See prior question about its meaning: Penner as an Insult?.

Pfeifer gives indecisive derivations from Yiddish, Hebrew and Gaunersprache, as if there are no older German cognates: 1. "jiddisch pannai ‘müßig’, hebr. penaj ‘(freie) Zeit’, or 2. "Bonne ‘ein Haus, wo Spitzbuben ein und aus gehen’ (Ende 17. Jh.)", "Vielleicht zu jidd. bono ‘er hat gebaut’" (dwds.de).

Bavarian does in fact have a root pno- in seemingly onomatopoeic meaning (Bayerisches Wörterbuch, Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften), which corresponds to English sneeze, older fnesen, also Greek pnein "breath" (etymonline.com, lsj.gr, which see for more). This appears to be archaic and it evidently includes a sense of snoring = sleeping in Bavarian.

Why are etymologists snoozing on this root?

Note also the Bett in bettelnder Bettler. The semantic range of lying down, on the ground etc. is fairly wide!



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