E 0357          GARDEN , COURT

The word " garden " is of Germanic origin .

The word " court " is, via Old French, of Latin source .

H 0350        ר ד ג

Concept of root : to enclose

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר ד ג


to enclose, wall

Related English words

garden , court

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר ד ג


to enclose, wall

g . d . r


garden ;


garden ;


g . r d ;

c . r t

Middle High German




g . t . r


Gitter, Garten

gitter, garten

enclosure, garden

g . t . r;

g . r . t




court, farm

g .  r d

Middle Dutch











garden; enclosed or walled in space, house

gh . r d ;

gh . r t





hortus;  cohors,gen.cohortis

hortus, cohors

garden, enclosed space, court

h . r t

h . r t











g . r . d ;

g r . d



Proto-Semitic *GADAR --- *GARD- Indo-European



In relation with this entry it is useful to read our Note Hebrew in entry E 0134 (Hebrew 0418) for several related roots.and, also E 0197 (Hebrew 0780) with its commentary .


The etymological trials for the German word "gater" want to put it together with "good" and "gather". We want to stay with our feet on the ground and see an original root "*GDR" that already bears the concept of "enclose". And we see also a group of Germanic words with a metathesis that indicated the enclosed ground instead the enclosing structure.




  • Hebrew here opens an interesting window on the way it may form its spelling. The concept of surrounding, enclosing, is found in the following roots :


    ג ד ר G D R, gadar, this entry E 0357, Hebrew 0350, a root also found in Aramaic and with a cognate in Arabic "jaddara"
    ח ד ר GH D R, ghadar, entry E 0134 (Hebrew 0418), a root seen in Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic and Akkadian
    כ ד ר K D R, kadar, entry E 0135 (Hebrew 0481), a root referred to also for Aramaic and Arabic
    כ ת ר K T R, kittèr, entry E 0136 (Hebrew 0518), a root present in Aramaic and Syriac
    ק ר ת Q R T, qeret, entry E 0197 (Hebrew 0780), a root used in Aramaic, Ugaritic and Phoenician


    The explanation we see for this is either a very refined diversification among the first consonants or local differences in pronunciation of what basically was one sound, found by the scholars who registered the alphabetic spelling of the word.


  • Proto-Semitic. The root "G . D . R" of this specific entry H 0350 is present in Aramaic and there is a sister "J R D" in Arabic . It probably has been used as such in Proto-Semitic : "ג ד ר, G D R".


  • English enjoys a double presence in this entry . One of the two words is of Latin origin and the other Germanic . Of course both have been developed on the basis of the concept of closing off a space , a terrain .


  • Old-English. It is interesting to see that Old English and Old Saxon had words without initial "G" for "fence": Old English "eodor, edor, eder" = hedge, fence, enclosure". Old Saxon "edor, eder = fence". And this is also seen in dialectal German with "eter = fence".


  • Middle Dutch once more gives a good road-sign, be it with a metathesis (changing of place of two letters) , into this similarity with Hebrew. We find both original Hebrew meanings in Middle Dutch. And those old Dutchmen even have tried to create a diversification by the use of two different final dentals. The softer (!) D to talk about a garden, and the harder (!) T to describe a walled in or even covered space.


  • German very nicely shows us two words that have a metathesis between them, one version for the enclosure and one for the enclosed space.


  • Proto-Germanic. Regarding the origin of the words "garden" and "yard", all old and new Germanic languages have an initial consonant G, with the exception of English "yard" that however comes from Old English "geard". The final consonants are nearly always the couple "RD", with the exception of the "RT" in German "Garten" and its direct predecessors. The vowel is nearly always "A". Proto-Germanic probably had "*G A R D".


  • Latin is also very interesting. It shows again the same both meanings, but for the second one, that of "enclosed space" it uses a composed word, the original root plus a prefix "co". And that word has led to the important English "court".


    The word " cohors ( gen. cohortis ) " in Latin already has acquired the metaphorical meaning that is still known in English as " cohort " .


  • Indo-European An existing hypothesis is "* GH A R DH-", for which we substitute "*G A R D-". Another hypothesis is "*GH O RT- ", indicated by Latin and Greek. It is quite probable that both forms already were in use in early times during Indo-European.


    Greek has χορτος, khortos = fence, fenced ground, garden, threshing floor".


    Slavic has a hypothesis of "*gordĕ", based on Old Church Slavonic. The Russian words mentioned in the table confirm this supposition. One notes the unchanged initial "G" in "gorod", that has a cognate in changed "zoród= barn".


    Baltic gives a hypothesis of "*gard-a- with Lithuanian "gardas, gardìs = fenced place, hurdle". Interesting is that the initial "G", notwithstanding the so-called "satem-centum" rule, was maintained, with another "zjárda = cattle-hurdle, rack".


    Celtic gives us for "fence" and related meanings Old Irish "gort", Cymric "garth" and Breton "garz".


    Old Indian gives a less clear relationship with the word "grhagh = house, living place", in which the "R" has a vowel-like function. The dental lacks, but the hypothesis is that it has existed earlier in a "*grdhá-;", also with a vowel-like "R".


    Albanian "garth, gardhi" stands for "fence".





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 18/10/2012 at 14.57.21