The expression עין הרע is a case of סמיכות. It seems we often tend to (if not always) pronounce the noun עין with a patach beneath the ע and chirik beneath the י. Shouldn't it be pronounced as eiyn with a tseirei beneath the ע since that is the construct state of עין? In fact, we pronounce עין in its construct state when we say the name of the sefer עין יעקב (eiyn ya'akov) and the place name עין גדי (eiyn gedi) as examples.

  • 1
    Both the examples you gave are missing the "ha." Eiyn Yaakov and Eiyn Gedi, not Eiyn HaYaakov or Eiyn HaGedi. Maybe this has something to do with it?
    – ezra
    Jan 23 '17 at 4:40
  • This question would be more compelling if it would explain why you think the construct state is/should be used here.
    – msh210
    Jan 23 '17 at 13:22
  • See attached explanation of construct state. depts.washington.edu/bibheb/files/Construct.pdf
    – הבלשן
    Jan 24 '17 at 6:59
  • Ein Yakov and Ein Gedi are wellsprings, and therefore smichos (The Wellsprings of Jacob, the wellspring of Gedi). Ayin Hara is an eye, and Hara is an adjective, and there is no smichus. Jan 25 '17 at 15:10
  • First, Ayin Hara is not an eye, Ayin is an eye. Second, if Hara were an adjective then it needs to agree with the noun it modifies in gender and definiteness. Ayin doesn't have a definite article before it and ayin is a feminine noun. If ayin were definite it would be ha'ayin ha'ra'ah (העין הרעה) and ayin ra'ah (עין רעה) if it were indefinite. The fact that there is a definite article before the second word is a good indication that we are dealing with a case of semichut with the last (in this case second) noun taking the definite article.
    – הבלשן
    Jan 29 '17 at 5:11

Seems it is not a סמיכות : it is not

'eyn hara = Evil's eye, but

'ayin hara = the bad eye.

Because in aramaic, עין הרע is translated עינא בישא and not עינא דבישא .

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    If it were not smichut then it should be העין הרעה. רע would be an adjective that has a kamatz gadol ה at the end to agree with the feminine gender of the word עין and and would have a ה הידיעה to correspond to the definiteness of העין (since העין would also have a ה).
    – הבלשן
    Jan 23 '17 at 15:15
  • Indeed, there is also often the locution עין רעה .@הבלשן . But here the gender of עין could be masculine ?.. Rashi (Bereishis 32, 9) brings a list of such occurences. The Ikar Tosfot YomTov on Nazir chapter 4 also brings that every non-living thing can fluctuate gender.
    – yO_
    Jan 23 '17 at 16:57
  • Is עין on rashi's list of dual-gender nouns? How can you assume it is one of his nouns unless he actually told us? Also, which Mishnah of Nazir 4 Does ikar tosefot yomtov mentioned this?
    – הבלשן
    Jan 24 '17 at 7:26
  • No, but this dont seems to be an exhaustive list, Rashi just quoted some occurences to show that such thing exists. For the Ikar Tosfot YomTov, it is on NAZIR CHAPTER 2 MISHNA 2 (and not chapter 4, sorry!) @הבלשן
    – yO_
    Jan 24 '17 at 8:07

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