E 0851 SORE

The word " sore " is of Germanic origin .

H 0624 ר ו ז מ

Concept of root : sore

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ו ז מ


sore, ulcer

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ו ז מ


sore, ulcer

z (o) r




s (o) r








z (w) . r




to ulcerate, fester

sh (w) . r



Proto-Semitic *MAZOR < *ZOR --- *ZWOR Proto-Germanic



The similarity evolves around the W-sound, that in English has become an O-sound according to common rules. In Hebrew , like in English , the letter "Waw" is pronounced as the vowel O. In Dutch the W-sound has remained, availing itself of the vowel E’ for pronunciation.



  • Hebrew. In modern Hebrew "mazor" has come to mean "cure, remedy, recovery". The initial M in our view has been added as a prefix to an older root "Z W R". There are three identical roots "Z W R" in Hebrew, that mean respectively "to squash, press", "to go away, depart" and "to be disgusting, horrible". Of these only this third root, found only in the Bible, might be related to "mazor" for "sore, ulcer".


    Another related root may be " ז ר א , zar’ = nausea, vomiting " and in the Bible also "cholera".
    The existence of the mentioned roots gives some support to the idea that the M of "mazor" is a prefix.


  • Proto-Semitic. The root "Z W R (zor)" for " to be loathsome" has a cognate in Arabic "dhāra = he felt disgust, loathing". Akkadian "zāru = to hate" is rather far off in meaning. Anyhow the root "* ז ו ר, Z W R" may well have been present in Proto-Semitic.


  • English "sore" has two different meanings, as English-speakers know. One has the specific sense found in German "schwaeren" and Dutch "zweer", that refer basically to festering wounds or sores that form pus. The other meaning corresponds to Old English "sar" and also Dutch "zeer" that cover a wide range of painful , small or more important things regarding the human body as well as figurative aspects. In modern German this second meaning or second word has gone out of use.


    It has been tried to relate "sore" to a hypothetical Indo-European root "*sai". Such ideas come from the necessity that is felt to establish a common root for words from very different European and also Asian languages. Our problem here is that we fail to see why and how English "sore" should be related to Latin "saevus" that says "angry".


  • Proto-Germanic. It is important to distinguish between two groups already mentioned in the above Note English . The first group are words of this entry that have between the first consonant S/Z and the "R" either a vowel with O-sound ( as English "sore" ) or a consonant W with another vowel ( as Dutch "zweer"). These words refer to festering wounds . The second group had between those consonants S/Z and "R" a vowel "E", or "A". The words of this structure refer to wounds or other damages or pains more in general . It cannot be excluded that English "sore" is just an alteration of Old English "sār" with the same meaning. In that case this word should not be in our table.


    Neat is the distinction in Dutch between "zweer" and "zeer". The groep with the "W" or "O" has a limited presence in Germanic languages . It is found in English , Dutch and its predecessors and quite naturally in Middle Low German "sweren".


    It must be remarked that the group "S/Z W E R" is also present in verbs with two meanings. Again Dutch gives a clear example with "zweren" that can mean "to fester" as well as "to swear", two quite different concepts. Just for the record, the past tense and other forms of the verbs that carry the message of "to swear" have a vowel related to the consonant "W", in English "swore, sworn", Dutch "zwoer, gezworen" , Swedish "svor, svuro, svurit " (with "svra, svrja") and in German "schwöre, schwur, geschworen". We point out that these words are not related to "answer", as some scholars think. The Dutch verb "zweren" of the actual entry has the forms "zwoor, gezworen".


    Proto-Germanic probably had, in the sense of "festering wound", "*Z W E R-" besides "Z WO R_" in some verbal forms.


  • Indo-European. There are not sufficient indications aboout cognates in other groups of Indo-European languages. Sometimes proposed words as Old Irish "serb" = "bitter" and Russian "khworŭj" = "ailing" are far off. Avestan "xsvara" = "wound" is nearer, but indicates any kind of wound and this can not justify a hypothesis different from Proto-Germanic.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 11/11/2012 at 11.39.24