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#121 True North

True North


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Posted 04 December 2018 - 03:40 PM


Where do we get that word from?

Sure, there's Latin draconis and Greek drakon, but where did people come up with these?

One might guess, if they didn't know, that these words' linguistic roots would be reptile in nature, or have something to do with being of a monstrous size, or with wings/flight, or perhaps fire or fire-breathing. Nope. The nature of the Proto-Indo-European root is ocular. Think about that. The word's origin has to do with sight (or powers of sight).

from https://www.etymonline.com/word/dragon (emphasis added):


dragon (n.)

mid-13c., dragoun, a fabulous animal common to the conceptions of many races and peoples, from Old French dragon and directly from Latin draconem (nominative draco) "huge serpent, dragon," from Greek drakon (genitive drakontos) "serpent, giant seafish," apparently from drak-, strong aorist stem of derkesthai "to see clearly," from PIE *derk- "to see" (source also of Sanskrit darsata- "visible;" Old Irish adcondarc "I have seen;" Gothic gatarhjan "characterize;" Old English torht, Old High German zoraht "light, clear;" Albanian dritë "light").

Perhaps the literal sense is "the one with the (deadly) glance." The young are dragonets (c. 1300). Fem. form dragoness is attested from 1630s. Obsolete drake (n.2) "dragon" is an older borrowing of the same word, and a later form in another sense is dragoon. Used in the Bible generally for creatures of great size and fierceness; it translates Hebrew tannin "a great sea-monster," and tan, a desert mammal now believed to be the jackal.

^ that's similar to what I'd suggest:

"The one with the (piercing) glance."

Edited by True North, 05 December 2018 - 10:03 AM.