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The spelling of “eureka”

Why should Byron write "Now we clap Our hands and cry 'Eureka!'", Childe Harold, iv. st. 81? Being a hellenophile he should know that there were other options to spell 'eureka', (a) 'heureka' - the correct latinized form of the verb, and (b) 'evrika' - the contemporary demotic form. Was it a mistake, a mere slip of the pen? It seems that the form 'eureka' became common usage by the hand of Byron from then on.

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marked as duplicate by jwpat7, onomatomaniak, Daniel, FumbleFingers, Mehper C. Palavuzlar Dec 14 '11 at 21:27

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

You can edit your earlier spelling-of-eureka question and include the note re Byron. A separate question seems redundant. Also, the current question seems to call for speculation and discussion rather than an answer. See faq – jwpat7 Dec 14 '11 at 20:59
This wasn't a particularly interesting question first time around, and it hasn't "matured with age" in the last 8 hours. – FumbleFingers Dec 14 '11 at 21:22

I have noticed that all the Greek words beginning with "ευ" have been transcribed with the letters "eu" in English, probably following a system of visual matching that seemed logical at the time it happened. But this letter combination didn't follow the Greek pronunciation, it became the sound /j/ following the English phonetic system. This sound can't be phonetically combined with the sound /h/ that came in the beginning. I don't know if it was a decision taken by Byron or by someone else, nor whether it was a conscious one. But it looks perfectly logical to me, the writing form to follow the pronunciation. The alternative you suggest wouldn't have been recognised by many people, as I suspect that the loan of one language to the other had happened long before Byron's time, so eureka was the recognisable form, even without the initial h.

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