Etymology of Avestan tūirīm

Arabus

Senior Member
Arabic-Aleppo
Hello,

According to this (old) dictionary, the Avestan Iranian word tūirīm means "fourth; uncle, nephew, male cousin." One scholar (E. Pirart) has picked the meaning "fourth" and used it to explain the ancient tribal name Tūir(i)ya (i.e., the Turanians, ancient Iranian tribe(s) of Central Asia).

Now this is interesting, what is the relationship between the meaning "fourth" and the meaning "male cousin"? These two meanings seem to me totally unrelated; and why did Pirart pick the meaning "fourth" to explain the word Tūir(i)ya? To me, the other meaning seems more appropriate to explain a tribal name. Is there a known Indo-European etymology of tūirīm? Is this word related to Sanskrit तुर turá? What is the Sanskrit cognate of this word? (if such one can be identified)
 
  • fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    In the Avesta we have what seem to be three unrelated homonyms, all well attested:

    First: tūiriia- “fourth”, cognate with Skt. turīya-.

    Second: tūiriia- “father’s brother” and tūiriiā- “father’s sister”, from pitar-, nominative singular ptā, tā “father”, like Skt. pitṛvya-.

    Third: the tribal name represented by the adjectives tura-, tūra-, tūiriia-. I think any attempt to connect this with either of the other two is highly speculative.
     

    Arabus

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Aleppo
    Thanks.

    So if tūiriia- "uncle" is derived from ptā, where did the suffix -ūiriia- come from? Is there an explanation for this derivation?

    Is there an explanation for the i that appears in iriia- “fourth”? It is not found in the Sanskrit form.

    Perhaps tūiriia- “fourth” is derived from the Indo-Aryan number "four" which appears in Avestan as caθuuārō "four"?

    Can you please tell me where in the Avesta are the Turanians called tura- or tūra-? According to the sources I saw their name is Tūiriia-.
     

    Arabus

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Aleppo
    Although I don't know anything in Indo-Aryan phonology, I can imagine that tūiriia- "uncle" emerged from a word similar to pitṛvya- by metathesis *pitṛvya- > *pitvyra- > *tvyra-. Perhaps they later added a second derivative suffix -ya, and hence was tūiriia- formed.

    Assuming that tūiriia- "uncle" is derived from *pitṛvya-, and that tūiriia- "fourth" is derived from number four, this leaves the Sanskrit word तुर turá which apparently does not have an Iranian cognate, unless it is behind the tribal name Tūiriia-.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Can you please tell me where in the Avesta are the Turanians called tura- or tūra-? According to the sources I saw their name is Tūiriia-.
    Look up Bartholomae, Altiranisches Wb., col 656. There are a dozen attestations. The i in the first syllable of Tūiriia- is in anticipation of the suffix -iya. The same is the case in the word for "fourth".
     
    Last edited:

    Arabus

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Aleppo
    Thanks. Actually the word tūra- for "Turanian" is mentioned even in the old dictionary I linked to in the first post. Sorry about that.
     
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