E 0394ááááááááá GRIEF

The word " grief " is of Germanic origin .

H 0449áááááááááá áף ר ח

Concept of root : insulting

Hebrew word


English meanings

פ ר ח;

פ ה ר ח



to insult;


Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ף ר ח

ף ה ר ח



to insult; outrage

gh . r . ph




g r . f

Old Norwegian



insult, slander

gh r . p

Middle Dutch




gh r . f



Proto-Semitic *GHARAP --- *GRĒP- Proto-Germanic



The language of the Vikings this time is the one that comes nearest to Hebrew. The difference, apart from the use of the vowel O, that is anyhow also found in the participle in Hebrew, is that the final P in Hebrew becomes PH, but in Old Norse remained P.


  • Dutch and Middle Dutch in this word also say "grievance" and "sorrow", like English. No doubt about the fact that insults bring grief .


    In Modern Dutch, as in English "grief", the interface with the Hebrew root and Old Norwegian, that of "insult", is little present. Today a " grief " is an English "grievance". But among the kinds of "grief " there is still that of "insult, offence".


  • English has the verb " to grieve " that within the concepts of " to hurt, harm, cause sorrow or anguish", does not or no more comprise the specific one of doing all this by "insulting". Yet insulting can cause these same effects of grief. An only small distance has developed .


    It is difficult to share the view that " to grieve " would come from Latin " gravare " that stands for " to make heavy ". That root is found in English " gravity ". Usually when, as seems to be the case here, there is no evidence of a word in written testimony from Old English, help is looked for in a Late Latin source. The fact is that Classic Latin "gravare" did not have the meaning of "to cause grief", but perhaps under Germanic influence this concept has been introduced, be it in a remote last position, among the many and various meanings of Italian "gravare" and Provençal "gravar". Also French "grever" has acquired this meaning of Germanic origin, that probably has also caused the switch from a vowel " A " to a vowel " E ". Old French indeed had the Germanic word "grief" with the meanings "insult, offend, injure, hurt". And that certainly could not have come from Latin "gravare".


  • Proto-Semitic. This Hebrew root is also found in Aramaic "ח ר ף , gharaph = to blaspheme, revile, reproach". In the sense of "sharpness" there are words with "GH R P" in Arabic and in Syriac. Perhaps for that reason some say the Hebrew meanings are based on an older " to say sharp things" , whicht remains possible. Consequently we have a narrow basis for a hypothesis for Proto-Semitic "*ח ר ף , GH R P = to revile, reproach".


    Proto-Semitic certainly knew the pronunciation of an unchanged final consonant " P ": It is not presumable that a change into " PH " may have occurred already, though with the concept of "sharpness" Arabic uses " PH = F ".


  • Proto-Germanic. There is little doubt about the three consonants : "G R . P". Less easy to define is the vowel, that may have been " O " , " I " or " E ". We opt for the more frequent older " Ē " , be it without certainty: "*GR Ē P-".


  • Indo-European. With Latin "gravare" not related, we have no evidence of cognates in other Indo-European languages. The comparison stays between Semitic and Germanic, which is in fact a very common situation.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 24/01/2013 at 15.58.09