The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots

Front Cover
Calvert Watkins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000 - Foreign Language Study - 149 pages
Fully revised and updated, THE AMERICAN HERITAGE(R) DICTIONARY OF INDO-EUROPEAN ROOTS remains an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the history of English and its place in the Indo-European language family. More than 13,000 words are traced to their origins in Proto-Indo-European, the prehistoric ancestor of English that was spoken before the advent of writing. In Calvert Watkins's skilled hands, Proto-Indo-European language and society are rendered as alive and compelling as they must have been six thousand years ago. His introductory essay shows how words in an unrecorded ancient language can be reconstructed and offers a wealth of fascinating information about Proto-Indo-European culture. The dictionary that follows contains nearly 1,350 reconstructed roots, plus two dozen new "Language and Culture" notes that explore interesting sidelights to the etymologies presented in many entries.

Selected pages


IndoEuropean Roots
Table of IndoEuropean Sound Correspondences
Chart of IndoEuropean Languages

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

Calvert Watkins is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Linguistics and the Classics, Emeritus, at Harvard University, and Professor-in-Residence in the Department of Classics and the Program in Indo-European Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He specializes in Indo-European comparative linguistics, especially Latin, Greek, Celtic, Hittite, and comparative morphology and poetics. He wrote the “Appendix of Indo-European Roots” for the first edition of The American Heritage Dictionary and has revised it for the third, fourth, and fifth editions.

Bibliographic information