The word “ bright “ is of Germanic origin .

H 0273 ק ר ב

Concept of root : shining bright

Hebrew word


English meanings

ק ר ב


to shine; lightning

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ק ר ב


to shine; lightning

b r q





b r k




b r g

Middle Dutch



blicken; bliksem

to shine; lightning

b l k



Proto-Semitic *BARAQ --- *BRĀK Indo-European



The similarity is rather clear. The combination of the concepts “shine” and “lightning” does not surprise. Also an Italian lightning is a “lampo” because it recalls the shining expressed by an old word “ λαμπω (lampo) " from Greek. That root is naturally the same as in English “lamp”.



  • Hebrew. The concepts of "to shine", "to glitter" and "to glow" in Hebrew are also expressed by a root that has the same initial and final consonants as " ב ר ק, B R Q" of this entry, but a different middle consonant, or more precisely " ב ה ק , B H Q". We find the standard version "bahaq" meaning " to shine, glitter, glow" and the intensive version "bihhq" saying "to brighten, illuminate". This root, found also in Aramaic, Syriac and Arabic, was presumably present in Proto-Semitic. Going further, there is another root still, "ב ה ר, B H R , bahar", recognizable in the causative verb "ה ב ה י ר, hivhir = to brighten, clarify". Hebrew shows its complications in shaping and developing roots !


  • Proto-Semitic. Proto-Semitic has the same root found in Hebrew, but this does not exclude difference in the vowels place between the three consonants . It is seen in Aramaic and Syriac "ב ר ק , beraq = it lightened, flashed" and "ב ר ק א , barĕq'", = lightning" . Also OSArabic has this "ב ר ק ". Arabic has "baraqa = lightened" and "barq = lightning". Akkadian has "birqu = lightning" and also Ugaritic , Ethiopian and Soqotri have this root "B R Q" with the same message."


    Proto-Semitic probably already used this same root : "*ב ר ק ".


  • Greek in “barakos” has an isolated word, that has disappeared in Modern Greek. Today a lightning is called “αστραπη, astrapi” or “κεραυνος, keraunos ”, from other roots.


    A “barakos” was also a fast fish, but it is no more known which one exactly.


  • English is once more the nearest to Hebrew, though… Old English had many forms, like: "berht, beorht, bierht, briht". This has led to English "bright". One notes the metathesis within the development of English itself. This is a frequent phenomenon in English when an "R" is involved.


    We recall that the Hebrew Qof or Q, is an unchanging K-sound, whereas the “Caf” , just like the Latin C , is a K-sound that may change under the influence of other sounds around it or its place in a word, becoming a “Khaf” or KH-sound in the process. Obviously the unpronounced GH in “bright” has not remained an unchanged K.sound , but the "H" in Old English indicates an even weaker pronunciation.


  • Proto-Germanic We see two versions in Gemanic languages, one with the consonants "B R H/GH" and the other with the consonants "B L K".


    " B R H/GH"". In older Germanic languages we have seen the Old English words in the previous Note. Then there are Gothic "bairht(s)", Old Saxon "ber(a)ht", Old High German "berasht" and Old Norse without the "H", "bjartr". These words are considered related to Latin "flagrare = to blaze". We agree to this and it shows in fact a link to the second version, with a consonant "L" instead of "R" in a root "F L G-". Of course this same root is found in the also well known Latin word "fulgur = lightning".


    Proto-Germanic probably already had added the final dental in "*B R e GH T" besides an earlier "*BR e GH".


    "B L K". Cognates of Dutch "bliksem = lightning" and its predecessors "blixem, blexem" in Middle Dutch, are found in Old Saxon "blicsniun", Old Frankish "blikisni". Old High German "blechazzen" has via Middle High German "blicze, blicz, blitze" led to modern German "Blitz = lightning". One sees various suffixes, and Proto-Germanic probably had the form "*BL i K-"


  • Indo-European.


    Old Indian has two different roots in the words "bhrāśate" and "bhrājate", that both mean "to shine, glitter". Then there is "bhrājá-" meaning "shining, glittering". The indications are both "BHR Ā Ś-" and "BHR Ā J-"


    Old Persian shows "brāzaiti; brāza- = shines, beams; shining, glittering" , with a "BR Ā Z-" = "shine".


    In comparing Old Indian and Old Persian with Germanic and Greek, the supposition is that the first two developed the third consonant from a K-sound to a "Ś", "J" or "Z". The origin for Indo-European probably was "* B R Ā K-". Others see rather a vowel "Ē", as found in Germanic and also in Balto-Slavic, leading to a hypothesis of :"* B R Ē K-" . Fundamental remains the comparison of the consonants with Hebrew and Proto-Semitic.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 10/10/2012 at 10.30.31