E 0049 ARSE

The word "ars " is of Germanic origin .

H 0188 ר ר ע

Concept of root : naked bottom

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ר ע


ר ו ע

‛arar ; ‛or

to get naked; to become naked

Related English words

arse, ass Old English aers, ears, ars

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ר ע ;

ר ו ע

‛arar ;


to get naked;

to become naked

‛a r . r <

*‛a r ;

‛ o r




bottom, rump

o r





a r s ,

a ss




ass, buttocks

o r s



Proto-Semitic *‛ARÀ, *‛ŎR --- *AR, OR Indo-European



As so often , the Greeks have chosen an O where the Jews have an A reinforced by starting its pronunciation by an Ayin, like an unheard guttural NG. But also Hebrew, in Biblical Hebrew, used an O, even together with that same Ayin.


To Europeans apparently nakedness of the lower part of the body was the most impressive one, and the meaning of the root became concentrated on that. In Hebrew a word with extended root, ע ר ו ה ‛rw" expresses the meaning of "sexual organs" besides that of "nakedness". And the causative verb ה ע ר ה "h‛er" says "to lay bare, have sexual intercourse".



  • Hebrew has extended this root from 2)"‛ARAH" to 3)" ‛ARAR" and also to 4)"‛AR‛AR", but there is also the version, only in older Biblical Hebrew " , 1) " ‛OR ", which comes very near to Greek. There is a certain variation in the use of these four forms;


    1) " ‛OR " : in the passive form *to be bare, exposed, and thus the basic form is "*to lay bare, uncover, denude".


    2)"‛ARAH": to lay bare, uncover. In the medio-passive form this becomes "to get naked". It is to be noted, that other Semitic languages introduce besides "nakedness" the concept of "shame"


    3)" ‛ARAR": to strip oneself. This is a hapax legomenon in the Bible. In Medieval Hebrew it says "to lay barren".


    4)"‛AR‛AR" : to lay bare. Somehow this verb, or perhaps an identical one, has acquired very different meanings as well, in the sense of "to object", "to demolish", "to destroy".



  • Proto-Semitic. The Hebrew root " Ayin R R " is seen as derived from "Ayin R (Yod) , spelled ע ר ה , through doubling of the second consonant R. And that root is seen in Phoenician, Aramaic, Arabic and Akkadian. This makes it probable that Proto-Semitic used this same root , present in Hebrew. The root with doubled R may be of a more limited range. In the comparison with Indo European it is useful to remark that Arabic " 'arwa" says " pudenda ", with "'ariya" saying " was naked ". Proto-Semitic probably had "*ע ו ר" and "*ע ר ה".


  • English, like Dutch , has an added " S " at the end of the root. So has Old High German, "ars".


  • Proto-Germanic. Nearly all Germanic languages, old and new ones, have what must be the Proto-Germanic word "*A R S". The " S " has been added in Germanic and has become part of the Germanic root.


  • Indo-European. Besides in Greek and Germanic, there are related words as Hittite "arra- = backside, bottom (buttocks)", Armenian "orr = backside" and perhaps Old Irish "err = tail, end". It is difficult to define the vowel in Indo-European, that may have used both "Ŏ R-" and "Ā R-.




Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: Monday 9 July 2012 at 13.17.11