In this post I would like to talk about the development of the toothed (serrated) cutting implements and the words used to describe these implements and the actions performed with them. I started my investigation as a pure linguistic one. But this investigation lead me to discovery of how humans invented toothed (serrated) blades by literally making artificial jaws. What is amazing is that the word cluster from Serbian (Slavic languages) which describes these toothed tools and their use actually describes the way these tools were developed in Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, through people imitating nature.
Here it goes.
In Slavic languages we have these words meaning to cut: Sek – ti and Riz, Rez – ti. The first word, Sek – ti, comes from the root “sk” and means to cut with a smooth blade. There are large word clusters built on this root in both Irish and Serbian and I already wrote about this in detail in my post about the “People of the blade“. This word cluster is based on an onomatopoeic root “sk” which makes it very old. The sound which a smooth blade makes when pulled across something in order to cut it is “sssssssk”, “sek”. Here you can hear sounds of flesh being cut with a blade. When you cut something off with a sudden hit of blade sound shortens to “tsk” or “tsak”. Here you can hear sounds of chopping with a blade.
In this post I would like to talk about the other word for cutting, Riz (Rez) – ti, which comes from the root “r, ri, re, ro” and which means to cut with something toothed.
r – sound made when you cut, rip, puncture with something toothed, like sharp stone or point or a blade which is not smooth, like a saw or a primitive stone blade like this one:
“rrrrrrrrrrrrr” is onomatopoeic sound of cutting with a toothed blade like a saw. This is the sound of a wood saw and this is the sound of a hack sow. “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” is also a sound which is produced when we scratch or scrape over a rough, toothed surface.
“rrrrrrrrrr” is also the sound of growling. Growling means making a “rrrrr” sound while showing you teeth before you bite:
The word for growling in Serbina is “režati”. What is interesting about the sound of režanje (growling) is that it is the sound “rrrrr” made in the throat (“grlo” in Slavic languages). You can hear this sound here. What is interesting is that the sound of resembles the sound of “režanje”, growling, resembles the sound of “rizanje, rezanje”, cutting with a toothed blade, saw.
The official etymology of the word growl says that it comes from Middle English growlen, related to Middle Dutch grollen (“to make a noise, rumble, murmur, grunt, croak, be angry”; Dutch grollen (“to grumble”)), German grollen (“to rumble, be angry, bear ill will”), Old English grillan, griellan (“to provoke, offend; gnash the teeth”). But there is no further etymology provided.
In Serbian we have word “grlen” meaning guttural, produced in the throat. The root of this word is word “grlo” meaning throat. In “grlo” meaning throat we find “grkljan” meaning larynx. When something gets stuck in your “grlo” throat is blocked or cut, you start to “krkljati” meaning to choke, wheeze. You can “grgoljiti” gurgle water in your “grlo” throat. Grlo is actually a word built from all the base sounds which can be made by using your tong while it is rolling outward from the root to the tip: g – r – l. This is onomatopoeic description of human throat. Is “grlo” meaning the throat and rumbling “grlen” meaning guttural sound “rrrr” the root of all the above words? Is this where growl and gargle come from as well?
The growling dog is sounding a warning that it will bite. In Serbian the word for biting is “grizti, gristi”.
gristi, grizti – to bite (after you growl as a warning). gristi = ga + ris + ti = it, him + cut + you
griz – sawdust, bits that fall off when wood is sawed. This gives us direct link between biting and sawing. This is extremely important for finding the origin of the word “rez” meaning to cut.
Serbian word “režati” which means to growl, to show your teeth, to warn that you will bite (griz) is pointing to the fact that the original sharp toothed cutting implement used for “rezanje, rizanje” were jaws and teeth. In Slavic languages word for tooth is “zub”. “Z” is the sound made using your teeth. And when you make sound “z” you bare your teeth. This is why zub is called zub. It is z + u + b = that makes z sound + in + gums (the b being the sound of toothles gums).
You can see clear similarity between carnivore jaws and particularly canine, human and shark jaws and their ability to cleanly cut they pray in half and later human toothed cutting implements like saws.
