Monday, 13 April 2009

soma and prosciutto

Soma, the drug in Huxley's Brave New World, is from Sanskrit सोम soma "the juice of the Soma plant" from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma- from Proto-Indo-European *seuH- "to take liquid".

R̥gveda 9.66.7
प्र सोम याहि धारया सुत इन्द्राय मत्सरः | दधानो अक्षिति श्रवः || ७ ||
7 Flow onward, Soma in a stream, effused to gladden Indra's heart,

Bringing imperishable fame.
(translation)

In English, the extended form *seuH-g- became suck. In Latin, it became sūgere "to suck", and exsūgere, pp. exsūctus "to suck out". This became Italian asciutto "dried", which combined with the prefix pre- to form presciutto "thoroughly dried up". This was altered to prosciutto.

The soma in somatic is unrelated. It's from Greek σῶμα "body" from Proto-Indo-European *teuh₂- "to swell". This root also gives us thousand, thigh, tumor, quark and butter, and of course the Soma Free Psychoplasmic Institute from the film The Brood.

2 comments :

Mattitiahu said...

That is one nice etymology.

(and an awesome Ṛgveda quote too!)

Cailliomachas said...

Cf. Old Irish: súg (Modern Irish: sú) (Latin: sucus); Old Irish: súigid (Latin, sugo, sugere); cf. subh, subhach, súgach, etc.