E 0516 LACK

The word " lack " is , via Middle Dutch , of Germanic origin .

H 0553 י ו ק ל

Concept of root : lack

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

י ו ק ל

laquy;

liqquy

lacking;

lack

Related English words

lack, from Middle Dutch

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

י ו ק ל

laquy;

liqquy

lacking;

lack

l . q . y

English

lack

lack

l . ck

Middle Dutch

lak

lak

lack, defect

l . k

Latin

lacuna;

lacuna

hollow, lack, gap;

l . c

 

 

Proto-Semitic *LAQÀ --- *LĀK- Indo-European

 

 

The similarity looks obvious as far as English and Dutch are concerned, but is less certain as to Latin. We have mentioned "lacuna" but have to place a question mark . If it might just be related to the Hebrew root of this entry, also the English word "lake" would have the same origin. See our Note below on Latin.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew. The Hebrew word of this entry is found in Post Biblical Hebrew and carries various meanings found also for the verb "laq" , such as " to be stricken, smitten, scorged ". But it also carries the message of "to lack" as seen in this entry, a message not present for the cited verb. In Modern Hebrew this difference has only been accentuated . It is quite possible that originally there have been two similar roots with dissimilar meanings .

 

Note:
  • Hebrew. These two words "laquy" and "liqquy" should be based on two verbs , a basic verb "*laq" and an intensive verb "*liqq". But Hebrew offers us still another word, a noun "liqi", that says "defect, lack". These are the same meanings we find combined in our Middle Dutch noun "lak". This rather nicely completes the picture of similarity and possible common origin.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. We have no sufficient information to allow a hypothesis for a root " L . Q .(i) " in Proto-Semitic. There is a word identical to the one of this entry, "liquy", but with a totally different meaning : "beating, striking, flogging". Therefore some see our word "liquy = lack" , as related to a root "L Q H (accentuated vowel)" that means in fact "to strike, flog". This seems doubtful, though we can neither be fully certain that it is not related at all. We regret the lack of Biblical information, but Post Biblical Hebrew did not just fall out of the air and had its antique basis. A two consonant combination with a message of "defectiveness" and "lack" may have existed in Proto-Semitic : "*ל ק ה , L Q H (accentuated vowel)".

 

Note:
  • Latin "lacuna" is found as having been inherited or loaned in many languages, be it like in French as "lacune" with a final E. It stands for "hollow, abyss" and also "lack, void" or "loss". The common view is that "lacuna" has been formed after the word "lacus", that has two meanings : "lake" and also "receptacle" in general, not necessarily for liquids.

     

    The supposed development from "hollow" and "(water) filled hollow" towards "lack" is not very convincing, and we will not subscribe this hypothesis . Instead the basic message of "lacuna" was, independent from "lacus", that of "gap, flaw, void". The link with "water" was secundary. This is just the opposite of the way modern English speakers see the word "lacuna", with the basic Latin meanings now considered as figurative .

 

Note:
  • Greek has a word "λακκος , lakkos = pond, lake", that certainly is related to Latin "lacus". Indeed it also carries meanings like, "hollow, pit, recess, cavity, depot, vault" .

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. English "lack" is considered a loanword from Middle Dutch "lac", that has a group of related messages, comparable with those of "lack", but also "blame, reproach, (false) accusation". There seems to be little evidence from other modern or older languages. Old Norse has "lakr = deficient", that, naturally after having lost the final R as usual, in modern language has become "sick, weak", but also "bad".

     

    Middle Dutch and Dutch use the root "L Ā K" for a group of words. In Middle Dutch: "lac = lacking strength, slack, lax", "lake = defect, moral defect; sad or bad situation", "laken = damage, infringe honour or value; reproach, disapprove; to lack, fall short". Though the information is rather limited, Proto-Germanic in the sense of "lack" probably had "*L Ā K-".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. On the basis of the original meanings of Latin "lacus" and "lacuna" as well as Germanic "*lāk-" a hypothesis of "*LĀK-" can be made also for Indo-European.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 04/11/2012 at 17.34.44