Canine jaws with teeth
Human jaws with teeth
The jaws are natural “sharp toothed” cutting implements. Here are some early human imitations:
People even used teeth (shark teeth) embedded into wood to create a cutting implement, which was literally an artificial jaw full of real teeth. For those of you who are wondering how you weaponise shark teeth, which are already regenerating, serrated meat knives at the business end of a streamlined, electric-sensing torpedo, here’s how. You drill a tiny hole in them, and then bind them in long rows to a piece of wood to make a sword. Or a trident. Or a four-metre-long lance. And then, presumably, you hit people really hard with them.
That’s what the people of the Gilbert Islands have been doing for centuries. Sharks are an ingrained part of their culture and their teeth have been an ingrained part of their weapons. Tiger sharks feature heavily – they have thick, cleaver-like teeth that can slice through turtle shells so they make a good cutting edge. But the weapons also include the teeth from spottail, dusky and bignose sharks (you can identify species from their teeth), and none of these actually live around the Gilbert Islands today.
This is a modern version of the same tool, a saw:
Basically people noticed that jaws with teeth are good for cutting through hard things. They recognised a link between jaws teeth and cutting and then tried to create artificial jaws with teeth. This is why I believe that the oldest words for cutting with toothed implements have to be linked with words for biting. And this is exactly the case in Serbian where the word for growling (showing teeth) is “režati”, the word for biting is “grizti” and the word for cutting with toothed implement is “rezati, rizati”.
The Serbian word “rezati, rizati” has these cognates in other Slavic languages:
Old Church Slavonic рѣзати (rězati), Russian резать, Ukrainian різати (rizaty), Bulgarian режа (reža), Serbo-Croatian резати, Slovenian rezati, Czech řezat, Slovak rezať, Polish rzezać, Upper Sorbian rězać, Lower Sorbian rězaś.
On top of this in Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian we also have these words, which form a large cluster of words all related to the meaning “to cut the surface, to make groves, cuts, trenches… with something pointy (like a tooth) or toothed (like a jaw), or are directly linked to teeth” :
ri, re, ro – the root meaning cut, gauge, dig with something toothed, pointy. This is an onomatopoeic word derived from the sound “rrrrrr”.
režati – to growl, to show teeth while making “rrrrr” sound
grizti – to bite
rez, riz – sharp blade
rezi, rizi – has a sharp taste
riz, ris, rez – a cut
rizati, risati, rezati, rozati, rosati, roškati – cut, engrave, gouge, draw. urizati, urezati – chisel. from u + rizati, rezati = in + cut
razrezati, razrizati – divide. from ras, raz + rezati = spread + cutrežanj – slicezarez, zariz, recka, ricka – cut mark, notch
riza, risa, reza – a cut line, a gouge
krezav – gappy (of teeth)
hrid – sharp rocks, cliffs
rinati – work with a shovel or with pitch fork, with something pointy and sharp used for stabbing, poking
rinuti – to push, to gush, to stab, to stick a sharp object into something. “rinuti nož” stick a knife into someone.
zarinuti – plunge, stick something sharp into something.
porinuti – plunge, push into something, launch a missile, push a boat into water
rintati – hard work, probably digging soil or harvesting, agricultural work
porez, poriz – tax, the cut the state gets.
grizlica – peptic ulcer, something that it eating at the lining of the stomach.
grinja – mites, ticks, moths. biting, gouging, hole making insects. grinja = ga + ri + na = it + cut + on
gagrica – moth = ga + grica = it + nibbles
grizina, grizlica, griznica – moth. from griz – bite, biting insect
The following two words are very interesting because they show that the full etymology of the English words “gristle”, and “grits” come from Slavic “griz-ti” meaning to bite, to chew.
griz – groats, grits. Wheat either whole or crushed, which needs to be chewed, milled.
grizka, griska – cartilage, the chewy bits.
gristle – From Middle English gristel, grystyl, from Old English gristel, gristle (“gristle, cartilage”), formed from a diminutive of Old English grist (“a grinding”), from Proto-Germanic *gredaną (“to crunch”), equivalent to grist + -le. Cognate with Old Frisian gristel, gerstel (“gristle, cartilage”), Middle Low German gristel (“gristle”).
grist – From Middle English grist, gryst, from Old English grist, gyrst (“the action of grinding, corn for grinding, gnashing”), from a derivative of Proto-Germanic *gredaną (“to crunch”), from Proto-Indo-European *ghrēu- (“to rub, grind”). Cognate with Old Saxon gristgrimmo (“gnashing of the teeth”), German Griesgram (“a grumbler, a grouch, peevishness, misery”), Old English gristel (“gristle”).
