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Re: [Czechlist] Re: QUIZ: The Low-German Connection

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  • Michael Grant
    ... FWIW, here s Skeat s non-Slavic derivation of pistol : Pistol, a small hand-gun. (F.-Ital.) F. pistole.-Ital. Pistola, a dag or pistoll; Florio. We also
    Message 1 of 20 , Apr 23, 2001
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      >pistol (fr, pis^t^ala, thr. French or German)

      FWIW, here's Skeat's non-Slavic derivation of "pistol":

      Pistol, a small hand-gun. (F.-Ital.)
      F. pistole.-Ital. Pistola, 'a dag or pistoll;' Florio. We also find
      M. Ital. pistolese, 'a great dagger,' in Florio; and it is agreed
      that the name was first applied to a dagger, and thence transferred
      to the pistol, which even in E. was at first called a dag (F. dague,
      a dagger). A pistol is to a gun what a dagger is to a sword. [Greek
      letter Beta]. The Ital. pistolese (=Late L. pistolensis) means
      'belonging to Pistola'; so also Ital. pistola is from Pistola, now
      called Pistoja, a town in Tuscany, near Florence. The Old Lat. name
      of the town was Pistorium. See Scheler.

      From A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, by
      the Rev. Walter W. Skeat, Litt.D., LL.D., D.C.L., Ph.D., first
      published in 1882.

      Personally, I find the connection to the town of Pistola plausible,
      but not the leap from dagger to gun. (But what do I know?)


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