E 0151         CARNAL,  CARNAGE

The word " carnal " comes from Late Latin .

The word " carnage " has, via Old French, a Latin origin .

H 0509           ש ר כ ,ס ר כ

Concept of root : soft part of body

Hebrew word


English meanings

ש ר כ ,ס ר כ



Related English words

carnal, carnage, from Latin

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ס ר כ

ש ר כ



k . r . s


κρεας; χορδη

kreas ; khordè

flesh, meat; intestine(s)

k . r ;

kh r d.


caro, -nis;



caro, carnis ;


meat , piece of meat;


c . r ;

c . r n


carnal ;


carnal ;


c . r n

Middle Dutch > Dutch

croos >



intestines, animal remains

k r . s

Middle Dutch




c r .



Proto-Semitic *KARÈS --- *KĀRS- Indo-European

Proto-Semitic *KARÈS --- *KĀRN- Indo-European



This entry does not offer easy clear-cut answers. The words we have mentioned comprehend more than one group, like those referring to "innards" and others dealing with "flesh, meat", with differences in roots. The common origin is quite probable, but question marks exist. In fact, there are quite different ideas as well. Latin has a word "cruor", that means "blood outside the body" and through that "clotted blood". Many give this word common origin with Greek "kreas" (today meaning "meat") and link it with Old Indian "kravis" that stands for "raw meat", but also with the English words "raw" and "crude". We will not specify the complex reasonings that have led to this thesis. For Greek "kreas" we see as more probable the link with the words we mentioned above.


One of our reasons lies in the existence of Hebrew words like "ק ר ב, qerev", that means "intestines" and "ק ר ע, "qar’à" that means "to lacerate, rend". These words are very near Greek and also or especially Dutch.



  • Hebrew. We see the same meaning and the same sound with two different spellings as to the third consonant , an "S". We note that the ש, ; has two names and two pronunciations. The first pair is "shin" with the sound "SH". The second "sin", with the sound "S". The other letter, ס, or "samekh", has only the sound "S", identical to the "S" of "sin", at least today. We find both versions also in Biblical language, be it in part in derived words, such as "to devour", that seems to express the concept of "to fill one’s belly".


  • Akkadian. It is important to note that the Akkadian words "karshu" and "karashu" express the concepts of " belly" and "intestines", this last meaning in line with Dutch "croos". The same is the case in Ugaritic. Some languages use this root also for "stomach" and some even for "womb".


  • Proto-Semitic. The root of this entry is present in Aramaic and Syriac "כ ר ס א , kars'à = belly". It has cognates in Arabic "karish, kirsh = stomach, belly", Ethiopian "karsh = stomach, belly" and Akkadian "karshu, karashu = belly". Proto-Semitic may well have used the same root, "*כ ר ס, K R S".


  • Greek. The word "kreas" has given some problems as to the definition of its etymology. The classic meanings are already various, such as "piece of body-flesh", "piece of meat", "meat", "cooked meat", "meal", but also "body" and "person". The meanings around the concept "meat, flesh", refer to animals as well as human beings. The original sense seems to indicate edible parts of dead bodies. Meanwhile, a bit like Hebrew, also Greek has a word with "K R" , "κορος, koros" that means "satiety", also figuratively.


    The word "khordè" has led to English "chord" and "cord". Also the Greeks used intestines to make cords.


  • Dutch. The two words have both the shorter root of Greek and the longer root "K.R.S" of Hebrew. Of the two meanings based on "K R S", the first one, "intestines", or that what is inside the belly, is akin to the Hebrew "K R S" meaning of "belly" as such. The second one, "animal remains" , though mostly used for those of slaughtered birds, is near the original Greek word "kreas".


  • Latin "carnis" with the accusative form "carnem" is considered as having been formed from a verb "caro", meaning "to cut off", but that hypothesis is very weak, as we will mention in entry E 0814 (Hebrew 0511) . We find the word "carne" for "meat" in most Neo-Latin languages.


    The word "*haru-" is found in the composed word "haruspex", used in English and that indicates the priest who reads the entrails of a sacrificed animal. But "hira(e)" says "intestines".


  • Doubts. We must confess that one might still have some doubt, as there is a widely accepted idea that the Latin nouns "carō" and "carnis", both meaning "meat", would have been derived from a verb "*caro = to cut". But in entry E 0814 ( Hebrew 0511) we show that this hypothesis is unfounded. We compare anyhow with E 0434 ( Hebrew 0510) and again E 0814 ( Hebrew 0511) , and find a root, "K R", that bears a basic message of "to cut". One may fairly exclude that all those European words , also for "intestines" and "midriff", and even simply the common Latin and Greek words for "meat" come from "to cut".


  • Indo-European. In the table we see two groups of meanings. One is that of the intestines and some other inner parts, the other that of the flesh or meat. A third meaning, that of "heart" is the subject of entry E 0434 ( Hebrew 0510. The three can be distinguished but are only relatively separated in the development of words in Indo-European and its descendants. A basic "K(H) A R" is often extended with a third consonant , that can be for example an S" for "innards", an "N" for "flesh, meat" and a D" for "heart". But Greek uses a "D" besides for "heart" also for "intestine". And Germanic and Baltic have the "N" for "intestine". Perhaps one should say there is no sufficiently general rule for the extra consonant that should serve diversification.


    For the meaning of "intestine(s) Indo-European may have had a form "*K Ā R-" , and probably already ""*K Ā R S- " ,


    For the meaning of "meat, flesh" also "*K Ā R-" was used, besides probably al ready a "*K Ā R N-". For this it is useful to note some further information


    Baltic has a hypothesis for "intestine" of "*zjarn-", in which the initial "ZJ" corresponds with Germanic "G" and Indo-European "K". Relative information is found in Lithuanian "zjarná" and Latvian "zja&rcirc;na"


    Proto-Germanic has a hypothesis "*garn-", which is simply the same as modern English "yarn". Intestines were used to make "yarn". Old Norse used "gorn" and so is done in Norwegian dialect", to say in fact "intestines, gut". "Garn" in modern German says "yarn".


    Old Indian has a word "kravís" for "raw meat" and a probably related "hirā = vein" and a following "híragh = string" . A very similar sound is seen in Latin:


    Latin "hira(e)" stands for "intestines".





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 01/11/2012 at 18.06.23