E 0637 OPHIDIAN

The word "ophidian" comes from Late Latin

and has its origin in Greek "ophis" .

H 0046 א פ ע ה

Concept of root: snake

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

א פ ע ה

ephe'

viper

Related English words

ophidian, via Greek

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

א פ ע ה

ephe'

viper

e ph '

Greek

οφις

ophis

serpent

o ph i

English

ophidian

snakelike ; referring to snakes

o ph i

 

 

Proto-Semitic *APH‛Ē --- *OPHIS Greek < *OPHI- Indo-European

 

 

The difference in meaning between Greek "snake", in general and Hebrew with the category of snakes called "viper" specifically does not touch the basic similarity.

 

Note:
  • Greek Some scholars believe Greek may have lent this word from Hebrew or Aramaic. But loaning is done for a reason, especially that of expressing a concept that does not have a satisfying word in one's own language. The difference in meaning between specific Hebrew " viper" and more generic Greek " snake " about excludes that a loan has taken place.

 

Note:
  • Greek Things get more complicated if we see that Greek scholars see a common origin between "ophis" = snake" and the quite different words "εχις, ekhis = viper, adder" and "εχιδνα, ekhidna = snake". Interesting is that this couple of words, built on "ekhi", has cognates in other Indo-European languages, such as Old Indian "áhi- = snake".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic With the usual difference, a final Aleph instead of a final H , א פ ע א, Aramaic has "'aphe‛ = viper" . Arabic calls a viper an 'af‛am". Ethiopic has "'af‛ot".

     

    Proto-Semitic possibly already used the first three elements of this rather particular root : א פ ע .

     

    A frequent point of uncertainty is if and where Proto-Semitic has begun to develop the consonants B, K and P, when found in certain positions, into respectively V, KH and PH. In this case, with the "PH = F " present not only in Hebrew and Aramaic from the North West, but also in Ethiopian and Arabic, we opt for " PH ".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. As stated in the second note above on Greek,scholars see a common origin between "ophis" = snake" and the quite different words "εχις, ekhis = viper, adder" and "εχιδνα, ekhidna = snake". And this couple of words, built on "ekhi", has cognates in other Indo-European languages, such as Old Indian "áhi- = snake". The hypothesis for Indo-European is then "*ogwh-".

     

    This is further seen as related to a Germanic "*agwi-", based on a number of words that do mean neither "snake" nor "viper", but "lizard". The nearest words are here Old High German "eghidehsa" and Middle Dutch "eghedisse". Old English had "aðexe", also saying "lizard".

     

    It is possible, be it a bit odd that the same root is used for "snake" and "lizard", but perhaps in some way the second parts "-desha" and "disse" are the key.

     

    But what we have failed to see is how Greek "ophis" would have developed out of "ekhis", or even out of a hypothetical "*ogwh" that finds no support in other Indo European groups. Armenian "ōz, auz" can hardly be seen in that role.

     

    There may of course have been an Indo-European form "*Ō PH I -", that lived on just in Greek only. This with the usual addition of a suffix for the shaping of a noun.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 21/01/2013 at 11.57.40