Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Etymology of the word "dog"

 The word "dog" is derived from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word *kwtór which has several meanings such as 'wolf', 'male dog' and a root meaning of being an attitude to do with action, or behavioral state. This PIE word is related to Sanskrit kúṣa ('dog'), Avestan kehrpa('wolf') and Old English hund ('hound').

The Greek form for this Indo-european dog was kuôn (-κύων), also known as Cœna. The ending -on indicates that it can be used in the neuter gender. It refers to a male bitch; specificially one which has not been castrated.

The word "Cœna" is related to the Greek word for 'to dine', coincidentally, and also means a feast. The Romans used the root of this word (canis) in their language, meaning a dog or an animal that was domesticated by humans.

The term "canis" is used to refer to other species of dogs and even wolf-like creatures. The word "lupus" (wolf) comes from the PIE *lukwos, which means 'howling' or 'howl'.


I can go on if you want...

Also, the word "canis" is a reference to the dog star Sirius. It was thought that this star caused dogs in the night sky to howl.

A possible inference is that it was believed that the howling of dogs in the night sky brought about a bad omen.


The word "canis" also refers to one's direction towards, or route to something.

The English word for 'dog' is derived from the PIE word *kwtór.


The Old English form of this word was hund, which referred to a bitch (female dog). The ending -hund could be used in the neuter gender.


I think the most interesting question to ask is not why dogs were called 'dogs', but what did they have in common with other animals that were called dogs. This is actually a very difficult question, for I cannot think of any characteristic they all share.

What are dogs? Look at them. Many of them have short legs, long fur, and wide eyes. They are intelligent beings that can learn commands and obey their owners. Some of them even look like wolves.

I think it may be useful to look at the etymology of 'dog' in more detail. The word itself is very ancient, going back about ten thousand years. It can be traced back to an Indo-European root *duk-, which means 'to see'. In fact, most words involving sight come from this same root: Sanskrit daksina and Latin decus both mean 'right', Greek deiknumi and English dictate all mean 'show', Old English dagian meant "appear," and so on.

This is interesting, for most words dealing with sight have to do with the movement of light. Most people don't know this, but there are in fact many different kinds of light.

The kind of light we see with is called 'visible light', and it makes up only a tiny fraction of all the different kinds of light. In fact, it seems like there are more completely invisible forms of white than visible ones!

The visible light we see with is just a very narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum. This means that it is only one type of wave, or vibration, in space. Waves can be seen because they make something change rapidly back and forth between two shapes--for example, if you throw up your hands and clap when a song reaches its peak! You are making your hands vibrate so fast that they appear to us as waves.

Humans have an anthropocentric perspective on things. That's not to say they are bad, but when you think about dogs, there's only one way to interpret the word 'dog'. It is a domesticated animal that humans care for and love like a family member. The very nature of the word forces this interpretation in order to make sense as it has no other meaning.

However, I can look at the word 'dog' from a more objective perspective. When you think about dogs, there are different kinds of them that humans love and care for. There is also the breed of dog which has been bred to do certain things (i.e., herding, hunting). In fact, it was only in recent history that dogs have become domesticated animals and were originally wild animals.

So, if we look at the word 'dog' from a more objective perspective (i.e., that of an alien), it becomes clear that dogs are only domesticated animals. Dogs were once wild animals which have been tamed and bred to serve humans.

Humans, when looking at the word 'dog', have an anthropocentric perspective on things. They look at dogs as pets that serve certain functions (mostly companionship), but they don't think about how dogs were once wild animals and are still animals.

Humans are particularly bad at thinking from an objective perspective. Their anthropocentric perspective on things is so strong that they can't see the world as it is.

I wonder what happens when a domesticated dog meets its ancestor in the wild. I wonder how it feels.

Dogs are a subspecies of wolf, Canis lupus. They have been domesticated for thousands of years (since approximately 12,500 BC) where they were bred from wolves to better assist humans with hunting and protection duties. The name 'dog' is derived from its Latin name: canis.

The word 'dog' is also very similar to the Latin word: canis which means dog in English. The origin of both words are related to each other and are derived from a Proto-Indo-European language, around 2,500 BC.

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