Semitic word root √pn

tags:  Chinese Egyptian English Greek Latin Sanskrit Semitic Slavic Sumerian phoenix recommended word root · etymology   —   by Gerry · Nov 2018 · 3960 words

The Semitic word root √pn is also a archaic global word root, found in almost all languages worldwide, in the forms pn, bn, vn, wn, fn. Its basic meaning is “curving”, “turning”, “changing”, found in words like Phoenicians as “exchangers”, the Phoenix bird which “returns” to life, and the Phoenix date palm which has “curved” fruitstalks. Derivatives found in modern English are winding, vendor, pun, all having to do with something being “turned” or “exchanged”.

pn as a global root

The word root √pn is found in almost all major language families. Most importantly, it is found in the languages of very ancient civilizations: Semitic, Egyptian, Greek, Sumerian, Sanskrit, Chinese.

The main meaning is always “turning”. One particularly important meaning is economic & financial “exchange”, i.e. trade. It seems the Phoenicians were named with the root √pn for this meaning. But I’d say that the word root did not originate with the Semitic languages, and was not spread by classical Phoenicians. The occurrences are too old, too varied and too ingrained in local languages. Rather, the root √pn seems to be a remnant of an archaic vocabulary, that had already been spread by pre-Phoenician global trade, in an age that has been censored away from us.

Because the meanings overlap so heavily, this page is sectioned by languages, rather than by meanings.

Hebrew, Aramaic

In the West-Semitic languages, the root has the form פן pn, and has the main derivation: turning → side → face → appearance.

The most famous word is “Phoenician”, Greek Phoinikes, which was likely written פן נכס pn-nks in the Semitic languages. This would mean meaning “exchangers of accounts”, i.e. bankers. However, almost all Phoenician records have been hidden or destroyed, likely to censor this spelling & meaning.

Hebrew pn = turning, emptying, freeing, side, face, appearance

פנה pnh : to turn; turn toward; turn and look; turned away; was free, was at leisure; was removed; he removed, cleaned, emptied; he vacated, evacuated; was removed, was emptied; was vacated, was evacuated; was turned, was directed; was disengaged, was free — Hebrew (Klein)

פנים pnym : face, countenance; forepart, front part, front; surface, level; appearance; manner, way; wrath, anger; Probably a derivative of פנה and literally meaning “the side turned toward one”. — Hebrew (Klein)

פן pn : form, kind; Back formation from פנים (= face), which is a plurale tantum in the Bible. But the singular of פנים could only be פנה. — Hebrew (Klein)

Aramaic pn = turn, convert, return, repeat, emptying, freeing, release, side, face

פני pny : to turn; to face; to return; to do something again; to release; to ease oneself; to turn something; to remove, clear out; to hear; to complete; to turn back; to give back, return; to convert; to be available, free to act — Aramaic (CAL)

מפנינו mpnynw : restoration, rehabilitation; conversion — Aramaic (CAL)

מתפנינו mtpnynw : conversion; aversion; return, restoration — Aramaic (CAL)

פנאי pnˀy : leisure — Aramaic (CAL)

פנה pnh : back of hand; upper part of sandal — Aramaic (CAL)

פני pny : evening (or twilight); decisive moment — Aramaic (CAL)

פני pny : side, corner; region, quarter; place, direction; at the order of, representing — Aramaic (CAL)

פני pny : empty; free (of obligation); emptiness (?) — Aramaic (CAL)

פניו pnyw : freedom, permission — Aramaic (CAL)


In Akkadian, the root is also found in the form pn and has the meaning of “face” & “front”. More derivations may exist there.

Akkadian pana = face, front, before, previous

pānu : the face, the fore; (someone’s) presence; pānu X amāru: to pay a visit to X; pānu naṭālu / še ‘ û / dagālu: to attend to / to serve / to obey somebody; pānu suḫḫuru: to turn away one’s face, not to look favourably, to deny a boon — Akkadian (AAF)

pāna : previously, earlier, formerly; kī ša pāna: as before; pāna u arka: before and behind, forward and backward; eli ša pāna: more than before; ina / ištu / ultu pāna: in / since earlier times; ūmī pāna: earlier days, olden times, ancient times; ālik pāna: the one walking in front, the leader, the one riding point — Akkadian (AAF)


In Ancient Egyptian, the root is very present and takes on the forms pn, bn, fn. All words are related to something that is “curved” or “turned”. The meaning of “turned” is particularly visible in the glyph 𓊜 P1A , transcribed as pnˤ pana, which depicts an upturned boat and has the meaning of “turning upside down”.

