E 0281 EARN

The Old English birdname " earn " is of Germanic origin

H 0095 א י ה

Concept of root: bird of prey

Hebrew word


English meanings

א י ה



Related English words

Old English : earn

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


א י ה



a y a

Greek ; Ionian

αετος , αιετος

aetos , ayetos


a e ,

a y e




eagle, buzzerd, sparrow-hawk

a r a

Old English


eagle, hawk

ea r n

Middle Dutch

aer, aern, aren , adelaer

aar, aarn, aren, adelaer


a r;

a r n;

- a r



Hebrew AYA < Proto-Semitic *AWA --- AIE-T-OS < *AWYE- Greek



The two prey-birds are not the same, but generally alike, with the main difference lying in their sizes. The similarity seems thus obvious. And the links with Germanic are a confirmation.This entry is related to number GR 1120A ( Hebrew 0224 ), that deals with the same Greek word "aetos = eagle".


  • Greek. As shown, the Ionian version, which is also more eastern than that of Athens, is nearer to Hebrew, having conserved the "Y" between the two vowels. The existing idea is that Greek "aetos" would have a connection with the word "αημι (ami)" that tells of the blowing of the wind . This is a romantic and attractive thought, but regretfully it remains highly improbable. The resulting origin ""*A I E-" is by Greek scholars seen as derived from an older "*AWYE-". This is well comparable to Hebrew "*AWA_".


  • Germanic. The similarity between Hebrew and Germanic is smaller . Within Germanic the Gothic word is the nearest to Hebrew. Yet we do not have a certain explanation ready for the difference in the central consonants, respectively "R" in Germanic and "Y" in Greek and Hebrew.


    In Middle Germanic tongues an "N" was added, and in later times also a "D", so that we find "rn" in Norwegian and "arend" in Dutch for "eagle". The well-known German word "Adler" is a contraction from "Adelaar" which still exists in Dutch, besides "arend". "Adelaar" means "adele aar" or "noble hawk". This nobility was attributed to the largest bird of prey during the popularity of the hunt with such animals in the Middle Ages.


  • Proto-Germanic. In all Germanic languages, old and new, we find an opening vowel, mostly an A. In newer Scandinavian tongues we see an initial "Ø" in "ørn = eagle", but in between there was an "E" in Old Norse "erendi", that as we see also participated in the adding of "N" and of "D" after that "N", a phenomenon seen in Dutch and Low German. The probability is that Proto-Germanic had started to add a final "N", which gives us the root "*A R A", developing into "*A R I-" on a final track in the North, and "* A R N- " that in single languages later changed the initial vowel.


  • Proto-Semitic. We just have Arabic with "yu'yu" that also means hawk. This would be a doubling of an original " 'yu ". The suggestion is that these words are sound imitations. This cannot be excluded, but the shrieks of birds of prey are very much alike amongst them. One has to be a great expert to distinguish them well. The Hebrew word as such might go back to an earlier "* א ו ה, Aleph Waw H, aw ", in which the H stands for an accentuated vowel and that may have been in use in Proto-Semitic.


  • Indo-European.


    Celtic has an Old Irish "irar", Welsh and Cymric "eryr", Breton and Cornish "erer". The second "R" is a doubling of the first one andnone should not suppose a contraction. The indication from Celtic is "E R-".


    Slavic in Old Church Slavonic "orĭlŭ" precedes Russian "орел , oryol


    Baltic in Lituanian has "erelis = eagle" with a dialectal "arelis,similar to Old Prussian "arelis. The vowel "E" should have developed out of earlier "A": " A R-".


    Greek has a well known "ορνις, ornis, that is generally considered related to the other mentioned words. But its meaning is that of "bird", and has given "ornithology".


    Hittite has introduced an opening "H" in "haaras, and in the declination has an "N"; as the plural "haranis".



    Indo-European. For "eagle" or "bird of prey" an initial vowel plus "R", seems indicated. A further consonant or vowel is then added and the choices of the languages vary. We opt for the vowel " A " . The various following consonants should be considered later developments, and the origin was probably "*Ā R-" or "*Ā R A".


    It is possible that this is only more distantly related to Hebrew. Another, second root from which Greek "aetos" and its basis "*AWYE-" have been derived may have been present in Indo-European .





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 27/09/2012 at 17.57.45