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    bestead (v.) — *bhreu-

    bestead (v.)

    1580s, "to help, support, prop," also "to profit, benefit," from be- + stead (v.); see stead.ETD bestead (v.).2

    bestest (adj.)

    jocular emphatic superlative of best (itself a superlative), attested from 1834.ETD bestest (adj.).2

    bestial (adj.)

    late 14c., "belonging to a beast," c. 1400, "having the qualities of a beast," from Old French bestial (13c.) "relating to animals; beast-like, stupid, foolish, brutal" and directly from Latin bestialis "like a beast," from bestia (see beast).ETD bestial (adj.).2

    The sense of "below the dignity of a human" in English is from c. 1400, and often is unjust to beasts. When the beast of the Book of Revelation was meant, the adjectival form bestian (1650s) sometimes was used.ETD bestial (adj.).3

    bestiality (n.)

    late 14c., "the nature of beasts," from bestial + -ity. The meaning "indulgence in bestial instincts" is from 1650s; the sense of "sexual activity with a beast" is from 1611 (KJV).ETD bestiality (n.).2

    bestiary (n.)

    "medieval treatise on beasts" usually with moralistic overtones, 1818, from Medieval Latin bestiarium "a menagerie," also "a book about animals," from bestia (see beast).ETD bestiary (n.).2

    A Latin term for such works was liber de bestiis compositus. Roman bestiarius meant "a fighter against beasts in the public entertainments." Bestiarian (1882), modeled on humanitarian, was a word for "one who advocates kind treatment of animals," especially "anti-vivisectionist," but earlier bestiarianism (1864) had been used as the opposite of humanitarianism in reference to cruel and brutal policies.ETD bestiary (n.).3

    bestill (v.)

    "to make still," 1770, from be- + still (adj.).ETD bestill (v.).2

    bestir (v.)

    Middle English bistiren, from Old English bestyrian "to heap up," from be- + stir. The original sense apparently is obsolete; the meaning "take brisk or vigorous action" is from c. 1300. Related: Bestirred; bestirring.ETD bestir (v.).2

    bestow (v.)

    early 14c., bistowen "give, confer" (alms, etc.), from be- + stowen "to place" (see stow). Related: Bestowed; bestowing; bestower.ETD bestow (v.).2

    bestowal (n.)

    "a conferring, act of giving gratuitously," 1773, from bestow + -al (2). Alternative bestowment is from 1730.ETD bestowal (n.).2

    bestrew (v.)

    "to scatter about, throw or drop here and there," Middle English bistreuen, from Old English bestreowian "besprinkle, scatter about;" see be- + strew (v.).ETD bestrew (v.).2

    bestride (v.)

    Middle English bistriden, from Old English bestridan "to straddle the legs over, mount," from be- + stridan "to stride" (see stride (v.)). Compare Middle Dutch bestryden. Related: Bestrid; bestriding.ETD bestride (v.).2

    bet (n.)

    1590s, "the mutual pledging of things of value to be won or lost based on some future event," appearing simultaneously with the verb, originally in the argot of petty criminals, a word of unknown origin.ETD bet (n.).2

    Perhaps it is a shortening of abet or else from obsolete beet "to make good" (related to better), if the original notion is "to improve" a contest by wagering on it, or to encourage a contestant. Or perhaps the word is from the "bait" sense in abet. The meaning "that which is wagered" is from 1796.ETD bet (n.).3

    bet (v.)

    1590s, "pledge as a forfeit to another who makes a similar pledge in return," originally in the argot of petty criminals, a word of unknown origin; see bet (n.), which appeared about the same time.ETD bet (v.).2

    The intransitive sense of "lay a wager" is from c. 1600. It has been used since mid-19c. in various American English slang assertions (bet your life, 1848; bet your boots, 1856; you bet "be assured," attested by 1857 and identified in Century Dictionary as "originally California slang").ETD bet (v.).3

    betting (n.)

    "the making of wagers," 1590s, verbal noun bet (v.).ETD betting (n.).2

    beta (n.)

    second letter of the Greek alphabet, c. 1300, from Greek, from Hebrew/Phoenician beth (see alphabet); used to designate the second of many things. Beta radiation is from 1899 (Rutherford). Beta particle is attested from 1904. Beta male, pejorative term for a risk-avoidant, non-confrontational man perceived as a follower or supporter rather than a leader, is by 2005, transferred from zoology (birds, primates), where it is attested by 1962 (compare alpha male under alpha).ETD beta (n.).2

    betake (v.)

    c. 1200, "to hand over," from be- + take (v.). From the beginning confused in form and sense with the older beteach. From c. 1400 in the etymologically proper sense "to take, accept." Its reflexive sense "take oneself" (to) emerged mid-15c. Related: Betook; betaken.ETD betake (v.).2

    Betamax (n.)

    1975, proprietary name (Sony), from Japanese beta-beta "all over" + max, from English maximum.ETD Betamax (n.).2


    representing casual pronunciation of bet you, attested by 1904 (see bet (v.)).ETD betcha.2

    beteach (v.)

    Middle English bitechen, from Old English betæcan "give up to, impart, deliver; appoint, set apart, dedicate," from be- + teach (v.). The form and sense have been confused with betake. The meaning "impart, teach" is from c. 1300. The word was obsolete or archaic from 16c. Related: Betaught; beteaching.ETD beteach (v.).2

    betel (n.)

