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Cyano--- (1 Viewer)

Gonçalo Elias

Well-known member
Many names start with cyano which means blue.

However, it is not clear to me whether this word comes from Greek or Latin.

According to James Jobling's dictionary, some names such as Cyanoliseus are marked as coming from "Gr. kuanos dark-blue", while others like Cyanopica are labelled "L. cyanos lapis lazuli"

Is there a way to figure out which is the correct etimology in each case?


laurent raty
The Latin 'version' is the Greek word which passed into Latin, thus, the ultimate source will always be the Greek word. I assume a passage via Latin will mainly be assumed in compound words that include other elements of Latin origin (e.g., in cyaneocapilla yes, but not in cyanocephala).

As a noun: Gr. κύανος, La. cyanos / cyanus: denotes primarily the lapis lazuli, but is also used for various other blue things (a kind of flower, a kind of bird, the water of the sea, the colour blue).
As an adjective: Gr. κυάνεος, -η, -ον (also as κύανος, -η, -ον), La. cyaneus, -a, -um: "cyanos-like", i.e., of a dark blue colour.


laurent raty
Thanks Laurent, makes sense. That means that we can never have a compound word which is half-Latin and half-Greek?
Well, not all Greek words have entered the Latin dictionary, allowing them to be interpreted at will as either Greek or Latin; some names are de facto a mixture of languages.
These were termed "vox hybrida" in the 19th C; purists rejected them and went to great lengths to emend / rename them, in order to make them either wholly Greek, or wholly Latin. ;)

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