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ρατσισμός < razzismo

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Perseas, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Perseas Senior Member


    I 've found that the Greek word ρατσισμός (racism) comes from the Italian razzismo < razza, which possibly comes from the Arabic ra's. (ra's: there was a sign like circumflex above a but I couldn't do that). I 've also read that there was suggested another etymology from the Latin ratio but it doesn't seem to be correct.
    Is really the first one accepted as correct? Is there any other?

    Thank you for any contributions!
  2. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    I did not find mention of the Arabic origin in this dictionary, but another hypothesis, stating a probable origin from the latin «generatio», put into evidence by a the Italian word «naraccia», possibly an intermediate form.
  3. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The derivation from Arabic raʼs “head” (which etymonline ascribes to a modern author) has actually been around for a long time. Meyer-Lübke, Romanisches etym. Wb., (1911), no. 3732, rejects this etymology on the grounds that the word first occurs in Italy (not Iberia) and instead derives it from generatio, which still seems to be the majority view. (The etymology section in the CNRTL article linked in no. 2 is very informative).
  4. Montesacro Senior Member

    It seems that the Italian word razza comes from Old French haraz (troop of horses).
    See here.
  5. Perseas Senior Member

    Thank you all for your answers.
  6. Kevin Beach

    Kevin Beach Senior Member

    Wiktionary gives the following etymology for the second meaning of the English word "Race", which seems to be cognate with the Greek:

    From Middle French race, from Italian razza, of uncertain origin.

    Some authorities suggest derivation from Old Spanish
    raza, rasa, from earlier ras, res "head of cattle", from Arabic رأس (ra’s, “head”). This, however, is difficult to support, since Italian razza predates the Spanish word.[1]

    Another possible source is Lombardic
    raiza "line", a literal rendering of Latin linea sanguinis "bloodline of descent". Raiza is of Germanic origin, akin to Old High German reiza "line", Old Norse rīta "to score, log, outline".

    A third possibility is that the Italian razza derives from Latin
    ratio through an unattested intermediate form *razzo.
  7. aruniyan Senior Member


    I think race is related with Sanskrit Rashi(segment, group).

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