mind blown as I realized/discovered today that "eleven" derives from "one left" and "twelve" derives from "two left"

although maybe I prefer my previous unenlightened assumption that "eleven" was just this mysterious monomorphemic numeral with no explicable etymology

@t54r4n1 @aparrish isn't that cool? Some Finno-Ugric languages are hypothesized to have the same thing (but with subtraction) for "eight" and "nine"

@aparrish Wiktionary is wrong, "eleven" obviously comes from the demonym for elves: elven.

This proves that:
1) Elves exist(ed)
2) There are/were eleven races of elves
4) They probably spoke Old or Middle English
5) Which means that they knew humans and probably fell in love with some of them, because we are beautiful
6) They had children -> half-elves
7) Everybody with British ancestry is actually half-elf.
8) If elves exist(ed), so do dragons.

That's how etymology is done!! :thinkerguns:

@aparrish on a more serious note though, that's really interesting. Thanks for sharing! 😀

I had been hoping that eleven derived from elven and twelve derived from elves but here we are

@enkiv2 proposing "headymology" as the etymological equivalent of headcanon

Awesome. Like a personal folksonomy that always has my backronym


I am trying to make some meaningful relationship in my head between "one left" and the value 11. And failing.


@alanz if you're counting things out in groups of ten, the eleventh thing is the one left over.

@aparrish @alanz I was having trouble with that too, but it makes perfect sense - one for each finger, and one left over.

I'd like to think that at some point in history, there was a language in which they were elve and twelve, followed by threlve.

@y6nH @alanz I imagine a conversation happening frequently at some point in the 1100s that went something like "Ælfred, it's thirteen, stop trying to make 'threlve' happen"

@aparrish I couldn't see why the left was there. It means remaining but why is it automatically remaining 10?

I mean it could be that remaining/left is, say, 5. So eleven would mean 6. Of course it's not, is it just a remnant of the base 10 counting?

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