E 0203          CRAFT

The word " craft " is of Germanic origin .

H 0507           ח י ר כ ה , ח ר כ *

Concept of root : used force

Hebrew word


English meanings

ח ר כ *

ח י ר כ ה ; *



*to use force ;

to force

Related English words

craft, Old English craeft

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ח ר כ *;

ח י ר כ ה                                                  



*use force;

to force

k . r . gh





κρατος, καρτος,






to have force, power;



k r . t





k r . gh (t)

Middle Dutch

cracht, craft

craght, craft

force, power, speed,






k r . p





k r f (t)




c r . f (t)

Old English




ability ,


k r . f (t)



Hebrew KARAGH < Proto-Semitic *KARAH --- KRACHT Dutch < *KRAHT- Proto-Germanic; "KRAT Indo-European



We have two possible and different suppositions in the case of this entry. The premise is that the Hebrew word "hikhriagh" means "to force, make do". It is a so-called causative form of a basic verb "*karagh". Such causative forms can be purely causative in meaning, but that is far from always the case. We must try tro derive the meaning of basic "karagh" from what we know of "hikhriagh". The first supposition , and the one we accept, is that "karagh" means "using force" . The other supposition is that "karagh" means "to be forced", but such a meaning is not a very probable one for the creation of a basic root.


Our supposition is in harmony with the findings in European languages. Words for "force" or "power" have many derived or figurative meanings in languages. We have indicated a few under the Old English word "craeft", but these same meanings are also valid for Middle Dutch "cracht" and "craft". Especially interesting is that Middle Dutch carries also the same meaning as Hebrew "hikhriagh".


A further support we may find in the fact that two Hebrew words, " ה כ ר ח " , "hekhreagh" and " כ ר ח " , "koragh", that are based on the two words of this entry, both are used to express one and the same concept, that of "compulsion, necessity, obligation".



  • Semitic, Indo-European, Germanic . There are very many cases in which a similarity is found between Semitic and Germanic, without indication of cognates in other groups of Indo-European languages. In this specific entry we see much more similarity between Semitic and Germanic then between Semitic and Indo-European. These two phenomena pose a comparable kind of question : how come that within Indo-European, Germanic roots are those who are much more frequently similar with Semitic ?


  • Greek "kratos" has also the local (Ionian) form "kartos". This shows more clearly the similarity with Germanic and Hebrew. As known, in European languages vowels often are seen as elements of roots. For that reason we see indicated roots for "kratos" also: *kret* and "*kretj". This hypothesis is based on the existence of the word "κρεισσων , kreisson ", meaning "stronger, more powerful", an older comperative of the adjective "κρατυς , kratüs ". Of course we sustain that the root is just "K R T" and that the choice of vowels is an instrument of diversification or for derivative meanings.


  • Greek and Hebrew. Commonly analysts say that the Greek word "kratos", that is also used to indicate "government", "authorities", has been derived from an Indo-European root "*kar" meaning "hard". But the concept of government , as that of authority, is not linked to hardness. Governments, like that of dictators, may be hard, but that is not their basic characteristic. Fundamental is that they have (the) power and can exercise force where needed. So it is no wonder that "hardness" in Hebrew is not expressed by this same root, but by others, such as "Q SH" and "Q SH GH".


  • Proto-Germanic In Germanic languages we see, if we compare with Hebrew, the adding of final T, that often has an emphasizing function. And here, as in other cases, it has developed two versions, one with the ending "-ght" and one with "-ft". Both are present in Middle Dutch and Old Saxon. The form with "-ft" , more akin to Russian, is seen as the basic Germanic form. This is not certain. The T being an addition, the words with "-ght" are nearest to Hebrew. That implies that this version may be the older one, that has been conserved in Dutch, surviving the attack of "craft" that perhaps came to be used under the influence of the other tongues.


    Already in older Germanic languages both "-FT" and "-HT are present. We see Old Saxon "kraht, kraft", Old North Franconian "craft", Middle Dutch "cracht, craft", Old High German "chraft", Old English "cræft", Old Norse "kraptr". Proto-Germanic probably had both forms, "*KR A PT-" and "*KR A HT-.


  • Modern English "craft" has maintained just a small very specific part of the meanings of the Old English word "craeft".


  • Indo-European . A supposed root "*ger" stands for "turn" and is considered to be related to the word "craft". The reasoning goes as follows : "*ger" means "to turn, wind, contract, contort, cramp" . Consequently (!!) the tending of muscles originally defined the concept of "to turn". We mention this as a curiosity, not because we believe this kind of reasoning valid, on the contrary. True, pressing grapes for wine is done with the force of a turning movement. The turning, comparable with the effect of a pulley or a lever, is a technical means to increase the performance of a too small available force. But the two basic concepts of turning and force are very different. Turning does not as such imply force and force does not imply turning. See the second Note on Indo-European below.


  • Hebrew gives us also the word " כ ו ח" , "koagh" also spelled as " כ ח ", that stands for "force, power, violence" like Middle Dutch "cracht", but also comprises "ability" as in Old English "craeft". Here instead of "K R GH" we find a root "K W GH". Well, in European languages, for example in Italian, quite a few educated people pronounce the R" as "W" !


  • Proto-Semitic . This root is seen in Hebrew. There are cognates with a third consonant "H" instead of "GH" in Arabic "akraha = he forced, compelled" and Ethiopian "kwarha = "he forced, compelled". This version "*כ ר ה , K R H". may well have been used in Proto-Semitic. But it is uncertain if also the Hebrew version "*כ ר ח , K R GH", that should have been developed out of it, existed already in Proto-Semitic.


  • Indo-European.


    Old Indian. The word "krátu- expresses the concepts of "power" and "ability", besides "resolution" as the expression of mental strength.


    Avestan in "khratu-" indicates especially "mental strength".


    Slavic has Russian "крепость, krepostj = strength, force, power, hardness", clearly related to German "Kraft".


    Celtic contributes with a few related words : Cymric "kraff = strong", Cornish "crif = strong" and Breton "creff = strong".



    Indo-European has two suppositions, "*kert-" and "*kret-". We would rather opt for the vowel "A" in just "*K R A T-", without being able to define with certainty if this vowel was "Ā" or "Ă".





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 01/11/2012 at 17.08.16