Old English "beran" and "feran" are of Germanic origin,

 but "transport  comes from Latin

H 0107            ר ב ע , ר י ב ע ה

Concept of root : pass, transport

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ב ע , ר י ב ע ה

avar , he‛evir

to pass, transport

Related English words

transport, from Latin;

Old English : feran, beran

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ב ע ,

ר י ב ע ה



to drag;


‛a v . r

(hé)‛è v . r




to carry, transport

f . r


ferre (fero),


fèrre (féro),


to carry, transport

f . r,

p . r

Old English

fēran ; beran

to drag ;

to carry

f . r





to carry, transport

v (u) r




to lead

f (ü) r



Proto-Semitic *‛AVAR, *‛OVER --- *B Ē R, *POR Indo-European



The meanings dealt with in this entry are those of "to transport, carry, drag", in fact causative meanings, that in Hebrew also are expressed by the causative verb "he’evir". In the Germanic languages the causative meaning can be expressed by a different vowel, specifically by an O" or O-related vowel. The active form, that is as such expressed in Hebrew in the basic form of the verb , that is " ’avar", in the Germanic tongues has also the vowel "A". So we see :


 German      fahren  -  führen 
 Dutch       varen  -  voeren 
 Swedish     fara  -   föra 
 Old English faran -  fœran  
 Old Saxon   faran  - forian 


Carrying and transporting are activities that always have been of extremely great importance in the daily life of human beings. Most animals hardly know this , with exceptions being mamma-wolf carrying her cubs, birds picking straws and grasses to build a nest and squirrels or insects hoarding food.


Important is that we see this concept expressed in words that are so clearly related in all the above mentioned languages. The difference remains that Hebrew invariably has added an Ayin + vowel as prefix, reinforcing still the pronunciation by this Ayin in front of the vowel. The Ayin is a as good as soundless interruption of speech , that is perhaps best imitated by starting an NG in the throat without then really pronouncing it. In Indo-European an initial vowel is seen only in part of the cases regarding transportation and transferring.



  • 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.


  • Old English "fēran" is a verb that is seen as meaning " to drag " as Hebrew " ‛avar ", but seems not to have indicated " to transport ". Instead "fēran" is also used to say " to go" that in Modern English has carried on in " to fare ". It is possible that, but remains uncertain if, displacements, with or without carrying something, in very old times may have been expressed by one and the same basic root. This root in developing has its variations, like F + R, B + R, P + R, that in modern English still can be seen in "to fare, to bear, porter".


  • Proto-Germanic . Proto-Germanic in all probability already used both forms : "*F (A) R-" and "*F (O) R-". It has to be noted though that a standard active meaning of " to go, come, march, travel" , has been expressed also with a vowel "E", as in Old English "feran". And as well that the vowel E" is again found in another causative form, in Old English "ferian" = to ferry", seen in entry E 0331 (Hebrew 0105) . And then it is extremely important to note Old English "beran = to bear, carry". This verb has its cognates in many Germanic languages, such as Old High German "beran", Old Frisian "bera", Old Norse"bera" and Middle Dutch "baren". This has to correspond to a common Proto-Germanic origin, probably "*B Ē R- ". An important aspect is that the Hebrew root also has a "B" in the middle, though this is often pronounced as "W" or between "V" and "W".


  • Latin has two roots based on the same origin. "Ferre" in classic Latin has lost ground to "portare". Already earlier it had gone out of use in the perfect tense and the participium. These were respectively "tuli" and "latum". "Tuli" is related to Greek , as one can see in the first lines of the Odyssea, when Odysseus is defined " πολυτλας , polütlas" , or " he who has supported much ". Obviously the words for " to carry" have their figurative meanings, as in the English verb "to support" that comes from Latin.


    The verb "transportare" was introduced especially to indicate " to make an army cross a river".


  • Indo-European. The basic meaning of "to bear, carry" is found in related words in important groups of Indo-European languages. Naturally figurative, extended or pregnant senses can be found abundantly.


    Tokharian as an exception has an initial "P" in "pär-" that has the message of "to bear".


    Old Indian has the verbal forms "bhárati, bhárti, bíbharti, babhāra, jabhāra, bhártum", as well as the identical nouns "bhāra = the bearing; burden", from which results an original BH Ā R- with the message of "to bear". This can be considered as based on older "*B Ā R-".


    Avestan in "baraiti"" says "bears, carries", but surprisingly also "rides". The noun for "the carrying" has a vowel "O" in "bŏrsti. The adjective "carrying " is expressed by a -bara-. Avestan had an original B Ā R-".


    Armenian has a basic "B Ĕ R found in many words. "berrn = burden", "berem = bear, carry", -ber = carrying, bearing".


    Greek.The verb " φ ε ρ ω , phero", certainly has "PH Ē R-, but this may have its origin in a "*P Ē R-" or "*B Ē R-".


    Latin "fero, ferre" has a basic "F Ĕ R-, that may have developed out of an earlier "*B Ĕ R-". The version with initial "F" is confirmed in other Italic languages. The verb "porto, portare" is an intensive form, or according to others a frequentative form, that has as basic element an original "P Ŏ R-".


    Slavic. An existing hypothesis shows the two consonants "B" and "R", with inbetween a dull "E" , an "È," or an "Ŏ ". Russian has a basic "B ( E ) R- in some words. "б е р е м я, b(e)remya = burden".


    Celtic in Old Irish offers "berit = to bear" and a Celtic "B ĔR-" is probable.


    Albanian has "bar, mbar = bear, drag".


    Proto-Germanic , as shown above, had "*B Ē R-"


    Indo-European certainly must have had an initial vowel "B", out of which also have developed "BH", "F" and "P" in some groups. The other consonant was "R". The vowel may have varied according to verbal and nominal forms, but the basic one probably was a long " E " in "* B Ē R-".






Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 22/12/2012 at 9.20.57