Word Family - Fabric

May theme: Cloth 👘


A small family, apparently from *dʰeh₂bʰ-: "fit together, fitting, make".

Germanic *(ge)dabaną: "to fit, to be fitting" and Balto-Slavic forms like Lithuanian dabinti: "to decorate, to beautify" and Slavic *dobrъ: "good" are almost certainly related to each other. Likewise Latin faber: "craftsman, maker, smith" and Armenian դարբին darbin: "blacksmith, smith" are also almost certainly related to each other. The two groups seem related, but there are severeal issues. One explanation for the inconsistencies is they could all be borrowings from outside PIE.

Armenian and/or Latin could also be related to Sumerian tabira: "joiner" and/or Hurrian tabiri: "metal founder, smelter", but the direction is not obvious. The Hurrians were probably getting their iron from Armenian at the time, so the Hurrian could be borrowed from Proto-Armenian. Compare, the Armenian endonym հայ hay is thought to be related to *h₂éyos, which originally meant "copper, bronze", but later shifted to mean "iron" in some langauges, and "metal" generally in others.


deft, forge, fabric

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *dʰeh₂bʰ- fit together, fitting, make
    • Proto-Indo-European *dʰh₂bʰénti
      • Balto-Slavic
        • Lithuanian dabinti to decorate, to beautify
      • Germanic *(ge)dabaną to fit, to be fitting
        • East Germanic
          • Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌳𐌰𐌱𐌰𐌽 gadaban to happen, to be appropriate
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse dafna thrive
            • Icelandic dafna thrive
        • Germanic *daftuz fit, appropriate, convenient
          • West Germanic
            • Old English dæfte [1]
              • English deft [1]
              • English daft [1]
            • Frankish *daftih
              • Middle Dutch deftich suitable, solid, weighty
                • Dutch defitg refined, genteel
                • German deftig hearty, rustic, coarse
    • Proto-Indo-European *dʰh₂bʰros fitting, well suited, felicitous adjective
      • Balto-Slavic
        • Lithuanian dabà habit, character
        • Slavic *dobrъ good adj.
          • East Slavic
            • Russian до́брый dóbryj kind, good, genial
          • South Slavic
            • Serbo-Croatian до̏бар dȍbar good, well-behaved
          • West Slavic
            • Polish dobry good
          • Slavic *dobro good, goods, goodwill n.
            • East Slavic
              • Russian добро́ dobró the good, goods, approval
            • West Slavic
              • Slovak dobro good
                • Translingual Dobro [2]
                  • English dobro
    • Proto-Indo-European *dʰh₂bʰḗr?
      • Pre-Armenian
        • Old Armenian դարբին darbin craftsman, blacksmith
          • Armenian դարբին darbin blacksmith, smith
        • Hurrian 𒋰𒄿𒊑 tabiri metal founder, smelter
          • Sumerian 𒁾𒉄 tabira joiner
      • Italic *faβro
        • Latin faber craftsman, maker, smith
          • Central Romance
            • Italian fabbro smith
          • Eastern Romance
            • Romanian faur blacksmith
          • Western Romance
            • French Favre occupational surname: Smith
            • French Fabre occupational surname: Smith
              • Translingual Fabrosaurus
          • German Faber occupational surname: Smith
          • Latin fabrica workshop, smithy, industry, craft, production, fabric
            • Western Romance
              • Old French faverge smithy
                • French forge forge
                  • English forge
                  • Italian forgiare to forge, to fashion
                  • Spanish forja forge, foundry
                • French Faverges place name
                • Russian Фаберже́
                  • French Fabergé
                    • English Fabergé (egg)
              • Spanish fragua forge
            • Italian fabbrica factory
              • Turkish fabrika factory
            • German Fabrik factory
            • Russian фа́брика fábrika factory
            • French fabrique factory reborrowing from Latin
              • Dutch fabriek factory
                • Malay pabrik faactory
              • English fabric [3]
                • Irish fabraic fabric
          • Latin Fabricius occupational gens name: Craftsman/Smith
            • French Fabrice
            • Italian Fabrizio
            • Spanish Fabricio


Image is a visual representation of the text content above.

Collected English words

deft, daft, Dobro, dobro, Fabrosaurus, forge, Fabergé (egg), fabric


  1. ^

    English daft and deft are a split of the same Old English: dæfte; each going through a different chain of semantic shifts: "fitting" -> "appropriate" -> "qualified" -> "skillful" (deft) and "fitting" -> "appropriate" -> "gentle" -> "meek" -> "silly" (daft).

  2. ^

    The guitar company Dobro's name is a pun by the Slovakian-American founders, John and Emil Dopyera, combining the Slovakian dobro: "good" with a contraction of "Do(pyera) bro(thers)".

  3. ^

    Originally the phrase "cloth of fine fabric" meant "cloth of fine worksmanship", later shifting meaning to "cloth of fine material", with fabric coming to mean "fiber material"