GR 1160          EEDNON

H 0634            ה י נ ו ד נ ; ה ד נ

Concept of root : dowry

Hebrew word


English meanings

;ה ד נ

ה י נ ו ד נ



reward for woman;


Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ה ד נ ;

ה י נ ו ד נ



reward for woman,

n . d .;

n . d . n




eednon, hednon

wedding gift,

h . d n



Proto-Semitic *NADAN < *DON --- EEDN-ON Greek < *DŌN Indo-European



The sequence of the consonants between Greek and Hebrew is not the same, and seen the fact that the meanings are much alike, there may be two different answers. Either the first N in Hebrew is part of an original root , that would be N D; and a metathesis has occurred . Or the N is a prefix that has been added later and the original root was "D N", just like in English (from Latin) donation. We opt for the second hypothesis, because that is in harmony with other words that deal with the concept of "to give" and "to donate". That has as a consequence that in the shorter word "nedè", that also stands for "salary" the original N has been eliminated. Whatever the case, an interesting similarity is there . We refer hereafter also to other Indo-European languages, but the similarity is more limited than with Greek.



  • Greek shows two words, one with aspiration (H) the other with a doubled E. It seems very hard to say if any came first. In this case there is no indication of the H substituting an older S, on the contrary. Neither do we see why the H would be a substitute for a W, of which anyhow no trace seems to exist in related roots. The only conclusion is that both systems, dealing with such an important kind of gift, as a dowry is, accentuated the beginning of the word, each in its way. Anyhow, Greek scholars consider "hednon" as derived from an older "*wednon". In Modern Greek these words are out of use.


  • Proto-Semitic. This root is found in Akkadian "nudunnu= dowry", but also in "nidnu, nidintu = gift". Further in Aramaic "nedunià", similar to Hebrew. There is no reason to suppose that this Aramaic word has been loaned from Akkadian. Arabic has a word "nadan = gift". Proto-Semitic may have had already or not have had the shortened version, root "* נ ד ה , N D H (accentuated vowel)". It certainly had the form "* נ ד ן , N D N", specifically to indicate gifts to women. All these words and roots may have a kinship with the root "* נ ת ן, N T N = to give", found in entry E 0263 (Hebrew 0663).


    Probably both roots have a prefix " N " in them, that just accentuated the meaning of the original shorter roots without that first " N " , respectively "* ד ן, D N = to make a gift to a woman" and "* ת ן, T N = to give ( in general )".


    It is quite possible that in origin there was only the root "* ד ן, D N" with a pronunciation of "DON" and the general meaning of "to give, make a gift". This is near Indo-European "*D Ō N".


An interesting " side-track " :


  • Wedding and betting . An Old English "wituma" or "weotoma" is a "dowry". In Middle Dutch and Middle Low German we have "wedema" or "wedem ( wedom)" and in Old High German "widamo". These words with three consonants have their basis in a root with two consonants, that in Old English gave the verb "weddian = to pledge , promise, give to wife, wed (marry)" and the noun "wedd = pledge, agreement, security" and also, interesting "dowry". The basis of these words, "wedd", has no relation at all, as one should like to suppose and ensure, with the root "wed" in "wēde = foolishness, madness, rage, fury".


    Instead there is a supposed cognate in "to bet", which is a meaning the basis "wewd" has in Dutch "wedden = to bet" and in German "wetten = to bet", that has changed the "D" into "T". A reasoning is given, in that "bet" as a basis basis of "better" would have been used to say "to bet", as one in betting goes for the better. Thus kind of "inventiveness" often accompanies etymology, even if it is so utterly without basis.


    The original meaning lies in "to pledge", that takes places in wedding and in betting, as in other occasions. In Middle Dutch a "dowry" is also a "wedde", but that word besides "pledge, dowry" also means "agreement, salary, contest, important asset".


  • Proto-Germanic. The third consonant "M" in the words referred in the previous Note, is an older and not too much used suffix that indicates the result of an action. Proto-Germanic probably had an original "*W È D- for "pledge" and possibly a specific extended "*W È D Ĕ M-" for "dowry, wedding gift".


  • Indo-European. Latin "vas, vadis" is a "pledge, guarantee" and is related to the Germanic words of the previous Notes. In Gothic "wadi" with the same meaning we see also the same vowel used. The indication from Latin is "V Ā D-". For completeness it must be pointed out that this has no relation whatsoever with the well known verb "vendo, vendere = to sell", as some believe.


    Old Indian has " vadū-" for "bride, young wife, daughter-in.-law", but it is not clear of there may be a relation of common origin with the words of this entry and their concept of "pledge".


    For Avestan : "vaðū- = wife, woman" the same doubt reigns.


    Baltic enjoys a hypothesis of "*W E D-", but perhaps a "W A D-" would be better, with a long or short vowel. Lithuanian has "vadas" = guarantor" and "vadūoti = to redeem ( a loan, mortgage)", like Latvian "vaduoju".


    Indo-European may have had the usually supposed "W È D-", with a message of various forms of pledge.






Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 12/11/2012 at 16.33.55