E 0194          COULEE

The word “ coulee “ is a loanword from French , with Latin origin .

H 0756         ח ל ק

Concept of root : liquid passing through

Hebrew word


English meanings

ח ל ק


to gush, spurt

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ח ל ק


to gush , spurt

q . l . gh




to pass liquid, sieve

c . l .

English < French

coulee < coulée



c . l .



Hebrew *QALAGH --- CŎL-ARE Latin



The meanings of Latin and Hebrew are not identical, but both deal with the passing of liquid not in a free and natural way, but through some impediment. The difference between Q and C, that both are pronounced “K”, is non-existing in that sense.


In Hebrew we see a third consonant , as people liked to have, a “GH” that serves also to distinguish this root from various others that use the two-consonant combination “Q L” with different meanings. In this case we have no sufficient indication to state that already the combination of the two consonants, "Q + L" may have carried the meaning of " Q + L + GH". A translation of "to restrain", as well as a figurative "to slighten" are given to "Q + L + accentuated final vowel", but that does not help enough.



  • Latin has a noun “colum” that says “sieve”. The etymology is given as uncertain. Having found the Hebrew root things clear up some. First we must consider the problem that was to be solved. Liquids had solid particles that had to be taken out. The best system is that of making the liquid flow from one recipient into another, especially if the solid particles have sunk. But that is not easily perfect and makes lose some of the liquid that may be precious. Another problem is that of the solid particles remaining suspended throughout the desired liquid.


    The problem is solved by passing the liquid through some impediment like a filter or sieve. But the partially impeded and not free flowing may be seen as the essential meaning of the action, not the instrument that is used. On the contrary, this instrument takes the name of the way it makes the liquid flow.


    In fact, still in Italian “colare” and French “couler” the liquid flows or drips in many ways, also through an impediment or in a place where it should not. Comparable developments we see in Germanic with the root that in English has given the words “to seep” and “sieve”, and in Dutch the verb ”sijpelen” for the flowing or trickling of liquids through an impediment and the noun “zeef” for “sieve”.


  • Proto-Semitic. We lack the information from other Semitic languages that would allow a hypothesis for a Proto-Semitic root different from Hebrew.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 31/12/2012 at 10.27.55