Tuesday, 15 April 2008

elixir and serene

The Proto-Indo-European root is *ḱsero- "dry". This became Greek ξηρός ksēros "dry, arid" and ksērion "desiccative powder for wounds". ksērion was borrowed into Arabic as al-'iksīr (أَلْإِكْسِير ?) (with an epenthetic initial vowel and the definite article al), and generalized to mean "elixir". This was borrowed into medieval Latin as elixir.

The suffixed variant *ḱseres-no- (*-no- formed adjectives) became Latin serēnus "serene, bright, clear", borrowed into English as serene.

2 comments :

A. said...

My favorite English word for 'dry' is 'sere'. There's also 'sear' as in 'searing heat'.

goofy said...

sere and sear are from a different root: *saus- "dry", also found in austere.