E 0308          ETIOLOGY

The word "etiology" is based on Greek

H 0200              ר ת ע

Concept of root : to ask, beg

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ת ע


to ask, beg

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ת ע


to ask, beg

‛a t r




to ask, beg

ai t .


etiology, aetiology

etiology ;


ae t .



Hebrew *‛ATAR --- *AIT-E-O Greek



This similarity is one of the rather many to be found, in which the information is limited to Hebrew and Greek, without clear indications toward Proto-Semitic and Indo-European.


Some differences between Greek and Hebrew are present. The first one, between the opening of the roots, is common and non-significant. Often the Greek diphthong " A+I " corresponds with the typically Hebrew combination of "Ayin + A ".


The second is that Hebrew has a third consonant R. In this case it is not easy to see this R as an instrument of diversification of meaning, for two reasons. The first one is that the meanings of Hebrew and Greek are identical. The second one is that we have no indication of a shorter root "Ayin T" (or similar) in Hebrew carrying already the same message of "to ask, beg". It can only be seen as a development that has occurred after the groups of languages had split . Also Greek added something to "AIT", a vowel " É", that emphasizes the meaning of a root. Indeed we see here an intense way of asking.


In modern Hebrew this verb " ‛atar " is used to say : "to supplicate , petition " . Both in the Bible and in modern language there is no full clarity, because the causative version of the verb has the same meaning as the basic active one.



  • Proto-Semitic. There is too little evidence to base a hypothesis upon. There is Arabic "‛atara = he slaughtered for sacrifice " and such an action may be a way or praying and entreating divinity, but the basis remains too narrow to hypothesize a Proto-Semitic form.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: Monday 9 July 2012 at 13.07.14