About the history and origins of words.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is Hebrew the mother of all languages spoken today in the world?

I often wonder what language Adam, Seth, Noah and Abraham (may peace and blessings be upon them) used to speak. What was their native tongue? Was it classical Hebrew? If yes, then would it be right to ...
5
votes
3answers
251 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.
4
votes
2answers
118 views

Niqqud of the name of the מהר"ץ חיות

What is the correct niqqud to put on the name of the מהר"ץ חיות? Wikipedia claims that his last name is spelled Chajes in English, and that Chayes or Hayot may also be seen. This seems to imply that ...
11
votes
2answers
728 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Etymology of the Name Feivel

Where does the Jewish name Feivel (or Feivish) come from? What does it actually mean?
7
votes
4answers
460 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?
7
votes
3answers
340 views

Are the names Akiva and Ya'akov related?

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

First Use of the Phrase “Cheit HaMeraglim”

The negative report given by the people who are sent to scout the land of Cana'an before Bnei Yisrael go in, resulting in the punishment that they have to wander for another 38 years in the desert, is ...
5
votes
3answers
112 views

Is there a substantive difference in meaning when the Torah uses the Hebrew verb root דבר rather than אמר?

Is there a substantive difference in meaning when the Torah uses the Hebrew verb root דבר rather than אמר, or do they both pretty much mean "to say" or "to speak"? Do any sages see the choice of one ...
5
votes
4answers
324 views

What's the origin of the name “Jew”?

Why are we called "the Jews"? Did Hashem pick out this name for us? What does the word "Jew" mean?
5
votes
2answers
291 views

What does Yarmulka mean?

What does the word Yarmulka mean?
4
votes
2answers
444 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.
3
votes
2answers
198 views

What does the word לאַטקעס (latkes) mean?

לאַטקעס is the Yiddish word used for the potato pancakes commonly eaten on Chanukah. Where does the word לאַטקעס come from originally? What exactly does it mean?
3
votes
3answers
200 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.
3
votes
5answers
509 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
1answer
481 views

Etymology of the word “Vasikin”

What is the etymology of the word "Vasikin", used for the Minyan that starts Shemona Esrei at sunrise? Also, is "Vasikin" Hebrew or Aramaic?
2
votes
2answers
784 views

Etymology of “kimpeturin” [closed]

What is the etymology of the yiddish term "kimpeturin," which refers to a woman who is recovering after childbirth?
1
vote
1answer
121 views

When, and why did the term “am ha'aretz” come to mean “ignoramus”?

In Tana'ch, the term "am ha'aretz" meant either "the tribal counsel" as we see when Abraham wanted to purchase the Cave of Machpela, he bowed down to the "am ha'aretz". It also meant "the nation" or ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Extra yud in Yerushalaim

Why and by whom was there a yud added to make "ירושלים" instead of the original "ירושלם"?