Do спорить and spar have any common etymological root?

EDIT: I'm referring specifically to the usage of spar for training for a fight or engaging in an argument.


1 Answer 1


Maybe there's maybe there isn't

spar (v)

late 14c., "go quickly, rush, dart, spring;" c. 1400, "to strike or thrust," perhaps from Middle French esparer "to kick" (Modern French éparer), from Italian sparare "to fling," from Latin ex- (see ex-) + parare "make ready, prepare," hence "ward off, parry" (from PIE root *pere-(1) "to produce, procure"). Etymologists consider a connection with spur unlikely.
Used in 17c. in reference to preliminary actions in a cock fight; figurative sense of "to dispute, bandy with words" is from 1690s.
Extension to humans, in a literal sense, with meaning "to engage in or practice boxing" is attested from 1755. Related: Sparred; sparring.



далее от праслав. *sъporъ, от кот. в числе прочего произошли: др.-русск. съпоръ, также соупоръ (из *сѫ-поръ), русск. спор; связано с *pьr- (пере́ть). Ср. др.-инд. pŕ̥t-, pŕ̥tanā «борьба», авест. pǝrǝt-, рǝšаnā «схватка, борьба»


In the Russian word C- is a prefix, the root is ПР. In the English, S could be a remnant of the Latin prefix EX-. Hard to tell whether this is coincidence or a result of common ancestry, although for greater semantic similarity the Russian prefix would perhaps have to be ИЗ- instead of С-.

I believe Russian cognates or relatives of спорить are перечить, поперёк, наперекор, препираться, and maybe even против, which either don't have prefix or have different prefixes. But this is only an opinion.

  • Thanks for the info! I actually meant a different meaning of "spar," as in practicing for a fight or verbal sparing, which has a more similar meaning to the Russian word. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, its etymology is a bit different: "Old English sperran, spyrran ‘strike out’, of unknown origin; compare with Old Norse sperrask ‘kick out’." But none of these have the ПР root so they are probably unrelated.
    – dpc
    May 13, 2018 at 1:04
  • @dpc my bad, it was my inattentiveness, i've modified the answer May 13, 2018 at 6:56
  • This is a really informative, thorough answer. I would upvote twice if I could. May 17, 2018 at 1:00

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