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I understand that the word irony comes from Greek eironeia and iron comes from Old English isærn, but there should be something more to it. Why are both words so similar in modern English? Any thoughts, theories?

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migrated from linguistics.stackexchange.com Aug 8 '12 at 12:00

This question came from our site for professional linguists and others with an interest in linguistic research and theory.

@acattle: This kind of assertion is pretty common -- someone once tried to convince me that Greek trauma and German Träume were somehow cognate based on their forms. But to dismiss these connections out of hand is to dismiss horizontal transfer-like mechanisms, whereby diachronically unrelated words can still influence each other. – jogloran Aug 8 '12 at 2:27
@jogloran I guess I did sound a bit dismissive and I do think this question deserves a legitimate answer (which is why I suggested migrating) but even so the author hasn't really offered any rational for these words being related (I just assumed due to homophony). I'd encourage the author to make an edit to their post explaining in detail while they think there might be a connection but as of right now I see no connection at all between the words (other than the aforementioned homophony). – acattle Aug 8 '12 at 7:10
Sometimes there really are coincidences. – Mitch Aug 8 '12 at 13:36
This could be a good question, with the right approach. – Mark Beadles Aug 8 '12 at 15:12
Similar with pull and pulley and many more, especially style and stylus – John Lawler Aug 9 '12 at 19:27

You are describing by example how folk etymologies get started: requiring in your own mind that there be a reason behind a coïncidence.

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A good explanation for, well, everything. – no comprende May 11 at 21:52

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