E 0456          HOMO-

The prefix "homo-" is of Greek origin .

H 0143         ם א , ם ע

Basic concept of root : common descent

Hebrew word


English meanings

ם א , ם ע

am , om

tribe, descent

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ם א , ם ע

‛am , om

tribe, descent

‛o m




of the same descent or kind

ho m



of the same kind

ho m .



Proto-Semitic *‛AM, *OM --- *HOMO-S- Greek



This similarity is a little bit surprising for English-speakers that know the many composed words that begin with the prefix "homo-" of Greek origin. But the case is very interesting :


  • Indo-European and Greek. There are many cases in which a Greek word that begins with an "H" corresponds with words beginning with "S" in several other Indo-European tongues. Classic examples are the words "hex = six" and "hephta = seven". But in such cases there exists always a risk that scholars make a "law" out of what is just a more or less frequent phenomenon.


    In the case of "homos" the supposition is that it comes from *somo, from Indo-European "*sem-", meaning "one, the same, community". The supposition of meanings is convincing, in harmony with our own thoughts, but there is no reason to suppose that all Indo-European languages had that "S" at the beginning of the root of this entry. On the contrary, the similarity between Greek, Germanic ( see entry number E 0455 (Hebrew 0142) ) and Hebrew confirms that roots beginning with "H" are living on till today.


    Feeling uncertain about Indo-European we maintain the comparison with Greek.


  • Hebrew.This brief and very important word "am" or "om" is also found with that other "consonant", indicating that a vowel is to be pronounced, the Aleph. This reinforces the concept that the more guttural and to the good listener audible Ayin found its origin often in a strengthening of the action of pronouncing a word that began with a vowel.


  • Proto-Semitic supposedly had the same root " * ע ם " found in Hebrew and many other Semitic tongues. It is seen in Phoenician, Moabitic, Aramaic, Syriac, Ugaritic, Arabic and OS Arabic.


    In Aramaic, Syriac, Ugaritic and Arabic , as in fact is also the case in Hebrew, there are forms with Aleph instead of Ayin. This makes us see that the stronger "consonant" Ayin may be introduced in words having an initial Aleph, for example to obtain a more emphasized pronunciation that in cases may indeed be linked to a more emphasized message.


  • Greek has supplied this word to many other languages as a component of complex words, but as such it is just Classic Greek, including Homer.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 01/10/2012 at 12.57.30