Re: Hello! - and kind question for help w.r.t. the etymology of tarot

This etymology question doesn't seem to me to have any great mystery. It has been established for some time that there was a word in the languages spoken in Piedmont, Provence, and probably Lombardy which sounded like "taroc" and which literally meant tree stump, but which was used to mean stupid, foolish, stupid person, fool, madman. There are various posts here and on which discuss this at length; both Ross and Mike have talked about it; I don't feel the need to go over it again here. The evidence looks fairly solid and I see no reason to doubt it—there are other instances in the history of card games of words for stupid or crazy being used for the names of games, so it seems perfectly credible that someone would use this name for the game.

As for the question of why the name was changed from trionfi to tarocchi, that is much easier to answer. The tarot game popularized the concept of trump cards in card games in Italy, and it did not take long for people to start applying that concept to normal (non-tarot) decks of cards, by designating certain cards in such decks as trumps. And of course, they called those trumps trionfi, just like the ones in the tarot deck. Result: you now need a new word to refer to the trumps in the tarot deck, because trionfi is now ambiguous. Tarocchi was adopted as that new word.

As far as I'm concerned, that's really all there is to it. You can speculate about why they chose the word "taroc" rather than any other word, but we are probably never going to know the answer to that question, so it seems fairly pointless to speculate on it. I'm content knowing its etymology and knowing why it replaced the word trionfi; I don't feel the need to know why they chose that particular word over any other.

Re: Hello! - and kind question for help w.r.t. the etymology of tarot

vh0610 ...
Let’s look at the earliest mention of the full 21/22 trumps we know of: the sermon of the anonymous author in the Steele’s manuscript. This is clearly after the 14->21/22 transition. What is stated also clearly there, is that the anonymous author calls in the paragraph starting with “De tertio ludorum genere” all 21/22 tarot-trumps by their name – and calls them in the same paragraph “ludus triumphorum”.
The earliest date for 22 trump cards would be (my opinion), when Matteo Maria Boiardo wrote his Tarocchi poem, which I (personal opinion) date to the month January 1486. when Laura, illegitime daughter of duke of Ferrara Ercole d'Este, married Annibale Bentivoglio from the near Bologna. Ferrara had had a hard time before, the Ferrarese war, when Venice coordinated with the Vatican and Pope Sixtus from the Rovere family had attacked it. (1482-84)
Hard times are not a good time for Trionfi card production.
Vienice was not known for Trionfi card production , but Ferrara. Venice had a long time war against the Ottoman empire, perhaps this was a reason, why Venice had no Trionfi card production (or why we don't see it).–V ... 1463–1479)
War times are not a good time for Trionfi card production.
Before the Ferrarese war there was a papal attack on Florence and the Medici, that was the Pazzi conspiracy in 1478.
The Pazzi conspiracy caused, that the very important San Giovanni festivities in Florence took a longer pause (or were reduced in a strong manner). The earlier level was regained in 1488 with the wedding between a Medici daughter and a son of the current pope. ... 1473–1528)
Conspiracies are not good for festivities and Trionfi card production.
In Milan the duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza is killed (December 1476). The assassination of rulers of the state is also not very good for Trionfi festivities and Trionfi card production.

The second deck with 22 trumps, that we know of, is the Sola Busca Tarocchi. The assumed date is 1491, 5 years after the assumed date for the Boardo Tarocchi. Both are together the most unusual Trionfi decks, that we know of, and its remarkable, that they are close in time as if there is a period with such experiments.

Then there is a Strambotti poem
Ross wrote:

it was only rediscovered for card history in 2007, by Thierry Depaulis and published with two versions in his article "Early Italian Lists of Tarot Trumps", The Playing Card vol. 36 no. 1 (July-Sept. 2007), pp. 39-50.
He mentions it in his review of Dummett and McLeod, (page 3)

Strambotti de Triumphi

Mi racomando a quel angelo pio,
al mondo, al sole, alla luna & lo stello,
alla saetta & a quel diavol rio,
la morte, el traditore, el vechierello.
la rota, el caro & giusticia di Dio,
forteza & temperanza & amor bello,
al papa, imperatore, imperatrice,
al bagatello, al matto più felice.
The Papessa is missing .... 21 trumps of the useal 22. It's given to the end of 15th century. It was occasionally discussed ....
search.php?st=0&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&keyw ... i&start=20

21 trumps (?) has also the Rosenwald Tarocchi ... there the Fool is (possibly) missing


It's difficult to give a solid date. c. 1465 is possible, but also late in 15th century. In 1466 a game with the name "Minchiate" is noted by Luigi Pulci, but we don't know, if this deck had already the later structure: 40 trumps - 40 number cards - 16 courts - 1 Fool.


