H 0433 ר מ ח

Concept of root : clay

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר מ ח


clay, mud

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר מ ח


clay, mud

gh . m . r





kh . m



Proto-Semitic *GHOMER --- *KHOM-A Greek



Greek "khoma" is typically earth used by human beings. And this Hebrew word is not alone. There is also "ghemar" for "bitumen" .


There are in Hebrew many words with a root "Ghet Mem Resh, GH M R". In the case of "ghomer" of this entry, scholars say that this has been derived from "ghamar = to be red", a verb with sister words in Arabic. One might rather think that people said "earth-coloured" in order to indicate some shades of red. It is nearly funny to see that another word with "GH . M . R", that is "ghamor = ass, donkey", is then explained as meaning "the red animal". Well, one would say that donkeys are typically gray, and perhaps never at all red or even slightly reddish. Other meanings carried by "GH M R" are "to ferment" ( probably related to GH M TS = to (be) sour, leavened) and "to heap, make heavy" that may be linked to characteristics of earth and clay. There is also "ghomer = strictness".


  • Greek and Hebrew. The similarity in this entry has the problem that Hebrew has a third consonant, " R ", not present in Greek. There are roots without that " R ", but the semantic link with the meaning of Greek " khoma " is not immediate. There is a "ח ם א ה, GH M Aleph H , ghame' = butter, cream, curd". And the abovementioned meaning of " to ferment, to leaven" is also carried by a root "*ח ם ץ, GH M TS", as well as "*ח ם ע, GH M Ayin". Yet, considering the way people may work with clay , with dough and with butter, there can be some likeness. Things remain quite uncertain



  • Proto-Semitic. There is little evidence, besides related words, meaning "bitumen, asphalt", that are found in Aramaic "ghemar'", Arabic "ghumar, ghumara" and Akkadian "amāru". As so often is the case the Hebrew root of this entry possibly was already present in Proto-Semitic : "*ח ם ר, GH M R". In our comparison above we presume that Proto-Semitic may have used the same vowels seen in Hebrew for this noun.


  • Indo-European. Outside Greek we have no information about possible cognates in other groups of Indo-European languages. Consequently our comparison remains between Semitic and Greek. Sanscrit "kshám = earth" "kshám-ya = earthly", may suggest some ideas, but a link with "khoma" and "ghomer" is not easy to construct. Moreover, already without that consonant " M " , there is "kshây = earth, abode". There is even a basis "kshi" for "earth, abode", but here we find also meanings of "dwelling" and "ruling". Some meanings are near, but there is not enough similarity to justify a hypothesis for a common Indo-European predecessor.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 26/10/2012 at 18.05.46