E 0265          DORP, THORP

The Old English word " dorp and ancient English thorp are of Germanic origin .

H 0338            ר ו ד

Concept of root : local community

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ו ד


generation, society, camp

Related English words

Old English : dorp, drop

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ו ד


generation, society, encamp-ment;

to dwell

d . r

Old English

dorp, drop

village, estate

d . r p,

d r . p


thorp (arch.)


th . r p,





d . rp

Middle Dutch



village ; homestead

d . r p





d . rf




village on man-made mound

t . rp

Old Norse




country –village;


Ž . rp



Proto-Semitic *DOR --- *DORP Indo-European



The basic thought behind this proposed similarity is that from the concept of "local community", the further linguistic development may accentuate more "the successive communities that live in that place" or "the place where a community lives." The first way has been followed in Hebrew and has lead to the idea of "generation", the second one in Germanic has brought "village" . The origin is the same.


One notes the metathesis in Old English .


  • Germanic. Many theories have been developed as to the origin of "dorp". For example on the basis of Greek "τεραμνον, teramnon" meaning "roof, room, small house", linked to Latin "trabs" = " (wooden) beam". One reasons : house > farmhouse > group of houses > village. This is possible. Instead, certainty lies in Dutch "dorp" in Middle Dutch , a word that besides saying "village" was still used for "homestead", a place where a considerable number of people would live together.


    We especially mention the Frisian word "terp", still found in the names of various villages in Frisia, and that characteristically indicates a village on a man-made mound.


    Others have looked at Greek "τυρβη, tϋrbč" that says "confusion" and Latin "turba" for "confusion, throng", appealing for help to Old Nordic "žorp" of which then are quoted meanings as "crowd, heap". The appeal might seem right, but it lacks a basis . The essence of a village does not lie in confusion, on the contrary, it lies in the peaceful living together of a community. And the meanings of the Old Nordic word "žorp" really are related to Dutch "dorp", and it referred to a farm with grounds, to a country-village as well as to a number of persons staying together. Crowds in the modern sense were very rare in Old Norway.


  • Hebrew. One notes not only a number, but in fact a group of meanings of "DOR" that added together explain the basis of this root: "A society of people dwelling together in an a encampment for more generations".


  • Proto-Semitic is supposed to have been very similar to Hebrew , perhaps using a vowel A : "*dawr" . In Aramaic we find ""ד ו ר, dur = to dwell"; "מ ד ר , medar = dwelling place" and "מ ד ו ר, medor = dwelling place"; "ד ר, ד ר א, dar, darą = generation" and in Syriac also "ד י ר א , dayer'ą = abode". In Akkadian there is "dūru = fortress, duration, eternity" and "dārū = everlasting". In Arabic:"dar = buildings surrounding a court, house; "daur = circumference" and "dahr = long time". "Dar" is found in the name of the town "Dar es Salaam" This all confirms the similarity between Semitic and Germanic. Probably Proto-Semitic indeed had "*ד ו ר , D W R".


  • Proto-Germanic The initial vowel follows a common pattern among the various Germanic languages, though there is not always consensus about the pronunciation of the aspired dentals, that may have been "TH" as in "thin", mostly in North Germanic and "TH" as in "there" in West Germanic. There is East Germanic Gothic, that had "thaurp = land, field, estate", in which as Gothic does often, an "A" was added to create a different pronunciation. Modern Scandinavian tongues have an initial "T", developed out of the "TH", that should itself finds its origin in a "D". German and Dutch with their predecessor show that initial "D". The archaic English word "thorp" has "TH", a common English development out of "D".


    The rest of the word is nearly always "ORP". In the High German branch becoming "ORF" (like ORPH), derived from "ORP". Old Frisian had two words, "thorp" and "therp", of which the last one remained till today in Frisian "terp", still used to indicate a man made small hill, of the type created in The Netherlands to build on with view to the risk of inundations. Presumably Proto-Germanic had "*D O RP-".


  • Indo-European. There are cognates in other languages:



    Old Irish has "treb = village".


    Welsh has "tref = town".


    Lithuanian uses "troba = building", that should be related.


    Latvian shows "trāba = building", comparable to Lithuanian.


    Latin "trabs" has a lot of meanings, from "beam, roof" to "house" and it might be related to the other words of this entry. The same goes for "taberna" that besides "hut, store, workshop" indeed also says "hamlet". One must note that this word is not of Greek origin, but has been loaned into Greek from Latin.


    Indo-European probably had a form "*T O R P- or "*D O R P-, though a vowel " È" " can not be excluded.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 17/10/2012 at 16.13.56