Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to potamo-

*pet- 

Also petə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to rush, to fly." 

It forms all or part of: accipiter; appetence; appetite; apterous; apteryx; archaeopteryx; asymptote; centripetal; Coleoptera; compete; competent; eurypterid; feather; helicopter; hippopotamus; Hymenoptera; impetigo; impetuous; impetus; iopterous; Lepidoptera; ornithopter; panache; panne; pen (n.1) "writing implement;" pennon; peripeteia; perpetual; perpetuity; petition; petulance; petulant; pin; pinion; pinnacle; pinnate; pinniped; potamo-; potamology; propitiation; propitious; ptero-; pterodactyl; ptomaine; ptosis; repeat; symptom.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pattram "wing, feather, leaf," patara- "flying, fleeting;" Hittite pittar "wing;" Greek piptein "to fall," potamos "river, rushing water," pteron, pteryx "feather, wing," ptilon "soft feathers, down, plume;" Latin petere "to attack, assail; seek, strive after; ask for, beg; demand, require," penna "feather, wing;" Old Norse fjöðr, Old English feðer "feather;" Old Church Slavonic pero "feather;" Old Welsh eterin "bird."

Advertisement
hippopotamus (n.)

omnivorous ungulate pachydermatous mammal of Africa, 1560s, from Late Latin hippopotamus, from Greek hippopotamos "riverhorse," an irregular formation from earlier ho hippos potamios "the horse of the river"), from hippos "horse" (from PIE root *ekwo- "horse") + adjective from potamos "river, rushing water" (see potamo-). Replaced Middle English ypotame (c. 1300), which is from the same source but deformed in Old French. Glossed in Old English as sæhengest. Translated as river-horse in Holland's Pliny (1601).

Ypotamos comen flyngynge. ... Grete bestes and griselich ["Kyng Alisaunder," c. 1300]

Related: Hippopotamic.

Mesopotamia 

ancient name for the land that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers north of Babylon (in modern Iraq), from Greek mesopotamia (khōra), literally "a country between two rivers," from fem. of mesopotamos, from mesos "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + potamos "river" (see potamo-).

In 19c. the word sometimes was used in the sense of "anything which gives irrational or inexplicable comfort to the hearer," based on the story of the old woman who told her pastor that she "found great support in that comfortable word Mesopotamia" ["Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable," 1870]. The place was Mespot (1917) to British soldiers serving there in World War I. Related: Mesopotamian.

potamic (adj.)

"of, pertaining to or connected with rivers," 1834; see potamo- + -ic.

potamology (n.)

"the study of rivers," 1829, in "POTAMOLOGY : a Tabular Description of the Principal Rivers throughout the World,—their Rise, Course, Cities, &c., Tributary Streams, Length and Outfall into Oceans, Seas, or Lakes," compiled and printed by George Smallfield, from potamo- + -logy. Related: Potamological.

POTAMOLOGY—what is that? Why the science of Rivers, to be sure ; and a very good science it is ; and a very good word it is, to designate that science, coined out of sterling Greek, its two etymons flowing harmoniously together into a continued stream of sound, and well deserving to become a current expression. [The Monthly Repository and Review, January, 1829]