Why is the word for butterfly different in almost every language?

Maybe because for such beauty of nature everyone got busy trying to come up with something original? 😂

@Gargron now i have butterfly by crazy town playing in my head


It seems that numerous myths and cultural tales influenced the name, as well as the phonosemantic attempt to use a word that reproduced the flapping sound.

Probably because butterflies aren't used for trade or anything like that. You just don't need butterflies to trade, sail, travel.

Also, you could check this hypothesis by researching plants names, domesticated and wild.


My guess is language and culture determine names of things *nouns

@Gargron oh so its not just german again? you know: SCHMETTERLING

@Gargron Because natural languages are silly like that... for no reason whatsoever.

@Gargron Gyönyörűszép pillangó szárnyal a naplementében 😇😁

@Gargron maybe because like snowflakes each in its color <design> is unique ;)

@Gargron wtf would you call that thing if there wasn't a word for it in your language

my theory: because they were already present all over, with well-established words, before the world got linguas francas. products developed recently often get the same word (or variations thereof) used all over the world. not so much for things older than e.g. the roman empire. it spread many concepts and the corresponding latin and greek words all over europe, and then on to african and american colonies. so knowledge about creatures and things that only existed in certain places spread along with their original words, but those that had already been assigned different words at different places tended to remain so

Well, is it?
German and English both refer to making of butter (indo-germanic).
Latin languages seem to be similar, even farfalla might be a form of papilio. (
Greeks are on their own, with an ancient and current version.
So, seems like the same as with hand, manus, chira :)

@Gargron in most languages I know it sounds good: in Dutch: vlinder France: papillon English: butterfly except for German, it sounds pretty horrible: Schmetterling (sounds like a 🦠).

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