E 0236          DANDLE

The verb " to dandle " is of uncertain origin .

H 0635            ד נ ד נ

Concept of root : to oscillate

Hebrew word


English meanings

ד נ ד נ


to swing, rock

Related English words

to dandle

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ד נ ד נ


to swing, rock

n . d n . d

< * n . d




to oscillate

d(o)nd(o) <

*n (o) d






to oscillate, shake one’s head;

to sway (walking)

d(o)d .

d . nd .n




to oscillate

d (y) n .


<Middle Dutch




to oscillate

d (ij) n



Proto-Semitic *NOD --- *DĒN- Indo-European



This entry is best seen in relation with number E 0235 (Hebrew 0307) .


A rather complicated set of words on account of the doubling of roots, that is practised in the various languages we see. But their similarities are rather clear. As usually, the oldest forms have been conserved in Dutch . One notes that Semitic has " N . D " and Indo-European " D . N ".


  • Italian "dondolare" has escaped tentatives to define an etymology. Linking this word in some way to Latin "undare = moving in , like waves" does not seem the right track. The movement of waves is quite different from that of oscillating. It is more probable that the verb "dondolare" has been constructed of four parts: DO-NDO-L-ARE. The first part "do" has a doubling function. The second one, NDO, has shifted the vowel because of the doubling, but corresponds to the old Hebrew root "*n(o)d" . The third part, L, is a link for pronunciating the last part, "are", that is the suffix of the infinitive.


    Probably the original root of Italian "dondolare" lies in Germanic.


  • French also uses two different roots, of which the second one, "dandiner" is simply a doubled root with nearly the same development as Italian "dondolare", but without introducing the L, that was unnecessary with the N already doubled. The first one , "dondeliner", while doubling , has lost the N and therefore introduced the L, necessary for a smooth pronunciation. Important is that we find for "dandiner" also that specific movement of shaking one’s head that was present in the Bible.


  • Hebrew. The basic root in Hebrew is found in entry E 0620 (Hebrew 0667) : " N W D , nod = to move to and fro, to wander."


    Hebrew "nidnèd" has doubled this root, a quite reasonable thing to do with a concept like that of "to rock" on the basis of moving to and fro. "Nidnèd" is Modern Hebrew, but the root is also found in the Bible and in Post Biblical Hebrew. A root with doubled second consonant : " נ ו ד ד , noded " = "to wander", can also still be recognized in the complex reflexive verb " ה ת נ ו ד ד , hitenoded " that means "to oscillate", like does " ה ת נ ד נ ד , hitnadned ", that is based on our "nidnèd". The basic root " N W D" is also seen in the Bible to indicate the concept of "to shake one’s head", which is clearly an oscillating movement. And further the fluttering of birds.


  • Proto-Semitic. There is no information to link this root directly to Proto-Semitic and "N D N D" may be just Hebrew. But it is certainly based on the mentioned root "נ ו ד , N W D, nod = to move to and fro, wander", that is also seen in Aramaic and Syriac " נ ו ד , nud = he moved to and fro, was agitated" and Arabic *nāda = he wavered, tottered". It probably was used in Proto-Semitic "* נ ו ד , N W D". What we see in this entry is a doubling of roots in both Hebrew and European tongues, especially understandable with the kind of message that is expressed.


  • English and Germanic. English "to dandle" in all probability has arrived from French in the usual way, via the people of William the Conqueror. It shows the effect of root-doubling seen in French and Italian. But Germanic has the non-doubled version as well.


    There is some confusion around two different concepts, that of "oscillating" and that of "swelling", probably because one might want to recognize both in the moving of waves. We have asked the help of Frisian because it distinguished clearly between the two : "dynje" says " to oscillate" and "thina" stands for "to swell". The Y is a probable development from O that is found in Hebrew.


    We find this also in Middle Dutch "dijnen", that is just another spelling for "dynen". Typically, this pronunciation tends to open the I into a vowel IJ that sounds more like a non- diphthonguized EI. In other earlier Germanic languages it is harder to find a clear picture. Old English "denian" and "dindan" (doubling of D) and Middle Dutch "dinden" all say "to swell".


    Modern Dutch uses the verb "deinen" for the movement of a cradle as well as that of the waves of the sea.


  • Proto-Germanic and Indo-European. We have found a number of words that have " D . N " and carry a meaning of "oscillating", like the Semitic root "N . D". There are no etymoplogies available though and for the comparison, on the basis of the information at disposal, we tentatively mention "* D Ē N" for Proto-Germanic as well as for Indo-European, that indeed may well be right both.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: Thursday 7 February 2013 at 15.55.38