Saturday, December 5, 2020

Grapes, raisins, and wine, part 3: Other words related to grapes and wine

[This entry is taken from a chapter of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

This is Part 3 of 3. Go to Part 1

Other words related to grapes and wine

One more set of words having to do with grapes has to do with wine making and the grape harvest, also known as wine harvest. The words Eng. wine and Sp. vino are themselves obviously cognates, both descendants of Lat. vīnum. The fact that English wine (Old English wīn) has a 〈w〉 letter (and [w] sound) shows that this is a very early loanword from Latin into the Germanic ancestor of English, for Lat. 〈v〉 was pronounced the way 〈w〉 was and is pronounced in English today (cf. Part I, Chapter 8). This Latin word vīnum meant primarily ‘wine’, but it could also be used with the figurative meanings ‘grapes’ and ‘grapevine’. Lat. vīnum has been reconstructed as coming from Proto-Indo-European *wéyh₁n-o-m, that meant both ‘wine’ and ‘vine’, which was derived from Proto-Indo-European *wéyh₁ō, possibly derived from the root *weh₁y‑ ‘to twist; to wrap’.

The English word vine [ˈvaɪ̯n] is itself related to the word wine, though it is a much later loan from Latin. It comes ultimately from Vulgar Latin vīnĭa, from Latin vīnea ‘vines in a vineyard’ and, by extension ‘vineyard’, a noun derived from the adjective vīneus ‘related to wine’, derived from vīnum ‘wine’. The cognates of Eng. vine are Sp. viña [ˈbi/ɲa] and Fr. vigne [ˈviɲ], though their meanings are not identical.

Eng. vine was borrowed in the 13th century through Old French vigne that also meant what its Latin source meant, ‘vines’ and ‘vineyard’, like the Latin source. Modern French vigne also means ‘vine, grapevine’, like Eng. vine, but also ‘vineyard’, like Sp. viña. Eng. vine just refers to the plant, not to the collection of vines in a vineyard. For the ‘vineyard’ sense, English created the term vineyard [ˈvɪnjəɹd] around the year 1300, which seems to be a cross of the word vine and the Old English expression that vineyard came to replace, namely Old English wingeard formed from the Old English words for ‘wine’ and ‘yard’.

As we just saw, Eng. vine ended up with one of the meanings of Latin vīnea. Curiously, its Spanish cognate viña [ˈviɲa] ended up with the other meaning, namely ‘vineyard’. To express the senses of Eng. vine Spanish uses vid for a grape vine close to the ground, whereas a climbing grape vine is called parra.

Lat. vīnea ‘vines in a vineyard’, ‘vineyard’


Sp. viña ‘vineyard’

Eng. vine

Sp. vid is a patrimonial word that comes from Lat. vītis, or actually its accusative wordform vītem (nominative: vīt‑is, accusative: vīt‑em) that meant primarily ‘vine’ but was also used to refer to a vine staff or vinewood rod, the baton or cane that was the symbol of authority of a Roman centurion.[1] This word has been reconstructed as coming from Proto-Indo-European *wéh₁itis ‘that which twines or bends, branch, switch’, derived from the root *weh₁y‑ ‘to turn, wind, bend’, the same root that Lat. vīnum comes from, making this a (somewhat distant) relative of Lat. vītis ‘vine’.[2] As for the sound changes in going from Lat. vītem to Sp. vid, they are all regular and expected in a patrimonial word: first the final ‑m was lost, as always, then the ‑t‑ became voiced between vowels changing to ‑d‑, as always, and then the final ‑e was lost later on, as it always did after this and other consonants (cf. Part I, Chapter 10).

Curiously, Sp. vid is a cognate of Eng. vise [ˈvaɪ̯s], the tool for holding things, spelled vice in British English. English borrowed this word from Old French, where it was spelled vis, as in modern French, among other possibilities. In Middle English vise meant ‘screwlike device’ and in Old French it meant primarily ‘screw’ in the 11th century when it is first attested (Fr. vis still means ‘screw’ in Modern French, just like its Italian cognate vite, cf. Sp. tornillo). Another early sense of this word in Old French was ‘circular staircase’ (TLFi).

The Spanish word parra is used for vines that continue to grow indefinitely and attaches itself to walls or other supports to go upwards. This word is first documented in the mid-13th century but it is of uncertain origin. It is only shared by the three major Iberian Romance languages. According to DCEH, it is likely that the initial meaning of parra was something like ‘trellis’ (cf. parrilla ‘grill’) and that parra is related to parrĭcus, a medieval Latin word meaning ‘fence, fenced-in enclosure, etc.’. Med. Lat. parrĭcus was a loanword from a West Germanic language, such as Frankish *parrik ‘enclosure, pen’, but the origin of this Germanic word is not known. This word is also related to the cognates Eng. park ~ Sp. parque (cf. Part I, Chapter 4, §4.11).

English also uses now the word vine for ‘climbing or trailing plants of other families’ (COED) and that sense translates into Spanish as enredadera, a noun derived from the verb enredar ‘to tangle up, entangle, etc.’. The English word vine is found in two common expressions, namely vine leaf (cf. Sp. hoja de parra) and vine shoot (cf. Sp. sarmiento).

