E 0331          FERRY

The word "ferry" is of Germanic origin

H 0105             ר ב ע

Concept of root : to cross (over)

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ב ע


to cross (over)

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ב ע


to cross (over)

‛a v . r

‛o v . r

Old Norse



ferry, to ferry

 f . r

Old English


to ferry

 f . r




 f .rr





 v . r



Proto-Semitic *‛AVAR, *‛OVER --- *PAR-, *POR- Indo-European



In comparison with the entry E 0651 (Hebrew 0104), here a different development is seen . There is in "ferry" no initial vowel or , as in Hebrew, strongly emphasized vowel. Germanic has just the second and third consonant of the Hebrew root. This means that the initial vowel , and the Ayin preceding it, have not always been present but are a later, be it still very old, extension by a prefix.


This has consequences for English.



  • Hebrew and Proto-Semitic. Proto-Semitic is considered as having used the same root that is present in Hebrew ע ב ר . It is used in Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic and Akkadian. This entry is one of a group of six, all based on the same Proto-Semitic and Hebrew root , that has known a particularly rich development of related meanings, which have their counterparts in various European languages. The six entries are :
     E 0651 over                       (Hebrew 0104, to pass over)
     E 0331 ferry ( Dutch "veer")      (Hebrew 0105, to cross (over)
     E 0345 ford                       (Hebrew 0106, ford)
     E 0939 OE beran (Latin fero)      (Hebrew 0107, to pass, transport )
     E 0629 OE ofer( Du "overkant")    (Hebrew 0108, other side)
     E 0344 for                        (Hebrew 0109, for, before)  
    Perhaps also E 0468 (Hebrew 0110) should be considered part of this group.


  • English is present in the series of entries , with the words "over, ferry, ford" that result being related amongst each other . What is done with a "ferry" in Old English is called " ferian ". Usually this is seen as related with " to fare " and Latin "ferre". To this is referred in entry E 0939 (Hebrew 0107).


  • Proto-Germanic. Probably Proto-Germanic used an "I" or "J", to express a causative form of "to cross". And this causative form perhaps gradually has conquered a position of its own, distinguished as "to cross over water" as to the function of the other causative form with a vowel "O" or a related vowel, carrying the more general meaning of "to transport, carry, conduct". So Proto-Germanic here probably had "*F (E) R Y".


  • Indo-European.


    Old Indian pārá" stands for "bringing across"; the "P" is doubled in "píparti= to bring over". The causative is "pāráyati = to bring over, escort". These words have meanings related to the concept of "to cross over".


    Avestan has a related form "par- = to pass over, to pass through".


    Greek "πορευω, poreuo = to ferry" and "πορθμεια, porthmeya = ferry.



    Indo-European probably used the two consonant combination "P R" . It is difficult to define with any certainty the vowel or vowels used. "*P Ā R-" is very well possible, but this vowel may as well have been introduced in the Eastern languages, that like this vowel very much. And "*P Ŏ R- may well have been in use. The use of an " E " should be a later development.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 22/12/2012 at 9.19.04