In desultory, result, consult, do sult all mean jump and leap?

I searched etymonline, which gives different interpretation, especially in consult, sult seems to mean gather together. But I hope the three words have the same root with the same meaning.

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    PIE roots isn't off-topic, though. They're hard to find online and useful to know. If you're really curious about etymology, a knowledge of the roots involved really clears things up. For instance, *sel- in the 2000 edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 17:20
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    PIE stands for Proto-Indo-European, the name of the reconstructed language ancestral to most European, Iranian, and North Indic languages, including English, French, Russian, Latin, Sanskrit, and Greek. Details here. The dictionary list all the known roots and indicates all the English cognates of each, which are always surprising. Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 17:46
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    The dictionary of PIE roots is an appendix to the ahd. The one online is in a special "history of the web" archive from 2000 or so, and it's only the 2nd edition. There is now a new one and a new ahd. To find the etymology, buy the dictionary or subscribe online. Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 18:35
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    @JohnLawler: Thanks! Is there a dictionary that can give base, prefix, postfix, and root of a given word? (I think a dictionary of etymology may or may not provide root, base, prefix, postfix, but will provide origins of the words. Am I right?).
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 0:18
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    The AHD will do that. It uses a lot of abbreviations and you'll have to read the instructions carefully (there are a lot). Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


From a further exploration of etymonline:

  • desultory - eventually from Latin: "de- 'down' (see de-) + salire 'to jump, leap' "

  • result - related to resilient "inclined to leap or spring back"

  • consult - "from com- 'with' (see com-) + *selere 'take, gather (the Senate) together,' "

So, desultory and result share a root (about jumping) from Latin, but consult/counsel does not (its root is about selection).

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