Sp. viña ‘vineyard’ is first attested in the late 10th century. Another word for a ‘vineyard’ in Spanish, one that refers to a larger vineyard is viñedo, a word that descends from Lat. vīnētum ‘a plantation of vines, a vineyard’ (L&S), but influenced by the noun viña. (The influence of the word viña is how we can explain the ñ in viñedo; the ñ in viña is explained by a regular sound change, namely the blending of the sounds nĭ [nj] in Vulg. Lat. vīnĭa, cf. Part I, Chapter 10.) Lat. vīnētum was formed from the noun vīnum ‘wine, grapes, vine’ and the suffix ‑ētum meaning ‘place; grove, plantation’, source of Sp. ‑edo/a (vīn‑ēt‑um).

Spanish has a few more words related to grapes and wine making. Sp. vendimia is the word for ‘grape harvest’ or ‘wine harvest’. This word comes from Lat. vīndēmĭa, with the same meaning. Notice the metathesis of the first two vowels in the word vendimia (cf. Part I, Chapter 10). Lat. vīndēmĭa is a compound of vīnum ‘wine’ and the root dēm‑ of the verb dēmĕre ‘take off or away, remove’, derived from the verb emĕre ‘to acquire, obtain’ by means of the preposition ‘of; from, away from’ (vīn‑dēm‑ĭa).

Sp. viticultor/a is the word for ‘winegrower’. This, however, is not a very old word, nor one that comes directly from Latin, but rather from New Latin. It is a fairly recent loanword from French viticulteur (fem. viticultrice), which is a back-formation from Fr. viticulture, a compound word created (in French) in the mid-19th century from Lat. vītis ‘vine’ and Lat. cultūra ‘cultivation, agriculture’. Note that English has also borrowed and adapted the French word viticulteur as viticulturist, by adding the ‑ist suffix, though the English word is quite rare.

Spanish and English have also borrowed the word viticulture as Sp. viticultura and Eng. viticulture [ˌvɪɾɪˈkʰʌlʧəɹ], though the English word is quite rare, unlike the fancy but much more common Sp. viticultura [bi.ti.kul̪.ˈt̪u.ɾa].

Finally, we should mention another pair of cognate words related to winemaking, namely Sp. enología ~ Eng. enology or oenology/œnology (the oe‑ form preferred in the UK and the e‑ form in the US). Sp. enología has been defined as ‘body of knowledge related to winemaking’ (DLE), which can be used as in the following sentence: Un entendido en enología nos explicó que en un vino hay que apreciar su color, su olor y su sabor ‘An expert in oenology explained to us that in a wine you have to appreciate its color, its smell and its flavor’ (Clave).[3] Eng. enology or oenology, pronounced [iˈnɒləʤi], has the same meaning and one possible definition is ‘a science that deals with wine and wine making’ (MWC). These words are somewhat rare, but not in wine-making regions or among wine connoisseurs, where they are just fancy words to refer to the art, science, and practice of wine-making.

These cognates are loanword adaptations of a word first created in French in 1636, œnologie [enɔlɔˈʒi]. English borrowed this word in the early 19th century. The word was created with the Latinized combining form oeno‑ of Ancient Greek οἶνο- (oîn‑o) of this language’s noun οἶνος (oîn‑os) ‘wine’. This Ancient Greek word descends from Proto-Hellenic *wóinos, which itself comes from Proto-Indo-European *wéyh₁ō, the same source as Lat. vīnum (see above), which means that Ancient Greek οἶνος and Lat. vīnum are cognates.

That is not the only pair of words that are derived from this Greek root in European languages. The adjectives paired with this noun are Sp. enológico/a ~ Eng. (o)enological.[4] The English adjective is attested as early as 1826 (OED) whereas the equivalent adjective in French, œnologique, is first attested in 1833, though they are both predictable derivations in each of these languages. Related words were created to refer to an expert in enology, namely Sp. enólogo ~ Eng. enologist, using the standard endings for practitioners of arts or sciences: Sp. ‑logo ~ Eng. ‑logist. One can find a few more words containing this root and other ancient roots in some English and (fewer) Spanish dictionaries, such as the following:

·    Eng. (o)enomancy/oinomancy ~ Sp. enomancia ‘divination from the appearance of wine poured out in libations’ (Chambers), a practice that goes back to the ancient Greeks and Romans

·    Eng. (o)enotherapy ~ Sp. enoterapia ‘a use of wine for therapeutic purposes’ (WNTIUD)

·    Eng. (o)enophile [ˈinoʊ̯faɪ̯l] ~ Sp. enófilo ‘a lover or connoisseur of wine’ (MWC)

[1] In scientific plant nomenclature, Vitis is a genus of 79 species of vining plants in the flowering plant family Vitaceae, cf., The most important species of this genus is Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, of which there exist many thousands of varieties, cf.

[2] Note that third declension Lat. vītis is not related to first declension Lat. vīta ‘life’ despite containing identical roots in Latin (vīt‑). The form of the root was different in the source language.

[3] Original: ‘enología (Del gr. ονος, vino, y ‑logía). f. Conjunto de conocimientos relativos a la elaboración de los vinos’ (DLE).

[4] The adjective Sp. enológico/a should not be confused with the adjective Sp. eólico/a that means ‘wind-related’ as in energía eólica ‘wind power’, erosión eólica ‘wind erosion’, granja eólica ‘wind farm’, turbina eólica ‘wind turbine’, etc. This adjective was derived from Lat. Aeolus, from Greek Αολος (Aíolos), ‘the name of the mythical ruler of the winds who lived in the Aeolian Islands’ (OED). English has also derived a partial cognate adjective from this Greek god’s name, namely aeolianæolian, or eolian, though this adjective remains quite rare since it is not used in the context of wind energy the way the Spanish word is.

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