Questions tagged [etymology]

About the history and origins of words.

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Whence "בחזקת בשרי"?

Besides the main categories of meat, dairy, and pareve (non-meat, non-dairy) foods, two special subcategories of pareve foods are relevant to halacha (e.g. Yore Dea 93): pareve food cooked using clean ...
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Grammatical origins of names in Tanach

Almost all nouns in Hebrew fit into one of several standard "templates". For example, מִבְחָן comes from the root בחנ combined with the pattern מִפְעָל (already used by many other words). There would ...
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The difference between Chazal and Razal

I have heard it said before that Chazal (חז"ל = חכמינו זכרונם לברכה; "our sages of blessed memory") refers to sages of the Mishna and Gemara, while Razal (רז"ל = רבנים/נו זכרונם לברכה; "our/the ...
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Is there any evidence of a Jewish demon named Khoyzek?

The Yiddish term khoyzek refers a "mockery" of something else. According to Dov Sadan (cited here) this word derives from Khoyzek a demon in Jewish folklore. I looked high and low and could ...
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Birkat Halevana vs. Kiddush Levana

Where are the origins of calling this Beracha "Kiddush" Levana, and what does it mean? I have seen that Rabbi Yosef Qafih in his commentary to Maimonides’s Guide for the Perplexed (Vol. 2 Chapter 5 ...
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Is there a reference that explains the literal meaning and etymology of the names of the Hebrew months?

Is there a reference that explains the literal meaning and etymology of the names of the Hebrew months? I am looking for something that explains both the common Babylonian names as well as the Tana"ch ...
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Evolution of the Term "Ger"

According to Plaut ("The Torah a Modern Commentary", Revised Edition, p. 530) the term "ger" has changed over time. Ger was the term applied to resident non-Israelites who could ...
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Origin of the use of "G-d"

I'm wondering about the earliest uses of the abbreviation "G-d". Obviously, it's used as an extension to avoiding saying Hashem's name in vain, but was this practice common from the ...
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Where can I find how many roots the author needs to compose for each book of the Tenach

For example: I am reading now the book of Joshua in Hebrew. It looks to me quite simple language. The author uses often the same terms. Poetry and wisdom-litterature is much more complex. My ...
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Expressing benefit in the Pentateuch

Regarding the prohibition of deriving benefit from a murderous animal (shor haniskal), the gemara (e.g. Bava Kamma 41a) suggests (in an initial interpretation) that, from the fact that the Torah uses ...
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Change in meaning of the word "midah"

In the Torah, the word מדה means "measurement". Example: Exodus 26:2 (Sefaria translation) אֹ֣רֶךְ ׀ הַיְרִיעָ֣ה הָֽאַחַ֗ת שְׁמֹנֶ֤ה וְעֶשְׂרִים֙ בָּֽאַמָּ֔ה וְרֹ֙חַב֙ אַרְבַּ֣ע בָּאַמָּ֔ה ...
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Relationship between *segulah* and violet color

We have a tradition, very often used in drush, that words deriving from the same root are really manifestations of the same idea in different facets. In this context, what is the relationship between ...
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Etymology of the name Azriel?

A quick Google search shows that most people hold this is the angel of death. Where are the sources for this (or any other sources of the name)? If there is a source for this, are people naming their ...
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Orah, Or and Torah

I found this on the Aish website: The accurate meaning of “Torah” is twofold. Firstly it comes from the word “הוֹרָה,” which means teaching. More precisely it means “teaching with direction,” i.e. ...
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