Thursday, October 16, 2014

Language of Confusion: Victorious

Victory showed up in the early fourteenth century from the Anglo French/Old French victorie and classical Latin victoria, which means…victory. Where do these words come from? Anyway, victoria is the past participle of vincere, the origin word for victor (the n is dropped in some tense of the word for some reason). Vincere, to win, can be traced back to the ProtoIndo European word weik, fight or conquer (among other things; it’s a really common word).

This might surprise you, but the word victim does not seem to be related to victory. It showed up in the late fifteenth century specifically meaning a sacrifice (the more general meaning came about fifty years later). It comes from the classical Latin victima, where it had a similar connotation. And that’s it. No vincere, no weik, at least, not that I found. So maybe, maybe not.

The words that are related to victory actually have it in their suffixes. Convince is just vincere with con- in front of it, which makes it “conquer with”. Province is also a vincere word, the pro- meaning before, though no one’s sure exactly how that word’s supposed to make sense. The name Vincent also comes from vincere, and of course, so does the name Victor.

TL;DR: Victory isn’t related to any word that it makes sense for it to be related to.



  1. Given the way that our provinces are sometimes run, "before victory" doesn't make much sense...

  2. No, "convince" means I conquered your mind!

  3. I had never associated convince or province with victory. Makes sense when you think about it, though.

  4. Interesting that victim has nothing to do with victory. I always assumed it did.

  5. Hi Jeanne .. I do find etymology so fascinating ... I see in Wiki that Province was around in 1330 and comes from the Latin "provincia" - its connection with magistrate ... and as you said possibly linking it with Pro and Vincere ... a territory or function under a magistrate. So interesting .. cheers Hilary

  6. I didn't think convince would be related.

    I do like the names Victor and Victoria.


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