As in Greek, we find both date palm & “phoenix” heron pronounced similarly as bn in Ancient Egyptian. There must be a common feature they are named after, and I suggest it’s the “curved” fruitstalk and the “curved” snake-like neck of the heron.

As proof, we find that the same spelling bn is a general word for “turning” and “curved” things that are swelling or protruding, including the pyramid tip called Benben stone.

We also have the spelling pn in Egyptian, similar to Semitic pn, which is also a general expression for “turning” & “twisting” things.

The variant pnˤ is another general expression for “turning” & “overturning”, but specifically for capsizing boats, and often written with the “upturned boat” glyph 𓊜 P1A . The variant pnḳ is a term for bailing or emptying water by “turning over” a filled bucket.

Egyptian bn = date, date palm, heron, phoenix bird

𓃀𓈖𓂋𓇜 bnỉ : date — Egyptian (TLA)

𓃀𓈖𓇋𓇜𓈒𓏥 bnr : dates — Egyptian (AED)

bnỉt : date palm — Egyptian (TLA)

𓃀𓈖𓇋𓏲𓇜𓏌𓏥 bnỉw : date-wine — Egyptian (AED)

𓃀𓇜𓈖𓏏𓏋 bnỉt : date wine — Egyptian (TLA)

𓃀𓈖𓇋𓅱𓇜𓏋𓏥 bnỉw : date juice — Egyptian (TLA)

𓃀𓈖𓏌𓅱𓅣 bnw : heron — Egyptian (AED)

𓃀𓈖𓏌𓅱𓅣 bnw : phoenix, benu-bird — Egyptian (TLA)

𓃀𓇋𓇋𓈖𓄿𓅣 bỉn : heron, phoenix — Egyptian (TLA)

Egyptian bn, bnbn, bnn = turn, return, curved stone, swelling up, up & down, either-or

𓃀𓈖𓃀𓈖𓂻 bnbn : return, turn back — Egyptian (Vygus)

bnbn : to leap in the air — Egyptian (Vygus)

𓃀𓈖𓂻 bnw; bn; bnn; bnbn : avoid escape, depart — Egyptian (Vygus)

𓃀𓈖 𓃀𓈖 bn … bn : wheter … or; either … or — Egyptian (Vygus)

𓃀𓈖𓏌𓅱𓏏𓐎𓏥 bnwt : swelling, sore — Egyptian (TLA)

𓃀𓈖𓃀𓏌𓂻 bnbn : to point upwards, to be erect — Egyptian (TLA)

𓃀𓈖𓋔𓆇𓂸 bnn : phallus? — Egyptian (TLA)

𓃀𓈖𓏏𓏭𓄹𓄹 bnty : nipples, breasts — Egyptian (TLA)

bnbn : Benben, sacred stone, obelisk — Egyptian (TLA)

bnbn : pyramidion, tip of pyramid and obelisk — Egyptian (TLA)

Egyptian pn, pnn = twist, overthrow, overturn, reverse, capsize

𓊪𓈖𓈖𓂡 pnn : twist, twirl (thread) — Egyptian (Vygus)

𓊪𓈖𓈖𓂡 pnn : scatter, strew, put down, sprinkle — Egyptian (Vygus)

𓊪𓈖𓀜 pen : to overthrow, to thrust together; Coptic ⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉ — Egyptian (Budge)

pnn : to twist (a thread); to reel (with a reel) — Egyptian (TLA)

𓊪𓈖𓍙 pn : spindle — Egyptian (TLA)

Egyptian pnˤ = turn, overturn, turn around, bend, reverse, capsize

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓊛 pnˤ : turn upside down, turn the eyes against someone — Egyptian (AED)

