645bo223zkcdl-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/John_Frederick_Herring_-_Foxhunting-_Clearing_a_Ditch_-_Google_Art_Project-31x25.jpg 31w" sizes="(max-width: 512px) 100vw, 512px" />Fox hunting, until recently, a favorite pastime the the brothers leisured class. Foxhunting: Clearing a Ditch by john Frederick Herring, Sr. 1839. Publicly domain via Wikimedia Commons.All this have to be enough to show where etymologists cast their network in the expect of understanding the origin of the verb hunt. Probably the many revealing parallel for united state is Engl. to hunt matches French chaser (the same meaning). The native of the contemporary Romance languages because that “to hunt” and also “hunter” do not continue Latin vēnor and also vēnātor. For example, French has actually chasser and also chasseur. The Latin verb sounded as captare “to chase,” and Engl. chase, borrowed from French, is, obviously, related to the same verb. The most basic word that will certainly interest us is Latin capere “to take, seize.” English is complete of obtained words comprise its root: captious “catching of faults,” captive, captivate, and so forth. Engl. chase goes earlier to the very same root and is an etymological doublet of catch.