We've evidence for a solid strong production of Trionfi decks for the custom office of Rome 1453-1465 (Esch report) and intensive acquisitions and sales in a silk dealer shop in Florence between 1450-60 (Franco Pratesi). As starting point for this development we can assume the victory of Sforza in Milan and the official Trionfi card allowance in Florence (Pratesi) in 1450.
Likely we can extend this good period for Trionfi card production till 1473-1476 (1473 it seems, that the young Medici got a crisis ; in late 1476 Galeazzo Maria Sforza is killed). Then it seems, that a bad time for Trionfi cards opened (1473/76 - 1486/88). .... Esch report analysis ... silk dealer sales ... silk dealer acquirements

Re: Hello! - and kind question for help w.r.t. the etymology of tarot

I was taking a break from THF to work on something else. Now I am reading what I have missed.

To vh1610 I want to say that the 1484 reference to tarocchi is too dubious to base anything on. The first established use is 1502 Brescia. It was historically Lombard. The Bembo had relatives there, as I recall. So looking in a Lombard dictionary might be relevant. I will comment later on what it says.

The Greek tarache/tarachos is a remote source, except perhaps for the macaronic poets, who were very educated and loved word-play. But it still would have survived in 15th century words. The Greeks went all over what became, and then was, the Roman Empire, influencing many languages. Also, Tarachos had its Latin equivalent, taraxia, although ataraxia, meaning calmness, was more common, from the Stoics. There were various tarach- and taroch- words that stemmed from the Greek: the Arabic and Turkish tarakh, the theroco wind, and the word for tree stump in various places. It meant agitation, disorder, disfunction, defect, remainder, etc. (I like very much your association to that meaning, and it may well be that the Tower card did not appear in the deck until the 1760s or 1770s.)

In 16th and 17th century Italy the verb taroccare, in various spellings, meant to argue, to shout, to blaspheme (in Sicily). Applied to a person meant a foolish person, either because their emotions made them irrational or because they were of low intelligence, or low intelligence of a particular sort. So the macaronic poets of Piedmont in the late 15th century, used the word in both senses. An official is called tarocco because he is unreasonably trying to extort money from someone. Another is tarocco because he has no idea he is being cuckolded.

These indications point to the game of the fool, in a wide sense, its most characteristic card standing for all of them.

Another support for this hypothesis is that if you need a new name, do what "minchiate" did to "trionfi", but using a different root. We don't know what the game of minchiate was in 1466, or how many cards, but if later use is any clue, it was a variation on the game of trionfi. Either it or its alternate name "Germini", a more polite term, appears in the 1470s, then 1506, then 1510, 1526, etc. "Minchiate" I would submit is from "minchione", meaning "fool", going back to the Latin "mentia" and "mentula", for the male organ and a derogatory term for an obstreperous or dim-witted person ( Andrea has an essay with many literary examples of "minchione",

In some uses it is actually close to that of the Lombard "tarluch" as that Lombard dictionary presented it, "a certain inappropriate slackness in attitude, clothing and manners." Since the dictionary is 1814 and is meant to describe the Lombard dialect existing at that time, it seems to me that we have no idea whether there is anything Germanic about the etymology, unless the dictionary actually says it is. It might just as well be a spin-off from the card game. "Lombard" in this context I would think just means "dialect of Lombardy".

