Entries linking to Stammbaum
Old English stemn, stefn "stem of a plant, trunk of a tree," also "either end-post of a ship," from Proto-Germanic *stamniz (source also of Old Saxon stamm, Old Norse stafn "stem of a ship;" Danish stamme, Swedish stam "trunk of a tree;" Old High German stam, German Stamm), from suffixed form of PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."
Meaning "support of a wineglass" is from 1835. Meaning "unchanging part of a word" is from 1830. Stems slang for "legs" is from 1860. The nautical sense is preserved in the phrase stem to stern "along the full length" (of a ship), attested from 1620s. Stem cell attested by 1885.
Old English beam, "living tree," but by late 10c. also "rafter, post, ship's timber," from Proto-Germanic *baumaz "tree" (source also of Old Frisian bam "tree, gallows, beam," Middle Dutch boom, Old High German boum, German Baum "tree," and perhaps also (with unexplained sound changes) Old Norse baðmr, Gothic bagms). This is of uncertain etymology (according to Boutkan probably a substrate word). The shift from *-au- to -ea- is regular in Old English.
The meaning "ray of light" developed in Old English, probably because beam was used by Bede to render Latin columna (lucis), the Biblical "pillar of fire." The meaning "directed flow of radiation" is from 1906. To be on the beam "going in the right direction" (1941) originally was an aviator's term for "to follow the course indicated by a radio beam."
The nautical sense of "one of the horizontal transverse timbers holding a ship together" is from early 13c., hence "greatest breadth of a ship," and slang broad in the beam, by 1894 of ships; of persons, "wide-hipped," by 1938.
updated on November 21, 2013