It all points to the fact that the original grinding was done in our mouths using our teeth to griz (bite, chew).
There is also the English word “grisly”. The official etymology says that it comes from Old English grislic (in compounds) “horrible, dreadful,” from root of grisan “to shudder, fear,” a general Germanic word (cognates: Old Frisian grislik “horrible,” Middle Dutch grisen “to shudder,” Dutch griezelen, German grausen “to shudder, fear,” Old High German grisenlik “horrible;” of unknown origin;
I believe that the word comes from “griz” meaning bite. An attack by a predator with bared teeth, biting and tearing people in bits will cause horror, fear, dread and will leave the site which is “grizli” basically half eaten carcass, horrible, dreadful looking site.
These next to words, found in Croatian and western dialects of Serbian are particularly important:
ris, risa – harvest, land given in dowry, cut
rista, risar – harvester, cutter.
rištati, ristati – cut wheat, harvest (from ri(že) + šta + ti = cut + what + you)
risno – the time of harvest
The tool we all know is being used for cutting wheat is sickle.
We can see that the blade is smooth. So you would expect the words for the harvester and harvest to be derived from the root “sk”, to cut with smooth blade. Instead we find that the Serbian words for the harvester and harvest are derived from the root “r” which means to cut with a toothed, serrated blade. Why?
A sickle is a curved, hand-held agricultural tool typically used for harvesting cereal crops or cutting grass for hay. The inside of the curve is the cutting edge, and is serrated. The farm-hand swings the blade against the base of the crop, cutting through the stems with a sawing action. The sickle was superseded in the nineteenth century by the scythe which was more comfortable and by mechanised combine-harvesters and tractor machinery. The reason why the wheat sickle blade was originally made serrated is that the serrated blades are more suitable for cutting dry and tough stems and are self sharpening by nature. Smooth sickles require constant sharpening and are only good for cutting wet and soft things like grass. This is an old iron wheat sickle from England. You can see that the blade is serrated.
The sickles my grandparents used in Serbia were also toothed, serrated. So the reason why “ris” and “risa” are the words for harvest and “rista” and “risar” are the words for harvester is because wheat sickles are toothed, serrated tools which produce “rrrr” sound when used to cut wheat stalks. This can help us to determine the true etymologies for the following words:
reap – to cut with a sickle, scythe, or reaping machine, as grain; to gather, as a harvest, by cutting. The official etymology says that the word reap comes from Middle English repen, from Old English ripan, reopan, from Proto-Germanic *rīpaną (compare West Frisian repe, German reifsen ‘to snatch’, Norwegian ripa ‘to score, scratch’), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rep- ‘to snatch’ (compare Latin rapere ‘to seize, plunder’, Lithuanian aprépti ‘to seize, embrace’, Albanian rrjep ‘to peel, tear off’, Ancient Greek ἐρέπτομαι (eréptomai, “I feed on”)).
I actually believe that this word has the same etymology as the Serbian word “srp”, meaning sickle. I believe that it comes from ri + po = cut + on, over, across.
Serbian word “srp” meaning sickle is said to have this etymology: form Proto-Slavic *sьrpъ, from Proto-Indo-European *sr̥p-. Cognate with Old Church Slavonic срьпъ (srĭpŭ, “sickle”), Bulgarian сърп, Czech srp, Polish sierp; and with Latvian sirpis, Greek ἅρπη (ἅrpi).
I believe that this word comes from s + ri + po = with + cut + on, over = the thing you use to cut across. This is exactly what you do with the sickle, you use it to cut across the wheat stalks….
korist – gain. Could this word come from ko + ri + sto = like + cut + something = something we cut for ourselves or what is cut for us, our cut
Unfortunately I can’t find any examples of these early sickles. I would be grateful to anyone who can provide me with the link to pictures showing these Mesolithic sickles. But we have examples of early neolithic sickles:
I remember seeing these pictures for the first time years ago and thinking “these sickles remind me of something”. It only occurred to me what they reminded me of recently, while I was translating data about the early agricultural site Blagoting, from Serbia. You can read the full article about Blagoting here.
