-roon [-oon] (quadroon, octaroon)

Pselo

Member
Spain Spanish
Does anybody know the meaning of the suffix “roon”?
I have found in words like “quadroon” or “octoroon”.
Thanks in advance.
 
  • Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    The etymology of "quadroon" is as follows: 1707, "offspring of a white and a mulatto," from Sp. cuarteron (used chiefly of the offspring of a European and a mestizo), from cuarto "fourth," from L. quartus (see quart), so called because he or she has one quarter African blood. Altered by influence of words in quadr-.
     

    Kotuku33

    Senior Member
    French & English, Alberta, Canada
    And in Spanish the suffix "ón" is an augmentative which means it's intensifying or making the thing bigger. "Octoroon" is defined as a person who is 1/8 of African ancestry.

    (I personally find it amazing that anybody might feel it necessary to keep track of these things when it comes to the ancestry of someone other than oneself.)
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    (I personally find it amazing that anybody might feel it necessary to keep track of these things when it comes to the ancestry of someone other than oneself.)
    These words are not used in modern English, but in both Spanish and English in the past, there were specific words to denote combinations down to 1/64th part. I have seen a chart (with facial drawings) of such classifications in a museum somewhere in Lain America. Back then, you wouldn't want to accidentally marry or socialize with someone having a few drops of the wrong blood!
     

    Kotuku33

    Senior Member
    French & English, Alberta, Canada
    Oh yes, I'm well aware that it's a historical term - for the most part - and that it reflected racial constructions of the time. But it has never ceased to amaze me anyway.
     

    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Does anybody know the meaning of the suffix “roon”?
    I have found in words like “quadroon” or “octoroon”.
    Thanks in advance.
    I believe that etymologically, the suffix is actually "oon" not "roon." A version of -on with greater emphasis on the last syllable e.g. buffoon.
    If a quadr+oon marries a white person, the offspring are called octor+oon.
     

    Fmorondo

    Senior Member
    Español-España
    En español existen, con el mismo sentido, cuarterón y ochavón

    cuarterón1, na.
    (Der. del lat. quartarĭus, y este der. de quartus, cuarto, por tener un cuarto de indio y tres de español).
    1. adj. Nacido en América de mestizo y española, o de español y mestiza. U. t. c. s.
    ochavón, na.
    (De ochavo).
    1. adj. Cuba. Se dice del mestizo nacido de blanco y cuarterona o de cuarterón y blanca.
     

    Pselo

    Member
    Spain Spanish
    Thank you very much for the answers.
    In fact I was looking for the suffix better than for the meaning of the words. I mistook thinking about “roon” when it was “oon”.
     

    marymaroon

    New Member
    english
    Does anybody know the meaning of the suffix “roon”?
    I have found in words like “quadroon” or “octoroon”.
    Thanks in advance.
    I believe, but I am looking for better references, that the "roon" suffix was borrowed from the West Indies Maroons. Let me know what you find.

    I think also understanding the etymology and cultural contexts of "mar", "roon", and "coon" are important for sussing this out. English is, especially during Colonial America, a very fluid language.
     
    Last edited:

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I mistook thinking about “roon” when it was “oon”.
    Although I'm not an expert, I think that in English the simple -oon suffix has no special meaning. For example, words like platoon and cartoon do not seem to have anything in common - except perhaps for a foreign origin.
     

    marymaroon

    New Member
    english
    Although I'm not an expert, I think that in English the simple -oon suffix has no special meaning. For example, words like platoon and cartoon do not seem to have anything in common - except perhaps for a foreign origin.
    If we look at "oon" for a bit we can see it does have foreign origin so to speak. It was how English pronounced the ending of some French words. Check out this link.

    https://uselessetymology.com/2018/01/10/the-etymology-of-cartoon/
    "The -oon ending is a common English adaptation of French and Italian words ending in -on and -one (e.g., balloon, buffoon, macaroon)."

    That is not to say that "maroon" is French. Maroon, as a color translated to French is bordeaux. Maroon is not a French word. Marone, on the other hand is an Italian word but it refers to a dialect. It could be that an English speaker might pronounce "marone" and "maroon" but the meaning does not translate to American slavery in anyway.

    This information leads me to believe that "oon" in not the suffix that will give us the information we are looking for in this case. This rabbit hole was nonetheless interesting and educational.
     

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    marymaroon said:
    That is not to say that "maroon" is French. Maroon, as a color translated to French is bordeaux. Maroon is not a French word. Marone, on the other hand is an Italian word but it refers to a dialect. It could be that an English speaker might pronounce "marone" and "maroon" but the meaning does not translate to American slavery in anyway.
    But there is also marrone, which is standard Italian for "brown".
     

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    There is a caveat, however, English maroon comes from French marron which comes from Spanish cimarron, which comes from a Taino word, at least according to Wiktionary, meanwhile Italian marrone is apparently from a Greek word for chestnut, and therefore unrelated.
     

    marymaroon

    New Member
    english
    There is a caveat, however, English maroon comes from French marron which comes from Spanish cimarron, which comes from a Taino word, at least according to Wiktionary, meanwhile Italian marrone is apparently from a Greek word for chestnut, and therefore unrelated.
    A reminder of additional color references is helpful here and are absolutely related. We should also remember the West Indies Maroons were very brown and their history is very connected to slavery.
     
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