E 0630 OFF

The word "off" is of Germanic origin

H 0052 א פ ו , א פ ו א

Concept of root: hence, since

Hebrew word


English meanings

א פ ו , א פ ו א

epho; eph’o

thus, then, hence

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


א פ ו א ,א פ ו

epho, eph’o

thus, then, therefore

e ph o





a ph u


ab; af

ab; af

from, on account of

a b ; a f




o ff



Hebrew *EPHO --- *AF Indo-European



The relationship seems very clear. A problem is though that this Greek word may be just Modern Greek. It is probably build up from "apo ho", meaning "from it", used for "from this". Also the Hebrew word may have been built out of two elements, "AP " plus "HU" . The first part, "A+P" is found as an independent word, but not with the same meaning "off , from". Its range of meanings consists of " also, still, even, yes, really, rather ". We have no clear conclusions in this case.



  • Latin "ab" remains a bit further off, perhaps because it has not composed a word together with a pronoun. It has a number of uses, comparable also with its German sister "ab" . The other word, "af" , is older Latin and was in Classic time mainly used in bookkeeping.


  • Hebrew : This Hebrew word with final Aleph is supposed to have been constructed from the following two brief terms : " א י , ei = where" and " פ ה , p = here". "Where-here" would then have been used as "then, now, so". A far jump one might say. And the fact that there is also the word without final Aleph, rather indicates that we have an extension of the word, perhaps in order to accentuate a development of meaning . So we see : " epho = from, away from " , with a neutral message of movement or origin, becoming "eph’ = therefore, then, so" with a message of reason or causality .


    Hebrew has another word " א י פ ה, eph (Aleph Yod P H) ", with the meaning " where".


  • Proto-Semitic. We have insufficient information from other languages for a hypothesis of the mentioned composed words in Proto-Semitic. But the possible components are found in similar forms in various Semitic languages and must have been present in Proto-Semitic . Their sound may have been " ey " and " po ", but their exact transcription ( always hypothetical in a non written language ) remains rather uncertain.


  • Proto-Germanic. It has been tried to see one and the same root for English "off" and German "von", supposing a Proto-Germanic "*afa " or "*fana". But Gothic (af; von), Old Saxon, ( af; fana) and Dutch ( af; van) use two different words. Probably in Proto-Germanic these two roots existed a s well : "*A PH" and "*V . N"


  • Indo-European. In the field of meanings like "off, from, away, since" there are Old Indian " ápa", Avestan "apa", Greek "aphou, apo", Latin "af (aph), ab", Germanic "af (aph)". This is sufficient for a hypothesis for Indo-European of "A PH".




Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 21/12/2012 at 13.47.25