𓊜 pnˤ : turn upside down — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓇋𓇋 pnˤy : reversal ? — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓈖𓂝𓊜 pnˤnˤ : turn over & over — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓊜 pnˤ : turn around, capsize, to bend down; to turn upside down; to be turned upside down — Egyptian (TLA)

pnˤnˤ : overturn repeatedly; to roll around; to turn over and over — Egyptian (TLA)

𓋴𓊪𓈖𓂝𓊛 spnˤ : overturn, renew skin — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓇋𓇋𓏏𓈘 pnˤyt : cataract — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓊛 pnˤ : bring back, turn upside down, turn (the eyes against someone) — Egyptian (Vygus)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓏏𓊜𓏴𓂡 pnˤ : to turn over, upset, reverse, pervert, incline, bend, overthrow — Egyptian (Vygus)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓇋 pnˤy : something incorrect; reversal (?) — Egyptian (TLA)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓇋𓏏𓈘 pnˤyt : cataract; spot where a boat is in danger of capsizing — Egyptian (TLA)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓏲𓏏𓊜𓏥 pnˤwt : something not right — Egyptian (TLA)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓊜 ; 𓊪𓈖𓂝𓊜𓂡 ; 𓊪𓈖𓂝𓇋𓇋𓊜 penā : to overthrow, to overturn, to capsize, to reverse; Coptic ⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉ — Egyptian (Budge)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓊜 penā : the going back of a crop of grapes; to balance the tongue — Egyptian (Budge)

𓊪𓈖𓂝𓏏𓊜𓆱𓏏 penā-t : overthrow — Egyptian (Budge)

Egyptian pnḳ = bailing, pouring, emptying

𓊪𓈖𓈎 pnḳ : to bail; to pour; to empty — Egyptian (TLA)

pnḳ : bailer; pail — Egyptian (TLA)

𓊪𓈖𓈎𓂝 pnḳ : bale out a boat, water, swab up blood, poke at someone, expend provisions — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓈎W33W57 pnḳ : bale out a boat — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓈎D105 pnḳ : bale out a boat — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓈎𓈗𓂝 pnḳ : bale out water — Egyptian (AED)

𓊪𓈖𓈎𓈗𓂝 penq : to pour out, to empty a vessel, to make water; Coptic ⲡⲱⲛⲅ — Egyptian (Budge)

𓊪𓈖𓈎 ; 𓊪𓈖𓈎𓀁 ; 𓊪𓈖𓈎𓏲𓊛𓏥 penq : to bale water out of a boat; Coptic ⲡⲱⲛⲧ — Egyptian (Budge)

Egyptian pns = twist, turn, bail, empty

𓊪𓈖𓊃𓂝 pns : to twist; to draw out — Egyptian (TLA)

pns : turn over (earth) — Egyptian (TLA)

𓊪𓈖𓋴𓈇𓏤 pns : earth (“stuff turned over”, as a material) — Egyptian (TLA)

Egyptian fn = turn, turn around

𓇋𓆑𓈖𓂽 ỉfn : to turn round; to turn to — Egyptian (TLA)

𓆑𓈖𓆑𓏌𓅱𓏛 fnfnw : recompense ? — Egyptian (AED)


The Ancient Egyptian forms & meanings are still present in modern Coptic Egyptian, as pn and bn.

Coptic pwn = pour, flow out

ⲡⲱⲛ pwn : be poured, flow (out); pour out — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲛ pwn : outflow — Coptic (CDO)

ⲫⲟⲛⲡⲉⲛ pʰonpen : to overflow — Coptic (CDO)

Coptic pnk = bail, empty

ⲡⲱⲛⲕ pwnk : draw, bail, empty out (water etc.); transfer, carry over — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲛⲕ (ⲉⲃⲟⲗ) pwnk (ebol) : empty, remove — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲛⲕ (ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ) pwnk (ehoun) : transfer, bring up — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲛⲕ (ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ) pwnk (ehrai) : be poured, flow (out); pour out — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲛⲕ (ⲉϫⲛ-) pwnk (ejn-) : pile upon; amass — Coptic (CDO)

Coptic pwwne = change, transform, transfer, turn, return

ⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉ pwwne : change, transform oneself, return; turn, alter, adapt, copy, transfer — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉ pwwne : removal, change, departure, death — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉ (ⲉ-) pwwne (e-) : transform oneself into, be changed to, turn toward; turn to, transfer to — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉ (ⲉⲃⲟⲗ) pwwne (ebol) : move out, go forth, change place; carry out, remove, displace — Coptic (CDO)

ⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉⲥ pwwnes : movement — Coptic (CDO)

ⲣⲉϥⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉ refpwwne : changeable person — Coptic (CDO)

ϭⲓⲛⲡⲱⲱⲛⲉ cinpwwne : changing, alteration — Coptic (CDO)

Coptic pʰonh = change, turn, bend, sculpt

ⲫⲟⲛϩⲥ pʰonhs : change — Coptic (CDO)

ⲫⲱⲛϩ pʰwnh : turn, be turned, be changed; turn, make turn, change — Coptic (CDO)

ⲫⲱⲛϩ pʰwnh : a turning, a change — Coptic (CDO)

ⲁⲧⲫⲱⲛϩ atpʰwnh : unalterable — Coptic (CDO)

Coptic pʰwnk = hollow out, sculpt

ⲫⲱⲛⲕ pʰwnk : hollow, cut out — Coptic (CDO)

ⲣⲉϥⲫⲱⲛⲕ refpʰwnk : sculptor — Coptic (CDO)

Coptic pʰwnj = overturn, overthrow

ⲫⲱⲛϫ pʰwnj : overthrow, destroy — Coptic (CDO)

ⲫⲱⲛϫ pʰwnj : overthrowing, destruction — Coptic (CDO)


In Sumerian, there is one cerntral term that conforms to the pn root and has a meaning of “turning”: It is the bow, transcribed pana. It is very visibly “curved”, because it is denoted by a zigzag line, the cuneiform sign 𒉼 PAN . All other officially attested pn terms are derived from the bow, and are prefixed with the logogram 𒄑 GIŠ for “wood”.

We also find the date palm in Sumerian, as bana, similar to Greek & Egyptian.

More derivations and related words may exist.

Sumerian pana, bana = bow, part of date palm

𒄑𒉼 pana; ba-na : a bow; a geometric figure — Sumerian (ePSD)

𒄑𒂍𒉼 epana : quiver — Sumerian (ePSD)

𒄑𒉼𒁶 panadim : bow maker — Sumerian (ePSD)

𒄑𒆕𒉼 kakpana : arrow; arrow head — Sumerian (ePSD)

𒄑𒁀𒈾 bana : part of a date palm — Sumerian (ePSD)


In Hittite, the root is present as wn, whn, wh, again with the meaning of “turning”.

Hittite wahn = turn, distort, exchange

wahnu- : to turn, turn over; to turn upside down; to swing; − to divert; − to make laps (with a racehorse); − to fortify (a camp); − to distort; − to exchange; − anda w.: to surround; arha w.: to swing; appa w.: to turn upside down, to bypass; piran w.: to infringe; sēr arha w.: to turn around s.o. — Hittite (AAF)

wahnumar : compensation — Hittite (AAF)

weh- : to turn; to move. − Mid. = Act. − EGIR-pa weh- : to divert — Hittite (AAF)

uwahnuwar : turn; u. 5 = panzawartanna “fifth turn”; u. 3 = tērawartanna “third turn” — Hittite (AAF)


In Greek, we find the most famous pn word: the Phoenicians, written Φοῖνῐξ Phoinix, likely named for “exchanging” goods & accounts. This can be confirmed by the very similar term φέναξ phenax, which means “fraud” & “cheat”, again derived from “exchanging” the truth for a lie.

Other famous variants are the phoinix date palm, likely named after its fruitstalks that are “turned” downwards as the dates ripen and get heavier, and the Phoenix bird, likely named after “turning” back to life.

Greek ωνος wnos onos, which means “price” & “selling”, may be another possible match for the pn root in its meaning of “exchange”. Though if it is, it must be a doublet, split off the “phoenix” pronunciation in archaic times, long before classical Phoenicia. It is found in the modern English word vendor.

There are many other Greek words written with P and N. Most seem not related to the meaning of “turning”, though.