Blagotin is the early Starčevo culture site, dated to late 7th millennium bc. The earliest feature of the site is a 2,5 meter deep sacrificial pit, around which the temple was later built. At the bottom of the pit archaeologists have found a ritually broken deer scull with separated mandibles positioned at a certain angle. I remember thinking that this seems to connect the Starčevo culture to the much older Paleolithic deer cultures of Europe from the time before the last Ice Age. Deer is also a very important symbol found in in many agrarian cultures which come after Starčevo cultures. This makes Starčevo culture a link between the Paleolithic Mesolithic Hunter gatherer cultures and Neolithic agrarian cultures. This could also be an indicator of the mixing between the local European hunter gatherers and the incoming Levantine farmers. It is possible that the Blagotin culture is a product of this mix. But then I went to look at the pictures of deer mandibles and I was shocked. Have a look for yourself:
Now have a look again at the early Neolithic sickles:
And now have a look at this deer bone sickle from USA:
Bone sickles for cutting grass, made from the lower jaw of deer, are found most commonly in central and western Oklahoma. Only one side of the jaw was used and this was lashed onto a wooden handle for service as a grass cutting tool. Actual examples of mounted specimens have been recovered intact from dry caves or rock shelters in the Ozarks area of Arkansas.
Were the deer mandibles, deposited as the first offerings in the temple in Blagotin actually deer mandible sickles? I believe so. I believe that this shows us that the “ri” meaning to cut with something toothed originally literally meant to cut with teeth, “griz” – ga + ri + z = it + cut + teeth = bite. Originally people didn’t cut, they literally bit the wheat using real deer jaws. The first improvement was to replace the real teeth with sharpened stones and then to replace the jaw bone with wood handle…Through this proces “griz” – biting became “riz” – cutting with toothed implement.
Apart from cutting with something toothed we can also gouge, dig, scrape with something toothed. In Serbian we find that the words related to these actions are also based on the same root “ri”.
riti – to cut the surface, to make groves, cuts, trenches, to gouge, make tunels… with something pointy, sharp, like a spade (which again looks like a tooth):
This word has these cognates in other Slavic languages: Old Church Slavonic рити (riti), Russian рыть (ryt’), Belarusian рыць (ryc’), Old East Slavic рыти (ryti), Polish ryć, Upper Sorbian ryć, Czech rýt, Slovak ryť, Lower Sorbian ryś, Polabian råjě, Bulgarian рия (ríja), Macedonian рие (rie), Serbo-Croatian ри̏ти (rie), Slovene ríti, Old Church Slavonic рыти (ryti).
rilo – sharp pointy tool for making holes or gouges, snout, plow
ralo, ral, ralica, oral – plow, sharp pointy stick for making furrows, gouges in the ground. This is extremely important example of the mutation of middle “i” rilo into “a” in ralo (both meaning plow, tool for making gouges, furrows, paths), which is also found in Irish.
Ranik, raonik, ralnik, ralo = plowshare
Here is a fresco from medieval Serbian monastery Dečani (14th century) depicting plowing using ralo (plow):
Here is a picture from Serbia (20th century) depicting plowing using ralo (plow):
These two pictures show the how tools and tool names survive for centuries and millenniums until they get replaced by better more cost effective tools.
Rilica is protruding organ on heads of insects which bite, burrow, gouge skin, like in ticks called hypostome.
Or a protruding organ on heads of insects which suck juices like bees, butterflies called proboscis…
From Latin proboscis, from Ancient Greek προβοσκίς “elephant’s trunk,”??? In Serbian “probosti” means to puncture, to bore through, which is is exactly what these organs are for.
Rilica is a diminutive of rilo, rila, meaning something small pointy, sharp used for gouging, cutting, sticking into, poking, making holes…Something pointy used to cut a surface…
riljati – dig with a spade, cut the soil
riljač – spade
rana – wound. Probably from ri, ra + na = cut + on
rita – rag, ripped cut clothes. rita = ri + ta = cut, scraped, ripped + that, something
rnj, rnje – snout, what pigs use to gouge. From ri + nj = cut, gouge + with it = the thing with which you gouge. In Serbian the pig rije, ruje meaning it gouges the ground…
A very interesting word is word Krist meaning Karst, cut stony landscape.
