E 1007 WOE

The word " woe " is of Germanic origin .

H 0234 ה י ע ב

Concept of root :problem

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ה י ע ב

be‛aya

problem

Related English words

woe

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ה י ע ב

be‛aya

problem

b . y .

English

woe

woe

w . e

Greek

ουαι

uai

woe

w . y

Latin

vae

v

woe

w . e

Gothic

wai

wai

woe

w . y

Italian

guaio

gwaio

problem

gw . y

 

 

Proto-Semitic *‛AWWA --- *WAY Indo-European

 

 

The Italian word "guaio" has been derived from Gothic "wai". The Goths, after the fall of the Roman Empire, for quite some time have dominated parts of Italy. And most certainly this has not been a period without problems ! All the other European words are exclamations that announce or foresee problems, serious problems basically. Our supposition of relationship with Hebrew lies in the fact that the consonant B may be a prefix indicating a litteral or figurative localization. If that is so in this case, the litteral meaning is "in a problem".

 

Note:
  • Hebrew. The word " be‛ay " may have been earlier " ב ע ו ה, " be‛awa*" and related to the substantive " ע ו ה , aww " , that stands for "ruin, distortion ". This is certainly related to the just a bit less old Biblical word " ע י י ם , ‛iym " that also means "ruin".

     

    Consequently the concept of "problem", via "in problems" would be related to a common root with Indo European. The fact that Hebrew begins with a vowel is explained by the fact that this language frequently does so when Indo European languages more easily place a vowel after the meaning-carrying consonant . The verb that is at the basis of these nouns, is " ע ו ה ", that has in it's various forms a group of messages, from "to violate, sin, pervert " to "to distort, destroy" and finally "tortuous", figuratively as to the way a man follows. All these actions and facts lead "into problems", like into English "woes". Some scholars reconduct the Hebrew word of this entry to a verb " ב ע ה, ba‛= to ask ". But that verb lacks the Yod, or earlier Waw, that is present in the abovementioned words .

     

    With the same root we see expressed other problem-issues, such as " iniquity", "perversion" , "sin".

 

Note:
  • Indo European and Hebrew. Between Hebrew "aww" and the Greek, Latin and Gothic words of the table the distance is very small. One might keep in mind that those words were and still are used also as a menace. In Latin "vae te", in Dutch "wee U", menace that things will finish badly for the addressed person . English " woe to you " is slightly less direct .

     

    Important is to see that "vae" and it sisters are not just arbitrary exclamations, but have a root with a meaning. Some indication for this lies in for example Lettish ( Latvian ) "waida" for " emergency, distress ". Or in Greek "οιζυς , o’zs " that talks about such real problems as " misery, distress, disaster, bad luck " . Scholars agree that this word consists of two elements, of which the first part " o ", is to be compared with " woe ". The second part is considered an older suffix, that in meaning is comparable to English "-ty".

     

    Indo European may indeed have used a form "*W A Y-".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. This Hebrew word has a sister in Aramaic, which is a narrow basis for a hypothesis, but the origin should lie in Proto-Semitic that may have had "*ע ו ה , ‛aww " .

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 07/10/2012 at 16.39.17