Thursday, 22 November 2007

punch and finger

punch as in the drink. It's perhaps from Hindi पाँच pāṃc "five", because it was made with five ingredients. The Proto-Indo-European root is *penkʷe "five" (IEW penkṷe 808). In Sanskrit it became पंच paṃca, then Hindi पाँच pāṃc. The Sanskrit paṃca also gives us Panjabi and Punjabi from ਪੰਜਾਬੀ paṃjābī meaning "five rivers". [correction: the panj of Panjabi is actually from Persian پنج panj "five", from the same Indic source as the Sanskrit.]

In Germanic *penkʷe became *fimf "five", and also *fingwraz "one of five". These became Old English fīf and finger, then modern English five and finger.

An alternate form of *penkʷe was *kʷenkʷe, which developed into Latin quinque "five", and so words like quintet.

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