fbpx

What is the origin of aureate?

Aureate “golden or gilded” comes from Latin aureus “golden,” from aurum “gold.” The further etymology of aurum is uncertain, but there are two competing theories—one with a phonological similarity that lacks a semantic resemblance and the other with a semantic similarity that lacks a phonological resemblance. Aurum may be connected to aurōra “dawn,” from a Proto-Indo-European root, ausōs-, of the same meaning, from the root aus- “to shine”; the definition would have shifted from “shining thing” to “gold.” If this theory were true, aurum would be related to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn known for her rosy-tipped fingers, as well as to east and Easter, originally a Germanic goddess of springtime. An alternative theory connects aurum to aes “brass, bronze, copper,” from the Proto-Indo-European root ayos- “metal,” which is also the source of English ore. Aureate was first recorded in English in the early 1400s.