[b-hebrew] Root of words is the original meaning?

Jason Hare jaihare at gmail.com
Mon Dec 15 06:25:56 EST 2008

Shalom, Nick.

> am I right in thinking that when I read that the root of a hebrew word
> is such and such, that was it's original; meaning, before the klanguage
> developed and was applied to other things?

Are you suggesting that words (in this case, roots) can have meaning
apart from their use in a language? You're thinking backwards.
Lexicographers have worked from linguistic examples further back into
time, comparing words' usages in terms of similarity and difference to
determine what is the connection between various words that employ the
same root. It has nothing to do with a root meaning something
originally (as if it can mean something without linguistic expression)
and then just jumping into various forms. It's a speculation,
attempting to connect the various meanings that a root adopts in its
extant forms.

> Perhaps you could also comment on this particular example I was
> considering:-
> H3117
> ???
> yo?m
> yome
>  From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours),
> whether literally
> (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or
> figuratively (a space of time
> defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially): - age,  . . .

Just so you know, using Strong's dictionary does not go far on this
list. The best definition of a Hebrew word comes from verses of the
Tanakh and specific appearances, not from James Strong, who wrote his
dictionary in such a way as to make it useless for real Hebrew study
but very satisfying for those who do not know Hebrew and want to
pontificate the "true meaning" of words without even knowing the

I encourage you to actually study Hebrew. Go to a nearby university
and enroll for a Biblical Hebrew course. Or, join a study on
http://www.classicalhebrew.com where you can actually study Biblical
Hebrew with the aid of a teacher online. Until you've actually studied
the language, don't bother yourself with the meaning of "yome" (eek),
since it cannot mean anything to you apart from what Strong tells you
and what answers you get on this forum.

Jason Hare
Rehovot, Israel

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