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The number 16 is "seize" in French. Based on research through standard channels, I find it unlikely that our English word "seize" derives from this, but I've always been curious about the connection between the two.

Do these two words share some unlikely but common origin, or is it just a coincidence/false cognate?

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closed as general reference by tchrist, Carlo_R., FumbleFingers, Mitch, MετάEd Jun 19 '13 at 3:19

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

For this were dictionaries invented. – tchrist Jun 19 '13 at 2:33
@tchrist A bit better? I wouldn't have posted this if I could simply look it up in a dictionary. – jonsca Jun 19 '13 at 2:45
No, there isn't. – Pitarou Jun 19 '13 at 3:21
You may find the Online Etymology site useful etymonline.com/… – chasly from UK Sep 4 '15 at 16:30
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The orthographical resemblance is purely accidental. According to the OED, seize < Old French saisir < Frankish Late Latin sacire, which in turn might originate with a Frankish cognate of the English set. On the other hand, French seize < Latin sēdecim, which can be analysed as sex + decem (i.e., "six" + "ten"); indeed, I suppose one could argue that the straightforward English cognate of seize is nothing other than sixteen...

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Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to explain this to a non-expert. – jonsca Jun 19 '13 at 2:59

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