Tuesday, 27 November 2007

chimera and Himalaya

The Proto-Indo-European root *ǵhei- (IEW 425) "winter, snow" in the zero-grade form *ǵhim-r-yə- became Greek χίμαρος khimaros "he-goat" and χίμαιρα khimaira "she-goat", which was also used for the mythological monster which was one part goat, one part lion and one part snake. This became Latin chimaera, which was borrowed into English twice - first as chimere from French, then as chimaera or chimera directly from Latin. What's the connection between "winter" and "goat"? According to wikipedia, "Chimaira designated a young goat that had seen but one winter."

The suffixed zero-grade form *ǵhi-mo- became Sanskrit हिमः himaḥ "snow", which combined with आलयः ālayaḥ "abode" to form हिमालयः himālayaḥ "abode of snow."

The PIE root also became Latin hībernus "pertaining to winter," and hibernate.

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