E 0309         ETHER

The word "ether" is, via Latin,  of Greek origin .

H 0197          ר ת ע

Concept of root : dense air

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ת ע


vapor, smoke

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ת ע


odor, perfume,



‛a t r












air, high sky;

to burn

dense smoke

a th r

a th

a th l



aether, ether


ether, aether

ether, aether

e th r



Proto-Semitic *‛ATHAR --- *AITH-O Greek



In the Bible a root " ע ת ר " is used for different ideas, as is shown in more entries., such as entry E 0628 (Hebrew 0198). In case of this entry E 0309 (Hebrew 0197), some modern meanings of the Hebrew word may have been influenced by Greek, determining a specific use. Anyhow in the Bible "‛atar" also meant "odor , perfume ", which are phenomena perceived through the air, and thus in fact suggest a common origin in its own right.



  • Greek . The word "aithèr" has as so many Greek words, found its way into very many modern languages. It is referred to in our entry E 0019 (Hebrew 0092). It divided the reign of the sky with the word "αηρ, aèr as follows. "Aèr" stood for the lower layer of the air, that human beings breathe. "Aithèr" indicated the high skies where the Gods were and the weather was made.


    The words "aithèr" and "aitho" both have an original root "aith-", that may have developed out of an older "*ath-" or "*at-". They are considered cognates. We must put a question mark here. The messages of "high sky" and a "burning" that according to the meaning of related words comes with smoke and soot, are very distant. One must conclude that there may even have been two roots "aith-" with different unrelated meanings. This remains uncertain.


    The consequence is that "aithèr" should have no place in the above Table . For that ereason it has been placed between brackets. And this might go as well for the Latin and English words that have been derived from Greek "aithèr". See the following Note.



  • Greek and Hebrew among them see the diphtong "AI" correspond with the "Ayin-accentuated A" , as frequently is the case. Each tongue may emphasize sound in its own way.


    But the important fact is that the, be it limited, similarity in sound and meaning is there between Hebrew "‛atar" and Greek "aitho" and "aithalos", with or without "aithèr".


  • Proto-Semitic. This root is , with the dental "TH" instead of "T", with related meanings, found in Aramaic "ע ט ר, ‛athar = it smoked" , Syriac ע ט ר, ‛ethar = exhaled, steamed, smoked", Arabic ‛athirà = it smelled sweet, was fragrant" and Ethiopian ‛athana = he perfumed, scented". Probably Proto-Semitic used this version in various senses "* ע ט ר".





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 22/12/2012 at 17.35.00