Adventures in Etymology – Wheel

In this Adventure in Etymology we鈥檙e unrolling the origins of the word wheel, and finding out how its linked to such words as pole, telephone, cult, collar and cycle.

Snaefell Wheel (Lady Evelyn)

A wheel [wi藧l/蕧i藧l/wil] is:

  • A circular device capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation or performing labour in machines.

It comes from Middle English whele [蕧e藧l] (wheel), from Old English hw膿ol [xwe蜏o藧l] (wheel), from Proto-Germanic *hwehwl膮 [藞x史e.x史l蓱虄] (wheel), from PIE *k史茅k史lom (wheel) from *k史el- (to turn) [source].

Words from the same roots include pole, telephone, chakra, cult, collar and cycle in English, kolo (bicycle, wheel) in Czech, kakls (neck, throat) in Latvian, and 啶氞ぞ啶 (c膩k – wheel) and 啶氞啷嵿ぐ (cakra – circle, ring, wheel, cycle) in Hindi [source].

Incidentally, words for chariot or wheel in Sumerian (饞剳饞噣), Aramaic and Hebrew (讙址旨诇职讙址旨诇鈥) and Chinese (杌茶絾) possibly come from the same PIE roots [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

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