The English word karst was borrowed from German Karst in the late 19th century. The German word came into use before the 19th century. According to the prevalent interpretation, the term is derived from the German name for the Kras region (Italian: Carso), a limestone plateau surrounding the city of Trieste in the northern Adriatic (nowadays, located on the border between Slovenia and Italy, in the 19th century part of the Austrian Littoral). Scholars however disagree on whether the German word (which shows no metathesis) was borrowed from Slovene. The Slovene common noun kras was first attested in the 18th century, and the adjective form kraški in the 16th century. As a proper noun, the Slovene form Grast was first attested in 1177, referring to the Karst Plateau—a region in Slovenia partially extending into Italy, where the first research on karst topography was carried out. The Slovene words arose through metathesis from the reconstructed form *korsъ, borrowed from Dalmatian Romance carsus. Ultimately, the word is of Mediterranean origin, believed to derive from some Romanized Illyrian base. It has been suggested that the word may derive from the Proto-Indo-European root karra- ‘rock’. The name may also be connected to the oronym Kar(u)sádios oros cited by Ptolemy, and perhaps also to Latin Carusardius.
You can see that wiki says that “Ultimately, the word is of Mediterranean origin, believed to derive from some Romanized Illyrian base.” However the word has full etymology in SerboCroatian: Krist, Karst = ka + r(i)s + t(o) = like + cut, chiseled, gouged + it
What is interesting is that the only other language that has a large word cluster which is based on the “ri” root, meaning to cut with something pointy, toothed, is Irish. Have a look at these Irish words. You will see that most of the words are archaic words some of them not used any more. The words can be found in these dictionaries:
The etymologies given using root “ri” are mine.
críadaire – peasantry. “cré” means soil. “daire” is ending meaning man, person. Peasants dig, cut ground. críadaire = cré + ria + daire = soil + digging, cutting + person
riadaire, in phr. sean-riadaire, a cunning old fellow; also applied to beasts (Con.). From ria + daire = cut + person = cutting, crafty person.
riaghaim – I tear, rend, lacerate; gibbet, hang, crucify. ria + ga = cut + it, him
aimh- (amh-), neg. pref., un-, in-, dis-, not.
aimríata ( 1 ríata) – unbroken (usu. of oxen, horses)
This means that ríata means broken, cut, chipped, toothed. Comes from ri = to cut. ríata = ri + je + to = broken + is + that
riodán, -áin, pl. id., m., a woodworm. See readán. The worm which digs, tunnels, rije through the wood. Comes from ri = to cut.
riastáil, -ála, f., the act of turning sods in the marking off and preparation of grass-land for
tillage; taking the surface off the furrows in the lazy-bed system of tillage; a severe cutting, a lacerating. Comes from ri = to cut.
riach – cut the surface, graze. Greek @Ge@’reíkw, tear, Lithuanian raiky/ti, draw a furrow, German reihe, row, English row…. Comes from ri = to cut.
riasail – tear asunder, riasladh, mangling, tearing asunder: *reik-so-, root reik, notch, break; Greek @Ge@’reíkw, tear. Comes from ri = to cut. Cognate with Serbian risa + ti, reza+ ti = cut into, cut off
All these words stem from the root “ri” meaning to cut, gauge, dig with something toothed, pointy, sharp. But that root does not exist in Irish. We do however have this word in Irish:
rinn, g. -e and reanna, pl. id., f. a point; sharpness; climax, intensity; the top of anything; line (of battle: acies); a promontory, a foreland, a headland; common in topography. From ri + on(o) = toothed, sharp and pointy + it.
rinneach, -nighe, a., sharp, pointed, barbed. From ri + on(o) + je + ko = toothed, sharp and pointy + it + is + like.
rian – mark, path, power of movement. Comes from ri + na = cut, gouge + on
rianaigh – to mark, gouge, make path. Comes from ri + na = cutting, gouging + on
Ogham stones are an example of rian marks, marks gouged on the surface of the stone.
rianta, p. a., marked out, arranged (of a place). Probably from cutting , gouging… Comes from ri + na + to, ta = cut, gouged + on + that
rianughadh, -uighthe, m., act of marking. Probably by cutting, gouging… Comes from ri = to cut.
