Word Family - Embassy

June theme: Celtic Iron Age


Apologies for the sketchy nature. This one exploded on me in several different ways.

  1. Prior to working on this family, I knew that "ambassador"/"embassy" was from Gaulish via Latin, and I had connected that to the story Livy tells about the Battle of Allia and subsequent sack of Rome by the Senones being motivated by Gaulish outrage at Roman ambassadors taking part in combat, and formed a story in my head about this word being an example of Romans picking up concepts of governance and law from the Gauls. But I found that it's actually Gaulish -> Germanic -> Gothic -> Medieval Latin, not Gaulish -> Classical Latin, and the meaning only approaches the modern in the Gothic step.
  2. Latin derivative morphology exploded all over it, as Latin derivative morphology is wont to do
  3. I had to do some emergency debugging in the scripts.
  4. It's my second week back at work after being laid off a few months ago, and I have a lot to learn for my new job.


pedagogy, active, navy, ambassador, examine, agriculture, axle, gesture, suggest, gestation

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *h₂eǵ- to drive, to cause, to impel
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₂éǵeti to be driving imperfective
      • Old Armenian ածեմ acem to carry, to fetch, to bring, to put on, to use
        • Armenian ածել acel to lay (eggs), to play (an instrument)
      • Celtic *ageti
        • Brythonic *ėɣɨd to drive, to go
          • Old Welsh hegit
            • Welsh a goes suppletive conjugation of mynet: "to go"
        • Old Irish aigid to drive, to impel
      • Germanic *akaną to drive, to sail, to navigate
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse aka to drive
            • Danish age to drive
            • Icelandic aka to drive, to move, to budge
            • Scots aik to drive
      • Hellenic *ágō I lead, I guide
        • Ancient Greek ἄγω ágō I lead, I fetch, I guide, I command, I draw out
          • Greek άγω ágo I lead
          • Ancient Greek παιδαγωγός paidagōgós teacher lit. "child-leader"
            • French pédagogie pedagogy, education, learning
              • English pedagogy
          • Ancient Greek συνάγω sunágō I gather together
            • Ancient Greek συναγωγή sunagōgḗ gathering, assembly
              • French synagogue synagogue
                • English synagogue
          • Ancient Greek ᾰ̓́γρᾱ ágrā prey, a catch, a hunt
            • Ancient Greek ἀγρεύς agreús hunter
              • Ancient Greek ζἀγρεύς zagreús hunter who captures live prey [1]
                • Ancient Greek Ζαγρεύς Zagreús name of a divinity
                  • English Zagreus
      • Indo-Iranian *Háĵati to drive, to lead
        • Indo-Aryan *Hájati
          • Sanskrit अजति ájati to drive, to propel, to throw
        • Iranian *Háĵati
          • Avestan 𐬀𐬰𐬀𐬌𐬙𐬌 azaiti to drive, to lead, to lead away
        • Uralic *aja- to drive, to hunt, to chase
          • Finnic *ajadak to go, to drive
            • Finnish ajaa to drive, to ride, to travel in a vehicle, to drive away, to chase, to herd, to advocate, to operate
          • Permic
            • Komi войны vojny
      • Italic *agō I drive, I push, I impel, I do
        • Latin agō I do, I make, I perform, I drive, I push, I think upon, I stir up, I chase
          • English agent
          • English agenda
          • English agile
          • English active
          • English agitate
          • Latin cōgō I collect, I assemble, I confine "push together"
            • English cogent
            • English coagulate
          • Latin ambigō I wander, I hesitate, I doubt "move about"
            • English ambiguous
        • Latin -igō [2]
          • Latin castīgō I rebuke, I correct, I chastise
            • English castigate
            • English chastise
          • Latin fūmigō I smoke, I fumigate "I perform smoke", from fūmus: "smoke"
            • English fumigate
          • Latin lītigō I dispute, I quarrel, I litigate "I make quarrel", from līs: "quarrel"
            • English litigate
          • Latin nāvigō I sail, I navigate, I travel by ship "I do ship", from nāvis: "ship"
            • English navigate
            • English navy
          • Latin pūrgō I clean, I purge "I make pure", from purus
            • English purge
            • English expurgate
      • Tocharian *āk-
        • Arshian ākeñc
        • Kushean āśtär to lead, to guide, to drive
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₂ǵtós what is driven, what is caused
      • Celtic *axtos
        • Celtic *ambaxtos servant, messenger lit. "sent around"
          • Brythonic *ammaɨθ servant, worker, laborer
            • Welsh amaeth farmer, husbandry, agriculture
          • Old Irish amos
            • Irish amhas hireling, servant, mercenary, hooligan
          • Gaulish ambaktos vassal, high-ranking servant
            • Latin ambactus vassal, dependant, servant, retainer
            • Germanic *ambahtaz servant, messenger
              • East Germanic
                • Gothic 𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌱𐌰𐌷𐍄𐍃 andbahts servant, minister
              • North Germanic
                • Old Norse ambátt handmaid, bondswoman, female slave
              • West Germanic
                • Old English ambiht servant, service
                • Frankish *ambaht
                  • Dutch ambacht handicraft
                • Old High German ambaht service
                  • German Amt agency, department, office, post
                  • Dutch ambt office, function, post
                • Old Saxon ambaht service, position
                  • Danish amt county
              • Germanic *ambahtijã
                • East Germanic