    1550s, name of a creeping or climbing plant of the East Indies, also of its leaf (1580s), which is chewed, probably via Portuguese betel, from Malayalam (Dravidian) vettila, from veru ila "simple leaf."ETD betel (n.).2


    alpha Orionis, bright reddish star in the right shoulder of Orion, 1515, from Arabic Ibt al Jauzah, traditionally said to mean "the Armpit of the Central One" (with this arm he holds his club aloft), but perhaps more accurately "Hand of al-Jauza (Orion)." Intermediary forms include Bed Elgueze, Beit Algueze.ETD Betelgeuse.2

    bete noire (n.)

    "person or thing regarded with especial aversion," 1844, from French bête noire, literally "the black beast." For bête see beast; noire is from Latin niger (see Negro).ETD bete noire (n.).2


    Biblical village, its name in Hebrew or Aramaic (Semitic) is literally "house of poverty," from bet "house of" (construct state of bayit "house") + 'anya "poverty."ETD Bethany.2

    bethel (n.)

    1610s, "a place where God is worshipped," from Hebrew beth El "house of God," from beth, construct state of bayit "house" + El "God." Popular as a name for religious meeting houses among some Protestant denominations and also of chapels for sailors. Beth also was the name of the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, so called for its shape, and was borrowed into Greek as beta.ETD bethel (n.).2


    1857, name of a pool in Jerusalem (John v.2), from Greek Bethesda, from Aramaic (Semitic) beth hesda "house of mercy," or perhaps "place of flowing water." Popular among some Protestant denominations as a name for religious meeting houses.ETD Bethesda.2

    bethink (v.)

    reflexive verb, Middle English bithinken, "think, meditate, reflect, ponder," from Old English beþencan "to consider, remember, take thought for, reflect," from be- + þencan "to think" (see think). Related: Bethought.ETD bethink (v.).2


    city south of Jerusalem, the biblical birthplace of Jesus; according to Room, "modern scholarship" indicates the name probably means "House of Lahmu and Lahamu," a pair of Mesopotamian agricultural deities.ETD Bethlehem.2

    bethump (v.)

    "to beat soundly," 1590s, from be- + thump. Related: Bethumped; bethumping.ETD bethump (v.).2

    betide (v.)

    late 12c., bitiden, "to happen, come to pass," from be- + tiden "to happen" (see tide (v.)). The transitive sense of "happen to (someone)" is from early 13c. It survives, if at all, in the expression woe betide! (late 14c.).ETD betide (v.).2

    betimes (adv.)

    early 14c., "at an early period;" late 14c., "seasonably, before it is too late," from betime (c. 1300, from be- + time (n.)). With adverbial genitive -s.ETD betimes (adv.).2

    betoken (v.)

    Middle English bitoknen "be a symbol or emblem of," from late Old English betacnian "to denote, to mean, signify; be a visible sign or emblem of," from be- + Old English tacnian "to signify," from tacn "sign" (see token) or directly from Proto-Germanic *taiknōjanan. It is attested from c. 1200 as "to augur, presage, portend," also "be or give evidence of." Related: Betokened; betokening.ETD betoken (v.).2

    betray (v.)

    early 13c., bitraien, "prove false, violate by unfaithfulness;" c. 1300, "deliver or expose to the power of an enemy by treachery," also "mislead, deceive, delude," from be- + obsolete Middle English tray, from Old French traine "betrayal, deception, deceit," from trair (Modern French trahir) "betray, deceive," from Latin tradere "hand over," from trans "across" (see trans-) + dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give").ETD betray (v.).2

    It is attested from 1580s as "unintentionally show a true character;" by 1690s as "indicate what is not obvious;" from 1735 as "reveal or disclose in violation of confidence." In Middle English it sometimes was also bitraish, betrash, from the French present-participle stem. Related: Betrayed; betraying.ETD betray (v.).3

    betrayer (n.)

    "a traitor, seducer," 1520s, agent noun from betray (v.).ETD betrayer (n.).2

    betrayal (n.)

    "act of betraying," 1798, from betray + -al (2). Earlier in the same sense were betrayment (1540s), betraying (late 14c.).ETD betrayal (n.).2

    betroth (v.)

    c. 1300, betrouthen, "to promise to marry (a woman)," from be-, here probably with a sense of "thoroughly," + Middle English treowðe "truth," from Old English treowðe "truth, a pledge" (see truth). It is attested from 1560s as "contract to give (a woman) in marriage to another, affiance." Related: Betrothed; betrothing.ETD betroth (v.).2

    betrothed (adj.)

    1530s, past-participle adjective from betroth (v.). As a noun, in use by 1580s.ETD betrothed (adj.).2

    betrothal (n.)

    "act of betrothing," 1825, from betroth + -al (2). Earlier in same sense were betrothment (1580s), betrothing (14c.).ETD betrothal (n.).2


    fem. pet name, a diminutive of Bet, itself short for Elizabet or Elizabeth. Betsy or Bessy (a variant form) as the typical pet-name for a favorite firearm is attested in American English by 1833 (Davy Crockett). Also compare Brown Bess, attested by 1785 as British army slang for the old flintlock musket.ETD Betsy.2

    better (n.1)

    late 12c., "that which is better," from better (adj.). The specific meaning "one's superior" is from early 14c. The better "improvement" (as in for the better) is from 1690s. To get the better of someone "obtain mastery or victory over" is from 1650s, from better in a sense of "superiority, mastery," which is recorded from mid-15c. Related: Betters.ETD better (n.1).2

    better (adj., adv.)

    Middle English bettre, from Old English bettra, earlier betera "of superior quality or excellence," from Proto-Germanic *batizo-, perhaps from PIE *bhad- "good," but Boutkan finds no good IE etymology. For etymology and evolution, see best. Cognate words also have become the comparative adjective of good in the older Germanic languages (Old Frisian betera, Old Saxon betiro, Old Norse betr, Danish bedre, Old High German bezziro, German besser, Gothic batiza). All are comparatives of a positive (Proto-Germanic *bat) which is not in use.ETD better (adj., adv.).2

    In Middle English the adverbial form commonly was bet, sometimes also used an adjective; bet was displaced by c. 1600. Better is attested from late Old English as "improved in health, more healthy" (adv.); from late 12c. as "more useful or desirable." Better half "wife" is attested from 1570s.ETD better (adj., adv.).3

    better (v.)

    Old English *beterian "improve, amend, make better," from Proto-Germanic *batizojan (source also of Old Frisian beteria, Dutch beteren, Old Norse betra, Old High German baziron, German bessern), from *batizo- (see better (adj.)). The meaning "exceed, surpass, outdo" is from 1540s. Related: Bettered; bettering.ETD better (v.).2

    better (n.2)

    "one who lays wagers;" see bettor.ETD better (n.2).2

    betterment (n.)

    "improvement," 1590s, from better (v.) + -ment.ETD betterment (n.).2


    "best," 1743, jocular, from better (adj.) + -most.ETD bettermost.2


    fem. pet name, from Bet, shortened from Elizabeth, + -y (3). Also in old slang (by 1857), "man who interferes with the domestic duties of women" [Century Dictionary, 1889].ETD Betty.2

    bettor (n.)

    "one who lays a wager," c. 1600, also better, agent noun from bet (v.). The form is unusual; OED notes that English agent nouns in -er tend to shift toward -or as their senses become more specific; in this case it also might have been done to steer clear of better (n.1) and thus avoid confusion.ETD bettor (n.).2

    Betula (n.)

    genus of the birches, from Latin betula "birch," from Gaulish betu- "bitumen" (source also of Middle Irish beithe "box tree," Welsh bedwen "birch tree"). According to Pliny, so called because the Gauls extracted tar from birches. Birch tar still is sold as an analgesic and stimulant and made into birch beer by the Pennsylvania Dutch.ETD Betula (n.).2

    between (prep., adv.)

    Middle English bitwene, from Old English betweonum, Mercian betwinum, "in the space which separates, midway, in the midst, among; by turns," from bi- "by" (see by) + tweonum dative plural of *tweon "two each" (compare Gothic tweih-nai "two each;" from PIE root *dwo- "two").ETD between (prep., adv.).2

    Between a rock and a hard place "caught in a dilemma, in a difficult situation" is from 1940s, originally cowboy slang (earlier was between the beetle (hammer) and the block, late 19c.). Between-whiles "at intervals" is from 1670s.ETD between (prep., adv.).3

    betweenity (n.)

    "state or condition of being between; intermediate condition," 1760, a jocular formation, perhaps coined by Horace Walpole, from between + -ity.ETD betweenity (n.).2

    betweenness (n.)

    "state or fact of being between," 1881, from between + -ness.ETD betweenness (n.).2

    betwixt (prep., adv.)

    Middle English bitwixe, from Old English betweox "between, in the space that separates, among, amidst, meanwhile," from bi- "by" (see by) + tweox "for two," from Proto-Germanic *twa "two" (from PIE root *dwo- "two") + *-isk "-ish."ETD betwixt (prep., adv.).2

    With unetymological -t that appeared in Old English and became general after c. 1500. Compare amidst. Betwixen also was a variant in Old and Middle English. Middle English also had twix (prep., adv.) "among; in the meantime." Now mostly in the colloquial intensive expression betwixt and between.ETD betwixt (prep., adv.).3


    fem. proper name, from Hebrew be'ulah "married woman," fem. past participle of ba'al "he married" (see baal).ETD Beulah.2

    bevel (adj.)

    1560s, "having equal alternate angles;" c. 1600, "sloping from the horizontal or vertical," possibly from Old French *baivel (Modern French béveau, biveau), which is perhaps from bayer "to gape, yawn," from Latin *batare "to yawn, gape," possibly imitative of yawning. But if so, the time gap is puzzling.ETD bevel (adj.).2

    It is attested as a noun from 1610s, "tool or instrument for drawing angles and adjusting abutting surfaces;" by 1670s as "an angle between adjacent sides." The verb, "to reduce to a sloping edge," is recorded by 1670s. Related: Bevelled; bevelling.ETD bevel (adj.).3

    bever (n.)

    "drink," mid-15c.; "snack between meals," c. 1500, from Anglo-French beivre, Old French bevre, boivre, infinitive used as a noun, from Latin bibere "to imbibe" (from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink").ETD bever (n.).2

    beverage (n.)

    "drink of any kind," mid-13c., from Anglo-French beverage, Old French bevrage, from Old French boivre "to drink" (Modern French boire; from Latin bibere "to imbibe;" from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink") + -age, suffix forming mass or abstract nouns (see -age).ETD beverage (n.).2

    Beverly Hills

    city in southern California, U.S., 1911, earlier Beverly (1907), named for Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, summer home of then-U.S. President Taft, which ultimately is named for the Yorkshire town Beverly, which means, in Old English, "beaver lodge."ETD Beverly Hills.2

    bevy (n.)

    early 15c., collective noun of quails and ladies, from Anglo-French bevée, which is of unknown origin. One supposed definition of the word is "a drinking bout," but this perhaps is a misprint of bever (see beverage). If not, perhaps the original sense is birds gathered at a puddle or pool for drinking or bathing. But the quest for a clear and logical origin in such a word might be futile. "These old names for companies of men and animals are however very fantastical and far-fetched" [OED].ETD bevy (n.).2

    bewail (v.)

    "to mourn aloud," c. 1300, from be- + wail (v.). Related: Bewailed; bewailing.ETD bewail (v.).2

    beware (v.)

    "be on one's guard," c. 1200, probably a contraction of be ware "be wary, be careful," from Middle English ware (adj.), from Old English wær "prudent, aware, alert, wary," from Proto-Germanic *waraz, from PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for." Compare ware (v.). Old English had the compound bewarian "to defend," which perhaps contributed to the word. Also compare begone.ETD beware (v.).2

    beweep (v.)

    Old English bewepan "to weep over," cognate with Old Frisian biwepa, Old Saxon biwopian; see be- + weep. Related: Bewept.ETD beweep (v.).2

    bewigged (adj.)

    "wearing a wig," 1774, from be- + wig (n.).ETD bewigged (adj.).2

    bewildered (adj.)

    "confused as to direction or situation; having been led into perplexity or confusion," 1680s, past-participle adjective from bewilder (q.v.). Related: Bewilderedness.ETD bewildered (adj.).2

    bewildering (adj.)

    "confusing, disorienting, perplexing," 1761, present-participle adjective from bewilder. Related: Bewilderingly.ETD bewildering (adj.).2

    bewilder (v.)

    1680s, "confuse as to direction or situation," also, figuratively, "perplex, puzzle, confuse," from be- "thoroughly" + archaic wilder "lead astray, lure into the wilds," which probably is a back-formation from wilderness. An earlier word with the same sense was bewhape (early 14c.) and there is a 17c. use of bewhatle.ETD bewilder (v.).2

    bewilderment (n.)

    1789, "state or condition of being bewildered," from bewilder + -ment; the meaning "thing or situation which bewilders" is from 1840.ETD bewilderment (n.).2

    bewitch (v.)

    c. 1200, biwicchen, "cast a spell on; enchant, subject to sorcery," from be- + Old English wiccian "to enchant, to practice witchcraft" (see witch). Literal at first, and with implication of harm; the figurative sense of "fascinate, charm past resistance" is from 1520s. *Bewiccian may well have existed in Old English, but it is not attested. Related: Bewitchery; bewitchment.ETD bewitch (v.).2

    bewitched (adj.)

    late 14c. in the literal sense, "subjected to the influence of witchcraft," past-participle adjective from bewitch; the figurative sense of "charmed, fascinated, pleased beyond resistance" is from 1570s. Related: Bewitchedness.ETD bewitched (adj.).2

    bewitching (adj.)

    "having the power to bewitch, fascinate, or charm," 1560s, present-participle adjective from bewitch (v.). Related: Bewitchingly. Milton used bewitchful.ETD bewitching (adj.).2

    bewray (v.)

    early 13c., biwreien, "to inform against;" mid-13c., "to speak ill of," from be- + Middle English wreien "betray," from Old English wregan "accuse" (cognate with Old Saxon wrogian, Dutch wroegen "accuse," Old High German ruogen, German rügen "to censure," Gothic wrohjan "accuse").ETD bewray (v.).2

    It has been perhaps somewhat influenced in sense by the unrelated betray. The sense of "reveal, expose" is from late 14c. "Probably more or less of a conscious archaism since the 17th c." [OED]. Related: Bewrayed; bewraying; bewrayment.ETD bewray (v.).3

    beyond (prep., adv.)

    Old English begeondan "on the other side of, from the farther side," from be- "by," here probably indicating position, + geond "yonder" (prep.); see yond. A compound not found elsewhere in Germanic. From late 14c. as "further on than," 1530s as "out of reach of." To be beyond (someone) "to pass (someone's) comprehension" is by 1812.ETD beyond (prep., adv.).2

    bezant (n.)

    gold coin issued by the emperors at Constantinople, c. 1200, from Old French besant (12c.), from Latin byzantius, short for Byzantius nummus "coin of Byzantium." They circulated widely in Europe in the early Middle Ages, when most countries had no gold coins of their own.ETD bezant (n.).2

    bezel (n.)

    1610s, "slope of the edge of a cutting tool," also "groove by which a stone is held in its setting," from Old French *besel (13c.; Modern French biseau), cognate with Spanish and Portuguese bisel; of uncertain origin, perhaps literally "a stone with two angles," from Vulgar Latin *bis-alus, from bis- "twice" (from PIE root *dwo- "two") + ala "wing, side" (see alar).ETD bezel (n.).2

    The meaning "oblique face of a gem" is from c. 1840. The verb meaning "grind (a tool) down to an edge" is from 1670s. Compare bevel.ETD bezel (n.).3

    bezique (n.)

    card game popular in European high society in mid-1800s, 1861, from French bézigue (popular in Paris casinos in the 1840s), apparently originally besi or besit, but of unknown origin. Up to four can play, using two packs from which the number cards from 2 to 6 have been removed.ETD bezique (n.).2

    bezoar (n.)

    1540s, "stone used as an antidote against poison," via Medieval Latin, from Arabic bazahr, from Persian pad-zahr "counter-poison," from pad "protecting, guardian, master" (from Iranian *patar-, source also of Avestan patar-, from PIE *pa-tor-, from root *pa- "to feed, protect") + zahr "poison" (from Old Iranian *jathra, from PIE *gwhn-tro-, from root *gwhen- "to strike, kill;" see bane).ETD bezoar (n.).2

    The name is attested later in reference to a concoction from solid matter found in the stomachs and intestines of ruminants, which was held to have antidotal qualities (1570s). Related: Bezoardic.ETD bezoar (n.).3

    bezzle (v.)

    variant of embezzle (q.v.).ETD bezzle (v.).2

    *bha- (1)

    *bhā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine."ETD *bha- (1).2

    It forms all or part of: aphotic; bandolier; banner; banneret; beacon; beckon; buoy; diaphanous; emphasis; epiphany; fantasia; fantasy; hierophant; pant (v.); -phane; phanero-; phantasm; phantasmagoria; phantom; phase; phene; phenetic; pheno-; phenology; phenomenon; phenyl; photic; photo-; photocopy; photogenic; photograph; photon; photosynthesis; phosphorus; phaeton; sycophant; theophany; tiffany; tryptophan.ETD *bha- (1).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhati "shines, glitters;" Greek phainein "bring to light, make appear," phantazein "make visible, display;" Old Irish ban "white, light, ray of light."ETD *bha- (1).4

    *bha- (2)

    *bhā-; Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to speak, tell, say."ETD *bha- (2).2

    It forms all or part of: abandon; affable; anthem; antiphon; aphasia; aphonia; aphonic; apophasis; apophatic; ban (n.1) "proclamation or edict;" ban (v.); banal; bandit; banish; banlieue; banns (n.); bifarious; blame; blaspheme; blasphemy; boon (n.); cacophony; confess; contraband; defame; dysphemism; euphemism; euphony; fable; fabulous; fado; fairy; fame; famous; fandango; fatal; fate; fateful; fatuous; fay; gramophone; heterophemy; homophone; ineffable; infamous; infamy; infant; infantile; infantry; mauvais; megaphone; microphone; monophonic; nefandous; nefarious; phatic; -phone; phone (n.2) "elementary sound of a spoken language;" phoneme; phonetic; phonic; phonics; phono-; pheme; -phemia; Polyphemus; polyphony; preface; profess; profession; professional; professor; prophecy; prophet; prophetic; quadraphonic; symphony; telephone; xylophone.ETD *bha- (2).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pheme "speech, voice, utterance, a speaking, talk," phōnē "voice, sound" of a human or animal, also "tone, voice, pronunciation, speech," phanai "to speak;" Sanskrit bhanati "speaks;" Latin fari "to say," fabula "narrative, account, tale, story," fama "talk, rumor, report; reputation, public opinion; renown, reputation;" Armenian ban, bay "word, term;" Old Church Slavonic bajati "to talk, tell;" Old English boian "to boast," ben "prayer, request;" Old Irish bann "law."ETD *bha- (2).4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to share out, apportion; to get a share."ETD *bhag-.2

    It forms all or part of: aphagia; Bhagavad-Gita; baksheesh; esophagus; nebbish; pagoda; -phage; phago-; -phagous; porgy; sarcophagus.ETD *bhag-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhajati "assigns, allots, apportions, enjoys, loves," bhagah "allotter, distributor, master, lord," bhaksati "eats, drinks, enjoys;" Persian bakhshidan "to give;" Greek phagein "to eat," literally "to have a share of food;" Old Church Slavonic bogatu "rich."ETD *bhag-.4

    Bhagavad-Gita (n.)

    in Hindu scripture, a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna inserted in Mahabharata; Sanskrit, from Bhaga, a god of wealth, from Sanskrit bhagah, literally "allotter, distributor, master, lord," from bhajati "assigns, allots, apportions, enjoys, loves" (related to Avestan baga, Old Persian baga "master, lord, god," from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share") + gita "song," fem. past participle of gayate "sings, calls," from PIE root *gei- "to sing" (source also of Avestan gatha "song," Lithuanian giedoti "to sing"). First translated into English 1785 by English orientalist Charles Wilkins.ETD Bhagavad-Gita (n.).2

    bhang (n.)

    "dried leaves of Cannabis Indica," 1590s, from Hindi bhang "narcotic from hemp," from Sanskrit bhangah "hemp," which is perhaps cognate with Russian penika "hemp." The word first appears in Western Europe in Portuguese (1560s). It also was borrowed into Persian (bang) and Arabic (banj).ETD bhang (n.).2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to strike."ETD *bhau-.2

    It forms all or part of: abut; baste (v.3) "beat with a stick, thrash;" battledore; beat; beetle (n.2) "heavy wooden mallet;" botony; boutonniere; butt (n.1) "thick end;" butt (v.) "strike with the head;" buttocks; button; buttress; confute; halibut; rebut; refute; sackbut; turbot.ETD *bhau-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin *futare "to beat" (in compounds); Old English beadu "battle," beatan "to beat," bytl "hammer, mallet."ETD *bhau-.4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to split," with derivatives in Germanic "referring to biting (hence also to eating and to hunting) and woodworking" [Watkins].ETD *bheid-.2

    It forms all or part of: abet; bait (n.) "food used to attract prey;" bait (v.) "to torment, persecute;" bateau; beetle (n.1) "type of insect; bit (n.1) "small piece;" bite; bitter; bitter end; boat; boatswain; -fid; fissile; fission; fissure; giblets; pita; pizza; vent (n.).ETD *bheid-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhinadmi "I cleave," Latin Latin findere "to split, cleave, separate, divide," Old High German bizzan "to bite," Old English bita "a piece bitten off, morsel," Old Norse beita "to hunt with dogs," beita "pasture, food."ETD *bheid-.4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to trust, confide, persuade."ETD *bheidh-.2

    It forms all or part of: abide; abode; affiance; affidavit; auto-da-fe; bide; bona fide; confederate; confidant; confide; confidence; confident; defiance; defy; diffidence; diffident; faith; fealty; federal; federate; federation; fiancee; fideism; fidelity; fiducial; fiduciary; infidel; infidelity; nullifidian; perfidy; solifidian.ETD *bheidh-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pistis "faith, confidence, honesty;" Latin fides "trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief;" Albanian be "oath," bindem "to be convinced, believe;" Old Church Slavonic beda "distress, necessity," bediti "to force, persuade;" Old English biddan "to ask, beg, pray," German bitten "to ask."ETD *bheidh-.4

    *bhel- (2)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to blow, swell," "with derivatives referring to various round objects and to the notion of tumescent masculinity" [Watkins].ETD *bhel- (2).2

    It forms all or part of: bale (n.) "large bundle or package of merchandise prepared for transportation;" baleen; ball (n.1) "round object, compact spherical body;" balloon; ballot; bawd; bold; bole; boll; bollocks; bollix; boulder; boulevard; bowl (n.) "round pot or cup;" bulk; bull (n.1) "bovine male animal;" bullock; bulwark; follicle; folly; fool; foosball; full (v.) "to tread or beat cloth to cleanse or thicken it;" ithyphallic; pall-mall; phallus.ETD *bhel- (2).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek phyllon "leaf," phallos "swollen penis;" Latin flos "flower," florere "to blossom, flourish," folium "leaf;" Old Prussian balsinis "cushion;" Old Norse belgr "bag, bellows;" Old English bolla "pot, cup, bowl;" Old Irish bolgaim "I swell," blath "blossom, flower," bolach "pimple," bolg "bag;" Breton bolc'h "flax pod;" Serbian buljiti "to stare, be bug-eyed;" Serbo-Croatian blazina "pillow."ETD *bhel- (2).4

    An extended form of the root, *bhelgh- "to swell," forms all or part of: bellows; belly; bilge; billow; bolster; budget; bulge; Excalibur; Firbolgs.ETD *bhel- (2).5

    An extended form of the root, *bhleu- "to swell, well up, overflow," forms all or part of: affluent; bloat; confluence; effluent; effluvium; efflux; fluctuate; fluent; fluid; flume; fluor; fluorescence; fluoride; fluoro-; flush (v.1) "spurt, rush out suddenly, flow with force;" fluvial; flux; influence; influenza; influx; mellifluous; phloem; reflux; superfluous.ETD *bhel- (2).6

    *bhel- (3)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to thrive, bloom," possibly a variant of PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell."ETD *bhel- (3).2

    It forms all or part of: blade; bleed; bless; blood; blow (v.2) "to bloom, blossom;" bloom (n.1) "blossom of a plant;" bloom (n.2) "rough mass of wrought iron;" blossom; cauliflower; chervil; cinquefoil; deflower; defoliation; effloresce; exfoliate; feuilleton; flora; floral; floret; florid; florin; florist; flour; flourish; flower; foil (n.) "very thin sheet of metal;" foliage; folio; folium; gillyflower; Phyllis; phyllo-; portfolio; trefoil.ETD *bhel- (3).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek phyllon "leaf;" Latin flos "flower," folio, folium "leaf;" Middle Irish blath, Welsh blawd "blossom, flower;" Gaelic bile "leaflet, blossom;" Old English blowan "to flower, bloom."ETD *bhel- (3).4

    *bhel- (1)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white" and forming words for bright colors.ETD *bhel- (1).2

    It forms all or part of: beluga; Beltane; black; blancmange; blanch; blank; blanket; blaze (n.1) "bright flame, fire;" bleach; bleak; blemish; blench; blende; blend; blind; blindfold; blitzkrieg; blond; blue (adj.1); blush; conflagration; deflagration; effulgence; effulgent; flagrant; flambe; flambeau; flamboyant; flame; flamingo; flammable; Flavian; Flavius; fulgent; fulminate; inflame; inflammable; phlegm; phlegmatic; phlogiston; phlox; purblind; refulgent; riboflavin.ETD *bhel- (1).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhrajate "shines;" Greek phlegein "to burn;" Latin flamma "flame," fulmen "lightning," fulgere "to shine, flash," flagrare "to burn, blaze, glow;" Old Church Slavonic belu "white;" Lithuanian balnas "pale."ETD *bhel- (1).4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to bind."ETD *bhendh-.2

    It forms all or part of: band; bandanna; bend; bind; bindle; bond; bund; bundle; cummerbund; ribbon; woodbine.ETD *bhendh-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit badhnati "binds," bandhah "a tying, bandage;" Old Persian bandaka- "subject;" Lithuanian bendras "partner;" Middle Irish bainna "bracelet;" Old English bendan "to bend a bow, confine with a string," bindan "to bind," Gothic bandi "that which binds."ETD *bhendh-.4

    *bher- (1)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to carry," also "to bear children."ETD *bher- (1).2

    It forms all or part of: Aberdeen; amphora; anaphora; aquifer; auriferous; bairn; barrow (n.1) "frame for carrying a load;" bear (v.); bearing; Berenice; bier; birth; bring; burden (n.1) "a load;" carboniferous; Christopher; chromatophore; circumference; confer; conference; conifer; cumber; cumbersome; defer (v.2) "yield;" differ; difference; differentiate; efferent; esophagus; euphoria; ferret; fertile; Foraminifera; forbear (v.); fossiliferous; furtive; indifferent; infer; Inverness; Lucifer; metaphor; odoriferous; offer; opprobrium; overbear; paraphernalia; periphery; pestiferous; pheromone; phoresy; phosphorus; Porifera; prefer; proffer; proliferation; pyrophoric; refer; reference; semaphore; somniferous; splendiferous; suffer; transfer; vociferate; vociferous.ETD *bher- (1).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bharati "he carries, brings," bhrtih "a bringing, maintenance;" Avestan baraiti "carries;" Old Persian barantiy "they carry;" Armenian berem "I carry;" Greek pherein "to carry," pherne "dowry;" Latin ferre "to bear, carry," fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," perhaps fur "a thief;" Old Irish beru/berim "I catch, I bring forth," beirid "to carry;" Old Welsh beryt "to flow;" Gothic bairan "to carry;" Old English and Old High German beran, Old Norse bera "barrow;" Old Church Slavonic birati "to take;" Russian brat' "to take," bremya "a burden," beremennaya "pregnant."ETD *bher- (1).4

    *bher- (2)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "bright; brown" (the sense connection might involve polished wooden objects).ETD *bher- (2).2

    It forms all or part of: Barnard; bear (n.) "large carnivorous or omnivorous mammal of the family Ursidae;" beaver (n.1) "large amphibious quadruped rodent of the genus Castor;" berserk; brown; Bruin; brunet; brunette; burnish.ETD *bher- (2).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Old English brun "dark, dusky;" Lithuanian bėras "brown;" Greek phrynos "toad," literally "the brown animal."ETD *bher- (2).4


    *bherəg-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine; bright, white." It forms all or part of: Albert; Bertha; birch; bright; Egbert; Ethelbert; Gilbert; Herbert; Hubert; Lambert; Robert.ETD *bhereg-.2

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhrajate "shines, glitters;" Lithuanian brėkšti "to dawn;" Welsh berth "bright, beautiful."ETD *bhereg-.3

    *bhergh- (2)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "high," with derivatives referring to hills and hill-forts.ETD *bhergh- (2).2

    It forms all or part of: barrow (n.2) "mound, hill, grave-mound;" belfry; borough; bourgeoisie; burg; burgess; burgher; burglar; faubourg; iceberg.ETD *bhergh- (2).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit b'rhant "high," brmhati "strengthens, elevates;" Avestan brzant- "high," Old Persian bard- "be high;" Greek Pergamos, name of the citadel of Troy; Old Church Slavonic bregu "mountain, height;" Old Irish brigh "mountain;" Welsh bera "stack, pyramid."ETD *bhergh- (2).4

    *bhergh- (1)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to hide, protect." It forms all or part of: bargain; borrow; burial; bury; harbor; hauberk; scabbard.ETD *bhergh- (1).2

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Old English Old English borgian "to lend, be surety for;" Old Church Slavonic brěgo "I preserve, guard," Lithuanian bìrginti "be parsimonious." But, absent other possible cognates, Boutkan writes that it is not certainly Indo-European and "probably a substratum word."ETD *bhergh- (1).3


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "be aware, make aware."ETD *bheudh-.2

    It forms all or part of: beadle; bid; bo tree; bode; Bodhisattva; Buddha; forbid; foreboding; ombudsman; verboten.ETD *bheudh-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bodhati "is awake, is watchful, observes," buddhah "awakened, enlightened;" Old Church Slavonic bljudǫ "to observe;" Lithuanian budėti "to be awake;" Old Irish buide "contentment, thanks;" Old English bodian "proclaim, announce; foretell," boda "messenger."ETD *bheudh-.4


    *bheuə-, also *bheu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be, exist, grow."ETD *bheue-.2

    It forms all or part of: Bauhaus; be; beam; Boer; bondage; boodle; boom (n.1) "long pole;" boor; booth; bound (adj.2) "ready to go;" bower; bowery; build; bumpkin; busk; bustle (v.) "be active;" byre; bylaw; Eisteddfod; Euphues; fiat; forebear; future; husband; imp; Monophysite; neighbor; neophyte; phyletic; phylo-; phylum; phylogeny; physic; physico-; physics; physio-; physique; -phyte; phyto-; symphysis.ETD *bheue-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhavah "becoming," bhavati "becomes, happens," bhumih "earth, world;" Greek phyein "to bring forth, make grow," phytos, phyton "a plant," physis "growth, nature," phylon "tribe, class, race," phyle "tribe, clan;" Old English beon "be, exist, come to be, become, happen;" Old Church Slavonic byti "be," Greek phu- "become," Old Irish bi'u "I am," Lithuanian būti "to be," Russian byt' "to be."ETD *bheue-.4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to bend," with derivatives referring to bent, pliable, or curved objects.ETD *bheug-.2

    It forms all or part of: akimbo; bagel; bight; bog; bow (v.) "to bend the body;" bow (n.1) "weapon for shooting arrows;" bow (n.2) "front of a ship;" bowsprit; buxom; elbow.ETD *bheug-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhujati "bends, thrusts aside;" Old English bugan, German biegen, Gothic biugan "to bend;" Old High German boug, Old English beag "a ring."ETD *bheug-.4


    bhlē-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to blow," possibly a variant of PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell."ETD *bhle-.2

    It forms all or part of: afflatus; bladder; blase; blast; blather; blaze (v.2) "make public;" blow (v.1) "move air;" conflate; deflate; flageolet; flatulent; flatus; flavor; inflate; inflation; insufflation; isinglass; souffle.ETD *bhle-.3

    b'hoy (n.)

    1846, U.S. colloquial for "spirited lad, young spark," representing a supposed Irish pronunciation of boy.ETD b'hoy (n.).2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "hole," with verbal form *bherh- "to pierce, strike."ETD *bhorh-.2

    It forms all or part of: bore (v.1) "to drill through, perforate;" Boris; burin; foramen; Foraminifera; foraminous; interfere; interference; perforate; perforation.ETD *bhorh-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pharao "I plow;" Latin ferire "to knock, strike," forare "to bore, pierce;" Lithuanian barti "to scold, accuse, forbid;" Old Church Slavonic barjo "to strike, fight," brati "to fight," Russian borot "to overpower;" Albanian brime "hole;" Old English borian "to bore through, perforate," Old Norse berja "to beat, hit," Old High German berjan "to hit, pound, knead."ETD *bhorh-.4


    bhrāter-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "brother."ETD *bhrater-.2

    It forms all or part of: br'er; brethren; ‌‌brother; bully (n.); confrere; fraternal; fraternity; fraternize; fratricide; friar; friary; pal.ETD *bhrater-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhrátár-, Old Persian brata, Greek phratér, Latin frater, Old Irish brathir, Welsh brawd, Lithuanian broterėlis, Old Prussian brati, Old Church Slavonic bratru, Czech bratr, Polish brat, Russian bratŭ, Kurdish bera; Old English broþor, Old Norse broðir, German Bruder, Gothic bróþar.ETD *bhrater-.4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to break."ETD *bhreg-.2

    It forms all or part of: anfractuous; Brabant; bracken; brake (n.1) "stopping device for a wheel;" brake (n.2) "kind of fern;" brash; breach; break; breccia; breeches; brioche; chamfer; defray; diffraction; fractal; fraction; fractious; fracture; fragile; fragility; fragment; frail; frangible; infraction; infringe; irrefragable; irrefrangible; naufragous; ossifrage; refract; refraction; refrain (n.); refrangible; sassafras; saxifrage; suffragan; suffrage.ETD *bhreg-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit (giri)-bhraj "breaking-forth (out of the mountains);" Latin frangere "to break (something) in pieces, shatter, fracture;" Lithuanian braškėti "crash, crack;" Old Irish braigim "break wind;" Gothic brikan, Old English brecan "to break."ETD *bhreg-.4


    also *bhreuə-, *bhreəu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn," with derivatives referring to cooking and brewing.ETD *bhreu-.2

    It forms all or part of: barm; barmy; bourn (n.1) "small stream;" braise; bratwurst; brawn; brawny; braze (v.1) "to expose to the action of fire;" brazier; Brazil; bread; breed; brew; broth; broil (v.2) "to quarrel, brawl;" brood; effervesce; effervescence; effervescent; embroil; ferment; fervent; fervid; fervor; imbroglio.ETD *bhreu-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhurnih "violent, passionate;" Greek phrear "well, spring, cistern;" Latin fervere "to boil, foam," Thracian Greek brytos "fermented liquor made from barley;" Russian bruja "current;" Old Irish bruth "heat;" Old English breowan "to brew," beorma "yeast;" Old High German brato "roast meat."ETD *bhreu-.4

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