E 0585 MIGHT

The word " might " is of Germanic origin .

H 0563 ד א מ

Concept of root : might

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ד א מ

me’od

power, might

Related English words

might, Old English meaht, miht.

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ד א מ

me’od

power, might

m (.) d

Old English

meaht, miht

power, might

m (.) h t

English

might

might

m (.) gh t

Old High German

maht

maht

power, might

m . h t

 

 

Hebrew ME'OD --- *MŌG, MŎKH Indo-European

 

 

This seems a case of a rather obvious similarity, but it is not. We look first at Germanic.

 

 

Note:
  • Germanic. English "might" and "may" correspond with German "Macht" and "mag". It is considered absolutely certain that these nouns and verbs are of common origin. Clearly they both talk about concepts of ability to act, and both have an M, a vowel A and a GH-sound. But in reality things are a bit more complicated.

     

    Older Germanic words for "might" do not have the G- or GH-sound, but often an H, whereas their "contemporary" predecessors of "may" have the G. One may compare the Old English noun "meaht" with the verb "magan" and the Old High German noun "maht" with the verb "mugan". But even the guttural "H" is not always present. Old Norse has "mā = may" and "magn = might", but also "māttr, mōttr = might, strength"

     

    Besides this, the German verb "mgen" and its Dutch sister "mogen" have in their basic form an - or O-sound and use the A in some forms only. This could be compensated by the I-sound in English "might" that perhaps comes from an undefined older O-sound. Certainly there is no reason to suppose, as some scholars do, that the A-form is older than the O-form.

     

    Thirdly, whereas English "may" and "might" are isolated verbal forms, the others have, already in older times, developed a wide range of meanings that are not so much concentrated on the concept of power and might as on that of capability or faculty. Such faculty may well and often does depend on the consent of other more powerful individuals.

     

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic . It seems that the "G" or "GH" sounds were present Germanic and probably already in Proto-Germanic. Sister words of this are found in older and newer languages. but versions with the lighter guttural "H" as well as without this still exist. It is unclear if these are temporary alterations. Anyway one may suppose Proto-Germanic "*M A G/*M O G" besides extended "*M A/O G(H)T" as well as "*M A/O HT", but not * M A/O T ", as the Nordic forms without " H " may quite well be the result of shortening the words. This has remained a characteristi of Scandinavian tongues.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew in "me’od" uses an Aleph, that is simply an interruption of the flow of sound before the pronunciation of the following non-written vowel. This vowel is an " O " as in the German and Dutch verbs. This use of an Aleph, like more frequently is the case with that of the more "powerful" Ayin, may well correspond with the use of an H in Germanic tongues.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. We have no information from other Semitic languages that allows a hypothesis for Proto-Semitic for "me'od" in the sense of " might". It exists for "me'od" in the sense of "much, many", seen in entry E 0563 (Hebrew 0564).

 

Note:
  • Greek and Latin. These two languages have given a different development to the root of "power, ability". Their development has brought to modern languages extremely important words like English "machine". Greek has the words "μηχος, mkhos = means, device" and μηχανη, "mkhan = machine, means,tool, instrument", things that enable us to do and achieve things we would not be capable of doing as such.

     

    Latin "machina" is simply a loanword from Greek. "A" instead of "'E" is explained by Doric "makhana".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European .

     

    Slavic has hypotheses of "*mogtī, *māgāti, *moktj". This is in harmony with Russian that according to common developments has "мощь, moshtsh = might, strength" and "мочь, motshj = to be able". Cognates are present in other languages. The consonant "G" in older Slavic is based on Old Church Slavonic "mogo = "I can". It means that the change into a sibilant or dental/sibilant has taken place rather late.

     

    Baltic. Here a hypothesis "*mag-ē-" also supposes that a change from guttural into sibilant took place somewhat later, as Old Prussian already had "massi = he can".

     

    Tokharian shows a related word " mokats = mighty, strong".

     

     

    Indo-European probably had the forms "*M Ā/Ō G" and "*M Ă/Ŏ KH-". In our comparison we mention the vowels " O ".

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 05/11/2012 at 17.01.45