E 0230          DĘSMA

The Old English word " dęsma " is of Germanic origin .

H 0980              ס ס ת                   

Concept of root : fermenting

Hebrew word


English meanings

ס ס ת


to ferment

Related English words

Old English : dęsma

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ס ס ת

tasas ;

to ferment

t . s . s <

*t . s

Old English


fermented dough

d . s m

Old High German



fermented dough

d . s m

Middle Dutch

deisom, desem ;





fermented dough ;

to make ferment

d. s . m



Proto-Semitic *TAS --- *TĀS- Indo-European



The fermenting of this entry is in all senses in Hebrew, also figuratively as among people or crowds. But the basic one is the literal fermenting of dough or liquids. It is important to note that the Hebrew words of this entry have been found registered in Post Biblical language. From there they have passed into Modern Hebrew. This does not been that they were not used in Biblical times, which indeed seems probable. We have no indications about a possible different origin.


  • Old English and its nieces have added an M. This is a sometimes used suffix to shape a noun that indicates the result of the action of the root of a verb. Of the modern languages the word "desem" is still regularly used in Dutch.


  • Hebrew: This root "T S S" presumably has been shaped by doubling the S in an older root "*T S ", in order to have a three-consonant root that is more practical for the many verbal forms that are needed.


  • Proto-Semitic. We lack information from other Semitic languages, but the fact that the root has been doubled makes it probable that the supposed old two consonant root "*ת ס, T . S " was already present in Proto-Semitic.


  • Middle Dutch, besides two versions of the noun for "fermented dough" , has the verb "tissen" that represents the causative form of the figurative sense of fermenting that is also present in Hebrew. It stands for "to stir up, incite, instigate" or "to make ferment".


  • Proto-Germanic. The indication for Proto-Germanic on the basis of the available information would be an initial " T ", that later became a " D ", with a second consonant " S ". This is seen in the Middle Dutch verb "tissen". For the substantive a final " M " has been added. The principal vowel would have been an " Ē ", resulting in "*D Ē S-" < "*T Ē S-" for verbs and "*D Ē S Ĕ M-"for nouns.


  • Indo-European. There are cognates in other branches.


    Greek offers the word σταις, stais , in which the Greeks added an initial " S " of neutral character, that has not changed the meaning of the word.


    Celtic has an Old Irish "táes = dough".


    Slavic contributes with Old Church Slavonic "tĕsto" = dough".


    Indo-European probably used a form "*T Ā S-" for dough and the making ferment of dough.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 03/01/2013 at 17.13.08