E 0345          FORD

The word "ford" is of Germanic origin

H 0106            ר ב ע , ה ר ב ע 

Concept of root : ford

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ב ע ;

ה ר ב ע

‛avar ;


to ford ;


Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ב ע ,

ה ר ב ע

‛avar ,



a v . r




f . r d





v . r d


portus; porta

portus; porta

door ;


p . r t



Proto-Semitic *‛AVAR, ‛OVER --- *PORT Indo-European




The English and Dutch words are related to Latin "per" = over, that is known from many composite words and has a vast scale of litteral and fģigurative meanings . They have not received an initial vowel, even less a vowel accentuated by a guttural "Ayin". Instead they have taken a very common final dental. But the first part of their roots remains the same as the second part of the Hebrew one.


Generally it is accepted that " to pass over, to pass through" are the basic concepts of the roots of the words of this entry. Interesting is that both Hebrew and English have used this root to express the more specialized concept of a place or stretch where one can with relative ease cross a river. A difference remains that Hebrew has not seen the necessity to accentuate this diversification in meaning by an adaptation of the root, as Germnic has done with the addition of a dental D, that is consequently found in English "ford".


Often this specific use is seen as related to other words , with the reasoning that its basic meaning is "to pass". This is of course exact, but this basic concept has so many variations that it is practical to subdivide the different similarities of meanings between languages.


A particular example is the world-wide known Nordic word "fjord", the relatively narrow waterway between high rocky sides that cut deep into the Norwegian land. This word "fjord" is seen , also by Scandinavian scholars, as related to "ford" and originated from the basic meaning of "fordable place". This notwithstanding the fact that fjords are decidedly deep .


Another one is found in Latin "porta" and "portus", even more well-known as living on in modern languages and meaning "door" or "gate", some place one passes through. "Portus" is the "door" of a house, "porta" the gate of a town and again "portus" is a seaport.


Then there is the Greek name for the river "Euphrates", memaning that this the river that has so many "good fords".


The words of this entry are found in some geographical names that all have the same meaning of "place where bovines can cross " : Oxford, Bosporus, Ochsenfurt ( Germany ) and Coevorden (Holland) . Just a note: beautiful Vancouver has its name from Admiral "Van Coeverden" who was of Dutch descent. His father came from Coevorden in Drente, Holland.



  • 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.


  • Proto-Germanic. A ford is the place where one can with relative ease cross a river. Its Nordic sister word "fjord" indicates the long stretches of water one can or rather has to cross in order to get from one mountainous coast to another. We find a final dental added to the root "F (O) R" that is found in entry E 0939 (Hebrew 0107) and which carries the meaning of "to trasport, carry". This final dental is nearly always a D" , with the exception of a second version of Middle Dutch and German "Furt" with already Old High German "furt". One may suppose that Proto- Germanic used "*F (O) R D".


  • Slavic. Russian has a sister word of English "ford" in "б р о д, brod", that had a metathesis between R and vowel. The same word is found in other Slavic tongues.


  • Indo-European.


    Avestan uses the word "pĕrĕtu = ford"


    Greek "πορος, poros = ford", together with other meanings in the field of "passage, corridor".


    Celtic often eliminates an initial "P" or, as in this case perhaps, an initial " F ". Old Cymric and Cornish for "ford" say "rit and New Cymric "rhyd. One sees that the elimination of the " F " went with a metathesis of the "R" and the vowel. The vowel itself in a normal development became " I ". Gaulish shows word parts "ritu-= -ford"



    Indo-European probably still used an initial " P " in a form "*P U R T" and/or possibly "*P O R T"





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 28/09/2012 at 16.03.37