Wednesday, 20 February 2008

druid and Veda

Drew Mackie of Back of the Cereal Box has commented once or twice on my posts on Indo-European words that have traveled far afield. So here's another!

druid is from Latin druidæ, druides from Proto-Celtic *druwid- "priest". (Compare Irish Gaelic draoi, druadh, Scots Gaelic draoi, draoidh, druidh.) This is probably formed from the Proto-Indo-European roots *deru- "to be firm, solid, steadfast" (the source of tree and true) and *weid- "to see". So the etymological sense of druid is either "true seer" or "oak, tree + seer", druidical rites being associated with the oak.

*weid- in the form *woid-o- became Sanskrit वेदः vedaḥ "knowledge". The Rigveda (ऋग्वेद r̥gveda from ऋच् r̥c "praise, verse" from PIE *erkʷ- "to radiate, beam, praise", plus vedaḥ) is an ancient collection of hymns dedicated to the gods. The Rigveda dates to 1000 BC and is our first record of Indic.

*weid- also became Old English wīs as in wise, Greek ἰδέα "appearance, form, idea" as in idea, and Latin vidēre "to see" as in video, vision.


Saif said...

Russian 'vesti' leads to Novosti as well as Izvestia meaning news.

'Razvedat' meaning to find out gives 'razvedka' - scouting and eventually intelligence gathering...

David Marjanović said...

Russian 'vesti' leads to Novosti

Would surprise me. It looks more like nov- "new" + -ost' "-ness".

David Marjanović said...

...and of course the plural ending -i.