Fun Etymology Tuesday – Wine

We’ve come to yet another Tuesday and, as always (though a bit late), here’s your Fun Etymology!

Today’s word is “wine”!

In Old English, we find the word “win”, from Proto-Germanic *winam, an early borrowing of Latin “vinum”, from PIE *woin-o, which is related to Greek “oinos”, as well as the Armenian, Hittite, non-Indo-European Georgian and West Semitic (Arabic “wain”, Hebrew yayin).

Because all of these languages appear to share this word, some scholars have suggested that it may have been borrowed from a Mediterranean language that has since been lost to us. Others, however, suggest that the immediate origin for the Greek, Latin, and Albanian word is primitive Armenian *woiniyo (Armenian gini). However, that explanation does not quite cover why the word shows up in many Indo-European languages and, ultimately, like so many things in historical linguistics, the origin of “wine” remains somewhat obscure.

See you next week!

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