But to get back to Minchiate and Tarocchi, Andrea has an essay "Farsa Satira Morale", about a 1510 poem in which one character ends a long enumeraton of games by saying:
Mancava anchora el gioco de tarocchi,
Chesser mi par tuo pasto: e un altro anchora
Minchion, sminchiata voise dir da sciocchi.
Hor prende qual tu voi, chel fugge lhora. 132

(We have yet to mention the game of tarocchi,
Which seems to be your meal: and yet another
Minchion, sminchiata, which is to say of fools.
Now choose what you want, because time is fleeing.)
Then in 1526 we have Francesco Berni, (Capitolo del Gioco della Primera, Rome, n.p.), in a very similar context. People tend to omit the last part of the sentence, so I will quote the whole thing. The translation, fairly literal except in one place, is by Samuel Weller Singer, 1816:
...viso proprio di Tarocco colui a chi piace questo gioco, che altro non vuol dir Tarocco che ignocco, sciocco, Balocco degno di star fra fomari & calzolari & plebei a giocarsi in tutto di un Carlino in quarto a tarocchi, o a trionfi, o a Sminchiate che si sia, cche ad ogni modo tutto importa minchioneria e dapocagine, passendo l'occhio col Sol, et co la Luna, et col Dodici, come fanno i puti.

(Let him look to it, who is pleased with this game of Tarocco, that the only signification for this word Tarocco is [literally, “the proper face of Tarocco, for one pleased with this game, is that it wants to say nothing other than...”] stupid, foolish, simple, fit only to be used by cobblers & bakers & the vulgar, to play at most the fourth part of a Carlino [a coin], at tarocchi, at triumphs, or any Sminchiate whatever, which in every way signifies only foolery and idleness, feasting the eye with the Sun, and the Moon, and the twelve [signs], as children do.]
So instead of taking the Latin-based word, those who want a new word take a Greek and Arabic based word for the same general thing, without the lewd connotation.

As to why the name changed, it might have been to distinguish it from the game of triumphs using the four regular suits. It depends on when those other games caught on in Italy. If only after 1500, that is probably too late. But such games would certainly have accelerated the use of the new term. Another possibility, suggested by Vitali, Depaulis (2013) and myself (2012), all for somewhat different reasons, is a change in the rules so that it was a new game. I don't think that it would have been to get around prohibitions, because the game of Triumphs by the late 15th century wasn't prohibited in the areas we see the new name. The change might have been to distinguish the 78 card game from something using a smaller deck, but perhaps there was a change in the rules, or both, so that "triumphs" was the old game and "tarocchi" the new one.

But why change it to "the game of the fool", of all things? vh1610 asks. A very good question, deserving of some thought.

It is also a game where some players are fooled and some are fools. A tactic called "sminchiare" in Bologna meant "play your highest triumphs". To lead with your highest triumph early in the game is on the face of it a foolish strategy, because all the other players have to do is play their low triumphs, that don't count for anything, and then when you use up your high ones, they still have theirs, with which to harvest all the point-getters that have been held back. It is only in certain circumstances that it will work, and even then it takes some expertise on the part of both partners to pull it off. Given the derivation of "sminchiare" from "minchione", it implies a foolhardy strategy, but also one where the joke might be on the opponents, if the partners can make it work.

There is much irony in the Italian sense of humor (they've needed it). It is of course a difficult game, there weren't even numbers on the cards, and that's not the half of it. It takes a lot of practice, a lot of time-wasting, to get it down..

Andrea has an essay in which he argues that references to tarocchi as a "new game" in the early 16th century imply that these authors thought it was of more recent invention than trionfi. ... 85&lng=ENG, but also before 1500.
If so, it wouldn't have had the same rules as Trionfi.

So the idea arises that the name change has to do with the rule change(s).

Depaulis argues, purely as a hypothesis, for a specific rule connected with the Arabic/Greek "tarakh/tarache", namely the discard rule, something I suggested in 2012, building on a comment of Dummett's. I have mentioned this argument before, but I may have left out something, so I'll do it again. There is a rule in which the last two or three cards are left on the table after the deal, and the dealer has the option of discarding the same number and picking up the ones on the table. This is not just because there are leftover cards, because in the three person game there is no remainder, and the dealer still can exchange three of his cards for the last three, which are not dealt to anybody but him. He will most naturally discard his weakest cards. These are the "remainder" that isn't used, like rubbish, or the part trimmed around the edges, or the container that isn't part of the sale, pr the stump of a tree, or those who contribute least to society, who are defective in some way. The Arabic word meant "rubbish" and "reject, deduct", according to Wiktionary' on the evolution of the word "tara" ( The discard rule may have been borrowed from the game of "scartino," with its suggestive name easily converted to "tara". So you take a "fool" word (as in Minchiate) that also means "remainder", "leftover","discard," "garbage" to distinguish it from the old game of Triumphs, where either there wasn't a remainder, due either to the number of players or the number of cards, or the remainder just sat there in the middle, to be taken by the person who wins the last trick (for example), or exchanged by the dealer if they all agreed beforehand, or for some reason I haven't thought of. But naturally there would be a period in which the old name would be used even with the new game.

