mel- / Indo-European roots


Soft; with derivatives referring to soft or softened materials of various kinds.

I. Extended form *meld-.
1. melt from Old English meltan, to melt, from Germanic *meltan.
2. Possibly Germanic *miltja-. milt from Old English milte, spleen, and Middle Dutch milte, milt.
3. Possibly Germanic *malta-. malt from Old English mealt, malt.
4. Suffixed variant form *mled-sno-. blenny from Greek blennos, slime, also a name for the blenny.
5. Suffixed zero-grade form *ml̥d-wi-. moil, mojito, mollify, mollusk, mouillé; emollient from Latin mollis, soft.
6. Possibly nasalized variant form *mlad-. bland, blandish from Latin blandus, smooth, caressing, flattering, soft-spoken.
II. Variant form *smeld-. a. smelt1 from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German smelten, to smelt; b. schmaltz from Old High German smalz, animal fat; c. smalt from Italian smalto, enamel, glaze; d. enamel from Old French esmail, enamel. a-d all from Germanic *smelt-; e. smelt2 from Old English smelt, smylt, a marine fish, smelt, perhaps from Germanic *smelt-..
III. Extended form *meldh-.
1. mild from Old English milde, mild, from Germanic *mildja-.
2. Possibly Greek maltha, a mixture of wax and pitch maltha
IV. Suffixed form *mel-sko-. mulch from Old English mel(i)sc, mylsc, mild, mellow, from Germanic *mil-sk-.
V. Extended form *ml̥ək-. bonanza, chondromalacia, malacology, osteomalacia from Greek malakos, soft.
VI. Possibly Celtic *molto-, sheep. mutton from Old French moton, sheep.
VII. Possibly suffixed zero-grade form *(ə)ml-u-. amblygonite, amblyopia from Greek amblus, blunt, dull, dim.

[Pokorny 1. mel- 716.]


Strong, great.

1. Suffixed (comparative) form *mel-yos-. ameliorate, meliorate, meliorism from Latin melior, better.
2. Suffixed zero-grade form *ml̥-to-. molto, mucho, multi-, multitude from Latin multus, much, many.

[Pokorny 4. mel- 720.]


False, bad, wrong.

1. mal-, malice, malign; dismal, malady, malaria, maledict, malefactor, malefic, malentendu, malevolence, malison, malversation from Latin malus, bad, and male, ill (> malignus, harmful).
2. Perhaps suffixed zero-grade form *ml̥-s-. blame, blaspheme from Greek blasphēmos, blasphemous, perhaps from *ml̥s-bhā-mo-, "speaking evil" (*bhā-, to speak; see bhā-2)
3. Suffixed form *mel-yo-. markhor from Avestan mairiia-, treacherous.

[Pokorny 2. mel- 719, mēlo- 724.]

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