E 0691          (TO)  PLY

The verb " to ply " is, via Old French, of Latin origin .

H 0765               ל פ ק

Concept of root : folding

Hebrew word


English meanings

ל פ ק


to ply, fold; to wind up

Related English words

to ply

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ל פ ק


to fold, ply; to wind up

k . p . l




to twist, twine

p  l . k




to fold; to wind together

p . l . c


       to ply

to ply, fold

p l .



Hebrew QIPPÈL < Proto-Semitic *QAPAL --- *PLÈK- Indo-European



Like in entry E 0237 (Hebrew 0751), we find a root of three consonants, one of which, the K-sound" , stands after the other two, in this case in "P L K" in the European tongues but in Hebrew before them : " K P L" . This looks like a kind of metathesis. Fortuity is less probable.



  • Greek has a verb "πλεκω , pleko" that says a rather different thing from simple folding: "to interlace, twist, weave". Yet it is in all probability of the same origin, with the bending applied to quite different materials. See also the next note regarding "plictoria" in Latin.


  • Latin "plicare" is at the basis of a number of modern English words, such as "implication," "complex", "duplex" . Interesting is the word "plictoria" for "reel, spool" as used for the making of textiles. This shows the nearness to the specialized message of Greek "plekto".


  • English " to fold " , like German " falten ", is sometimes seen as related to Greek " pleko ", also because that German verb also was used to express the concept of " to interlace " . This remains rather uncertain though .


  • Proto-Germanic. The three consonant combination "P L K" can be recognized in a number of Germanic words, with the messages of "to plait" and "to weave". We cite Old Saxon and Old High German "flehtan", Old English "fleohtan", and Middle Dutch "vlechten". There is a hypothesis of "*flightan" that we would like to amend into "*F L È GH T-. The final "T" is a typical Germanic addition.


    The word "flax" and its Germanic sisters often are seen as related to the mentioned verbs, but this remains quite uncertain, not to say improbable on account of the characteristics of the fiber.


  • Hebrew. This root "Q P L" is considered a sister of "K P L" that in Hebrew says "to double ", and is found in E 0195 couple, (Hebrew 0498) This is only approximately right. The two are certainly related , but in Hebrew "Q P L" says, like "K P L ", "to double", but adds the concepts of "to fold, roll up". "Hebrew K P L " is used for "to double" and then also for "to fold", but not "to roll up". Yet then there is some confusion when this same root "K P L " is found in Akkadian "kapālu = to twist, coil"! . These meanings we also find in the Indo-European words of this entry.


  • Proto-Semitic. This root is present in Aramaic "ק פ ל , qappèl" and Syriac "ק פ ל , qephal" . It may have been in use in Proto-Semitic: "*ק פ ל , Q P L". In our comparison we maintain the two vowels " A ", though others may have been in use as well.


  • Indo-European. The existing hypothesis of "*P L E K" seems right.


    Old Indian perhaps has a related word in "praśna- = plaited basket". The R " substitues an " L " and the consonant " S " is a satem-centum-result.


    Slavic has a hypothesis "*plestī-" for "to plaid". This is in harmony with Russian "плести, plesti " that means "to plaid, braid, tress" but also "to weave", though modern Russian uses for this last meaning a different word, "ткать, tkatj". The "S" in "plesti" is a normal "centum-satem"-development.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 22/11/2012 at 16.15.54