Surprise: connected with the word for "over"?

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Määränpää, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. Määränpää

    Määränpää Senior Member


    Are the words for "surprise" and "over" connected in your language?

    French: surprise / sur
    German: Überraschung / über
    Finnish: yllätys / yllä
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi Määränpää.

    In Greek surprise is «έκπληξη» ['ekpliksi] (fem.) < Classical fem. 3rd declension noun «ἔκπληξις» ékplēksīs --> mental disturbance, passion, consternation, surprise < compound; prefix, preposition and adverb «ἐκ» ĕk --> out (PIE *h₁eǵʰs-/ *h₁eḱs-, out cf Lat. ex, ex- out of, from; OCS изу, out > Rus. из) + Classical v. «πλήσσω» plḗssō; its Attic variant «πλήττω» plḗttō is the MG «πλήττω» ['plito] (PIE *pleh₂k/g-, to beat cf Lat. plangere > It. piangere, Sp. plañir, Por. planger, Fr. plaindre, Rom. plângere; OCS плакати, to lament (to beat one's chest) > Rus. плакать, BCS плакати/plakati); now this verb is very interesting, as it's ambitransitive. When transitive, it means to strike, slap, thrust, hit. But when intransitive, it means to lose interest, get bored. So, «έκπληξη» ['ekpliksi] (fem.) is an unexpected encounter, that drags («ἐκ» ĕk) someone out of boredom.
  3. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Welsh syndod "surprise" seems to come from syn (noun) "feeling, perception" or syn (adjective) "sensible, concerned" + dod "coming". So, there's no clear connection with "over" in this case.
  4. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    In Macedonian, there is no connection with "over". The word is "изненади" and as far as I can infer, it is composed of "из-", "не-" and "над-", meaning "out" or "from" (ex-), "not" (un-/in-), and "hope" respectively. The "hope" part in this word may be better interpreted as expectation, so the whole word "изненади" means something like "from not expecting".
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Strangely enough our synonym in Dutch of Überraschung is ver-rassing, not *over-rassing. I checked on the meaning and found out that the 'ras' (German rasch) refers to speed, and 'ver-' to negative aspects of a verb (well, in some cases at least, like this one). So it means: being too quick (for someone to react), so indeed to surprise.

    We could say: u overvalt mij daarmee, which means something like: you fall over me with that, and so there is some link with over in Dutch as well, if you want to, and it all boils down to being too powerful, überlegen in German, which can sometimes be conveyed using the prefix be- in German and Dutch.
  6. Awwal12

    Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    For something surprizing, Russian uses the loanword "сюрприз" (syurpriz), as well as the word "неожиданность" (lit. "unexpectancy").
    For a synonym of "astonishment", it uses the word "удивление", which can be roughly interpreted as "offwonderment" (the prefix "у-" has a wide field of meanings).
  7. caelum

    caelum Senior Member

    Northwestern Ontario
    Canadian English
    This makes sense. Literally, the French verb is sur- (over) + prendre (take), obviously referring to the aspect of a sneak attack for means of, what else, taking over.
  8. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    In Arabic it's from the root used to mean 'sudden-ness' and 'unexpectedness' مفاجأة.
  9. bazq Senior Member

    Same in Hebrew, root p-t-ʕ.
    The word is הפתעה [hafta'a], p and f are allophonic,
    ʕ is realised as a glottal stop (most of the time).


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