The etymology of Romani ća(j)lo ‘satisfied, satiatedʼ

2018. №6, 119-128

Mikhail V. Oslon
Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia;


Out of the three verbal etymologies for this word that have been proposed, the first one (OInd. ćar- ‘grazeʼ) is utterly implausible morphologically, the second one (chad- ‘seem [good], pleaseʼ) cannot be correct for phonological reasons, and the third one (cak- ‘be satiatedʼ) is only partially acceptable. We attempt to show that in this Romani adjective (as well as in the closely related verb ća(j)ľol ‘get satiatedʼ and ‘likeʼ), as is often the case in Romani, two different roots may have merged: cak- ‘be satiatedʼ and *cāh- ‘wantʼ. The latter, unattested in Old Indic, yielded verbs with meanings such as ‘want, love; it is necessaryʼ in most New Indian languages and has been neglected in Romani etymology, which appears to be an inexplicable oversight.

For citation:

Oslon M. V. The etymology of Romani ća(j)lo ‘satisfied, satiatedʼ. Voprosy Jazykoznanija. 2018. No. 6. Pp. 119–128. DOI: 10.31857/S0373658X0002023-4.


The author is grateful to M. Beníšek, S. G. Bolotov, K. A. Kozhanov, D. A. Komissarov, A. S. Krylova, as well as an anonymous reviewer, for their help and valuable corrections. The research is supported by RSFH grant No. 16-34-01044 “The study and description of Romani Vlax dialects in Russia”.