About the history and origins of words.

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4
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1answer
286 views

Does 'Levi-' as half of a surname indicate a family of Levites?

I've come across a number of surnames of the form Levi-[Something]: Tullio Levi-Civita was from an Italian Jewish family. Claude Lévi-Strauss was from an Alsatian Jewish family. Rita Levi-Montalcini ...
6
votes
3answers
674 views

What is the origin for Reform to call their synagogues a “Temple”?

Why does Reform typically call it a Temple, vs a Beit Knesset, a Beit Sefer, or a shul? I imagine the Hebrew would have been the obvious go to, if they chose to ignore the yiddush. Not that I know ...
3
votes
3answers
224 views

Etymology of “Krepel”

What is the Etymology of “Krepel”? Krepel is a 3 cornered stuffed piece of dough that we eat on Purim, Hoshana Rabah, and Erev Yom Kippur.
4
votes
0answers
698 views

Origin/meaning of common surname Naiman (or similar)

What is the origin and/or meaning of the common Jewish surname Naiman (or Neiman, Najman, etc.)? According to this site the common Jewish name is of Germanic origin, meaning "Newcomer". However, ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

The (female) name Freeda amongst Sefardim

I am under the impression that the name Freeda is a female Yiddish name. For some reason it seems to be very popular amongst the Sephardim. How did this happen?
9
votes
3answers
360 views

What is the etymology of סמאל?

I've heard that סמאל (Samael, a "bad" angel) is related to the word שמאל (left). Is there any basis for this, and are there any other explanations for his name? The Hebrew Wikipedia claims that it is ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

חס ושלום! (whatever that means)

What on earth does חס ושלום mean literally, or what is its etymology? Why do people use that phrase in particular to "ward off" bad things? (That last part of the question is not asking whether saying ...
3
votes
2answers
427 views

What's the etymology of the Hassidic term “b'sho'oh” for a chaperoned quasi-date?

I've heard in the Hassidic world, if two families decide that one's young fellow should meet the other's young lady, the couple has a brief, chaperoned, meeting, known as a b'shoh (spelling?), to ...
5
votes
2answers
333 views
3
votes
2answers
190 views

Clothing and shame, etymologically speaking

I have been unable to find an etymological connection between the root for shame בשש (especially as it turns into the forms of בושה בושת) and the word for "clothe" לבש. Shame was introduced in ...
6
votes
1answer
145 views

Root of the name Aharon

What is the etymology of the name Aharon? The only serious site I've found that proposes an etymology is this, but I'm hoping for a more classical source, i.e. Chazal or Rishonim.
7
votes
2answers
202 views

What does שעטנז (sha'atnez) mean?

.שעטנז. I'm asking about the literal meaning behind the word, its etymology, etc.
8
votes
1answer
150 views

How does a door hit against a lintel (משקוף)?

Rashi in several places (Gen. 41:6; Ex. 12:7, 21:25; Lev. 26:36) writes that משקוף ("lintel") is related to the Aramaic root שקף ("beat"), "because the door beats against it." How so? Doesn't the ...
0
votes
1answer
215 views

Extra yud in Yerushalaim

Why and by whom was there a yud added to make "ירושלים" instead of the original "ירושלם"?
4
votes
4answers
256 views

Why do we call praying, Davening?

Why do we call praying Davening? What is the source of this word? Where did this originate?
11
votes
5answers
254 views

Males named מיכל?

Where does the male name מיכל (as in יחיאל מיכל) come from? Is it a diminutive/corruption/translation/elision of מיכאל, derived therefrom in some other way, or simply a false cognate?
4
votes
2answers
586 views

Etymology of the word “Kvater”

What is the etymology of the word "Kvater"? Kvater is what we call the person that carries the baby boy into a Bris.
4
votes
1answer
887 views

What do the names Pesil, Pesa, and Pesha mean?

What is the meaning and source of the name Pesil or Pesa or Pesha?
7
votes
2answers
128 views

When did Ben Teshuva become Baal Teshuva?

Rabbeinu Yonah in Bava Basra 39a talks about someone who does Teshuva and calls him a Ben Teshuva. What is the earliest reference in history to the words Baal Teshuva? And why did it change from Ben ...
5
votes
1answer
92 views

Zmirot vs Pizmoniim

How is it that Ashkenaz and Sfardiim have different names for the same exact thing. Do both Zmira and Pizmon mean the same thing? What are the origination of people calling them either one? I know ...
8
votes
3answers
426 views

Are the names Akiva and Ya'akov related?

Are the names Akiva and Ya'akov related?
6
votes
1answer
185 views

How and when did the word “Kollel” come to mean “an institution for paying scholars to study Torah”?

How and when did the word "Kollel" come to mean "an institution for paying scholars to study Torah"? If I'm not mistaken, the Hebrew word "kollel" means "includes." But today we've all heard of the ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

Etymology of “Grager”

What is the Etymology of “Grager”? Grager is the noisemaker we use on Purim during the Megila when Haman's name is read.
7
votes
1answer
202 views

“Boich sevarah”

There is a common Yiddish phrase used to describe an arbitrary reasoning that is not based on the sources: "Boich sevarah" -- literally, "stomach reasoning." What is the exact meaning of this phrase, ...
6
votes
1answer
244 views

דילמא == Dilemma?

Is there documentation to prove that the Aramaic word "דילמא" is a transliteration or derivation of the Greek word "dilemma"? If so, this fact is informative to G'mara-learning in understanding the ...
7
votes
4answers
572 views

Etymology of the surname “Katz”

Are there sources for the etymology of the surname Katz being an acronym for Kohen Tzedek? Is that simply a backronym?
3
votes
3answers
143 views

Is there a single syntactic class “פעיל” in Biblical Hebrew?

Is there a unique class of Biblical Hebrew words of the form "פעיל"?Is the putative class of Biblical Hebrew words strictly a class of nouns or adjectives?If not, is it strictly divisible into two ...
2
votes
1answer
301 views

Are “tzipor” and “tziporen” related?

Are the words ציפור (bird) and ציפורן (finger nail OR a spice [found in k'tores]) etymologically related? I heard that both were connected to the root צ.פ.ר (arise) or to anatomical protuberance but I ...
5
votes
3answers
273 views

What are some examples of Jewish names? [closed]

What are Jewish sounding names that come from various occupations and locations? Please give the "rough" translation and background too.
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Etymology of the Name Feivel

Where does the Jewish name Feivel (or Feivish) come from? What does it actually mean?
5
votes
1answer
277 views

Are the Aramaic root ק.ב.ל and the Hebrew root ק.ב.ל related?

When the word מקבילות comes up in parashas T'ruma, Rash"i defines it based on the Aramaic root ק.ב.ל, commonly found in the preposition לקבל (against or opposite) to mean physically across ...
5
votes
1answer
526 views

Why is it called Bas Kol

Why is it called Bas Kol versus Ben Kol?
3
votes
5answers
656 views

Etymology of “Shtiebel”

Is there an etymological connection between the Yiddish word "shtiebel" and the English word "steeple"? They seem to overlap a lot in usage and pronunciation. A cursory search reveals that "shtiebel" ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Etymology of “kimpeturin” [closed]

What is the etymology of the yiddish term "kimpeturin," which refers to a woman who is recovering after childbirth?
2
votes
3answers
634 views

Where can I find Hebrew etymologies?

In what reliable source can I look up the etymology of English (or other) words stretching all the way back to Semitic languages, especially Hebrew? I often have suspicions that certain words might ...