Friday, 30 July 2010

noise and argonaut

Proto-Indo-European *neh₂u- "boat" became Greek ναῦς "ship" and Ionic Greek ναυσίη (Attic ναυτία) "seasickness". This was borrowed into Latin as nausea.

Latin nausea probably developed into Anglo-Norman noise, which found its way into English. The OED says the semantic development is probably from "malaise" to "disturbance, uproar", then "noise, din, quarrel" (OED).

Greek ναύτης "sailor" is the source of words ending in -naut like cosmonaut, astronaut, argonaut. An argonaut is a sailor in the ship Argo - but it's also a kind of octopus that inhabits a shell.

3 comments :

Sandra said...

The ancient Greek for "sailor" (at least in Homeric texts) is ναυτης (as in αργοναυτης) borrowed in Latin "nauta"=sailor and both are the origin of -naut in cosmonaut and astronaut. ναυτιλος is the Attic word for "sailor" and ναυτικος is "nautical".
Thank you for loving Indo-European languages (Greek and Latin especially, I feel less lonely, now) and putting your love to such great use on your blog. I discovered it recently and am a huge fan.

goofy said...

Thanks for the kind words, Sandra. You're right about the derivation of "-naut", I guess I was in a hurry when I wrote it.

Sandra said...

Happy to help ;-)