However vh1610's question gets me thinking about another way in which "game of the fool" might connect with a rule change. It may have been to reflect an increased role in the game for the Fool card. We don't know what role it played initially. Dummett thought it originally it was just the lowest trump. If so, it could have been number zero, as we see on the Sola-Busca Fool, or as corresponding to the "Misero" card of the Mantegna, its lowest card out of fifty. I have no opinion on that. At some point, it became the "excuse," to substitute in any trick rather than let another valuable card, either in terms of trick-taking or points, be captured by the opponent. Since that use occurs everywhere the early Fool card was known, that may well have been its original use, including the proviso that the side playing it could get it back by trading a card it had captured in return. But it also had another use, which didn't survive everywhere, that of serving to fill gaps in sequences when it came to scoring points for them, as in Bologna and Piedmont, or being tacked onto sequences to increase the number of cards in them, as we see in Minchiate. Since it can do these things in any sequence the player or partners may have, this good-for-nothing layabout card can become the most important point-gatherer in the deck, as long as the other cards do the work, so to speak. It may have had this role everywhere by the late fifteenth century, even if it disappeared later (for more on this see the end of my post at viewtopic.php?p=23947#p23947). I see this latter role as something that reasonably could have come later than the "excuse" role.

Either or both of these two rule changes elevate the Fool to great importance; the second one even makes the Fool the most important card in the game, the "tarocchi" in the "game of the fool" now a natural name for the game with this or these innovation(s). In Bologna the Bagattino also could play this role. Perhaps that is why in Liguria the game had a name, Ganellini, connected with that card, the Ganellino (see and

So I am left with various possibilities, none of which I can eliminate, but all related to the meaning of the word "taroch-" words (foolish time-wasting and money-risking, but said ironically, because the game's benefits are greater; analogy with "Minchiate"; as a word for the discard; and as a word for the most important card, ironically also the least powerful). The issue of why the word changed, and why that word, remains for me much up in the air. And it might just be that a confluence of reasons, some related to the properties of "taroch" words and some not (e.g. the necessity to distinguish it from new games with trumps), that proved decisive.

Re: Hello! - and kind question for help w.r.t. the etymology of tarot

This is a continuation of my previous post (even though it is weeks later).

In the face of competing etymologies, have been re-reading this thread to see if I missed anything. It seems to me that I have, namely the point of vh0610's flaming tree trunk. First there was this, from viewtopic.php?p=23907#p23907
H1: All etymologies raised in the past w.r.t. “tarocchi” are –to my best knowledge - simply not simple enough, not striking enough, not direct enough in light of Ockham’s razor ( as a principle.

There are a lot of interesting etymologies published, also in this very forum, and they have certainly their own value at their own, but they all do not leave a striking insight in the sense of “Yes, this is clear” (at least for me – and perhaps also for others). The etymology of “tarocchi” is still “strange” (as already Lollio said), and it seems --at least for me--, that the name is so strange as if stemming from another language, since it is clearly neither directly from (renaissance) Italian, nor from French (otherwise someone would have found it out). And I do cherish the very interesting interpretation of Andrea Vitali ( and from Michael S. Howard ( that it stems from old Greek in view of tarocco – taroch - taraché (the “ch”-ending of “taroch” implying a Greek “chi”), see furthermore Andrea Vitali’s article

However, I am not satisfied with it in the sense of H1: Why should in Northern Italy normal people call a game with an old Greek naming? It is simply too far away. Otherwise said: if the game would have been called: “matto”, following the name for one card, I would directly agree: this is the simplicity I am looking for. But nothing like this in all known etymologies (at least to me humble knowledge). Perhaps now I am at the point at which most of you already arrived, I have no convincing clue.
Even if I cannot quite go with vh0610's association of the flaming tree trunk with the Tower card as the raison d'etre for the name, I think this "why" question might serve to distinguish between competing etymologies. We have:

(1) tarocch, as "dullard" leading to "tarochus" in Mantovano and "taroch" in Alione.

