Word Family - Seven

July theme: Miscellaneous 🔨


For 2017-07-07, I just had to do "seven".

All words mean "seven" unless otherwise specified.

It may seems strange to see the word for "seven" borrowed around between so many different language families, when the numbers 1-10 are so highly conserved in descendants of (post-Anatolian) Proto-Indo-European. But 10-based number systems seem to not go back as far as you would think. There is evidence that PIE had only recent transitioned from a 5-based to a 10-based number system around the reconstruction period. Circumstantial, but suggestive en masse.

Updated 2024-02-24: Updated for the occasion of the 7 year anniversary of Word Family Friday!


seven, September

Full Text

  • Proto-Afro-Asiatic *sṗɣ
    • Tamazight *saβ
      • Guanche sa(t)
      • Northern Tamazight
        • Kabyle sebea
        • Atlas Tamazight
          • Central Atlas Tamazight ⵙⴰ sa
          • Tashelhit sa
        • Zenati
          • Tarifit sa
      • Tuareg essa
    • Egyptian sfḫw
      • Demotic Egyptian sáfxe
        • Coptic ϣⲁϣϥ šašf
    • Semitic *š-b-ʕ-(tu-)
      • Central Semitic
        • Safaitic Old Arabic 𐪊𐪈𐪒 sabʿ⁠
        • Arabic سَبْع sabʿ
          • Maltese sebgħa
          • Swahili saba
        • Northwest Semitic
          • Aramaic 𐡔𐡁𐡏
            • Classical Syriac ܫܲܒ݂ܥܵܐ šaḇʿā
          • Canaanite
            • Hebrew שֶׁבַע
            • Phoenician 𐤔𐤁𐤏‬ šbʻ
              • Punic 𐤔𐤁𐤏𐤕⁩ šbʻt
          • Ugaritic 𐎌𐎁𐎓𐎚 šbʿt
      • East Semitic
        • Akkadian 𒐌 šibit
          • Proto-Kartvelian *šwid
            • Georgian შვიდი švidi
      • South Semitic
        • Ethiopic
          • Amharic ሰባት säbat
          • Geʿez ሰብዐቱ säbʿätu
          • Tigrinya ሸውዓተ šäwʿatä
      • Proto-Indo-European *septḿ̥ seven
        • Albanian shtatë
        • Anatolian
          • Hittite *šipta?
            • Hittite šiptamiya name of a drink: seventh?, made of seven (ingredients)? [1]
        • Old Armenian եաւթն eawtʿn
          • Armenian յոթ yotʿ [2]
        • Balto-Slavic *septim
          • Lithuanian septyni
          • Slavic *sedmь
            • East Slavic
              • Russian семь semʹ
              • Ukrainian сім sim
            • South Slavic
              • Bulgarian седем sedem
              • Serbo-Croatian седам sedam
            • West Slavic
              • Czech sedm
              • Polish siedem
          • Uralic *śäjćem [3]
            • Finnic *säic'en
              • Finnish seitsemän
              • Estonian seitse
            • Permic
              • Komi-Permyak сизим sizim
            • Samic *čiečëm
              • Northern Sami čieža
            • Ugric *säptɜ [3]
              • Hungarian hét
        • Pre-Celtic *seɸtam
          • Celtic *sextam
            • Brythonic *seiθ
              • Breton seizh
              • Welsh saith
            • Gaulish sextam
            • Old Irish secht
              • Irish seacht
        • Germanic *sebun
          • East Germanic
            • Gothic 𐍃𐌹𐌱𐌿𐌽 sibun
            • Crimean Gothic sevene
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse sjau
              • Danish sjv
              • Icelandic sjö
          • West Germanic
            • Old English seofon
              • English seven
              • Scots seiven
            • Frankish
              • Dutch zeven
            • Old High German sibun
              • German sieben
              • Yiddish זיבן zibn
        • Hellenic *heptə́
          • Classical Greek ἑπτά heptá
            • English hepta-
            • Greek εφτά eftá
              • Romani efta
        • Indo-Iranian *saptá
          • Indo-Aryan
            • Sanskrit 𑀲𑀧𑁆𑀢𑀦𑁆 saptán
              • Elu
                • Sinhala හත hata
              • Magadhi
                • Bengali সাত sat
              • Maharashtri
                • Marathi
              • Sauraseni
                • Madhya Sauraseni
                  • Hindi सात sāt
                • Pahari
                  • Punjabi ਸੱਤ satta
                • Pali
                  • Malay sapta
          • Iranian
            • Avestan hapta
            • Northern Iranian
              • Scythian
                • Ossetian авд avd
            • Pashto اوه uwë
            • Western Iranian
              • Kurdish heft
              • Old Persian
                • Persian هفت haft
        • Italic
          • Latin septem
            • Central Romance
              • Italian sette
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian șapte
            • Insular Romance
              • Sardinian sette
            • Western Romance
              • French sept
              • Spanish siette
            • English sept-
            • Latin *septem-o-mēnsris seventh month
              • Classical Latin september September [4]
                • Italian settembre September
                • English September
                • Arabic سبتمبر sibtimbir September
                • Greek Σεπτέμβριος Septémvrios September
            • Latin septentrio Seven-Plow, the Big or Little Dippers, the north
              • Latin septentrionalis northern
        • Tocharian
          • Arshian ṣpät
          • Kushean ṣukt
          • Samoyedic *säjkwə [3]
            • Nenets сиˮив siqiw
      • Etruscan 𐌔𐌄𐌌𐌘 semf


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Collected English words

seven, hepta-, sept-, September


  1. ^

    "Seven" is written with a sumerogram (cuneiform logogram) in Hittite, and (like all other numbers above 4) never appears spelled out in phonetic form. But a word for "seven" may reflected in the Hittite drink šiptamiya, which could mean either "seventh" or "made of seven (ingredients)".

  2. ^

    Armenian յոթ yotʿ calls to mind the Proto-Turkic for seven, *yẹti, whose descendants include things like Chuvash śiččĕ or Yakut sette. You could easily see this being descended from Pre-Armenian, or some other—possibly unattested—IE branch.

  3. ^

    Reconstructing Finno-Ugric "seven" comes up with slightly different answers from different descendant languages: *śäjćem, *śićem, or *śäćem. It's a strong possibility that the Indo-European words for seven were borrowed on several different occassions in different forms.

  4. ^

    People often conflate the off-by-two phenomenon in Roman month names (September is 9th, October is 10th, etc.) with the fact that July and August are named after the emperors Julius and Augustus Caesar, and attribute the off by two to inserting those two months. In fact, those months were renamed, not added, and used to be called Quintilis and Sextilis.

    The mismatch is actually because the year originally began at the beginning of spring, with March. Classical Roman sources describe a legendary 10 month year before January and February were added, and that the approximately two month period of winter was originally not part of any month; but there is no evidence of this other than the stories the Romans told hundreds of years later.

    Compare common Roman'>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praenomen#Masculine_names'>Roman masculine names which include Quintus, Sextus, Septimus, Octavius, Nonus, and Decimus (but not names based on 1-4).