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Re: Indian Salmon and Greek Ants (was Re: an axe to grind)

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Saturday, February 11, 2006, 21:08
Paul Bennett wrote:
> On Sat, 11 Feb 2006 13:29:03 -0500, wayne chevrier > <wachevrier@...> wrote:
>> "Lakh" actually means "one hundred thousand", but in Greek the words >> for "ten thousand" and "ant" are related. > > > 10K, 100K? What's a power of 10 between friends? ;-) > > I can more easily see the connection between "myriad" and "myrmi-".
Hang on - the root of the word for 'ant' is: murma:k- (in Doric) --> myrme:k- (Ionic & Koine).
> Wasn't "myriad" orignally simply a word for a large army?
The adjective _murios_ (myrios) originally meant "numberless, countless, infinite". The singular is uncommon and found only with collective nouns; the adjective is nearly always plural (for obvious reasons). The first use of its specifically meaning 10 000 is found in Hesiod. In this more precise meaning it commonly occurs in military phrases (not the vaguer, less defined meaning).
> That's IMO a > fairly small leap from the "armies" that ants normally occur in.
Maybe - but I would like to see the etymologies of _murios_ and _murmak-_. It must mean a common root *mu:r- (yes, the first vowel of _murios_/_myrios_ was long), extended by -i- in the first word and -ma:k- in the second word. One should remember that the forms _bormak-_ and _burmak-_ are also attested in ancient Greek for 'ant'. I am not aware of a similar alternation between initial m ~ b for _murios_/_myrios_. I am not saying the 'ant' word and the 'numberless' word are not related. But it is news to me, and I would appreciate being given the etymologies. -- Ray ================================== ================================== MAKE POVERTY HISTORY


Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>