Greek phoinix = Phoenician, phoenix bird, date palm, purple

Φοῖνῐξ Phoînix : Phoenician; Carthaginian; Phoenix, a city on the Mediterranean Sea — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

φοῖνῐξ phoînix : purple or crimson; palm tree; date (the fruit of the date palm); phoenix, the mythical bird derived from Egyptian mythology; (music) A guitar-like instrument invented by the Phoenicians — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

Greek phenax = cheat, deception, liar, fraud, impostor, false hair

φέναξ phenax : a cheat, quack, impostor; perhaps with a play on phoinix (the bird); in Eq.634 Phenakes are addressed as the tutelary gods of cheats; a fraudster, deceiver, liar — Ancient Greek (

φένᾱξ phénāx : cheat, quack, impostor; according to Beekes, of Pre-Greek origin — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

φενακίζω phenakizo : play the phenax, cheat, lie; deceptive appearance; (trans.) to cheat, trick; (pass.) to be cheated; to deceive, beguile, cheat; to achieve by lying, falsely pretend, falisify — Ancient Greek (

φενᾱκῐ́ζω phenākízō : to lie; to trick, cheat — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

φενακίζω phenakizo : to defraud, cheat, deceive, lie; synonyms: πηνικίζω penikizo or πηνηκίζω penekizo — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

διαπηνηκίζω diapenekizu : trick out deceitfully — Ancient Greek (

φενακισμός phenakismos : a cheating, quackery, imposition; the fraud, the deception — Ancient Greek (

φενακισμός phenakismos : deception — Greek (Wikt)

φενακιστικός phenakistikos : a cheating — Ancient Greek (

φενακικός phenakikos : fraudulent, deceptive — Ancient Greek (

πηνηκίζω penekiso : a cheat, gull — Ancient Greek (

πηνήκη peneke : a false hair, wig — Ancient Greek (

φενάκη phenake : false hair, wig; = πηνήκη peneke; either of the root φέναξ phenax, thus actually meaning deception, or differing from πηνίκη penike only through regional dialect — Ancient Greek (

φενάκη phenake : (obsolete, rare) wig; (metaphoric) a lie, deception, misleading, deliberate fraud; from Ancient Greek φενάκη phenake (poetic πηνήκη peneke), from φέναξ phenax) — Greek (Wikt)

πηνικίζω penikizo : to beguile, deceive, mislead, imitate; like phenakizo — Ancient Greek (

φοινικικός phoinikikos : a Phoenician; later also Punic, to express craft and treachery — Ancient Greek (

Greek oneomai, onos = buy, purchase, bribe, tax, price

ὠνέομαι ōnéomai : to buy, purchase; to farm public taxes or tolls, or rather to bid for them; to buy off, avert by giving hush money; to buy a person, to bribe; From ὦνος (ônos, “price”) +‎ -έομαι (-éomai). — Ancient Greek (Wikt)


In Latin, we find the link from the “Phoenicians” to the modern word “finance”: Latin foenus means “usury” & “financial profit”.

Latin foenus, faenus = usury, banking, moneylending

foenus; faenus; fenus : the proceeds of capital lent out, interest; capital lent on interest; gain, profit, advantage; usury — Latin (

foenus; faenus; fenus : interest (on capital); usury; gain, profit, advantage; (figuratively) banking, moneylending (faenus exerceo: practice banking) — Latin (Wikt)

foeneror; faeneror; feneror : to lend on interest; to drain by usury; to borrow on interest; to lend, impart, furnish; practise usury — Latin (

foenero; faenero; fenero : to lend (money) at interest; (in a bad sense) practice usury; to gain by usury; yield interest, compensate amply, regain; to give something against something else — Latin (

Latin venum = selling, sale

venum : something for sale, something to sell; Possibly from Proto-Indo-European *wes- (“to sell, buy”); see also Ancient Greek ὦνος (ônos), ὠνέομαι (ōnéomai, “to buy”), Sanskrit वस्नयति (vasnayati, “to haggle”), वस्न (vasna, “price”). Alternative forms: vaenum, vēnus — Latin (Wikt)


The Hindi meanings overlap heavily with Latin foenus and Greek phenax.

Hindi banna = profit, pretend, feign

बनना bannā : to become; to be made; to be made, built; to be earned, made as profit; to pretend, feign, to act; to get along; from Sauraseni Prakrit (*vaṇadi), from Sanskrit वनति (vánati), वनोति (vanóti) — Hindi (Wikt)


In Sanskrit, a very wide range of meanings is present. The root takes the forms pn and vn.

