Fire – etymology
fire (n.) O.E. fyr, from P.Gmc. *fuir (cf. O.S., O.Fris. fiur, O.N. fürr, M.Du., Du. vuur, O.H.G. fiur, Ger. Feuer), from PIE *perjos, from root *paewr- (cf. Armenian hur “fire, torch,” Czech pyr “hot ashes,” Gk. pyr, Umbrian pir, Skt. pu, Hittite pahhur “fire”). Current spelling is attested as early as 1200, but did not fully displace M.E. fier(preserved in fiery) until c.1600.
PIE apparently had two roots for fire: *paewr- and *egni- (cf. L. ignis). The former was “inanimate,” referring to fire as a substance, and the latter was “animate,” referring to it as a living force (see water).
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