Thursday, April 23, 2009

7 English Words and their Biblical Hebrew Origin


English is the world's unofficial "lingua franca" - a language used to communicate between people not sharing a mother tongue. Some English words are used in almost every country and by every nationality. We say OK and Cowboy knowing these words will be understood just as if they were in the listener's native language. The English language originated from several dialects which were brought to the British Isles by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the beginning of the 5th century. It was heavily influenced by the Old Norse language of Viking invaders. However, there are also English words originating in other languages, sometimes very ancient ones. The following are 7 interesting English words and examples from their Biblical Hebrew origin.



The English word Armageddon derives from the Hebrew word combination of Har Megido (הר מגידו) meaning Megido Mountain, the biblical location of an apocalyptic battle.
See also:



The English word Botany derives from the Greek word Botane, meaning a plant or herb. Yet, an earlier source for this word is the Boten – a spoken Hebrew word for Peanut that also appears in the bible. The word Batata, BTW, means Sweet Potato in both Arabic and spoken Hebrew.



Hebrew-Phoenicians were great traders throughout the known world and this is clearly seen in the English word Market that comes from the Latin word Mercari meaning to trade. But hey… where did Mercari came from? Right from the Hebrew-Phoenician word Mokher (מכר) meaning sells or someone who sell. This original Hebrew word has turned into many associated modern words including Commerce, Market, Mart, Mercantile, Mercenary, Merchandise, Mercer, Merchant, Mercury and even Mercy.



The English word Maven comes from the Hebrew word Mevin (מבין) meaning understands or one who understands.



Yes. We are not sure if that is a big surprise but as if inventing the word marketing is not enough, the ancient Hebrew people were also the first to come up with the word Money that comes from the Hebrew word, Mone (מונה), meaning counts or counter. Also the Latin word Moneta meaning Mint and Money comes from a Phoenician Hebrew origin.



The English word Mystery comes from the Biblical Hebrew word Mistor (מסתר) meaning a secret hiding place. The word Mistorin (מסתורין), BTW, means Mystery in both Biblical Hebrew and modern spoken one.



Lastly, the English word Satan comes from the Biblical Hebrew word… Satan (שטן) meaning, well… Satan as we know it.
For more about the English and Hebrew languages see:


  1. English and Western words from Biblical Hebrew is a topic that rocks our world.
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  2. Anonymous2.8.10

    HalleluYahuhay, Meshiah Yahushua. Har-Meggido... a mountain of (places of) crowds.

  3. Anonymous13.3.11

    Actually, the word Satan means simply "enemy" or "someone with ill intentions". :)

  4. Anonymous27.7.11

    Are there any derived from the Hebrew word 'owr (plus the Biblical city Ur), meaning "light", perhaps "aurora"?
    Could "nafal" (Nephilim) be the source of "fall," "foul," and "defile"? "Nabal/Naval" the source of "vile" and "villain"? "Alah" ("ascend", not "God/Allah") related to Latin "altus" (thus "altitude")? I see a good chance for all of these.
    Of course, we know "eye" from "ayin" (same as the letter ayin), as well as "seven" and "Sabbath" from "shaba/shava".


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