Converging Etymology-meaning of "homo"

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    Aug 27, 2011 4:38 PM GMT
    Hey Guys, I was having a discussion yesterday with a friend about the meaning of the prefix "homo" in words like homo-sapien and homosexual. What does the homo prefix mean in these two words and although they look the same, are they really the same homo's?

    The answer is a tricky one, and it presents one of the common mistakes people make when doing their own word etymologies. It turns out that the homo in homo-sapien comes from the Latin HOMO meaning 'man'. However, the homo in homosexual or homogeneous comes from the Greek HOMO/HOMOS, meaning 'same'.

    It's a converging etymology because the two prefixes look identical in English, but have very different histories. Watch out for these when you're doing your etymologies in your spare time! (I'm sure at least some of you find it interesting lol).

    PS: One more tip for these etymologies: make sure to do them as word histories, i.e., the meaning of the word over time, NOT during one time period. If you do that, it's a folk etymology. E.G. A Hamburger has nothing to do with ham even though ham is in the word nor does history have anything to do with him or his story.
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    Aug 27, 2011 4:47 PM GMT
    You forgot to say "no homo" - which means "I am not a man." icon_razz.gif
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    Aug 27, 2011 7:40 PM GMT
    Homosex does not mean "man-sex."
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    Aug 27, 2011 7:42 PM GMT
    JackNWNJ saidHomosex does not mean "man-sex."
    Oh but thats SO hot!
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    Aug 27, 2011 7:51 PM GMT
    Ehm, yes thats right, one is Latin, one is greek.... are we supposed to follow up on this information? Like go to their Indo-European roots?

    Well easily done:

    Latin: Homo (man, person, human being)

    -from Proto-Indo European
    "Ghomon"
    -meaning
    "earthling" via *dghem = "earth"

    -Modern English derivative:
    "human"
    -modern English through Latin derivative:
    "homicide"

    Greek: Homo (one and the same)

    -from Proto-Indo European
    "Somos"
    -meaning:
    "even, the same, like"
    -Modern English derivative:
    "same"
    - Modern English through Latin derivative:
    "similar"



    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=homo-
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    Aug 27, 2011 8:34 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidYou forgot to say "no homo" - which means "I am not a man." icon_razz.gif


    Man don't worrie about it; we know already. The truth can be a beautiful thing sometimes.
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    Aug 27, 2011 8:34 PM GMT
    Yes, "homos" is etymologically related to the word "same" since they come from the same Proto-Indo-European (PIE) source - somos.

    "S" in early Greek shifted to "h" at the beginning of a word and in between vowels, nasal consonants (m & n), and liquid consonants (r & l). So take a PIE word such as "septm" (seven), which became "hepta" in Greek due to the s-to-h shift. Meanwhile it remained as "septem" in Latin and other related languages. This is how we went from somos -> homos in Greek. Descendants of "somos" include: same (English), samur (Icelandic), similar (Latin later to English), samiy (Russian), ham (Persian).

    "Homo" in Latin is a different and unrelated word. All of its descendants in the Romance languages mean "man": hombre (Spanish), om (Romanian), homme (French), uomo (Italian), home (Catalan), homem (Portuguese).
  • jock5827

    Posts: 52

    Aug 29, 2011 12:47 AM GMT
    HOMO is also an acronym for "highest occupied molecular orbital" in chemistry. It's a description for electron pairing in the space around the nucleus.

    If we were to jokingly take that description and apply it to people rather than electrons, perhaps we could say that

    (a) homosexuals are on an elevated plane relative to everyone else ("higher"),

    (b) gays are always busy ("occupied"),

    (c) homosexuals are highly individualistic and self-absorbed ("molecular"), or simply

    (d) gays think that the world revolves around them ("orbital").
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    Aug 29, 2011 1:41 AM GMT
    pocketnico saidYes, "homos" is etymologically related to the word "same" since they come from the same Proto-Indo-European (PIE) source - somos.

    "S" in early Greek shifted to "h" at the beginning of a word and in between vowels, nasal consonants (m & n), and liquid consonants (r & l). So take a PIE word such as "septm" (seven), which became "hepta" in Greek due to the s-to-h shift. Meanwhile it remained as "septem" in Latin and other related languages. This is how we went from somos -> homos in Greek. Descendants of "somos" include: same (English), samur (Icelandic), similar (Latin later to English), samiy (Russian), ham (Persian).

    "Homo" in Latin is a different and unrelated word. All of its descendants in the Romance languages mean "man": hombre (Spanish), om (Romanian), homme (French), uomo (Italian), home (Catalan), homem (Portuguese).





    i'm in love
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    Aug 29, 2011 1:46 AM GMT
    pattison said
    paulflexes saidYou forgot to say "no homo" - which means "I am not a man." icon_razz.gif


    Man don't worrie about it; we know already. The truth can be a beautiful thing sometimes.
    ...says the gold card girl.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Aug 29, 2011 2:02 AM GMT
    as hamlet said, buzz buzz
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Aug 29, 2011 2:38 AM GMT
    you're still a homo. Get over it.