SINKING INTO HOLES
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.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.