ܐܳܘܙܳܢܳܐ wznʾ āwzānā laver, font, sarcophagus
Allotrope: ܘܵܙܢܵܐ wznʾ wāznā laver, spec. the baptismal laver
MIr. *āβzan; MP ābzan bath (CPD 4; but Gignoux 1990a, 77 translates "bol à eau, water-vessel": cf. Kārnāmag ī Ardaxšīr 1, 17); Sogd. LW wznʾ /wāznā/ (Sims-Williams 1985, 115–116). Widengren 1960, 32 believes that the word is a loanword from Parthian, as would be proved, among other things, by the Arm. LW awazan water tank, pond, pool, bath (Hübschmann AG 111–112, no. 77); NP ābzan cistern (Steingass 8). The loanword is old: it already appears in the oldest Syriac inscriptions (cf. Healey 1995, 81); consequently, the word was possibly borrowed into some Aramaic variety older than Syriac. As regards the rendering of Ir. internal -b- with Syr. -w- see § 11.3.1. ● ʾwznʾ MiS 155 a 3; am 3, 347, 6; Bh ce 3, 363, 17; JS Const v. 262 etc.; wznʾ font, sarcophagus AS 3, 52, 10; PsC 138, 16; wznʾ laver AM 2, 62, 22; am 4, 11, 6; baptismal laver apap 42, 2; JSB 3, 416, 15; JaRS 60, 4 ◆ LS 8a and 184-185a; Lagarde GA 10, 12
The etymon of the second element of the Iranian compound is not clear to me. In my opinion, a connection is possible with MP ābdān water-holder (CPD 3), NP ābdān cistern (Steingass 8), where -dān "-holder, -container" represents an outcome of the IE root *dheH1- to set. If the connection is probable, the allotropy -d-/-z- in MP ābzan and MP ābdān cannot be, obviously, of Indo-European origin (in this case, the IE root must have had *ĝ or *ĝh: see, e.g., IE *H1eĝhom "I" Av. azəm, OP adam). However, an Iranian allotropy -d-/-z- is well attested: see, for example, Av., OP vi-tar- to pass (AirWb 640), MP widār passage, entrance (CPD 90; Nyberg 217), NP gudār, but also gozār and gozar (Steingass 1087, 1088; on this topic, with the complete distribution of the dialectal variants, see Filippone, forthcoming). The difficulty remains, however, of the different quantity of /a/ in -zan and -dān; but in some dialectal varieties the shortening of long /ā/ before /n/ is common: cf. Lazard 1963, p. 185, § 129 (Paola Orsatti's suggestion).