Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996 04:24:43 -0800


Subject: Re: etymology: 'negro', 'necro'

From: "Juris G. Lidaka" lidaka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

To: Multiple recipients of list hel-l[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Subject: Re: etymology: 'negro', 'necro'

X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0 -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas

Well, a quick glance into Pokorny didn't come up with anything,

but here's some details from the Barnhart Dict. of Etym.:

Negro is said to be taken from Span. or Port. "negro," which itself

is predictably from Lat. "niger" which is "of uncertain origin"

necromancy in English seems to be an "alteration of Middle English

_nigromaunce_..._nygromauncy_; borrowed from Old French _nigramancie,

nigremance_, and directly from Medieval Latin _nigromantia_, from

Late Latin _necromantia_ divination from an exhumed corpse, from

Greek _nekromanteia_ (_nekros_ dead body + _manteia_ divination,

oracle, from _manteuesthai_ to prophesy...).

"The Middle English, Old French, and Medieval Latin

spelling (_nigor_-) developed from association with Latin _niger_

black, necromancy being the black art. The modern spelling was an

attempt to "correct" the spelling by returning to Late Latin


Of related interest, then, is

"necrology...list of person who have died.... _Chambers Cyclopaedia_;

borowed from New Latin _necrologia_, from Greek.... Greek _nekros_

is cognate with Sanskrit _nasyati_ (he) disappears, perishes.

Latin _nex_ (genitive _necis_) violent death, _pernicies_ destruc-

tion, _nocere_ to harm; from Indo-European _*nek-/nok-/nk-_

(Pok. 762)."

Sorry, I just felt perniciously obliged to skip them thar die-acriticals.

cheap humor Unfortunately, there is no apparent connection here with

"necktie," a device used by some to restrict blood flow to the brain, to

inhibit normal breathing patterns, and, strangely, to prohibit the free

movement of body heat, thus thrice negating normal functions for

life. /cheap humor

Pok. 762 may be independently consulted. The Ox. Lat. Dict. has no

etymological info., nor does Lewis & Short. more cheap humor Perhaps someone

who has Martin & Long can take a look-see? /more cheap humor I have HEL

tests to grade--and evidently my test was the discussion subject of

almost every other up-div. Engl. class last week.


Juris G. Lidaka Dept. of English

Lidaka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] West Virginia State College