The other night for one reason or another, I started thinking about the word "Abenteuer", (eng: adventure).

I saw how close "Abenteuer" is to the words "Abend" (evening) and "teuer" (expensive).

Is this observation a coincidence or is it related to the real origin of the word?

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    Sometimes it happens that word parts seem to form some meaning and that two words in two languages seem to be the same, but that can really just be coincidence and doesn't mean much if not systematic. – xji Aug 20 at 20:42

das Abenteuer

In 12th century the Old French word

aventure

was imported into the German language. In Middle High German it soon became

aventiure

and soon (still in Middle High German) v turned into b:

abentiure

And in New High German it turned into

Abenteuer

So this word has absolutely no connection to »der Abend« (the evening) or »teuer« (expensive).


But also the Old French word "aventure" was not invented by Old French native speakers. It has a Latin root, which is

adventura

This word means »what soon will happen«. Also the German word »der Advent« and the English word "advent" (the time before christmas) derive from adventura.

But the latin "adventura" also was adopted by English language in a second way: It also is the root of "adventure". So German »Abenteuer« and English "adventure" are siblings with the same parent, and this is true for "advent" too.


der Abend

Just to show, that »der Abend« is not a member of the family grown from the root adventura:

  • New High German

    Abend

  • Middle High German

    abent

  • Old High German

    aband

Linguists believe, that this word derived from the indo-european preposition *epi which not only means after, but also is the root of the English word after. So German »Abend« and English "after" are siblings. They are not related to »Abenteuer« or "adventure".

The old Germans obviously thought of the evening as the later part of the day.


teuer

The word »teuer« was in Middle High German »tiure« and in Old High German »tiuri«. But linguists have no idea, how and from where »tiuri« became a part of German language.

So, the second part of »Abenteuer« also in the 12th century was identical to the root of »teuer«. But before that time there was no equivalent of »Abenteuer« in German language, whereas »tiuri« also existed in German in 9th century.

  • Thank you for very nice answer. I see now after you mentioned french that aventura exists also in spanish and italian so I agree it probably has latin roots. Kind of weird and funny coincidence that it sounds so close to Abend and teuer then. – mathreadler Aug 18 at 19:52
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    As far as I can tell from a bit of Googling, there seems to be at least some level of consensus that tiuri / teuer comes from Proto-Germanic *diurijaz / *deurjaz or something like that, and is cognate with the English dear, Dutch duur, Scandinavian dyr, etc., all with similar meanings of "scarce, expensive, valuable, precious, cherished". But of course that just pushes the question of its origin back a little bit. There's apparently a proposed reconstruction back to a PIE root denoting heat, warmth or burning, but I can't really evaluate its credibility. – Ilmari Karonen Aug 19 at 10:02
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    The current form may be a result of folk etymology. – IllidanS4 Aug 19 at 10:35
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    It seems to me that "after" is very similar to "what soon will happen" (what will happen after now). I'm not disputing any of your etymologies, just saying that if you go back far enough, the two words (Latin and Proto-Germanic) might indeed be related. "teuer" is related to the English word "dear", meaning "of high value", "expensive". This meaning is rarely used in contemporary English. – CJ Dennis Aug 19 at 11:11
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    Zufällig habe ich mir gestern eine Ausgabe des Nibelungenliedes gekauft (aus dem Verlag Reclam; Mittelhochdeutsch mit Neuhochdeutscher Übersetzung). Dort ist mir aufgefallen, dass die Handlung in 39 Abschnitte unterteil ist, die aber nicht »1. Kapitel, 2. Kapitel usw.« heißen, sondern »1. Aventiure, 2. Aventiure, usw.« – Hubert Schölnast Aug 19 at 14:25

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