Sanskrit is also the only language where the pn meaning of “trade” can clearly & officially be found. I assume it was present in most other languages as well, but has been censored there, to conceal the “Phoenician” empire.

Sanskrit pani = seller, trader, dealer, bargainer

पणितृ paṇitṛ : seller — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणितृ paṇitṛ : trader — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणि paṇi : bargainer — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणि paṇi : market; place of sale — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पाणि pāṇi : market; place of sale; shop — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पनिता panitā : dealer — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणित paṇita : praised or transacted as business — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणित paṇita : bet; wager; betted — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणित paṇita : one who has betted or wagered — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणितव्य paṇitavya : vendible; negotiable — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणन paṇana : selling; buying; betting; dealing in; sale — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणते paṇate : bargain — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पाण pāṇa : trade — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पण paṇa : business; property; commodity for sale — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

पणस paṇasa : article of sale or commerce; commodity — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

Sanskrit vanati = acquire, conquer, possess

वनति vanati : possess — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनति vanati : acquire — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनति vanati : conquer — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनति vanati : become master of — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनति vanati : procure — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

Sanskrit vanik = merchant

वाणि vāṇi : price — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वणिक् vaṇik : seller — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वणिक् vaṇik : merchant — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

Sanskrit vanija = merchant, commerce

वाणिज vāṇija : merchant — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वणिज vaṇija : merchant; trader — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वणिजक vaṇijaka : merchant; trader — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वाणिजक vāṇijaka : merchant — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वाणिजकविध vāṇijakavidha : inhabited by merchants — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वणिजा vaṇijā : commerce; traffic — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वणिज् vaṇij : merchant; trader; trade; commerce — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वणिग्वीथी vaṇigvīthī : bazar — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वाणिज्य vāṇijya : commerce — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

Sanskrit vantana = apportion, distribute

वण्टन vaṇṭana : distributing — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वण्टन vaṇṭana : apportioning — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वण्टन vaṇṭana : partition — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वण्टन vaṇṭana : dividing into shares — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

Sanskrit vanoti = acquire, attack, conquer, possess

वनोति vanoti : conquer — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनोति vanoti : acquire — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनोति vanoti : gain — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनोति vanoti : prepare — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनोति vanoti : become master of — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनोति vanoti : win — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनोति vanoti : procure — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनोति vanoti : attack — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)

वनोति vanoti : possess — Sanskrit (SpokenSanskrit)


The Slavic languages have few obvious derivatives from the root √pn, but I haven’t yet been able to search them thoroughly.

One potential match is the word venec for “wreath” & “crown”, which are clearly “bent” things. Another is the very common word peniaz for “coin” & “money”, which may be derived from “exchange”, and is also found in English penny & pence, and in German Pfennig.

Speakers of a Slavic language may find more matches.

Slavic venec = wreath, crown

вене́ц venéc : crown; wreath, garland; corona; row of beams; Viennese — Russian (Wikt)

венча́ние venčánije : wedding; coronation — Russian (Wikt)

вене́ц venéc : wreath, garland, chaplet; halo, nimbus, aureole, crown; string (of onions, etc.); (botany) corolla — Bulgarian (Wikt)

Slavic peniaz = coin, money

пе́нязь pénjazʹ : (historical) name for Anglo-Saxon and Germanic pfennigs; (archaic) (small) coin; (obsolete, in the plural) money — Russian (Wikt)

пѣнѧѕь pěnędzĭ : money, coin — Old Church Slavonic (Wikt)

peníz : coin; (archaic, colloquial) sum (quantity of money) — Czech (Wikt)

pieniądz : (dated in the singular) money; currency — Polish (Wikt)

peniaze : money — Slovak (Wikt)

pénz : money — Hungarian (Wikt)

pénzes : monied, moneyed, wealthy, rich (person); money- — Hungarian (Wikt)


Many pn-like terms in the vocabulary of modern English have the common meaning of something being “turned”, “changed” or “switched” for something else on purpose. While they might all be coincidences, some could also be remnants of a global word root from ancient times.

