Questions tagged [etymology]

About the history and origins of words.

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5
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2answers
333 views

What is the meaning of the name Lemech?

In Bereshis 4:18 Lemech is introduced. Do any commentators explain the meaning or implication of his name?
5
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0answers
84 views

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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66 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
180 views

Source and etymology of כפירה kefirah ‘heresy’

Can someone inform me of where the word כפירה meaning ‘heresy’ was first used? Mishnah? Talmud? Word is not found in Tanach, apparently. How is it distinguished from other triliteral roots meaning ...
4
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2answers
140 views

Source for the Usage of “Kabbalah”

What are the earliest sources that refer to Jewish mysticism in particular as "kabblah". (Preferably the answer should include an indication that the word was associated with this in particular, ...
4
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4answers
315 views

Why do we call praying, Davening?

Why do we call praying Davening? What is the source of this word? Where did this originate?
4
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2answers
224 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 ...
4
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2answers
661 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 ...
4
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1answer
238 views

How did the term “Shalom Bayit” come to mean “matrimonial harmony”?

A follow up to this M.Y. question : The answer there (so far), addresses the source of the term, in general and cites Talmud Shabbat which seems to address the importance of lighting Shabbat candles. ...
4
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2answers
318 views

When did the word challa start being used to mean our Shabbos bread?

In the Torah we seem to only find this word associated with Temple related breads. In Rabbinic writings the word challa was the word referring to the amount of dough separated to be given to a kohen. ...
4
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1answer
485 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 ...
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311 views

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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1answer
1k views

Origin/meaning of common surname Naiman (or similar) [closed]

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, I'...
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3answers
368 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
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2answers
425 views

What does the word לאַטקעס (latkes) mean? [closed]

לאַטקעס is the Yiddish word used for the potato pancakes commonly and commemoratively eaten on Chanukah. Where does the word לאַטקעס come from originally? What exactly does it mean?
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5answers
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Etymology of “Shtiebel” [closed]

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" ...
3
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1answer
2k 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?
3
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2answers
23k views

What is the origin and meaning of mabrouk?

Instead of mazal tov, some sefardim use the term mabrouk(sp?). What does that term mean and what is its origin?
3
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1answer
113 views

Connection Between Liver & Honor?

Seeing that lashon hakodesh allows for analyzing the connection between similar rooted words, what is the connection between liver (כבד) and honor (כבוד)?
3
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4answers
311 views

Source of the word “teva” for nature

I was told by someone who I consider to be very reliable that the word טבע, which means nature, does not have a source in Biblical or Talmudic literature, and it is a word that first emerges in ...
3
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2answers
274 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.
3
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2answers
2k views

Etymology of “kimpeturin” [closed]

What is the etymology of the yiddish term "kimpeturin," which refers to a woman who is recovering after childbirth?
3
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3answers
158 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 ...
3
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1answer
56 views

Book, commentary, or other source that explains the Biblical usage of “compass” directions

IIRC, there may have been a M.Y. question that referred to a source that explained the Biblical usage of the 4 directions. I.e. it explained why: קדם is East ים is West נגב is South צפון is North ...
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0answers
87 views

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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0answers
352 views

Origin of Yisha'yahu (Isaiah/יְשַׁעְיָהוּ)'s name

Does Jewish tradition teach us anything that might explain the origin of the name Yisha'yahu/Isaiah/יְשַׁעְיָהוּ? I am referring to the prophet who bore the name. If his name means, as it seems to, "...
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3answers
581 views

Root of word צְלוֹתְהוֹן?

Looking at the Kaddish Shalem focusing on the words תִּתְקַבֵּל צְלוֹתְהוֹן, what is the etymology of the word tzelot-hon? Is this construct even hebrew? I found the root צְלָא meaning "pray" with ...
2
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3answers
124 views

What is the connection between “שיח” as prayer and “שיח” as a bush?

פרשת וירא (כא טו): וַיִּכְלוּ הַמַּיִם מִן הַחֵמֶת וַתַּשְׁלֵךְ אֶת הַיֶּלֶד תַּחַת אַחַד הַשִּׂיחִם Genesis 21:15: And the water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the ...
2
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3answers
959 views

Where can I find Hebrew etymologies? [closed]

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 ...
2
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3answers
305 views

Why is it called “Eden”?

