Wednesday, 28 January 2009

door, forest, thyroid

Proto-Indo-European *dʰwer- "door, doorway" is the source of English door.

In Latin, *dʰwer- became forīs and forās "out of doors", whence Old French forest. We also get forum and foreign from the Latin forms.

In Greek it became θύρα "door", and θυρεός "shield", then thyroid, because the thyroid is shaped like a shield.

In Indo-European Languages and Culture, Fortson says we have reconstructed a word for "door jamb" but doesn't say what it is. It must be this one, also here, which I'll write as *h₂énh₁t(e)h₂. It's found in anta from Latin antae "pilasters".


Kalleh said...

Interesting, goofy. Does that mean that the thyroid is considered the "doorway" of the body? I mean, it does control metabolism.

goofy said...

Nothing so poetic. I think it's because the thyroid is shaped like a shield, from a secondary meaning of the Greek word. I should add that to the post.