E 0125          BRUNNA

Old English " brunna " is of Germanic origin .

H 0292            ר ו ב

Concept of root : spring

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ו ב

bor; bawir

pit, cistern; spring

Related English words

Old English : brunna

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ו ב




pit, cistern;


b (o) r ;


b . w . r

Old English

brunna ,

burna, burn

spring, fountain

br (u) n

b (u) rn

Middle Dutch


born ;


b (o) r n




 to bubble

b (o) r



Proto-Semitic *BOR --- *BRU-N Proto-Germanic < *BREU- Indo-European



The similarity, including the use of the same vowel in Hebrew and Dutch , is striking. The Dutch verb is specifically used for the movement of water from a spring, though it has acquired also other comparable uses. The root is certainly related to that of the entry number E 0124 (Hebrew 0228). It is important to read the Note on Proto-Semitic in that entry.


  • Hebrew gives here a very interesting example of the complicated life of the letter " ו ", called "waw". In the first version of the root of this entry it is used as a vowel O, and the word is BOR, that stands for "pit, cistern". In the second version the "waw" is used as a consonant W. Naturally two vowels are introduced to create a pronouncable and meaningful word, "spring". The diversification of sound plus meaning within the frame of the root is clear. A comparison with another root, that of entry number E 0130 (Hebrew 0231), is useful.


  • Proto-Semitic. Proto-Semitic had in all probability this same root in use. See also our Note in entry E 0124 (Hebrew0228). Proto-Semitic : "*ב ו ר , B W R", in which the central letter may represent a pronunciation as a consonant or as a vowel, "bor" or "bawir".


  • Modern Hebrew uses this word no more for a well or spring, but to say: "pit, tomb, prison". As we know from the Bible, pits were used to imprison people.


  • Old English uses three words, amongst which we can see a metathesis between BR . N and B . RN .


  • Dutch and Middle Dutch. The noun "born" in modern Dutch has undergone a metathesis and has become "bron". The N is a later addition to the original root. The verb "borrelen" is , quite understandibly, an iterative. It has also had other forms with a T or D inserted.


  • Proto-Germanic. In nearly all languages we find the initial BR, and a vowel "U" , followed by a single or double "N". Dutch as an exception has a short vowel "O" in "bron" and the older "born", that was present in Middle Low German and is also found in German as a second choice after "Brunnen". Proto-Germanic probably was "*B R U N -"


  • Indo-European. The common opinion has a hypothesis of a basic root "*BREU-" for Indo-European. See entry E 0124 (Hebrew0228).





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 23/12/2012 at 18.24.05