God planted a garden in Eden (Genesis 2:8). Why is it called Eden? I don't see that any of the commentaries in my mikraos g'dolos discuss this.
2
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1answer
333 views

Etymology of “yochevetzville”? [closed]

I've heard several Ashkenazic Jews (particularly those from the Midwest), both religious and secular, who use the word "yochevetzville" as synonymous with "nowhere". (e.g. "Of course he can't find ...
2
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3answers
204 views

What is the meaning of the phrase לצאת ולבוא?

What is the meaning of the oft-repeated phrase לצאת ולבוא as in Deuteronomy 31:2 ? I realize it means "to conduct business" or "to lead", but I was hoping for more of a deep dive (does it come from a ...
2
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1answer
487 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 ...
2
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1answer
893 views

What is the origin of the Yiddish word “nebach”? Is there a Jewish, Biblical source? [closed]

I've found numerous articles about what the word "nebach" (נעבעך) means, for example here and here. However, I have not been able to determine the true source of it. Is this word, so commonly used ...
2
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1answer
59 views

The afflicted, poor and humble a reference to the command to afflict oneself on Yom Kippur

How do we know that 'v'initem' (Leviticus 16:31) includes fasting in the context of Yom Kippur? How does this usage relate to usage of the word, or related words, in other contexts? Some food for ...
2
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2answers
68 views

what is the etymology of “Nebat”?

Brown Driver Briggs, usually unabashed at offering extra-canonical etymology, offers only "proper name" as the etymological parse of נבט, given that it is only ever found in the phrase " יָרָבְעָ֣ם ...
2
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1answer
92 views

Understanding the usage of וגומר and וכולו

Why are the terms וגומר and וכולו used instead of just writing out the rest of the sentence? When were these terms first instituted?
2
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1answer
86 views

Etymologic origins of “Maimouna”

Maimouna, the day after Pesach, is probably the most well-known of the isru chag traditions. It originated with the Jews of North Africa, and these days Israelis honour it by making barbecues. ...
2
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2answers
404 views

Ger Tzedek/Tzadik earliest sources and definition

As I understand a "Ger Tzedek/Tzadik" is a fully converted follower of the Torah of Moshe. According to Hilchot Melachim 10:3-4, a "Ger Tzedek" is defined as someone who has confirmed their conversion ...
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0answers
190 views

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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1answer
94 views

What is the etymological definition of הגיס?

What is the etymology and definition of הגיס? (Reference Rashi in Chulin 108A ד״ה טיפת חלב שנפלה על החתיכה and ד״ה ניער את הקדרה)
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2answers
114 views

Origin of Histakel Be'Oraisa Uvara Alma

The term "Histakel Be'Oraisa Uvara Alma" is often invoked when discussing chassidus or metaphysics. Literally translated, it means "[Hashem] gazed in[to] the Torah and created the world." While the ...
1
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1answer
80 views

Ibn Ezra: Moshe = Monius?

Ibn Ezra in his commentary to Shemos 2:10 says that the name Moshe was a translation of the Egyptian "Monius". I have, then, two questions: 1) Where does he get that his name was that? And 2) how is ...
1
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1answer
2k 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 "...
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1answer
63 views

When was the term “Next World” (עולם הבא) first used in Jewish literature

In modern Jewish literature and folklore the "next world" (עולם הבא) is mentioned multiple times. In contrast, it is not mentioned (AFAIK) at all in the Torah. So where/when did this start?
1
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1answer
36 views

A heap of people and ingathering of food

Is there any connection between the word אסף (to gather, collect) and אסם (literally a barn or storehouse but could be from an unised root meaning to heap up). I wondered because there is a feast in ...
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0answers
33 views

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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0answers
144 views

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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1answer
440 views

Extra yud in Yerushalaim

Why and by whom was there a yud added to make "ירושלים" instead of the original "ירושלם"?
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1answer
78 views

Source of “Koteret”

I have heard Rambam's presentation of the mitzvos at the beginning of each set of halachos referred to as the כותרת (koteret). What is the source for this usage?