give / forgive


Senior Member
Belgium, Dutch
It seems clear to me that in lots of German words there is a link between the two: geven/ vergeven, geben/ vergeben.

In Romanic languages there is something similar, I suppose: dare (donare)/ perdonare in Latin? Donner/ par-donner in French.

I checked Google Translate as for Russian, and I am not sure there is a link at all, but ...
  • apmoy70

    Senior Member
    In Greek give is «δίνω» [ˈði.nɔ], learned «δίδω» [ˈði.ðɔ] < Byz. Gr. v. «δίδω» dídō < Classical athematic v. «δίδωμι» dídōmĭ.

    Forgive is «συγχωρώ» [siŋ.xɔˈɾɔ] < preposition & prefix «σύν» + v. «χωρέω/χωρῶ» kʰōréo (uncontracted)/kʰōrô (contracted) --> to make room, give way, recede, step (forward), go forth, make progress.
    «Συγχωρώ» is like saying let's both give way to make room for each other.


    Senior Member
    Français - France
    do you have this root (χωρέω/χωρῶ) in English words?
    According to the Wiktionary, it has given, via Latin, the English anchorite(*) (someone who lives in isolation, withdrawn from the world, especially for religious reasons).

    (*) and French anachorète, Spanish and Italian anacoreta, etc.
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    It seems clear to me that in lots of German words there is a link between the two: geven/ vergeven, geben/ vergeben.
    The Germanic for+give construct is a calque from Romance:
    Etymonline said:
    The sense of "to give up desire or power to punish" (late Old English) is from use of such a compound as a Germanic loan-translation of Vulgar Latin *perdonare (Old Saxon fargeban, Dutch vergeven, German vergeben "to forgive," Gothic fragiban "to grant;" and see pardon (n.)). Related: Forgave; forgiven; forgiving.
    I also seem to recall "to welcome" (bienvenido, benvenuto...) is one of those calques, but in this case I think the other way round: Romance took it from Germanic.


    Senior Member
    In Russian, it is:
    1. простить (prostít', perf.), remotely related to простой (prostóy "simple"), both going back to Old Russian простъ (prostŭ) - "straight", "free", "open", "simple"; i.e. простить etymologically means "to free smb".
    2. извинить (izvinít', perf.), obviously related to вина (viná "guilt"), literally meaning ~"to guilt smb out".

    Curiosly enough, these two verbs are pretty much parallel to English "forgive" and "excuse" respectively in terms of syntax and word derivation.
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    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    You are referring to forgiving in both cases, aren't you? Those are two synonyms…

    INteresting notes! There are similar verbs in Dutch: vrijspreken [to speak free, lit.], acquit, and ver-ont-schuldigen [lit. : en-ex/de-cuse/guilty]. But one big difference: we cannot verontschuldigen someone, except for a meeting that a person misses, and vrijspraak is the result of a judicial procedure, often contrary to feelings harboured by some. However, one can only vergeven wholeheartedly, I think. I think that holds to some extent for English.


    Senior Member
    Arabic - Syria
    Arabic seems to have something similar:
    samaha means to grant
    saamaha means to forgive
    the elongation of the first a sound makes the meaning amongst other things reciprocal.
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