Troglodyte is a fancy word for someone who lives in a cave but these days is probably used more often to refer to stupid people by people who think they're far more intelligent. Orthographic development wasn't very interesting for a while: In Middle French, it was troglodyte, in Latin, it was troglodytae, and in Greek it was troglodytes. This could best be defined as "cave-dweller". The word is composed of two parts: trogle and dyein. Trogle had some very interesting semantic change: going back in history, it meant "cave", and then "hole", and then "mouse-hole". So, a constantly shrinking pit of a word. From this "mouse-hole" definition, trogle may be traced back to the verb trogein, meaning "to gnaw" (as in a mouse gnaws his hole). This in turn could derive from Proto-Indo-European terh, meaning "to rub". Dyein, the second part of troglodytes, means "to enter" or "sink" (as in someone sinks into a hole). Because of Sanskrit cognates, etymologists think that this comes from a Proto-Indo-European word sounding like dew, with a similar meaning.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd