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Word "flag" in different languages: Etymological index

Last modified: 2017-12-22 by antónio martins
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Introduction

Note: Bold face language links indicate “main” "flag" word.

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Etym "(uniques)"

64 words in 66 languages:

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Etym "*ala"

11 words in 12 languages:

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Etym "*band-"

56 words in 74 languages:

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Discussion

The large tree rooted at late Latin "banderia".
António Martins, 15 Aug 2007

A very fertile ancestor word: Most descendants come through Spanish "bandera" and/or Portuguese "bandeira", but some (namely old European words such as Gaelic "baner" and almost all Italic and Gallic dialects) seem to derive directly from Late Latin "banderium" (plural: "banderia"). This in turn seems to come from Persian, perhaps via Byzantine Greek "mpandon", but I could not confirm this.

At any rate, I know a Portuguese word that seems related: "pano", meaning "cloth"; it seems to share a common etym and yet didn’t come along with Latin "banderia". On the other hand, there’s Latin "pendere", "to hang" (as in "pending" = "“hanging” in wait") — from which derive several "flag" words, such as English "pennant" and Spanish "pendón".

Would "ban(d)-" stem be cognate with the root of so many words akin to *"fan-", found in most Germanic languages?

António Martins, 12 Sep 2007

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Etym "*bayrak"

21 words in 26 languages:

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Etym "*brataq"

2 words in 3 languages:

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Etym "*chorgoj"

3 words in 3 languages:

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Etym "*drap-"

8 words in 12 languages:

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Discussion

A common etymology for these words is "cloth", as in French "drapeau" and its numerous offspring of words meaning "flag" in several languages. As far as I know, it does not mean "cloth" in French (any more), but cognates "trapo" in Portuguese and "тряпка" in Russian both mean "rag".
António Martins, 12 Sep 2007

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Etym "*dvaj-"

4 words in 6 languages:

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Etym "*fan-"

19 words in 22 languages:

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Discussion

"Vaan" is related to "Fahne" in German and "vane" in English: All of them eventually come from Germanic either "gundfano" ("gund-fano" = "war-cloth", which one would expect to be related to "*gonfanon" / "*gonfalon" somehow), or directly from "fano", "cloth". In Old-Frisian this was "fona", hence the modern Sealtersk "Foone" and Frasch "foone".
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 24 Oct 2007

Would the "ban(d)-" stem be cognate with the root of so many words akin to *"fan-", found in most Germanic languages?
António Martins, 12 Sep 2007

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Etym "*flag"

49 words in 55 languages:

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Etym "*flam-"

7 words in 7 languages:

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Etym "*fu-a"

2 words in 2 languages:

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Discussion

Maybe Tongan "fuka" is based on "flag" (via English), just like Ndyuka "faaka"?
António Martins, 06 Sep 2010

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Etym "*gallard-"

2 words in 2 languages:

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Etym "*geus"

9 words in 11 languages:

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Etym "*hata"

4 words in 5 languages:

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Etym "*jak"

3 words in 3 languages:

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Etym "*jamd-"

10 words in 11 languages:

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Etym "*karogs"

2 words in 2 languages:

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Etym "*ki"

8 words in 9 languages:

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Etym "*kolor"

3 words in 3 languages:

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Etym "*kotti"

4 words in 4 languages:

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Etym "*labar-"

4 words in 5 languages:

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Etym "*lakam"

1 words in 2 languages:

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Discussion

I tried to find Mayan pictograms for these words with unsatisfactory results: There seems to be no known pictogram reading "pan" (though it is probably composable), and I found multiple results for "lakam".

In this Virginia University document, two pictograms are listed and glossed, and illustrated in two pages of the same site:
"0213.00","lakam"
"0213.01","lakam"
pictogram Gn: 021300 Gn: 021300
213: lakam BM
213a: lakam BM
pictogram Gn: 021301 Gn: 021301
213b: lakam BM
"0767.00","lakam"
"0767.01","lakam"
pictogram Gn: 076700 Gn: 076700
767: lakam BM
767a: lakam BM
pictogram Gn: 076701 Gn: 076701
767b: lakam BM
source source source
However, given the scarce amount of available information on line, in my opinion we should only trust if a Mayanist clearly informs that a given pictogram means "flag"; no need to make shaky linguistic inferences.

António Martins, 02 Nov 2007

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Etym "*lip"

4 words in 5 languages:

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Discussion

The word for "flag" in Finnish ("lippu") and Estonian ("lipp") (and others from the same etym, I presume) is derived from an onomatopoeia (Source: English Wiktionnary entry for "lipp" and "lippu"), i.e., a word that sounds like what it stands for. I wonder what kind of wind and rigging would cause a flag to go lip-lip, though, and if other languages have anything like this.
António Martins, 23 Mar 2016

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Etym "*liwalitkunan"

2 words in 2 languages:

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Etym "*merg-"

3 words in 3 languages:

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Etym "*pan-"

6 words in 6 languages:

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Etym "*parj-"

2 words in 4 languages:

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Etym "*pataka"

6 words in 7 languages:

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Etym "*pavilion"

3 words in 3 languages:

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Etym "*prapor"

4 words in 5 languages:

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Etym "*pyw"

2 words in 2 languages:

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Etym "*sanjak"

3 words in 3 languages:

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Etym "*semi"

2 words in 2 languages:

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Etym "*sign"

7 words in 8 languages:

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Etym "*stand-"

14 words in 15 languages:

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Discussion

"Steg/stijeg" is parallel to "standard" — the flag that denotes the "standing/standpoint" of its owner.
Željko Heimer, 16 Aug 2007

Also "zastava" has that meaning: at least in Russian "стоять" means "to stand (up)" ("za" being a dative preffix / preposition). Similar etymologies seem to be common for many words meaning "flag", reinforced, of course, by each other.
António Martins, 12 Sep 2007

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Etym "*steg"

5 words in 8 languages:

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Discussion

"Steg/stijeg" is parallel to "standard" — the flag that denotes the "standing/standpoint" of its owner.
Željko Heimer, 16 Aug 2007

Also "zastava" has that meaning: at least in Russian "стоять" means "to stand (up)" ("za" being a dative preffix / preposition). Similar etymologies seem to be common for many words meaning "flag", reinforced, of course, by each other.
António Martins, 12 Sep 2007

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Etym "*tug"

7 words in 11 languages:

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Etym "*turus-"

6 words in 6 languages:

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Etym "*veliava"

2 words in 2 languages:

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Etym "*vexil-"

2 words in 2 languages:

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Etym "*vimpl-"

7 words in 10 languages:

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Etym "*wa-wa-"

5 words in 5 languages:

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Discussion

Would the semantic differentiation found in Central Bikol be also the case of other Pilippine languages where the Spanish etym "bandera" / "bandila" exists along local etym words of the type "*wa-wa-"?
António Martins, 21 Jul 2009

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Etym "*za-stav-"

2 words in 5 languages:

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Discussion

"Steg/stijeg" is parallel to "standard" — the flag that denotes the "standing/standpoint" of its owner.
Željko Heimer, 16 Aug 2007

Also "zastava" has that meaning: at least in Russian "стоять" means "to stand (up)" ("za" being a dative preffix / preposition). Similar etymologies seem to be common for many words meaning "flag", reinforced, of course, by each other.
António Martins, 12 Sep 2007

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Etym "*znam-"

4 words in 5 languages:

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