H 0474 ר י ז ח

Concept of root : swine

Hebrew word


English meanings

ר י ז ח



Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ר י ז ח



gh z (i)r





kh (oi) r



Proto-Semitic *GHAZIR --- *KHOIR-OS Greek



In this comparison the similarity is so vague that we should perhaps have left it out of the list altogether. But anyhow here it is. This Hebrew word for "swine" is an isolated one. An important existing root "GH Z R" stands for "to return", and this has nothing to do with the characteristics of a swine, pig or pork.


Also Greek "khoiros" seems isolated, with in the Greek way, a considerable number of composed words around it but nothing really out of the concept of "swine" and "swinelike". Nothing in the way of an etymology has been found either.


We have not considered as such the supposition that the swine would have received its name , on account of its tough hair, from an Indo-European root "*gher(s)" , standing for "to bristle": thus "the bristle haired one". The swine meant other more important things for Man than his bristly but not too rich hair . But we remain all the same with the unexplicable Z in the Hebrew word .


In some other Semitic languages we find a consonant N in front of the Z .


  • Proto-Semitic. Proto-Semitic is seen as having had a somewhat different root, without the initial GH, based on the supposed absence of this sound from Akkadian and Ugaritic. But others sustain that the relative words in these languages had an initial consonant comparable to the ""CH" in Scottish "loch". And anyway especially Akkadian in more cases does not have, probably because it had been eliminated, the initial "GH" found in other Semitic languages."*ח ז ה , GH Z H (accentuated vowel)". In Aramaic there is "ח ז י ר א, ghazir' = pig, swine". Other languages have nasalized the root , like Ugaritic with the "ח נ ז ר ", Arabic "ghinzir" and Ethiopian "ghanzir". So we rather stay at the hypothesis of a Proto-Semitic root "*ח ז ר , GH Z R", similar to Hebrew and many other Semitic tongues. The choice of the used vowels in the above comparison is simply based on a majority vote among the languages.


  • Indo-European. There are very many words for "swine" in Indo-European languages, due to the importance of the animal in economic life, but Greek "khoiros" seems not to find cognates among them. Another Greek word is "γρομφις, gromphis = (old) sow", perhaps related to Latin "scrofa" with the same meaning. A relation with Hebrew is hard to establish. The already weak comparison remains between Semitic and Greek "khoiros".





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 28/10/2012 at 15.22.53