E 0099          BLEAD

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

 H 0247          ה ל ב , ה ה ל ב

Concept of root :intimorate

Hebrew word


English meanings

ה ה ל ב , ה ל ב

billéh ; ballahŕ

intimorate ; fright

Related English words

Old English : blead

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ה ל ב

ה ה ל ב

billéh; ballahŕ

intimorate; fright

b . l . h

Old English


afraid, frightened

b l . (d)

Middle Dutch, Dutch

bloo, blode; verbolgen; bleu

bloo, blode; verbolghen; bl(eu)


angry, frightened; timid

b l .(d);

b . l g



Proto-Semitic *BALÀH --- *BLO- Indo-European



The multiple similarity between Biblical Hebrew and Middle Dutch is important. In Modern Hebrew only "ballahŕ" has remained. In Modern Dutch "bloo" is rarily used and the meaning "frightened" of the second word of this entry has gone lost.


  • Hebrew here has a real Hé as third consonant. This is clearly shown by the noun "ballahà" with this H-sound. It means thus that this letter Hé is not a reading help that tells us to pronounce a vowel, but a real consonant H. The second Hé in that word is again a reading-help, which shows that a vowel is to be heard. It is still left to the reader to recall which vowel, in this case an A.


    Both words have the root "B L H", which can be an extended form of a basic "B L".


  • Hebrew and metathesis. There is an interesting phenomenon in this case, with two roots existing with the same meaning: " ב ל ה, B L H ( real pronounced consonant) " as shown above, but also " ב ה ל, B H L " with the same meaning. This shows us that in Hebrew a metathesis can take place . It is hard to say when and why. The similarity with Germanic "B L GH" makes it more probable that the form " ב ל ה, B L H ( real pronounced consonant) " is the original one.


  • Proto-Semitic Of the two roots mentioned in the previous note, " B H L " is also found in Jewish Biblical Aramaic, in which it obviously has been derived from Hebrew itself. We have not much evidence to allow a solid hypothesis for Proto-Semitic, but "*ב ל ה, B L H ( real pronounced consonant)" may have been in use. Arabic "buhali = stupid, idiot" is too far off in meaning to give a support.


  • Dutch here shows three roots that are akin to the Hebrew one of this entry. The first one is the orginal "B L". The second one has been extended with a dental D, (but sometimes written as T because a final D in Dutch is pronounced T ) without changing meaning. The third one has a " G " as a third consonant , which makes it more comparable to this Hebrew entry. With that we have not explained when and where such similar developments between Hebrew and Dutch may have taken place:


  • Hebrew and Dutch are very near if we look at the verb "belgen", at the basis of "verbolgen". This verb indicates "to swell up in anger, get angry". The odd thing is that the effect in the person that has been "*belged", not only can be frightened, but also can be angry. Probably the reaction varies according to the relative personalities.


  • Old English "blead" goes back to Old Saxon "blothi" that stood for "afraid" but also for " cowardish ".


  • Proto-Germanic. The consonants B, L and D are present in nearly all languages, with the Nordic tongues having either "D" or "T", already in Old Norse. Old Saxon uses a TH . The exception is Dutch , that has the root also without dental, and as often finds itself nearer to Hebrew.


    The vowel between the L and the dental in the North and in German is an "Ö" in German and it is "O" in Dutch. Old English "EA" may well have developed out of a long "O". In Gothic there is a sisterword "blaudjan = to make void" and in Norwegian "blaut = soft, wet". The "AU" may originate from an "U", in front of which an "A" has been added.


    For the meaning of this entry Proto-Germanic probably had "*B L O D" .


    It must be noted though that a very similar word "bloot = naked" exists in Dutch. It has sisterwords in Middle Low German and Frisian, and, oddly, only in Middle High German with a different closing consonant : "bloz". This "bloot" may be or not be related to the words of this entry. Also a concept of "wet" is expressed with words that have "B L vowel T", as seen in Norwegian "blaut", and in Swedish "blöt = (very) wet", and again in Norwegian "blöt = wet, weak" with the second meaning belonging to the words of this entry. Finally Old Norse had a verb "blote" that stands for " to offer".


  • Indo-European.


    Greek. There is a suggestion that Greek "φλαυρος, phlauros" is related to the Germanic words of this entry. It has a number of meanings, such as "of little value, insignificant, worthless, mean, bad" but nothing in the field of fright and timidity. There is instead a related "φαυλως, phaulos", that besides "unimportant, negligible, simple, ordinary" also carries the meaning of "cowardly ", as well as "hesitating, wavering". This brings it near to Dutch "bloo" that has a comparable range of messages. It may be a cognate and, considering a quite possible metathesis of the "L" this opens the way for a daring hypothesis of "*B L O -" or "*B L U -" for Indo-European.




Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 08/10/2012 at 14.35.31