Word Family - Death

November theme: Mes de Muertos 💀


A root meaning "to run, to depart" can be reconstructed from Hellenic and Indo-Iranian. But in Northwest branches, Balto-Slavic, Celtic, Germanic, and possibly Italic, there is a phonologically identical root meaning "to die". So it's probably a euphemism coined in a Late Northwest Indo-European.

Albanian and Armenian have words with the death meaning that are likely from the same root, which is unexpected since they are not part of the Northwest region.


death, funeral

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *dʰew- to run, to depart
    • Proto-Indo-European *dʰéw-eti
      • Anatolian
        • Hittite tuḫḫušzi to end
      • Hellenic *tʰéwō
        • Ancient Greek θέω théō I run, I hasten
          • Ancient Greek θοός thoós swift
            • Ancient Greek βοηθός boēthós helper, assistant lit. "shout-hastener", i.e., first responder
              • Latin surname 6th century philosopher
      • Indo-Iranian *dʰáwati
        • Indo-Aryan
          • Sanskrit धावति dhāvati to run, to flee
        • Iranian *dáwatī
          • Persian دویدن davidan to run
    • Proto-Indo-European *dʰew- to die Late Western PIE euphemism?
      • Proto-Indo-European *dʰéw-eti
        • Albanian vdekje death
        • Balto-Slavic
          • Slavic *dāvìti to suffocate
            • East Slavic давити daviti
              • Russian дави́ть davítʹ to weigh down, to crush, to stifle
            • South Slavic
              • Old Church Slavonic давити daviti
              • Serbo-Croatian да́вити dáviti to suffocate, to drown
            • West Slavic
              • Polish dławić to stifle, to quell, to choke
      • Germanic *dawjaną to die
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse deyja to die
            • Danish to die
            • Icelandic deyja to die
        • West Germanic
          • Old English dīġan
            • English die
            • Scots dee die
          • Frankish *douwen
            • Middle Dutch douwen to die off, to die out
          • Old High German touwen
      • Proto-Indo-European *dʰwiHt-us
        • Armenian դի di corpse
        • Celtic *dwītus
          • Old Irish díth
            • Irish díth loss, deprivation, destruction, lack, need
      • Proto-Indo-European *dʰów-tus
        • Germanic *dauþuz death [1]
          • East Germanic
            • Gothic 𐌳𐌰𐌿𐌸𐌿𐍃 dauþus death
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse dauði death
              • Danish død death [1]
              • Icelandic dauði death
            • Finno-Ugric *tauti disease
              • Finnic *tauti
                • Finnish tauti disease
              • Samic *tāvtë
                • Northern Sami dávda disease
          • West Germanic
            • Old English dēaþ death
              • English death
            • Old High German tōd death
              • German Tod death
              • Yiddish טויט toyt death [1]
            • Frankish
              • Dutch dood death [1]
      • Proto-Indo-European *dʰowHt-ós
        • Germanic *daudaz dead [1]
          • East Germanic
            • Gothic 𐌳𐌰𐌿𐌸𐍃 dauþs dead
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse dauðr dead
              • Danish død dead [1]
              • Icelandic dauður dead
          • West Germanic
            • Old English dēad dead
              • English dead
            • Frankish
              • Dutch dood dead [1]
            • Old High German tōt dead
              • German tot dead
              • Yiddish טויט toyt dead [1]
      • Proto-Indo-European *dʰew-nós?
        • Italic
          • Latin funus death, funeral
            • Latin fūnerālis of a funeral, funereal
              • Western Romance
                • French funérailles funeral
                  • English funeral
                • Italian funerale funeral
                • Spanish funeral funeral


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Collected English words

die, death, dead, funeral


  1. ^

    Germanic *dauþuz and *daudaz (death and dead) merged in many descendants, though not in English.