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tinnīn تِنِّين , pl. tanānīnᵘ
ID ... • Sw – • BP ... • APD ... • Aut SG
1 dragon. – 2 Draco (astron. ). – 3 waterspout (meteor. ) – WehrCowan1979.
▪ As a loan word most probably directly taken from Aram tannīnā . The latter may, however, be older, cf. the Ug and Hbr cognates. Alongside with the Can ancestors, there are also words in EthSem with similar semantic values, but with the root TMN rather than a reduplicated TNː (TNN). For the Sem period, Sem *tannīn‑ (part. redupl.) ‘big serpent, crocodile’ or Sem *tVnnVn‑ ‘(mythical) snake, dragon’ and (based on the EthSem forms) *taman‑ ‘snake, dragon’ have been suggested. Taken together with what some scholars think are parallels in Eg, WCh and CCh languages, AfrAs *tan‑ ‘snake, worm’ and AfrAs *tam(-an)‑ ‘fish’ have been suggested as long-term etymologies for the two strings.
▪ Ar tinnīn may be related to Engl tunny and tuna and corresponding words in other Eur langs (Fr thon , It tonno , G Thun fisch, etc.).
▪ BDB1906: Hbr tannîn (erroneously also tannîm ), Ar tannīn , Aram tannînâ , Syr tunnînâ , Gz taman .
▪ Klein1987: Ug tnn , Hbr tannîn1 sea monster; 2 serpent; 3 dragon; 4 nHbr crocodile’, EgAram tnyn , JudAram Syr tannînâ , Gz taman , Ar tinnīn ‘dragon’.
▪ OrelStolbova1995#2367: Hbr tannīn , Ar tinnīn . – Outside Sem: (WCh) Hs tānā ‘earth worm’.
▪ Militarev2006#179: Ug tnn /*tunnanu/ ‘dragon (kind of monster accompanying the sea- god Ym) ’, Hbr tannîn ‘sea-monster, sea-dragon; serpent; crocodile’ , OffAram tnyn ‘dragon’, JudAram tannīnā ‘sea-monster, crocodile; large snake’, Syr tannīnā ‘sea-monster, dragon, serpent’, nSyr tanînâ ‘dragon’, Mand tanina (also tiniana , tinita ) ‘dragon’, Ar tinnīn‑ ‘serpent de grandeur énorme; dragon’. – NB: Eth forms with ‑m‑ instead of ‑n‑ may be related: Gz taman ‘snake, dragon’, Tña Amh tämän ‘snake’. For these, cf. Militarev2006#2686: (Sem) Gz taman , Te Amh tämän; outside Sem: oEg tm.t (med) ‘kind of fish’; (CCh) tamwi , tum , túm , tumi , túmí , tǝǝmǝ ‘to fish; fish; (group) fishing’ in several langs. (Cf. also next paragraph.)
▪ Dolgopolski2012#2279: (Sem) Gz taman ,Tña Amh tämän ‘snake, dragon’; (ECush) Saho timbakiyā ‘worm’.
▪ BDB1906 is the first, after Fraenkel1886, to repeat that Ar tannīn is borrowed from Aram tannīnā .
▪ Tropper2008 says Ug tnn and its cognate Hbr tannîn are the origin of the corresponding words in other WSem langs.
▪ OrelStolbova1995#2367 reconstruct Sem *tannīn‑ ‘big serpent, crocodile’ and WCh *tan‑ ‘earth worm’, both from AfrAs *tan‑ ‘snake, worm’. The second half of Sem *tannīn‑ would thus be the result of partial reduplication.
▪ Militarev2006#179 repeats that Ar tinnīn is »almost certainly borrowed from Aram«. Based on the Can (and Ar) evidence, the author reconstructs Sem [Can] *tVnnVn‑ ‘(mythical) snake, dragon’. No AfrAs dimension mentioned.
▪ On account of the EthSem evidence (Gz, Tña, Amh), Militarev2006#2686 reconstructs Sem *taman‑ ‘snake, dragon’. Together with oEg tm.t ‘kind of fish’ and CCh *ta/um‑ ‘to fish; fish; (group) fishing’, these forms may go back to AfrAs *tam(-an)‑ ‘fish’. – NB: (Reflexes of) this root may form the second component of Cush composites for ‘fish’: LEC *ḳur-tum‑ (Or qurtummi , Gdl kurtum-et ) and HEC *ḳir-tum‑ /*ḳur-tum‑ (Sid ḳiltiʔmi , Dar ḳultuʔme , Had ḳurṭume , Ala ḳurč̣um-et , Bmb ḳur-ṭume , Kmb ḳurtum ). Cf. also Sem. *tVnnVn‑ ‘(mythical) snake, dragon’.
▪ Klein1987 thinks that Grk thýnnos ‘tunny’ probably is from Hbr tannîn (though influenced by Grk thýnein ‘to shake’). If this is true, Eur words for ‘tuna, tunny’ ultimately go back to the same source as Ar tinnīn . Other sources, however, are more reluctant, or refuse, to accept such an etymology. Kluge2002, e.g., formulates rather vaguely (s.v. Thunfisch): Grk thýnnos is »a Mediterranean word« that is »probably from a Sem lang«. EtymOnline thinks that Engl tunny (1520s) ‘large sea-fish of the mackerel order’ is probably from mFr thon (C14), from oProv ton and directly from Lat thynnus , thunnus ‘tuna, tunny’, which is from Grk thýnnos ‘id.’, »possibly with a literal sense of ‘darter’, from thýnein ‘to dart along’«; no Sem dimension suggested (so also Littmann, Lokotsch, EtymDud, Nişanyan). And DeCaprona2013 explicitly denies that Grk thýnnos , though from a Mediterranean lang, is from Hbr tannîn , but does not explain his opinion.
▪ On a completely other line, Dolgopolski2012#2279, puts (reconstructed) EthSem *taman‑ together with (reconstructed) narrowIE *dem(-el)‑ ‘worm’ (Alb dhemjë ‘caterpillar, maggot’, dhemizë , dhëmizë , dhimizë , dhemizë , dhemë ‘id.; blowfly’, and other words for ‘leeches’) and reconstructs Nostr *tVmV ‘worm, snake’.
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