Here is the picture of the Offa’s dyke. large linear earthwork that roughly follows the current border between England and Wales. The structure is named after Offa, the 8th century king of Mercia, who is traditionally believed to have ordered its construction. Although its precise original purpose is debated, it delineated the border between Anglian Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys. In Ireland the example of such gouged in border is Black Pig’s dyke. Both were made by gouging the land: rianta = ri + na + to, ta = cut, gouged + on + that
risteal – a surface plough, used in the Hebrides, drawn by one horse and having a sickle-like coulter, Scottish ristle; from the Norse ristill, ploughshare, from rísta, cut. Comes from ri + tlo , tle = cut + land, soil.
These last four words are very interesting. Word rian has a variant “raon” meaning path, range, track, line. Word rianaigh has a variant raonach meaning having paths, routes…You can see how this forest path looks as if it was cut, gouged into the soil and vegetation:
Just like a furrow is cut into the soil with a plow:
Now remember Serbian Ranik, raonik, ralnik = plowshare. The tool that makes paths, lines, tracks, furrows….
In the end let’s have a look at the Irish word “ri”.
rí (rígh), g. ríogh and rígh, d. rígh pl. ríghthe (in sp. l. ríghte), pl. ríogha (Kea.), gpl. ríogh; (Kea.), m., a king, a sovereign, a prince; as prefix, excellent, princely, as rí-fhear or rígh-fhear, an excellent man; tá sé go ríogh-mhaith, it s excellent.
Wiktionary says that the Irish “rí” comes from Proto-Indo-European *h₃rḗǵs (“ruler, king”) which is said to come from h₃reǵ- which means “to straighten, to right oneself, right, just”. I know this is what kings would like us to think they are, but I think that the root of these words is different.
Is it possible that the word for king “ri, righ” comes from “ri” to cut, meaning the person who had right to cut, divide? If so is it possible that this word dates to the time of hunter gatherers, when the tribal leader was the one who cut the carcass of hunted animal, deciding who gets which piece of meat. Later on the tribal chief was the one deciding who gets which cut of the battle spoils and and in the end the who gets which cut of land. The role of the king, was always to divide, to give out cuts, to “ri” or “righ” = ri + ga = cut, divide + it.
That this is the etymology of the word “Ri” can be seen from these Irish words:
riar – administer, manage, distribute. Comes from ri = to cut. ri + ar = the one that cuts, distributes.
riar, g. réir and -rtha, m., act of serving, attending, dividing, partitioning; division, allotment; tá riar a cháis aige, he has as much as he needs (Con.). Comes from ri = to cut. ri + ar = to cut, distribute.
frithríar, ríar – subsidy given by the chief to the tenant in return for the tenant`s riara, rents and services. Comes from ri = to cut. My cut, my percentage…
riar – will, division of property from brehon law. Comes from ri = to cut. We cut, divide everything…
riara – rent in brehon law. Comes from ri = to cut. In the old times person renting the land would work it and would keep all the produce from the land except for the agreed percentage, cut which he would give to the landlord as a rent…
riaraiste, g. id., m., arrears; r. cíosa, arrears of rent. Comes from ri = to cut. In the old times person renting the land would work it and would keep all the produce from the land except for the agreed percentage, cut which he would give to the landlord as a rent…
The word rich comes from old English rice “strong, powerful; great, mighty; of high rank,” in later Old English “wealthy,” from Proto-Germanic *rikijaz (cognates: Old Norse rikr, Swedish rik, Danish rig, Old Frisian rike “wealthy, mighty,” Dutch rijk, Old High German rihhi “ruler, powerful, rich,” German reich “rich,” Gothic reiks “ruler, powerful, rich”), borrowed from a Celtic source akin to Gaulish *rix, Old Irish ri (genitive rig) “king,”
The form of the word was influenced in Middle English by Old French riche “wealthy, magnificent, sumptuous,” which is, with Spanish rico, Italian ricco, from Frankish *riki “powerful,” or some other cognate Germanic source.
Old English also had a noun, rice “rule, reign, power, might; authority; empire.” The evolution of the word reflects a connection between wealth and power in the ancient world.
