E 0283 EARTH

The word "earth" is of Germanic origin

H 0068 א ר ץ

Concept of root: earth, land

Hebrew word


English meanings

א ר ץ


earth, land

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


א ר ץ


earth, land

a r . ts



ea r th

Old English

eorde, eorthe

eordhe, eorthe

eo r dh

Middle Dutch

aarde, erde

aarde, erde

earth, soil

aa r d

ee r d




earth, soil

e r d



Proto-Semitic *ARED --- *ARD- Indo-European



See the entries E 0282 (Hebrew 0057) ar', E 0642 (Hebrew 0058) arad and 0043 (Hebrew 0059) ar, which have a common origin with "arets". We find there the related Greek and Latin roots mentioned. Those do not have the added dental as a third consonant, which is typical for the modern Germanic words.



  • Proto-Germanic. In older versions of Germanic languages we find the words for "earth" both with and without an additional "dental". The same is the case in Hebrew. Therefore the two forms probably have lived together for millennia. Old Germanic "ero" for example recalls Greek "era", with both carrying the meaning of "earth", just like Aramaic "ar‛" .


    In the Nordic or Scandinavian languages the word for "earth" is "jord". It is the common opinion of Nordic scholars that this "jo" has developed out of "e", and that Proto-Scandinavian would have had "*erd-u". It must be remarked though that Old Swedish had "arudu". Then there are Gothic "erda, airda" and Old Frankish "ertha". Middle Dutch had "aerde, eerde" , but Dutch returned fully to the vowel "A" in "aarde". The "th" in English "earth" is as usual a development out of "D", seen also in Old English "eorde", with an "O" possibly under the influence of Nordic immigrants. Old Frisian shows the development "D > TH" in "erde > erthe".


    Proto-Germanic probably lived the development of the initial vowel , still having "A" but already using the alternative "E". The central consonants were "RD", followed by suffixes : "*A RD-, " and "*E RD -"


  • Proto-Semitic. The root in Proto-Semitic is supposed to be the same as in Hebrew. But in several other languages we find roots more like in German and Dutch, Aleph Resh Daleth, " 'A R D " in some Aramaic and "A.R.DH" in Arabic, South Arabic and Jibbali . This picture reinforces the similarity between Semitic and Indo European .


    It is possible that the S of the Hebrew and Akkadian third consonant "TS" , like the final S in Phoenician, has been a later development. That might mean an original Proto-Semitic root " *Aleph R T" : "א ר ת" or " *Aleph R D": "א ר ד".


    This root may then be related to or even have been developed out of a root without a dental as third consonant, as indeed later found also in Aramaic, be it with an extra Ayin: "א ר (ע)".


  • Indo-European.


    Greek in older language had the word " ερα, erā = earth". There is no final dental .


    Celtic has in Middle Irish a clear cognate : ert = "earth, ground".


    Baltic. One finds a Latvian "âs = (arable) field", with "ârt = to plow".


    Latin has "area = open terrain", but then also "piece of ground with a certain destination". Again there is no final dental.



    INDO-EUROPEAN. The final dentals in Germanic languages and Celtic may have been present earlier, and then there were both "*E R- or "*A R- and "*E R D-" or "*A R D-.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: Monday 9 July 2012 at 12.55.06