Rice - Etymology


First attested in English in the middle of the 13th century, the word "rice" derives from the Old French ris, which comes from Italian riso, in turn from the Latin oriza, which derives from the Greek ὄρυζα (oruza). The Greek word is the source of all European words (cf. Welsh reis, Ger. Reis, Lith. ryžiai, Serbo-Cr. riža, Pol. ryż, Dutch rijst, Romanian orez). The origin of the Greek word is unclear. It has sometimes held to be from the Tamil word அரிசி (arisi), or rather Old Tamil arici. However, Krishnamurti disagrees with the notion that Old Tamil arici is the source of the Greek term, and proposes that it was borrowed from descendants of Proto-Dravidian *wariñci instead. Mayrhofer suggests that the immediate source of the Greek word is to be sought in Old Iranian words of the types *vrīz- or *vrinj-, but these are ultimately traced back to Indo-Aryan (as in Sanskrit vrīhí-) and subsequently to Dravidian by Witzel and others.

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