I started compiling a list about a year ago of all of the times I noticed that an English word was very linguistically similar to a Hebrew word phonetically and semantically (i.e. in meaning). Many have seen or heard the Rashi on Genesis 11:1 :"The whole earth had one language" - The Holy Tongue. That is, all languages descend from Hebrew. I find it interesting to see how that plays out, aside from it often being very useful in understanding the connotations of a word. We see very often that Rishonim and the Gemara do this (e.g. comparing Hebrew words to words of their language) in order to understand both the connotations and denotations of a word. I'd like to make this a Community Wiki where people can contribute the words they observed or realized were very similar to a Hebrew word both phonetically and semantically(I can't find the button though). Here is my list so far:

  • פרת-EuPHRaTeS
  • לינה-Lay/leaning/sleep
  • (חרק(ים- crack(s)
  • קרן זוית-corner
  • מלשינים-MaLiCE? (A bit tenuous)
  • איוב-jovial (What an irony! Am I wrong though? Oxford Dictionary: “Jovial Cheerful and friendly.”)
  • השכל-scholarship
  • רגיל-regular
  • כף-cup (to cup your hands)
  • שיר-cheer
  • פיוס-appeasement/peace
  • הֲשקףFocus (Hebrew letters backwards/same sounds in both)
  • נגד - NeGaTive (see Rashi Leviticus 19:16 that D and T can switch while retaining the original meaning)
  • חס ושלום - Hush or חשאי-Hush(lit. secret or hidden) - Oxford Dictionary: "hush-hush (especially of an official plan or project) highly secret or confidential."
  • פיוט-Poet
  • קולפי{1}-clap/Yiddish - "קלאפ"
  • נחל-CaNaL
  • תיר-Tourist
  • לב - Love
  • מרת - Mrs.

{1}: .ערכין כב:Rashi-“הכאות”

  • Hi @Sam - there are few mistakes here... e.g. לב is heart, מלשינים is not malice it comes from the word לשון i.e. language / tongue
    – Dov
    Aug 20, 2020 at 16:39
  • Ironically איוב was someone who was famous for immense suffering and definitely didn't have a 'jovial' experience. The word for jovial would probably be something closer to some form of שמחה, חדוה or עליזה
    – Dov
    Aug 20, 2020 at 16:42
  • @Dov while לב is heart, the heart is nevertheless often connected with love.
    – Harel13
    Aug 20, 2020 at 16:55
  • @Harel13 - Agreed but it is not the literal meaning,
    – Dov
    Aug 20, 2020 at 16:58
  • 1
    I'm not sure this is on topic
    – robev
    Aug 20, 2020 at 17:15


Browse other questions tagged .