English Words of (Unexpected) Greek Origin.

Learn easily Greek using the roots of the English words.

Archive for December, 2012

Etymology of tardy, retardation

Posted by Johannes on 22 December 2012

The adj. tardy comes from the Latin tardus (slow, dull, stupid), which most probably derives from the Greek vradys/vradus (slow; Gr: βραδύς; vradus/vardus/tardus].
Others etymologize it from the Latin taru-dos from the v. teru-, from the Greek terys/terus [thin, weak, wιthout power; Gr: τέρυς]

From the same root: tardiness, tardily, retard, retardation, brady- (bradycardia, bradypnea, bradykinesia etc).

In modern Greek:
a) vradys (bradys): slow [Gr: βραδύς]

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Etymology of tarragon, estragon (Fr)

Posted by Johannes on 22 December 2012

Tarragon (estragon) is a plant whose aromatic leaves are used for flavoring. The word comes from the Byzantine* Greek tarchon. from the Arabictarhun, from the Greek drakontion (dragonwort), from the Greek drakon(dragon, snake).


French: estragon
Spanish: taragona
Italian: targone
Greek: estrago[Gr: εστραγκόν; loanword, reborrowing]

* The term Byzantine Empire is falsely used by some to describe the Roman Empire from the 4th to 15th century.

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Etymology of cabaret

Posted by Johannes on 22 December 2012

The word cabaret (lit. tavern) comes from the old French camberete, fromcambre, from the Latin camera, transliteration of the Greek camara. See also: “Etymology of camera” here, and “Etymology of chamber” here.

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Etymology of chamber

Posted by Johannes on 22 December 2012

The word chamber comes from the old French chambre (room, chamber), from the Latin camera (vaulted room), which is merely a transliteration of the Greek camara [Gr: καμάρα]. See also the post entitled “Etymology of camera”, here.

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