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.


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.