Appreciated the article on the derivation of -dom as in kingdom; any relationship between that and dharma? I see that -dom goes back to Old English for doom, judgment, law statute, and dharma goes back to Proto-Indo-Iranian root *dhar- ("to fasten, to support, to hold") (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharma), but was wondering if OE traces back to that as well.

  • While the initial consonant could be a match, there is no relationship between /r/ and /m/ in the history of English. See also etymonline: etymonline.com/… – siride Sep 28 '13 at 20:55
  • EtymOnline: Old English dom "law, judgment, condemnation," from Proto- Germanic *domaz, ... from PIE root *dhe- (cf. Sanskrit dhaman- "law," Greek themis "law ....), literally "to set, put" – MetaEd Sep 28 '13 at 21:34
  • -dom < Old English dom (rel. to Old Saxon -dum and Old High German -tum), judgement, authority < IE base *dhom- (whence also Old Indian dhaman-, Gk thomos, heap, themeilea, foundation, themis, law, right, decree and Lithuanian dome, attention), (an enlargement of base *dho-, *dhe-, to put, place). – Talia Ford Sep 29 '13 at 0:51

There appears to be no relationship between -dom and dharma. There is, however, a definite etymological connection between -dom and dhama, as well as dhaman (the middle a is pronounced as [-aa-], as in father, in the case of these latter two sanskrit words).

The Sanskrit word dhaman literally means dwelling-place, house, abode, domain. By extension it is rarely taken to mean law, rule or order but is etymologically distinct from dharma. It is cognate with the German tuom, Greek themis, Latin fam-ulus and Anglosaxon dom. The Proto-Germanic cognate is domaz, originating from the PIE root dhe meaning placing, putting, holding, possessing, having.

Sanskrit dharma means that which is established or firm, steadfast – and is derived from dhara and the PIE root dhri meaning bearing, supporting (soil, the world - and therefore earth, womb). This word does not have a cognate in the English Language, Greek or Latin.


Just as the German word sittlichkeit, related in meaning to dharma somewhat, does not have a direct link to any corresponding English word.

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