[b-hebrew] What exactly is the semantic overlap between רוח as (1) 'breathe, blow' and (2) 'to be wide, spacious'?

David Kolinsky hadeesh at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jul 17 20:23:25 EDT 2013

Stewart and others,

here is some crazy hebrew etymology:

RWH means "to pour out, fill, saturate"

When something becomes saturated by a liquid it generally expands.  If there is no restriction to its expansion it will do so in all directions, hence

RWH + Ch => RWCh means "to occupy lateral space" > an expanse, distance (Jb27:22); expanse, length (Jr52:23)(Ek42:16,20); "to move in lateral space"
RWH + M => RWM means "to occupy vertical space" > high (adj) (Dt12:2)(Is2:13,14)(Is6:1)(Ps113:4)(Ps138:6); "to move in vertical space" > to lift up   
RWH + B => RWB means "to expand into space (relatively) equally" > to be large, make large

RWCh means "wind" because the human experience of wind is generally horizontal
            means "breath" because breath is a movement of similar to wind
            means "respite / relief" because that is a giving of space (as you stated)

Thanks for taking the time to read this,
David Kolinsky
Monterey, CA

 From: Stewart Felker <stewart.felker at gmail.com>
To: "b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org> 
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:42 PM
Subject: [b-hebrew] What exactly is the semantic overlap between רוח as (1) 'breathe, blow' and (2) 'to be wide, spacious'?

There's also רֶוַח, as 'relief' - I'm assuming the overlap here would be in the same sense that we say 'having space' (or 'breathing easy'). But what exactly is the connection between 'wind, breath', etc. and being 'wide, spacious'?

Stewart Felker
University of Memphis

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