David Salmon dsalmon at SALMON.ORG
Wed Apr 11 21:31:07 UTC 2001

The recent discussion on the Indo-European list regarding the origins of the
word "soap" prompt me to raise the same question here.

Douglas G. Kilday stated there, "The most plausible scenario has PIE *saigw-
'tallow, fat, grease, etc.' undergoing "pre-Germanic" labialization to
yielding PGmc *saip-."  Others trace it through Latin "<sebum /sevum>,
suet, grease; <sebosus>, full of tallow or grease, tallowy, greasy."   The
reference to tallow and grease is said to refer to the greasy component of
soap, which is formed by mixing fat and alkali, which is said to have been
used as
early as 2800 BC Babylon to remove fats from wool prior to dyeing, or to
remove fats from leather, or to clean hair.

What is the derivation of the the modern Hindi word for soap, "sAbn" or
"saabuna," etc.?


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