E 1025          YMB

The Old English word "ymb" is of Germanic origin .

H 0144            ם ע

Concept of root : with and near

Hebrew word


English meanings

ם ע


with, near to

Related English words

ymb , Old English

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ם ע


with, near

‛i m


αμφι ;



amphi ;



around, near;

while, near

 a m ph . ;




ambi, amb-

ambi, amb-


 a m

Old English

ymb, ymbe

imb, imbe

around, near

 i m

Middle Dutch

om, omme

ombe, umbe

om. omme

around, near

 o m



Proto-Semitic *‛IM --- *AMB- Indo-European



The similarity in this brief preposition is clear, and once more between Hebrew and Dutch, be it in an older form. The difference between "I" and "O" perhaps even reinforces the matter, as we know that an initial "W" in Hebrew mostly has become "Y" and that this development easily brought along a change from the vowel that is nearest to "W" , the "O", into the vowel that is nearest to "Y", the "I".


This Hebrew preposition "‛im " is as well the protagonist of Entry E 0582 (Hebrew 0145). There we see a group of European words that have, more commonly, their vowel after the fundamental consonant "M"


  • Proto-Semitic. Sister words of this Hebrew preposition are found in Aramaic, Syriac, Ugaritic and Arabic. Some of these have a vowel " I " others an "A". It is difficult to make a hypothesis about the vowel ( or vowels) used in Proto-Semitic, among which we believe waw ( U or O )" may have been present, but the brief root " Ayin M " must have been there already : " *ע ם".


  • Origin. The origin of this short word should lie in that same M that indicates belonging and togetherness that we find in so many words that also are ties between Semitic and Indo-European languages.


  • Old English in this case is the nearest to Hebrew, in that it has maintained the same vowel we find in the Semitic language. Ymbe is the older form in Old English, that found its sisters in Dutch in the older forms Ombe and Umbe. Interesting is that we find in these two older Germanic tongues the three vowels that are covered by the ancient Hebrew letter "waw" and its developments.


  • Dutch is also near to Hebrew, not having fully adopted and not having maintained the extension with "B" or "BI":


  • Proto-Germanic The related brief words with the meaning of this entry in older Germanic languages, have mostly an initial vowel "U", a short one, pronounced "Ŭ". Several newer languages have developed a short "Ŏ" out of that older vowel. Old English had a second version with "Y" . After the vowel one sees in older languages: "Old Norse "umb/um" Old Saxon "umbi", Old Frisian "umb(e), Old High German "umbi", Old English "umb(e)" and 2ymb(e)" and then Middle Dutch shows us the whole development: "umbe, ombe, umme, omme, om". Proto-Germanic must have had the form : "*U MB- ".


  • Greek with its two words is also rather near, but both have developed from "nearness" to other concepts, "amphi" towards "around" and "hama" versus "while".



  • Indo-European. Celtic gives us an interesting contribution with Gaulish "ambi = around", very near Greek "amphi". Then Old Irish has "imb-, but also the from there developed word "imm" . Cymric "am-, em-, ym-" , Cornish and Breton "am-, em-" have only the final " M ", but an original "*AMB-" is probable for Celtic. And the same hypothesis, with the support from Latin, Greek and Germanic, seems valid for Indo-European: " *AMB" for "around".




Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 22/12/2012 at 15.05.37