A very common word is the past tense “he went” (irregular for the verb “to go”), which could be derived from the old term wend / went for “turning” & “vanishing”.

English pn, fn = things that are turned

fun : amusement, enjoyment or pleasure; As a noun, fun is recorded from 1700, with a meaning “a cheat, trick, hoax”, from a verb fun meaning “to cheat, trick” (1680s). — English (Wikt)

pun : a joke or type of wordplay in which similar senses or sounds of two words or phrases, or different senses of the same word, are deliberately confused — English (Wikt)

phony : fraudulent; fake; having a misleading appearance — English (Wikt)

feign : To make a false show or pretence of, to counterfeit or simulate; to imagine, to invent, to pretend; to make an action as if doing one thing, but actually doing another, for example to trick an opponent; to hide or conceal — English (Wikt)

wind : to turn coils of (a cord or something similar) around something; to entwist, to enfold, to encircle; to have complete control over, to turn and bend at one’s pleasure, to vary or alter or will, to regulate, to govern — English (Wikt)

wend : (transitive, obsolete) to turn, change; (intransitive, obsolete) to turn, make a turn, go round, veer; (intransitive, obsolete) to pass away, disappear, depart, vanish; From Middle English wenden, from Old English wendan (“to turn, direct, wend one’s way, go, return, change, alter, vary, restore, happen, convert, translate”), from Proto-Germanic *wandijaną (“to turn”). — English (Wikt)

bend : to cause (something) to change its shape into a curve, by physical force, chemical action, or any other means; to become curved; to change direction; to be inclined; ; to bow in prayer, or in token of submission; to force to submit; to submit; From Middle English benden, from Old English bendan (“to bind or bend (a bow), fetter, restrain”), from Proto-Germanic *bandijaną (“to bend”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰendʰ- (“to bind, tie”). — English (Wikt)

finance : the management of money and other assets; the science of management of money and other assets; monetary resources, especially those of a public entity or a company; The provision of a loan, payment instalment terms, or similar arrangement, to enable a customer to purchase an item without paying the full amount straight away; from Middle English finaunce, from Anglo-Norman, Middle French finance, from finer (“to pay ransom”) (whence also English fine (“to pay a penalty”)), from fin (“end”), from Latin fīnis — English (Wikt)


Amazingly, the pn root can also be found in Chinese, with the same basic meaning of “turning”. Now Chinese has very few phonemes, so homonyms are very common. But in the case of the pn root, this doesn’t seem to be a coincidence: It is not isolated words, but some of the most common words for “turning” & “changing” are pronounced fan in Chinese. There is also a word fan meaning “trade”, but it is not very common.

Another possible match is Chinese bian for “side” & “change”, similar to the Semitic pn meanings, which Klein derives from a “side” being that which is “turned” towards you. Chinese pang also means “side”, and is again similar.

Chinese fan = turn, turn over, return, reverse, change, trade

fān : to reverse, to flip over, to turn over, to toss; to climb over or into, to cross over; to rummage through, to look through; to browse, to look over; to change, to alter; to translate, to interpret; to decode, to decipher; to fall out, to cease to be on friendly terms; to fly, to circle in the air, to soar — Chinese (Wikt)

fǎn : to return (to), to come or go back (to); to return, to give back; to go to, back — Chinese (Wikt)

fǎn : reverse, opposite, contrary, anti-; to return, to move back; to return, to give back; to repeat; to revenge; to revolt; to reflect (on one’s actions); to infer, analogize; to oppose; instead; to redress; to pour; to flip over — Chinese (Wikt)

fàn : to deal in, to trade in, to traffic; peddler, hawker, street merchant — Chinese (Wikt)

Chinese bian = change, transform, alter, side

biàn : to change, to transform, to alter; to rebel — Chinese (Wikt)

biān : edge; border; side; boundary — Chinese (Wikt)

Chinese pang, pan = side, edge, bank

páng : side, beside, close by; other, else — Chinese (Wikt)

pàn : boundary path dividing fields; bank, shore, edge — Chinese (Wikt)

tags:  Chinese Egyptian English Greek Latin Sanskrit Semitic Slavic Sumerian phoenix recommended word root · etymology