H 0605            ש ש מ

Concept of root : to touch with hands

Hebrew word


English meanings

ש ש מ


; mishèsh

to palpate;

to touch, feel

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ש ש מ



to palpate;

to touch, feel

m . sh . sh


ש ש ג


to touch, feel,

grope one’s way

g . sh . sh










to feel, perceive;

to feel, fumble;

to feel, perceive


shtsh . p

shtsh . t



Proto-Semitic *MASHASH < MOSH--- *OSHTSHŪSHTSH-ATJ Russian



The basis of this similarity is a bit narrow to suppose a common origin, and yet too interesting to abandon. Let us see why.



  • Russian. This letter Щ = shtsh, that we can compare with the Ш = = SH and with Ч = TSH, is a bit difficult for Western European speakers. Besides that problem, we see an initial O that seems a confirming prefix. Russian loves prefixes. We also see that the "SHTSH" has been doubled like the SH in Hebrew, but not in all words. The figurative meaning has double "SHTSH"; the literal meaning has instead introduced another extra consonant P. Thus the figurative meaning is nearer in sound to the Hebrew word that carries the literal meaning of feeling with hands. Besides that, we find the third verb, that as an extra consonant has "chosen" the T, carrying the figurative message. Finally though, we also find an adjective, long and complicated as the Russians seem to like them often: ощутительный , oshtshutityelney, that combines the literal meaning "palpability" with the figurative one of "perceptibility" . This reinforces the hypothesis of a common origin with Hebrew.


    The Russian letter "Ш (SH)", as well as its more developed sister "Щ (SHTSH)" , very typical Slavic in sound the second one, use the character of the Hebrew "shin", "ש (SH)" . This is rather interesting, because the same letter, when the Greeks came to know the "alephbet" was not necessary to them as such, to express "SH". The Greeks used it for the vowel "Omega" or great O: "ω".


  • Hebrew gives a complicated situation as well. On the one hand we see the two verbs of this entry. The second one, "gishèsh" is an intensive version of a disappeared verb "*gashash", that might have had a similar meaning as "mashash". That would then point at an original root of only two consonants that would be "*SH SH". Everything fine thus, and a similarity with the Russian root. And yet, something does not tally if we compare this entry with the entry E 0570 (Hebrew 0604) , that clearly led to an original root "*M . SH". And indeed, it is the meaning of "groping one's way" that is not found for "mashash" and that shows that the roots are simply independent from each other and do not have the same origin.


    And this seems to be the right analysis, because Hebrew offers us also the root " מ ו ש , mosh " with the same message of "to palpate".
    This kind of verb, possibly pronounced as "mawash" or "mosh", usually in modern language has become abbreviated, and also in this case we see " מ ש " or "מ ו ש " . We must again confirm that the two Hebrew verbs/roots of this entry are of different origin.


  • Proto-Semitic. The root "M SH SH" is seen in Aramaic " מ ש ש , meshash = he felt" and Syriac " מ ש , mash = he felt". There is Akkadian "mashāshu = to spread over" with a different but related meaning. The root has cognates in Arabic "massa = he felt" and Ethiopian "marsasa = he felt". The other Hebrew root, "G SH SH" is found in Aramaic " ג ש ש , geshash = he touched" and has a cognate in Arabic "jassa = he touched". Proto-Semitic probably had the roots "* מ ש ש , M SH SH", the older two consonant "* מ ו ש , M . W . SH" and "* ג ש (ש) , G SH (SH)". Undoubtedly an older predecessor has existed, as is confirmed by the mentioned Arabic word "jassa": "* ג ש , G SH". This can have had an accentuated final vowel "À" or a central vowel " O ".





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 08/11/2012 at 15.17.16