E 0907          -THER

The words " father" and " mother" are of Germanic and Indo European origin

H 0662            ר ט נ

Concept of root : protection, preservation

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ט נ


to protect, preserve, guard

Related English words

-ther, in father, mother

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ט נ


to protect, guard, preserve

n . th . r




to guard, preserve

t . r .



( father , mother )


( father ,

mother )

th . r



Proto-Semitic *NATHAR < *THÈR --- *TÈR-EO Greek < *TÈR Indo-European



A nice clear similarity, apart from the initial N in Hebrew, that must be seen as a confirming prefix though. Hebrew itself offers some collateral evidence for this, with the root " ע ט ר , ‛athar = to surround, protect", as in Psalm 5.13: "encompassing with favour like a shield".


  • English, together with most European languages, from Greek onwards, has this root in daily use as the second part of the words father and mother, as well as brother and sister. A mother is the "ma (who) protects (her child)" and a father is the "pa (who) protects (his child)". See our chapter "Fathers and sons" (Hebrew 0001_aa18).


    The "TH" in English "father", not found in Greek and Latin, is not the same as the Hebrew " TH " in "nathar". It is a typically English development out of a " D ", as found in for example "the" instead of "de".


  • Hebrew. This root "N TH R" has a sister root in "N TS R" with the same general message.


  • Proto-Semitic. "N TH R" is seen in Aramaic and Syriac " נ ט ר , nethar = he kept, guarded" and in Arabic "nathara" with the same messages . The mentioned root "N TS R" is found in Ethiopian and Akkadian . Possibly the Hebrew root existed as well in Proto-Semitic "* נ ט ר , N TH R". And with the first consonant " N " considered a confirming prefix, an older form should have been present in Proto-Semitic : "* ט ר , TH R". In our comparison we have placed a vowel " È ", but also " Ă " may have been in use. As shown above, in Hebrew itself we find collateral evidence for this hypothesis, that finds further support in the similarity with Indo-European .





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 14/11/2012 at 12.19.33