                  • Gothic 𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌱𐌰𐌷𐍄𐌹 andbahti service, ministry [3]
                    • Medieval Latin ambactia service
                      • Italian ambasciata embassy, errand
                        • French ambassade
                          • English embassy
                      • Medieval Latin ambasiator ambassador
                        • Italian ambasciatore ambassador, messenger
                          • French ambassadeur ambassador
                            • English ambassador
                • North Germanic
                  • Old Norse embætti service, office
                    • Danish embede office
                    • Icelandic embætti office (public service position)
                    • Finnish ammatti profession, occupation, vocation
                • West Germanic
      • Italic *aktos
        • Latin āctus act, deed, behavior, cattle drive, a unit of length
          • Sardinian atu
          • Western Romance
            • French acte
              • English act
            • Italian atto
            • Spanish acto
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₂éǵtōr driver, causer
      • Hellenic *áktōr
        • Ancient Greek ἄκτωρ áktōr leader
          • Ancient Greek Ἄκτωρ Áktōr personal name
      • Italic *aktōr
        • Latin āctor actor (doer), actor (performer), orator, prosecutor
          • English actor
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₂éǵtreh₂
      • Indo-Iranian *HáštraH
        • Indo-Aryan *HáṣṭraH
          • Sanskrit अष्ट्रा áṣṭrā cattle prod
        • Iranian *HáštraH
          • Avestan 𐬀𐬱𐬙𐬭𐬁 aštrā [4]
          • Western Iranian
            • Old Persian
              • Persian
              • Hungarian ostor whip
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₂éǵmn̥
      • Hellenic
        • Ancient Greek ἄχματα ákhmata
      • Indo-Iranian *áĵma
        • Indo-Aryan *áȷ́ma
          • Sanskrit अज्मन् ájman passage, course, career, battle
      • Italic
        • Latin agmen crowd, flock, host, army, stream of water
          • Latin exāmen swarm of bees, crowd, tongue of a scale
            • Latin exāminō I weigh, I consider, I examine
              • English examine
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₂éǵros field, pasturage lit. "driven"
      • Old Armenian արտ art field of grain, arable land
        • Armenian արտ art field of grain, arable land
        • Kurdish ارض ard
      • Germanic *akraz
        • East Germanic
          • Gothic 𐌰𐌺𐍂𐍃 akrs cultivated field
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse akr acre, field of grain
            • Danish ager field
            • Icelandic akur cultivated field
        • West Germanic
          • Old English æcer field, plot, measure of land area
            • English acre
            • Scots aker acre
          • Frankish ackar
            • Dutch akker cultivated field
              • Taiwanese kah measure of land area
          • Old High German ackar farmland, field, plot
            • German Acker field
      • Hellenic
        • Mycenaean Greek 𐀀𐀒𐀫 a-ko-ro field, country
        • Ancient Greek ἀγρός agrós field, land, countryside
          • Greek αγρός agrós field, countryside
          • Ancient Greek ἄγρῐος ágrios of the open fields, wild, fierce, harsh
            • Greek άγριος ágrios wild, fierce, uncultivated
      • Indo-Iranian *Háĵras
      • Italic *agros
        • Latin ager field, farm, land, estate, country, soil
          • Eastern Romance
            • Romanian agru field, plot of land
          • Western Romance
            • Italian agro countryside around a town
            • Spanish agro cultivated field
          • Latin agricultūra
            • English agriculture
        • Umbrian 𐌀𐌂𐌄𐌓 acer
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₂eḱs- axis, axle
      • Proto-Indo-European *h₂eḱsis
        • Italic *aksis
          • Balto-Slavic *aśís
          • Latin axis
            • English axis
            • Latin assula splinter, shaving, chip diminutive
      • Proto-Indo-European *h₂eḱsos
        • Indo-Iranian *Háćšas
      • Proto-Indo-European *h₂éḱsō
        • Germanic *ahsō
        • Hellenic *aksōn
          • Mycenaean Greek 𐀀𐀒𐀰𐀚 a-ko-so-ne
          • Ancient Greek ἄξων áxōn
            • English axon
      • Proto-Indo-European *h₂eḱsleh₂
        • Germanic *ahslō shoulder
          • West Germanic
            • Old English eaxl shoulder
              • English axle
        • Italic *akslā
          • Latin āla wing, armpit
            • Western Romance
              • French aile
                • English aisle
                • French aileron
                  • English aileron
          • Italic *aksilla dimunitive
            • Latin āxilla
              • English axilla
    • Late Proto-Indo-European *h₂ǵes-
      • Italic *gezō
        • Latin gerō I carry, I wear (clothes), I have (traits), I wage (war)
          • Western Romance
            • French gérer to manage
          • Latin gestus carriage, posture, attitude, gesture, action
            • English gesture
            • Latin gesticulus
              • English gesticulate
          • Latin gerendus a thing that is carried
            • English gerund
          • Latin aggerō I carry towards, I pile up, I augment, I fill
            • Latin exaggerō I heap up, I heighten, I amplify, I exaggerate
              • English exaggerate
          • Latin dīgerō I separate, I dissolve, I arrange, I classify
            • English digest
          • Latin ingerō I carry in, I pile up
            • English ingest
          • Latin suggerō I bring under, I supply, I advise
            • English suggest
          • Latin gestō I bear, I carry, I have frequentive
            • Latin gestātiō
              • English gestation


