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περι-στερά, ἀρι-στερά

Posted: February 21st, 2016, 8:31 am
by Jonathan Robie
I'm looking at the words περι-στερά and ἀρι-στερά and wondering about their derivation. Could στερά be related to στερέω, perhaps a περι-στερά goes around taking things?

But even if that were true, that's of no help for understanding ἀρι-στερά. Is there useful etymology behind these two words?

Re: περι-στερά, ἀρι-στερά

Posted: February 21st, 2016, 5:23 pm
by Stephen Carlson
According to Beekes, they are not related.

[quote="Beekes 2010:1177""]περιστερά ... Not certainly explained. Perhaps from πελιός; 'dark, blue', πέλεια 'wild pigeon', by a wrong restitution of earlier *πελιστερά (cf. MoGr. πελιστέρι).[/quote]
This etymology is basically a guess.
Beekes 2010:131 wrote:ἀριστερός ... Formed with the contrast-marking suffIx -τερο-; connection with ἄρισ-τος is mostly assumed. A problem is that omens coming from the left side were considered unfavorable in Greece. It is thought that the left side was considered favorable in earlier times, judging by parallels like Lat. sinister (but see the doubts in De Vaan 2008 s.v.), OHG winister, Av. vairiia.stara- 'left, more favorable' (or are these old euphemisms?).
The "old euphemism" explanation would be calling the left hand "the better one" out of some taboo for its real name. Another word for left clearly shows its euphemism: εὐώνυμος (Matt 20:23; Mark 10:40 etc.).

Re: περι-στερά, ἀρι-στερά

Posted: February 22nd, 2016, 10:01 am
by Jonathan Robie
Thanks, Stephen!

Are there cheaper resources than Beekes to help with this kind of etymology question?

Re: περι-στερά, ἀρι-στερά

Posted: February 22nd, 2016, 4:20 pm
by Stephen Carlson
Jonathan Robie wrote:Are there cheaper resources than Beekes to help with this kind of etymology question?
Not really. The standard works for Greek are Beekes, Frisk, and Chantraine. If the word has an English derivative, then the online sources (Online Etymological Dictionary, Wiktionary, etc.) might have something.

Re: περι-στερά, ἀρι-στερά

Posted: February 22nd, 2016, 6:02 pm
by cwconrad
Stephen Carlson wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:Are there cheaper resources than Beekes to help with this kind of etymology question?
Not really. The standard works for Greek are Beekes, Frisk, and Chantraine. If the word has an English derivative, then the online sources (Online Etymological Dictionary, Wiktionary, etc.) might have something.
Chantraine's work is available at https://archive.org/details/Dictionnair ... gique-Grec, but you really have to use the PDF file which is somewhat awkward to manipulate to look up individual entries. The other options are all bad scans that don't show the Greek properly.

Re: περι-στερά, ἀρι-στερά

Posted: February 23rd, 2016, 8:50 am
by Jonathan Robie
cwconrad wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:Are there cheaper resources than Beekes to help with this kind of etymology question?
Not really. The standard works for Greek are Beekes, Frisk, and Chantraine. If the word has an English derivative, then the online sources (Online Etymological Dictionary, Wiktionary, etc.) might have something.
Chantraine's work is available at https://archive.org/details/Dictionnair ... gique-Grec, but you really have to use the PDF file which is somewhat awkward to manipulate to look up individual entries. The other options are all bad scans that don't show the Greek properly.
Nice - but it's a 1968 work, is it really no longer under copyright?

Re: περι-στερά, ἀρι-στερά

Posted: February 23rd, 2016, 5:28 pm
by Jonathan Robie
For anyone else who is curious, here is Frisk on this word:
frisk.png
frisk.png (47.17 KiB) Viewed 938 times
And here is Chantraine:
chantraine.png
chantraine.png (57.65 KiB) Viewed 938 times
My first guess was way off ;->