'Love' and 'live': any link ?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by ThomasK, May 7, 2008.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Split off from this thread.
    Frank, mod EHL

    Good Lord: winning, loving and loving now seem connected - and winning might be the root meaning (or is that the wrong conclusion).

    In my romantic (?) phantasy I would not have linked up marrying and loving, though of course I recognize the connection there generally is ;-) ) --- which might make me more modern than I thought, but OK, that is irrelevant]. I now see why : loving can be way 'broader' (if that is the correct word) than the intimate 1-to-1 relationship. 'Love your neighbour' means quite something else than 'llove your wife/husband'. But I think we do not distinguish between those by means of verbs in Dutch (or English or German). But love and live (lieben and leben, liefhebben en leven) might be connected as well then...

    I am afraid that will lead us to another verb: as there is love/ lieben/ liefhebben but also ?/ ?/ beminnen (minne is the old word for loving).

    To get started (thanks, Frank06), I checked love and live. Dead-end street, I think.

    Live --- 'idg. leip- > To stick, adhere; fat. Derivatives include life and liver1. '

    I quote "continuance” but also 'to leave, have remaining, Greek lipos, fat, and Greek aleiphein, to anoint with oil. (Pokorny 1. leip- 670.)' Amazing. But no love.

    Love --- idg. 'leuph- > To care, desire; love. Derivatives include livelong, belief, and libido. (Believe and love are linked. That gets me going but not here)

    And as love can even mean leave, I think any link between the two is inexistent ! ;-)

    I suppose this track leads nowhere !

    So this might be over in a minute. What do you think ?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2008
  2. codina

    codina Senior Member

    Montréal, Québec
    Español - México
    According to the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, they seem to be not linked, but I'm no expert at all, so let's wait to see what others think.

    Main Entry: love
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English lufu; akin to Old High German luba love, Old English lēof dear, Latin lubēre, libēre to please Date: before 12th century

    Main Entry: live
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English libban; akin to Old High German lebēn to live
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    How about Spanish, signora Codina ? Viva and quiero ? No way, I suppose (I just know some bits and pieces)
  4. codina

    codina Senior Member

    Montréal, Québec
    Español - México
    Hahahaha! I'm not a 'signora' ! I'm a guy, Codina is my last name!

    Just let's forget the confusion...

    You're right, they don't share a common root in Spanish, it can be seen that they're quite different :

    to love = amar (from lat. amāre).

    to live = vivir (from lat. vivĕre).

    If you're interested in the etymology of Spanish words, take a look at http://www.rae.es, it's THE Spanish dictionary.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2008
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    How about yo to quiero (I want you ?) and habitare (but that is It.), not vivere .

    I suppose there is no link indeed, but just...
  6. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    N.B. Yo te quiero (I'm just quoting), and abitare without an H in Italian.

    Sufficient evidence has been given above to prove that live and love are unconnected. However, nobody has mentioned the rare but not archaic English word lief, as in "I would as lief shoot myself in the foot as..." ,exactly the same as Dutch liefhebben (to love).
  7. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Most amazing, this lief. I had never come across it, until May 7, 2008 ! ;-) [Meaning : I would have preferred to.../ What I had like most was ... ???]

    Are you suggesting a link with live ? (I do not think so, but ...)
  8. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    No, a link with love. I did point out that it was identical to Dutch/Vlaams liefhebben which means to love: Ik heb je lief (I love you). And there is also mijn liefde, my beloved. Don't worry that you only came upon it recently in English: there must be millions of Brits and even more Americans who have never heard of it.
    A better paraphrase might be "I would just as soon shoot myself in the foot" which is far more common. The word lief seems to be used only in this almost negative way. The positive idea used to be expressed by "I would fain do it" lief not being used, but this is quite obsolete now unlike lief.
    Last edited: May 7, 2008
  9. Rajki Member

    Love (< *leubh-) is clearly an European (or at least Germano-Slavic) word, compare e.g. Russian liubit' 'to love'.

    As to 'live' (< *libb-), it seems to be a Germanic invention, an isolated word. Links to 'liver' and Greek lipos 'fat' are highly unconvincing, at least semantically.

    Love and live are from two different roots, there is no connection whatsoever.
  10. xari Member

    Sorry to dig this old thread, but, even though I also find the semantic connection between "live" and "fat" to be weird, isn't this exactly what happens in Russian (at least according to Vasmer), where жир and жить are supposed to be related?

    Can someone please clarify?
  11. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    The semantic link between Germanic and Greek seems obvious: Apart from the meaning fat there is the verb λιπαρέω = to remain, to persist, to hold out, to persevere containing the root λιπ-. The meaning fat is then probably caused by its stickiness.
  12. Maroseika Moderator

    Just one specification: the sense of Russian жир (fat) is reckoned to be secondary. Primarily this word meant feed, pasture, grain. Such a way its connection with жить (to live) looks more natural.
    Cf. Russian жировать - to pasture, Ancient Russian жирьный - abundant. Zir, zyr means "feed for cattle" in many Slavic languages.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  13. xari Member

    Thank you berndf and Maroseika!

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