(2) tarachos and tarache leading to tarakh as "discard," then somehow either taraux or tarocco because of the discard rule.

(3) tarochos and tarache leading to to tarakh as "defective", then somehow either taraux or tarocco ,tarocho, as "game of the fool."

2 and 3 obviously need more to be said about them. How can "tarakh" become "taraux"? I offer the following. Both derive from different variants of the same word in Provencale. Here is the entry for "taro" in a late 19th cent. Provencale-French dictionary, ... 8/mode/2up:
taro, talo (1.), toro (rouerg.), (rom. cat. esp. port, tala, cat. esp. port. it. tara, ar. talah, défaut, vice), s. f. Tare, déchet, v. dessouto, destaro, embaisso ; dégât causé par des bestiaux, «dommage, perte, malheur, v. auvàri, daumage ; défectuosité, imperfection, vice, v. deco ; chancre des arbres, maladie de l'espèce porcine, v. toro.

Leva, traire la taro, prélever la tare; faire uno taro, causer un dommage avec des bestiaux; douna la taro à, attribuer un délit a quelqu'un ; vigno' en taro, vigne dont l'entrée est interdite au bétail, vigne en sève; la vigno es en taro, la vigne pousse; es taro que, es pla talos (1.), c'est dommage que, c est grand dommage.

( taro, talo (1.), toro (rouerg.), (rom. cat. esp. port, tala , cat. esp. port, tala , cat. esp. port. it. tara , ar. talah, default, vice), s. f. Tare, waste, v. dessouto, destaro, embaisso ; damage caused by cattle, "damage, loss, misfortune, v. auvàri, damage; defectiveness, imperfection, vice, v. deco ; canker of trees, disease of the porcine species, c. toro .

Leva, milk the taro , take the tare; do a taro , cause damage with cattle; douna la taro to, attribute an offense to someone; vigno 'en taro , vine whose entry is forbidden to cattle, vine in sap; the vineyards are in taro , the vine grows; es taro que, es pla talos (1.), it's a shame that, it's a great shame.)
Also relevant is:
Taroun (talon), v. taloun ; tarouna, tarounado, tarounea, tarouniero, v. talouna, talounado, talouneja, talouniero.
tarous, ouso, adj. Qui a des tares, taré, ée, v. endeca.

( Taroun (talon [i.e. heel or end), v. taloun; tarouna, tarounado, tarounea, tarouniero, v. talouna, talounado, talouneja, talouniero.
tarous, ouso, adj. One who has faults, crazy, v. endeca .)

This would seem to be an argument for a derivation of taraux in French from taro in Provencale, i.e. a French spelling of the Provencale, as there is no entry for taroc other than as the name of the game otherwise called (and spelled, in Provencale) Tarot, which seems to be derivative from the Italian tarocco. The game has the name of a word for "misfortune" or "loss", or perhaps "defect." Or because it has a talon, i.e. a stub at the end, in card games the cards left after the deal, taro as a variant of taloun.

The variants should put to rest the idea that tara cannot change to taro: you just have to go via Provencale. As far as I can tell, the diphthong "ou" was pronounced as in the English "low" (Wikipedia, Occitan Phonology, Old Occitan). The problem is that of adding the "-cco" in going from French to Italian. But in French, there is just as much of a problem going the other way: the normal way in which an "-cco" word in Italian goes into French is by making it "-que", e.g. Barocco to Baroque (Depaulis in part 2 of his original article). It might be argued that it is by analogy to "scirocco" as the name of the crazy-making wind. Alternatively, one might postulate that the derivation is from the Arabic "tarakh", by way of the Provencale word "taro" or "tarous" (with the s silent), meaning "unfortunate" or "defective, vicious, crazy", rendered into French as "taraux."

About derivation paths from tarakh to taroch, the problem is that in becoming Italian the "kh" of the word dropped out: the Italian is "tara". How from "tara" can you possibly get "taroch", etc.? It still could have come from Arabic or Turkish (taraka) directly. But these poets weren't in contact with Genoese merchants. Nor were they likely familiar with ancient Greek, which might be possible in Pavia or Ferrara, since the word occurs in Plato and Thucydides, but much less so in far-flung Piedmont, unless they had been educated elsewhere.

