From Middle English fern, from Old English fearn, from Proto-West Germanic *farn, from Proto-Indo-European *pornóm ("feather, wing; fern, leaf"), from *p(t)erH-. Cognate with West Frisian fear, Dutch varen, German Farn, Lithuanian spar̃nas, Avestan 𐬞𐬀𐬭𐬆𐬥𐬀, Kamkata-viri por, Sanskrit पर्ण.
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