E 0273          DUCK

The word " duck " is of German origin .

H 0336             ח ו ד*, ח י ד ה

Concept of root : to immerse, duck in water

Hebrew word


English meanings

ח ו ד *, ח י ד ה

hediagh; *dogh

to rinse; * immerse

Related English words

duck  Old English: ducan

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ח י ד ה

ח ו ד *



to rinse; * to immerse

d . gh

Old English


to dive

d . k


to duck

a.o : to immerse

d . k





 to dive

d . k



Proto-Semitic *DOGH --- *DUK Proto-Germanic



In Hebrew we find just the causative verb "hediagh", but this legitimates the supposition of the older root "*dogh" with the meaning of "to immerse" . In Old English and Dutch we find prevalent the message of getting under water, but all these Germanic words also represent the ducking movement without any water present. Naturally the English bird name "duck", developed out of Old English "duce", has its name from the way this bird ducks its head under the water.


This is one of the many cases of a similarity between Semitic and Germanic, in which there seems to be no evidence of cognates in other Indo-European groups of langugaes.



  • Proto-Semitic. A related root is used in Aramaic as well, in "א ד י ח, 'adiagh= he rinsed, washed off". This gives some basis for the hypothesis that Proto-Semitic already used the same root found in Hebrew : "*ד ו ח , D W GH".


  • Proto-Germanic. It is interesting to see that German "tunken= to immerse" and already Old High German "thunkon" show a nasalized version in comparison with the English and Dutch words. Without the "N" German has the verb "tauchen", that has developed out of Middle High German "tuchen" and Old High German "tuhhan". Presumably the initial "T" is a German development . The Northern languages have an initial "D", final "K" and a vowel "U" or "Y". Presumably Proto-Germanic had "*D U K-".


  • Indo-European. In various languages there are for "duck" quite different words, like German "Ente, Enterich", Middle Dutch "aent, eent", Old English "ened" and also Italian "anatra", Lithuanian "antis" and Latin "anas, anatem". These are all related to each other, but have no link with "duck".


    For "duck" and the related verbs like "to duck", there seems to be no information available regarding possible cognates in other branches of Indo-European.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 17/10/2012 at 15.45.20