And it seems to me that there are also other reasons for favoring derivation (1), from "tarocch" as "cut tree trunk or stump," extended to "fool."

First, the words "tarocco" etc., continued to have the meaning of "fool" in Italian in contexts unrelated to games. Andrea has many essays illustrating this point. On the other hand, It never was taken to mean "discard" "deduction" or "Taro" as in Taro River. I know there can be cultural amnesia, but as evidence cultural memory works like the normal kind: e.g. it might be that I paid the rent and then forgot I paid it, but it's more likely that I paid the rent if I remember paying it, than if I don't remember paying it.

In French it is different there is nothing besides the game corresponding to "taraux"; the closest is taré, again from "tarakh", deficient in the sense of crazy or vicious, as early as Rabelais in Gargantua (
Rabelais, Gargantua, chap. L, éd. R. Calder, p. 282: femmes [...] borgnes, boyteuses [...] insensées, maleficiées et tarées)
Here "Insensées" means "foolish".The same can't be said for Provencale, however: the words "taro" and "tarous", similar to "tarot", continued to exist. But the word for the game was spelled "taroc", "tarot", or "tarots" (see the same page in the dictionary); the different spellings and variations suggest that they weren't connected in people's minds to the game.

Second, it was in Italy that the game was primarily played and so most needed to be distinguished from the game called "triumphs" using the regular deck. Other places simply didn't have a large enough linguistic community interested in distinguishing the two games to be decisive.

And third, there seems to be a relationship of mimicry to a previous game and its name, minchiate, documented in 1466 in Pulci's letter to Lorenzo. It rather clearly had a sense of "fool" or "quarreling" before and after that time. So if you need a new name, do something similar.

Besides the words minchia and minchione, both meaning "fool," as well as a word for the male pudendum (compare "prick" and "dick" in English and similar expressions in Italian, e.g. cazzone, coglione), there is Burchiello, c. 1440, first printed ed. c. 1472. My translation is the best I can offer, but I haven't run it by Andrea (he's on vacation); I used Florio for words unknown in modern Italian:
Se tu volessi fare un buon minuto, / togli Aretini et Orvietani e Bessi, / e sarti mulattieri bugiardi e messi, / e fa’ che ciaschedun sia ben battuto; / poi gli condisci con uno scrignuto / e per sale vi trita entro votacessi, / e per agresto Minchiatar fra essi / accioché sia di tutto ben compiuto.

(If you wanted to make a good minced meat
take the Arezzans and Orvietans et Bessians
and tailors, mule-drivers, and assumed liars,
and make each one well beaten;
then season it with one hunchback
and for salt mince in a privy-emptier,
and for sourness minchiatar among them
to the end that everything is done well …
Here "sourness" would suggest "quarreling" as a translation for "minchiatar". I get this suggestion from Andrea, before he went on vacation.

Then there is Pulci, in his sonnets (
Milan può far di molti ravïuoli,
tal ch'io perdono a que' mie’ minchiatarri
s'e' non facessin chiù come assïuoli.:

(Milan can make a lot of ravioli,
and for this I could forgive these minchiattarri [Philologist’s comment: players of the game of tarot, but also in a malicious sense]
if they didn’t say "chiù" like horned owls [reference to the cadence of Milanese speech]
Que’ huogli dicer di Napoli jentile?
L a gentilezza sta ne’ cantarelli,
Rispondo presto, e parmi un bel porcile.

Ah questi Fiorentin gran joctoncelli:
Ch’hanno tutti lo tratto sì sottile:
Così si pascon questi minchiattelli....

What would you (want to) say against the nobility of Naples?
I respond quickly that its nobility is in its pots of the night (its nobility is in the containers used for physiological needs, which were emptied at night in the streets)
and it seems quite a pigsty.