Image is a visual representation of the text content above.

Collected English words

pedagogy, synagogue, Zagreus, agent, agenda, agile, active, agitate, cogent, coagulate, ambiguous, castigate, chastise, fumigate, litigate, navigate, navy, purge, expurgate, embassy, ambassador, act, actor, examine, acre, agriculture, axis, axon, axle, aisle, aileron, axilla, gesture, gesticulate, gerund, exaggerate, digest, ingest, suggest, gestation


  1. ^

    Ancient Greek ζἀγρεύς zagreús. According to Carl Kerényi, a "hunter who captures live prey", ζω- zo-: "live" + ἀγρεύς agreús: "hunter" (Kerényi _Dionysos_ 82). I'm not convinced that Hesychius is really saying what Kerényi says Hesychius is saying, but it's plausible.

    Compare, a number of clearer morphological formations like μῠᾰ́γρᾱ muágrā: "mouse-trap" and ποδᾰ́γρᾱ podágrā: "foot-trap, foot disease".

  2. ^

    Latin -igō, a verb-forming suffix, derived from Proto-Italic phrases equivalent to "I do/make/perform [noun]"

  3. ^

    Gothic 𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌱𐌰𐌷𐍄𐍃 andbahts and 𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌱𐌰𐌷𐍄𐌹 andbahti are probably hyper-corrections of earlier ambahts/ambahti, reversing an apparent nasal assimilation that had occurred in other words, but not actually in this word.

  4. ^

    The use of 𐬀𐬱𐬙𐬭𐬁 aštrā: "whip" in the Younger Avesta, near Xerxes' time, sheds light on Herodotus' story of Xerxes "whipping" the sea.

    Wīdēwdād II (Avesta), an account of the Yima, the archetypal king, subduing the earth:

    <āat yimō frašūsat raočā a upa

    rapiϑwam hū paiti aδwanəm hō imam zam

    aiwišuuat suwrya zaranēniia auui

    dim sifat aštraiia uitiiaojanō

    friϑa spənta ārmaite frača šuua uuīča>

    "Then Yima went towards the daylight at midday

    along the sun’s path. He drove this earth with

    a trumpet adorned with gold,

    he passed (lashed) over this earth with his whip saying:

    Beloved holy Ārmaiti, move forth and asunder,

    bearer of small cattle, large cattle and men"

    When Xerxes whipped the sea it wasn't because he was a lunatic, Herodotus just didn't catch the cultural signifigance.