ὕω

Validation

Yes

Word-form

ὕδωρ

Transliteration (Word)

hudōr

English translation (word)

water

Transliteration (Etymon)

huō

English translation (etymon)

to rain

Author

Apollonius Dyscolus

Century

2 AD

Source

Idem

Ref.

De constructione 1, p. 3 Uhlig

Ed.

J. Lallot, De la construction [Histoire des doctrines de l'Antiquité classique 19], Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1997

Quotation

Φαμὲν οὕτως· τὸ ὕδωρ τῷ δ πλεονάζει, τοῦ ὕειν ἐγκειμένου

Translation (En)

We say the following: the word hudōr "water" adds a [d], from the base huein "to rain"

Comment

This etymology starts from the (never used) first person of the impersonal verb ὕει "it rains", since only the first person can provide the required ō of ὕδωρ. From there the name is derived through the insertion of a consonant. This etymology, which is probably older than Apollonius (see Parallels), seems to have been standard in Antiquity, as a typical case of epenthetic [d]. It is a descriptive mimetic etymology: since water (B) comes from rain (A), the name of water itself (B') is derived from the verb "to rain" (A'), and lexical derivation mirrors the actual physical process

Parallels

Apollonius Dyscolus, De conjunctionibus, Schneider p. 256 (παρὰ τὸ ὕω ὕδωρ); Herodian, Peri pathôn, Lentz III/2, p. 285, transmitted by Orion (ὕδωρ: παρὰ τὸ ὕω τὸ βρέχω ὕωρ καὶ πλεονασμῷ τοῦ δ ὕδωρ); Orion, Etymologicum, upsilon,  p. 156 (idem); Choeroboscus, Epimerismi in Psalmos p. 8 (ὡς τὸ ὕω τὸ βρέχω, ὕωρ, καὶ πλεονασμῷ τοῦ Δ ὕδωρ); ibid. p. 45; Epimerismi homerici ordine alphabetico traditi, alpha 276 (ὡς ἐν τῷ ὕω ὕωρ καὶ ὕδωρ); Etym. Gudianum, upsilon, p. 539 (Ὕδωρ, παρὰ τὸ ὕω τὸ βρέχω ὕωρ, καὶ πλεονασμῷ τοῦ δ, ὕδωρ); Etym. Magnum, Kallierges p. 107; ibid. p. 774; Etym. Symeonis, epsilon 352; Eustathius, Comm. Il. 1, 166 (καὶ τὸ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕω γινόμενον ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ ἀνέρος ἀνδρός καὶ ἕτερα); Ps.-Zonaras, Lexicon, upsilon, p. 1763 (ἐτυμολογεῖται δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕω, τὸ βρέχω, ὕωρ καὶ πλεονασμῷ τοῦ δ ὕδωρ); Scholia in Pindarum, Ol. 1.1 (Ὕδωρ ἐστὶ στοιχεῖον κατωφερές, ψυχρόν, ὑγρόν, θρεπτικόν, παρὰ τὸ ὕω, τὸ βρέχω, ὕωρ, καὶ πλεονασμῷ τοῦ δ ὕδωρ)

This etymology is implicit in Plutarch's De Iside et Osiride 364d, which means probably that it is older than Apollonius: καὶ γὰρ Ἕλληνες τὴν τοῦ σπέρματος πρόεσιν ἀπουσίαν καλοῦσι καὶ συνουσίαν τὴν μῖξιν, καὶ τὸν υἱὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος καὶ τοῦ ὗσαι "In fact, the Greeks call emission apousia and coition synousia, and the son (huios) from water (hudōr) and rain (husai)" (transl. Cole Babbitt). This etymology for υἷος "son", deriving it from ὕδωρ and ὕειν, implies that ὕδωρ and ὕειν were considered cognate, that is, that the former was derived from the latter according to the etymology explicit in Apollonius

Modern etymology

Ὕδωρ is the old name of "water", inherited from PIE, cognate with Lat. unda, Engl. water, Hitt. u̯ātar etc. (Beekes, EDG)

Persistence in Modern Greek

The word is still used in MG in scientific language and particular phrases (e.g., περί ανέμων και υδάτων). However, υδατο- is widely used in compounds, e.g., υδατογραφία, υδατοδιαλυτός (Triandafyllidis, Dict. of MG)

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