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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    @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, 2012 at 2:27
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    @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, 2012 at 7:10
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    Sometimes there really are coincidences.
    – Mitch
    Aug 8, 2012 at 13:36
  • This could be a good question, with the right approach. Aug 8, 2012 at 15:12
  • Similar with pull and pulley and many more, especially style and stylus Aug 9, 2012 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


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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