This connection between the power and wealth lies in the fact that the power is the power to cut, distribute the wealth, to ri + ga = cut + it…
The English language has a lot more words based on the root “ri”. And interestingly they all have full etymology in Slavic languages:
ridge – a long, narrow elevation of land; a chain of hills or mountains. the long and narrow upper edge, angle, or crest of something, as a hill, wave, or vault. the horizontal line in which the tops of the rafters of a roof meet. The official etymology says that this word comes from the Old English hrycg “back of a man or beast,” probably reinforced by Old Norse hryggr “back, ridge,” from Proto-Germanic *khrugjaz (cognates: Old Frisian hregg, Old Saxon hruggi, Dutch rug, Old High German hrukki, German Rücken “the back”), of uncertain origin. Also in Old English, “the top or crest of anything,” especially when long and narrow. The connecting notion is of the “ridge” of the backbone. Spelling with -dg- is from late 15c.
Probably from the toothed appearance of the back bone vertibrae and the mountain ridges. Also possible cognate with Serbian hrbat – back, ridge and grba – hump, bump.
rill – small brook, rivulet, furrow. The official etymology says that this word comes from or is related to Dutch and Frisian ril, Low German rille “groove, furrow, running stream,” probably from Proto-Germanic *ril- (cognates: Old English rið, riþe “brook, stream,” which survives only in dialects), a diminutive form from PIE root *reie- “to run, flow”. I believe that the word is derived from “ri” to cut, gouge, make mark, furrow, ditch using a pointy tooth like instrument. Serbian riti, riljati – gouge land, rilo – what is used for gouging, making furrows.
river – early 13c. The official etymology says that this word comes from Anglo-French rivere, Old French riviere “river, riverside, river bank” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *riparia “riverbank, seashore, river” (source also of Spanish ribera, Italian riviera), noun use of fem. of Latin riparius “of a riverbank”. Gener lized sense of “a copious flow” of anything is from late 14c. The Old English word was ea “river,” cognate with Gothic ahwa, Latin aqua (see aqua-). Romanic cognate words tend to retain the sense “river bank” as the main one, or else the secondary Latin sense “coast of the sea” (compare Riviera). Another direct cognate from Latin is rivus (“stream”). Cognates from other languages are Middle Irish rian (“river, way”), Sanskrit ऋति (ṛti, “course, way”), रीणाति (rīṇāti, “causes to flow”) and Gaulish *Renos (“that which flows”). The rivers cut, gouge their sides into the land like Sanskrit rti (riti, to gouge), Irish rian (ri unj = gouge in), Sanskrit rinati, Gaulish renos (push through, cut through), so I believe that this word also comes from the root “ri” to cut with something toothed, to gouge. In the case of river it is ri + v = cut, gouged + in. This is exactly what rivers do.
Interestingly in Serbian the words for river are “rika”, “rijeka”, “reka”. The are all also based on the root “ri”, “re” meaning to cut with something toothed, to gouge. rika = ri + ka = ri + ga = cuts, scrapes + it. rijeka = rije + ka = rije + ga = gouges + it. reka = re + ka = re + ga = cuts + it….
rim – the upper or outer edge of an object. The official etymology says that this word comes from Old English rima “edge, border, verge, coast,” as in særima “seashore,” literally “rim of the sea,” and dægrima “dawn,” literally “rim of the day.” Related to Old Norse rime, rimi “a raised strip of land, ridge,” Old Frisian rim “edge,” but with no other known cognates. I believe that this also comes from the toothed appearance of the coast when viewed from the sea. Probably from ri + mar = toothed, chiseled, gouged + sea.
rime – hoarfrost. The official etymology says that this word comes Old English hrim, from Proto-Germanic *khrima- (cognates: Old Norse hrim, Dutch rijm, German Reif). Old French rime is of Germanic origin. Rare in Middle English, surviving mainly in Scottish and northern English, revived in literary use late 18c. This is obvious if you have a look at the picture of the hoarfrost ans see how much it is “toothed”….
riot – 12th century. Originally meant debauchery, extravagance, wanton living.The official etymology says that this word comes from Old French riote (12c.) “dispute, quarrel, (tedious) talk, chattering, argument, domestic strife,” also a euphemism for “sexual intercourse,” of uncertain origin. Compare Medieval Latin riota “quarrel, dispute, uproar, riot.” Perhaps from Latin rugire “to roar.” Meaning “public disturbance” is first recorded late 14c. The meaning in English is I believe more linked to the word Ri meaning king and reffering to the way kings lived. The meaning dispute, quarrel, (tedious) talk, chattering, argument, domestic strife could be linked to the bearing of teeth and sharp noise which characterizes these situations.
