Etymology Aiwos

Aiwos is an Indo-European word that means both lifelong and eternal. Aiwos derives from an old root – ‘aiw (ayu),’ which means ‘eternity’ and ‘life’.

This ‘aiw’ was made from the most ancient ‘aiu’ = ‘vital energy’. There is no research about the root in modern languages. But the most developed languages who have the same Indo-European ancestor brought the following conclusions: Ancestors and Eve.


*aiw- / ayu- eiu – vital energy, life, lifelong, eternity (eternal)

Every newborn baby is related to his or her ancestors, who gave them a chance to be born.

There is a similar root ‘awo’, which means ‘grandfather, adult male relative other than one’s father’. There is less precise information about this word, but some scientists think this is the variant of the phrase Aiwos. Because in the Gothic language, ‘awo’ means grandparents.

The idea is that the chain of humans ancestors make human life eternal. New generations remember their ancestors. The ancestors continue to live in their memories. Every newborn baby is related to his or her ancestors, who gave them a chance to be born. That is the secret of the combination of two meanings ‘eternity’ and ‘lifelong’.

If to believe that these words have etymologically the same root, then it’s easy to find modern words made of this awo/aiw: aue (Irish), uji (Lithuanian), etc. That means uncle, dad, or grandfather. There are such words in Slavonic languages as well, although it is harder to recognize an ancient root in it: ujec (Czech), wuj (Polish).


There is also another possibility. That the English word Eve was made from Indo-European Aiwos.

Eve – fem. proper name, from Biblical first woman, Late Latin, from Heb. Hawwah, lit. ‘a living being’, from base hawa ‘he lived’ (cf. Arabic hayya, Aramaic hayyin).

In Gothic language, the word ‘aiw’ meant both time and eternity.

Like most of the explanations of names in Genesis, this is probably based on folk etymology or an imaginative playing with sound. In the Hebrew here, the phonetic similarity is between hawah, ‘Eve’, and the verbal root hayah, ‘to live’.

EVE – the lived; the wife of Adam
EVE – (a contraction of EVEN) – the Day before a Holiday

In the Gothic language, the word ‘aiw’ meant both time and eternity.
‘aiw’ could be translated like ‘ever’, because eternity was the synonym of ‘forever’. Then maybe English ‘always’ and ‘ever’ also came from Aiwos. It seems quite convincing because for example in old Norse the word ‘ei’ meant “forever” and ævi ‘lifetime’. German ‘ewig’ means ‘everlasting’. Latin aevum has a meaning ‘space of time’ and ‘long’ in some contexts.

Sanskrit ayu ‘life’, Avestan ayu ‘age’, Gothic aiws ‘age, eternity’. The Latin eon (n.) is a spirit; Latin «aeon» and Greek «αίών» (aion) – age, vital energy, lifelong and generation, but also – eternity and… in plural for it has a meaning ‘immorality’.

Ksenia van Beek

This article was written by Ksenia van Beek. Ksenia is a philologist and did some research into the etymology of the word Aiwos, but she is open for suggestions.