Friday, 4 January 2008

cow and butter?

The Proto-Indo-European root *gʷou- "ox, bull, cow" became Proto-Germanic *kōuz, Old English , and English cow.

In Greek, *gʷou- became βοῦς bous "cow", which perhaps combined with τῡρός tūros "cheese" to form βού-τῡρον boutūron "butter". This was borrowed into Latin as būtȳrum. English butter is a very early, possibly pre-Old English borrowing of the Latin word.

τῡρός tūros is from the Proto-Indo-European *teuh₂- "to swell", which also gives us thousand from Proto-Germanic *þūs-hundi- "swollen hundred", and tumor from Latin tumēre "to swell".

And *teuh₂- gives us another dairy word: quark (the cheese), from Middle High German quarc from Old Church Slavonic тварогъ tvarogŭ.

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