E 0295          ENOUGH

The word " enough " is of Germanic origin .

H 0643             ת ח נ ; ה ח נ

Concept of root : satisfaction

Hebrew word


English meanings

; ה ח נ

ת ח נ



to satisfy;

satisfaction, pleasure

Related English words

enough, Old English genog

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ה ח ,

ח ח נ ;

ת ח נ ;

*naghà; naghagh;


to satisfy;

satisfaction, pleasure

n . gh . ;

n . gh . gh;

n . gh . t

Old English



(g)  n . g

Middle English

ynough >



(y) n . gh >

(i) n . gh




(e) n . gh




satisfaction, pleasure

(gh) n . gh

Middle Dutch

noech, genoech; noegen

nugh, ghenugh; nughen

enough, satisfying; to please, find pleasure, be enough

n . gh








(g)  n . g;

-gn . g








n . g;

n . y .



Proto-Semitic *NAGHÀ --- *NŪGH Proto-Germanic



This entry is strictly linked to entry E 0295 (Hebrew 0669), in which we find the same Indo European words. and is a very nice, be it not simplicistic example of similarity, found specifically between Germanic and Hebrew.


  • English. The strong tendency in English to change a G, either at the end or, as in this case, at the beginning of a word , into an Y , is well known . Sometimes the final G becomes GH, and is then pronounced not G, nor GH, but F . With the word enough we see , in Old English , a word that is like German or Dutch : " genog " . Then Middle English changes the first G , has trouble in pronouncing it properly as Y because there is an unconvincing vowel behind it and changes over to E. Modern English still says I ( international, Latin I ) but writes it as E . The final result is known : " enough ".


  • Hebrew There are more similar but probably independent roots "נ ח ה , naghà". Certainly "naghà" is used for several meanings and there is general agreement on those. And there are extended roots, with three consonants, that build on or diversify the more original messages. An example with bearing on the actual entry is "נ ח ם , naghàm = " to console oneself".


    The root is clear when it explains the special guiding promised and given to Moses on the way to the Land. Some quote the result of this, explained by the same root, as "access (to the Land)", or as "the reaching of the set goal", others specify "satisfaction".


    Also regarding other places there is difference of interpretation. In Proverbs 29.9 the lack of success for the Wise in communicating with the Foolish (that either get angry or laugh at the Wise) is specified as resulting in lack of "peace of mind" or lack of "satisfaction", with the root "נ ח ה , naghà". In Genesis 8.21 the pleasing, satisfying odours of Noah's sacrifice was smelled by the Lord, with the extended root "נ ח ח , naghagh". The extension has taken place by doubling the second consonant.


    We opt for or rather emphasize the meaning of "satisfaction ", also because the root " "נ ח ת , naghat" indicates the "satisfaction of the Lord" . Besides, though all verbs with these two roots are not used in Modern Hebrew, we find the noun " נ ח ת , naghat " that exacly is used to express the concept of satisfaction and pleasure, besides tranquillity.


  • Proto-Semitic The roots of this entry and the abovementioned related entry are found in Phoenician, Aramaic, Syriac, Ugaritic, Ethiopian and Akkadian and were probably used in Proto-Semitic: * נ ח ה , N G H (accentuated vowel).


  • Germanic "ge-" is a prefix that can indicate intensiveness and collectiveness. It is compared to Latin "cum-" and English "con-, com-". The real picture is more complex.


  • Dutch gives us a series of words on the basis of the same root : "genoeg = enough" (and it is the same word), "genoegdoening = satisfaction", "genoegen, geneugte = satisfaction, pleasure", "genoeglijk = pleasant, enjoyable". If we compare this with the note regarding developments in Hebrew, we must conclude that it is difficult to find a much better similarity.


    Also the Middle Dutch verb "noegen" is very clear and convincing, but it is out of use today.


  • Proto-Germanic . One must take into account that "ge-" is a very old prefix and that the original word for "enough" did not have this prefix. It is quite probable that the prefix, seen in many Germanic languages, but also co-existing as in Middle Dutch with the version without prefix, was already present in Proto-Germanic. All words have then a first consonant "N" , a vowel "U" or O" and a final consonant spelled "G" or CH", pronounced as "G" or "GH". As vowel the "U" is more frequent. The Middle Dutch and Dutch "OE" is identical in sound to "U". The pronunciation of the final "G" is uncertain, but the highly probable existence of Gothic "*ganohs = enough" besides "ganah = sufficient" in which we see an "H" instead of "G", makes the pronunciation "GH" in Proto-Germanic more probable. Proto-Germanic thus probably had two forms, "*N U GH" and also prefixed "*GE N U GH".


  • Indo-European . There are hypotheses "*NAK-". "*NEK-", "NK" , all based on Latin "nanciscor, na(n)ctus, naciscī , that means "to reach, obtain", together with Old Indian "naśati" with the same meanings. Regretfully the distance between "to reach, obtain" and "satisfaction, pleasure" is considerable and important. Therefore we have to conclude that reliable indications about possible cognates in Indo-European groups outside Germanic lack. The comparison stays between Semitic and Germanic, as very often is the case.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: Thursday 7 February 2013 at 16.01.11