Carl Darling Buck's IE Synonyms

Mark Odegard <> Odegard at
Mon Jan 25 23:07:26 UTC 1999

Many of you are no doubt aware of this book. For those of you who are
not -- grab it. Even though it's 50 years old, it's the kind of book
that will take a very long time to become obsolete. It's a lot of
fun, too.

Carl Darling Buck, _A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the
Principal Indo-European Languages: A Contribution to the History of
Ideas_, U. Chicago Press, 1949. US$36.00, paperback reprint from
1988, available at

Most of it is arranged like the 2 volume OED reduction you could get
through the book club offer, four reduced pages to a page. I need a
magnifier, or have to bring it up to my nose to read it.

Buck has taken a large number of synonyms through the IE languages
and arranged them by *topic*, relating them to an IE root where
possible, and putting the non-PIE terms into related groups.

For example, under 'Nephew', he gives both brother's son and sister's
son. The list is too extensive for me to copy type here, but you get,
under 'brother's son', Greek adelphidous, Latin fratris filius,
Italian nipote, Irish garmhac, Breton niz, Swedish brorson,
Lettish brala dels, Polish synowiec, Avestan bratruya, just to list
some of them.

This is a book that begs to be built upon.
Mark Odegard   mailto:odegard at

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