In QL:89 s.v. TAPA, we can read the bracketed phrase _i·rendi tapatenda_
= 'thieves'. This seems to be a metaphorical expression, in which the
second term _tapatenda_ literally means 'taper fingered (light fingered)',
according to its gloss just above. (See also _tapa-tenda_ 'long
fingered' in QL:57, equated to 'Spanish' - probably in a metaphorical
The metaphorical relation between a "taper-fingered" or "light-fingered"
person and a thief is quite evident, but I am surprised by the term
_i·rendi_ qualified by _tapatenda_. Its form and the gloss 'thieves'
indicate that _i·rendi_ is a plural form of a noun (perhaps *_rende_)
preceded by the article _i_. But the most similar terms that I have
found in QL or slightly later texts are those under the root RESE 'aid,
support' in QL:79. There the form _rendi_ occurs equated to _resta_,
itself a noun meaning '(support) kinship, kin, kindred, clan'. And
_renda_ is given as an adjective meaning 'related, of same kin or clan'.
_Rendi_ in _i·rendi tapatenda_ could be the same _rendi_ = _resta_ under
RESE. The literal meaning of the phrase would then be *'the
light-fingered kindred'. It would not be necessary to make _rendi_
plural for matching the gloss 'thieves', as the noun 'kinship', etc. has
itself a collective sense.
On the other hand, it could be a plural form of the adjective _renda_
used as a substantive. In this case the phrase would mean *'the related
light-fingered ones'. A substantive like *_renda_ could be declined as
pl. *_rendi_ (instead of the common vocalic declension in -_li_, i.e.
*_rendali_), if the _-a_ were treated as coming from a semivocalic _-n_
(PE14:42, 44, 71, 74).
From a formal point of view, any of these possibilites are sound. But I
find it odd that the metaphorical sense of a "light-fingered family"
would be "thieves". Has anyone some explanation for this? Or is there
another possible etymology for _i·rendi_ in _i·rendi tapatenda_ = 'thieves'?