Ah, these Florentines (the Neapolitans say), people very refined (also, such boasters)
all of whom are so delicate:
so they spend their lives, these minchiattelli (people of little value)...
Then there are two later examples, first, anonymous of 1510, Farsa Satira Morale (see Andrea's essay with that title). One character ends a long enumeraton of games by saying:
Mancava anchora el gioco de tarocchi, / Chesser mi par tuo pasto: e un altro anchora / Minchion, sminchiata voise dir da sciocchi. / Hor prende qual tu voi, chel fugge lhora.“

We have yet to mention the game of Tarocchi,
Which seems to be your meal: and yet another,
A foolish one [Minchion], sminchiata, which is to say of fools.
Now choose what you want, because time is fleeing.
And Berni, 1526 (online in Google Books; the translation is Singer's, except that I have given a literal translation of the first 15 words or so):
viso proprio di Tarocco colui a chi piace questo gioco, che altro non vuol dir Tarocco che ignocco, sciocco, Balocco; degno di star fra fornari e calzolari e plebei a giocarsi in tutto dì un Carlino in quarto a tarocchi, o a trionfi, o a Sminchiate che si sia, che ad ogni modo tutto importa minchioneria e dapocaggine, pascendo l’occhio col sole e con la luna e col Dodici, come fanno i puti.

...the proper face of Tarocco, for one pleased with this game, is that Tarocco wants to say nothing other than stupid, foolish, simple, fit only to be used by Bakers, Cobblers, and the vulgar, to play at most the fourth part of a Carlino [a coin], at Tarocchi, or at Triumphs, or any Sminchiate whatever, which in every way signifies only foolery [minchioneria] and idleness, feasting the eye with the Sun, and the Moon, and the twelve [signs], as children do.
It is clear that he means Minchiate the game: not only does it follow the names of two other similar games, but Minchiate had the peculiarity of having not only the Sun and Moon cards, as in Tarocchi, but also the twelve signs of the zodiac. As in the case of the Farsa Satira Morale, there is an additional connotation, meaning “foolery,” similar to “of fools.” So the same is said of Tarocco -“stupid, foolish, simple” - as of Minchiate. And it seems to me that even in Farsa, such a meaning is implied, when he says "which seems to be your meal", denigrating both the person he is talking to and the game.

I also think something similar might be implied even in Burchiello, since immediately after the part I quoted, he adds:
Spècchiati ne’ Triomphi, el gran mescuglio
d’arme, d’amor, di Bruti e di Catoni
con femine e poeti in guazabuglio:
questi fanno patire i maccheroni
veghiando il verno, e meriggiando il luglio
dormir pegli scriptoi i mocciconi,

(See yourself in the Triumphs, in that mix
of arms, love, Brutuses and Catos,
a jumble of women and poets:
these Triumphs make fools suffer
and stay awake in wintertime
and make idiots sleep
on their writing desks in summer.)
While it is true that the overt meaning is Petrarch's Trionfi, it seems to me too coincidental that Brutus is a Traitor, plus lots of female figures in the tarot, love, various forms of arms (weapons), and the fool, as well as the hunchback of Minchiate earlier. Cato might be a reference to the Old Man again. If so, we again have the juxtaposition of the two games.

My point is that when the game-makers needed a new word for the game with 78 cards, they seem to have turned for their model to the same game with more cards (we don't know how many more at that point) and gave it a name with a different etymology - some thought German (the country of the army of Charles V, at any rate nulla latina ratione) some thought Greek (the anonymous discourse, Alciato, neither making much sense) - but most importantly with the current meaning of "fool" in various senses, as opposed to the word of Latin derivation for the previous game.

This argument cannot be made in France or Provence. They didn't have minchiate. The range of meaning, moreover, for "taroccare" matches that of "minchiattar" earlier, not just nonsense, but getting inappropriately angry, quarreling, e.g. Garzoni, "Of Madmen spiteful and da tarocco". That is rather more than a stump or tree trunk could muster, although it might stretch that far if ones on fire are included.

As for the etymology of tarocch, cut tree trunk or stump, that is another matter, of less interest to nail down, as Nathaniel says. Since a stump is a rejected part of a tree, it could derive from the Greek root. Or it could be Celtic, as Steve's research showed.

And as for the origin of "taraux," it seems sufficient to me to say that it is the French spelling of the Provencale translation of "tarochus, "tarocho", etc., i.e. "taro" or "tarous". That is to say, although the game was played in a Provencale-speaking area before it reached Lyon, the French spelling quickly became dominant, just because Lyon was dominant in playing card production.