rip – tear apart c. 1400. rough water, 1775, perhaps a special use of rip. Originally of seas. The official etymology says that this word is probably of North Sea Germanic origin (compare Flemish rippen “strip off roughly,” Frisian rippe “to tear, rip”) or else from a Scandinavian source (compare Swedish reppa, Danish rippe “to tear, rip”). In either case, from Proto-Germanic *rupjan-, from PIE root *reup-, *reub- “to snatch.” Meaning “to slash open” is from 1570s. Related: Ripped; ripping. Ripping is done with a sharp pointy object, like a hand, nails, sharp rock, a knife or teeth. I believe that the root for these words is not *reup-, *reub- to snatch but “ri” to cut with toothed object. The actual etymology is ri + po = cut + on, over, across.
ripple – early 15c, to crease; 1660s, to present a ruffled surface. very small wave, from earlier meaning “stretch of shallow, rippling water”, from verb to ripple. The official etymology says that this word is of unknown origin, perhaps a frequentative of rip (v.). Rippled surface is “toothed”. We can see this clearly if we look at the picture of the rippled water or material. So I believe that the root of this word is also “ri” meaning toothed, choppy, serrated…The actual etymology is ri + po + le = cut, gouge + on, over + surface, particularly the horizontal and even more particularly water surface.
rive – tear in pieces, strike asunder – c. 1200.
riven – split, cloven, rent – c. 1300, past participle adjective from rive “to tear, rend.”
The official etymology says that this word comes from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse rifa “to tear apart” (compare Swedish rifva, Danish rive “scratch, tear”), from PIE root *rei- “to scratch, tear, cut” (see riparian). These words come from the same root “ri” meaning to cut, split with something pointy, toothed like a sharp stone, nail or a wedge. The actual etymology is ri + v = cut + into or ri + v + nj = cut + into + it.
rift – early 14c, a split, act of splitting. The official etymology says that this word comes from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish and Norwegian rift “a cleft,” Old Icelandic ript (pronounced “rift”) “breach;” related to Old Norse ripa “to break a contract” (see riven). If you look at the split material or a rift in the land you will see how much they resemble something that was gouged with something sharp tooth like like a plow or split with something toothed like a wedge. The actual etymology is ri + v + to = cut + into + that.
rivet – c. 1400. The official etymology says that this word comes from Old French rivet “nail, rivet,” from Old French river “to clench, fix, fasten,” possibly from Middle Dutch wriven “turn, grind,” related to rive (v.). The English word may be directly from Middle Dutch. Again this comes from the shape of the old rivets, nails which were sharp toothed objects. The actual etymology is ri + v + to = cut, gouge, stick something like a tooth + into + that (which is stuck into)
reef – rock ridge underwater. 1580s. The official etymology says that this word comes from riffe, probably via Dutch riffe, from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse rif “ridge in the sea; reef in a sail”. The most important characteristics of riffs is that they are sharp toothed rocks which can rip you and your boat to bits. So I believe that this word also comes from the root “ri” meaning to cut with a toothed point. The actual etymology is ri + v = the toothed thing + in. Sharp rocks in water.
Interestingly most of these words are said to have Scandinavian origin.
So to conclude:
Serbian seems to have preserved the ancient root “ri” meaning to cut with something toothed, to gauge, chisel with something sharp and pointy like a tooth. Serbian has also preserved a large set of related derived words.
How old are these Serbian words? I believe that they could be some of the oldest words preserved in European languages. The way the word cluster is built around the natural sounds related to showing teeth, biting, using teeth, suggests that this is the case. I believe that this word cluster is at least as old as Blagotin archaeological site, (7th millennium bc) and probably even older.
Irish has preserved the word “rinn”, meaning a point; sharpness; climax, intensity; the top, tip of anything. Irish has also preserved a large set of words derived from the root “ri” meaning to cut with something toothed, to gauge, chisel with something sharp and pointy like a tooth.
English also has many words based on the root “ri” which all seem to come from Scandinavian roots.
The distribution of this word cluster suggest that this word cluster came to us from the ancient tribal languages of the I2a or maybe even older I haplogroup people..
How old are these words? I think that they could date to Mesolithic or early Neolithic times. I think that here we have a true linguistic fossil. What do you think?