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Title: Vṛddhi  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Indo-European ablaut, Proto-Indo-European language, Sanskrit, Guṇa, Madhava
Collection: Indo-European Linguistics, Sanskrit, Vyakarana
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Vṛddhi (Sanskrit: वृद्धि, IPA: ) is a Sanskrit word meaning 'growth'[1] (from Proto-Indo-European *werdʰ- 'to grow'[2]).

In Pāṇini's Sanskrit grammar, it is a technical term for long vowels produced by ablaut (vowel gradation), as for example in:[3]

  • bhṛ-tá- 'carried' ("base form", nowadays called zero grade)
  • bhár-aṇa- 'burden' (guṇa, full grade)
  • bhār-yà- 'to be carried' (vṛddhi, lengthened grade)

In modern Indo-European linguistics it is used in Pāṇini's sense, but not restricted to Sanskrit but applicable to the Indo-European languages in general as well as to the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language from which this feature was probably inherited:

  • *bʰr̥-[4] (zero grade of the reconstructed verb meaning 'to carry')[5]
  • *er- (full grade)
  • *ēr- (vṛddhi, lengthened grade)


A vṛddhi-derivation or vṛddhi-derivative is a word that is derived by such lengthening, a type of formation very common in Sanskrit, but also attested in other languages. Such derivatives signify "of, belonging to, descended from". An example:[6]

  • PIE *swéḱuro- 'father-in-law' (Vedic Sanskrit śváśura-) → *swēḱuró- 'relating to one's father-in-law' (Vedic śvāśura- 'relating to one's father-in-law', Old High German swāgur 'brother-in-law')

Derivatives that are formed by inserting a full grade (as opposed to a lengthened grade) vowel into the "wrong" position of a zero grade are also called vṛddhi-derivations:[6]

  • PIE *diw-, zero grade of *dyu-s 'sky' → *deiw-os 'god' (Vedic devás, Latin deus, etc.)


  1. ^ in Sanskrit, a -tí-nomen actionis formed from the verbal root vṛdh-/vardh- 'to grow'
  2. ^ 'to grow'*werdʰ- entry at Indo-European etymological database of projectThe Tower of Babel
  3. ^ Meier-Brügger (2003, L 413)
  4. ^ The asterisk * indicates that this form is not directly attested, but has been reconstructed on the basis of other linguistic material.
  5. ^ Rix (2001:76f)
  6. ^ a b Fortson (2004:116f)


  • Fortson, Benjamin W., IV (2004). Indo-European Language and Culture. Blackwell Publishing.  
  • Rix, H (2001).  
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