How did mittō (to send) semantically shift 🢂 in Vulgar Latin 🡺 to mean "put"?

jet_leader1

Senior Member
Arabic
Wiktionary allegates that, for the Latin mittō (“to send”),

The semantic shift from "send" to "put" probably occurred in Vulgar Latin.

What semantic notions underlie "send" and "put"? I can't brainstorm any relationship between the two, even after reading this word map or narrative.
 
  • elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The verb “to post” has both meanings.

    I posted the letter on Sunday. (“sent in the mail”)

    I posted a comment in the discussion thread. (“put”)

    I can see a connection. When you send something somewhere, you’re putting it there, in a way.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    The fact that it exists in all the languages and with the meaning of 'to put' from the beginning certainly points to the fact that it already existed with that meaning in Latin.

    One of the meanings of mittere was to extend your hand. 'Manum mittere', which originally could refer to freeing a slave (manumission), was rather to lay/put your hands on something or someone in medieval times, specially when referring to attacking ecclesiastic people, and as such synonymous to 'manum ponere'.

    Nevertheless, we also have descendants from ponere. And in the periphery (West Iberia, Romania), it's the common verb for 'to put'.

    West Iberian languages:
    Portuguese: pôr​
    Galician: poñer​
    Asturian: poner​
    Spanish: poner​
    Romanian: a pune

    Italian: porre along with mettere

    In French, Occitan and Catalan, the meaning became restricted, though.

    Catalan: pondre 'to lay (eggs)', 'to set (the sun)'​
    Occitan: pondre 'to lay (eggs)'​
    French: pondre 'to lay (eggs)'​
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    The fact that it exists in all the languages and with the meaning of 'to put' from the beginning certainly points to the fact that it already existed with that meaning in Latin.
    Indeed it did, see TLL mitto column 1168.
    One of the meanings of mittere was to extend your hand. 'Manum mittere', which originally could refer to freeing a slave (manumission), was rather to lay/put your hands on something or someone in medieval times, specially when referring to attacking ecclesiastic people, and as such synonymous to 'manum ponere'.
    I'm afraid you confused the cases here. It's servum manū mittere “to release a slave from/using one's hand”. Everyone seems to explain it as “from”, though. You can see the relevant medieval expressions under meaning 8. in DMLBS.

    There's an article on the topic by J.N. Adams, On the Semantic Field 'Put-Throw' in Latin (1974) (DOI here). Though I haven't read it myself yet.
     
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