The words " cry , crow " and " shriek " are of Germanic origin .

H 0767 א ר ק

Concept of root : to cry, voice

Hebrew word


English meanings

א ר ק


to cry, call, read out loud

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


א ר ק


to cry, call, read out loud

q . r (‘)








to cry;



k r . z ;

k r . g ;

k . r . k




cry, shriek


k r . k




to cry (also for help)

q . r . t


to cry;

to shriek;

to crow;


to cry;


to crow;


c r (y);

sh r . k

c r (ow);

c r (ow)


skri, skrik

skri, skrik


sk r . k










to shriek;

to shriek;

to crow;

to cry

k r . sh;

k r . s;

k r . . ;

sh r . (y)



Proto-Semitic *QARÀ --- *KRĀ Indo-European



A very important , international and fertile root, this one: K + R plus some phonetic weight after it , in various forms.


In Hebrew it is an Aleph, which means that an accentuated vowel is to be added to K R. Russian repeats the initial K and says "krk". Latin, for such an intensive action as "shrieking" likes to insert a T and so it did. This is a common way of shaping an intensive version of an existing verb or root . Greek chose to do the thing by adding a Z or a G with a preceding U. About Germanic we have a specific note here below.



  • Greek has , besides the verb and noun that are so clearly related to all the others, this specific word "krks" for "herald". It is related to the verb "κηρυσσω , krsso" that says "to announce, proclaim". This is exactly the task of a herald. And a proclamation in Hebrew is a "qri’".


    But there is a generally accepted theory that the word "herald" comes from a Germanic word " heriwalto" or "hariwalto". The first part would be related either to the internationally very well-known German word "Herr" that we see in entry E 0441 (Hebrew 0440), or to the little less known German "Heer = army".


    The second part is considered related to the more malfamous than famous German word "verwalten" = "to administer, govern" or the similar noun for "executive". The flaws in the reasoning are that a herald had no executive function nor had he anything to do specifically with war. He just announced messages for somebody else, who might be a King or Lord, but also a different entity, like a municipality. Perhaps the hypothesis is yet true, which means that the word has shifted its meaning into the actual ( and medieval ) one. We should have liked to see an explanation of the identicity in meaning with the Greek and Hebrew words that also in sound has some similarity. That would entail that here the Greek K would correspond (regularly) with a Germanic H. Some people like that kind of development and saw it as generalized . As we point out in our chapter "The Myth of Hundred" (Hebrew 0001_aa11) this is far from a general rule, but something significant that now and then occurs.


    Greek has a related word in "γηρυω, grüo", also, in Doric, "γαρυω, garüo = to talk, shout, sing".


  • Latin "quiritare" should not be seen as related to the word "quiritis" that means "citizen of Rome". Those wo think so say that the word was meant to see this action as the cry of the citizens in case of danger. The word says "to cry out" in general and later was used more specifically but not only "to cry for help".


    The word "quirites" for "citizens" is mentioned in entry LA 1258 (Hebrew 0781).


    Latin has a related word in the verb "garrio, garrire", that stands for "to talk (much), chat, chatter".


  • Hebrew, already in the Bible, uses this word to express the concept of reading. In the far past, reading was apparently done out loud, in particular texts of the Bible, verse that are called " qr’ ". The root in Arabic has led to the word "Koran", the book that is to be read out loud.


  • Proto-Semitic is supposed to have used already the same root we find in Hebrew "*ק ר א , Q R Aleph", also definable as "Q R +detached accentuated vowel".


    It is found in Phoenician "ק ר א , Q R Aleph = to call". Aramaic and Syriac "ק ר א , qer' = he called, invoked, proclaimed, pronounced". Ugaritic used the same root for "to call, invoke". Arabic "qaraa = he read aloud, recited" and is related to the word "Koran". Akkadian "karū = to call, invite".


    There is also a supposition that such a Proto-Semitic root carried, besides the meanings "to call" and "to shout", that of "to read". But that is quite uncertain and may be just an anachronistic supposition. It is instead possible that Proto-Semitic had already a four consonant root "*ק ר ק ר , Q R Q R" , that says "to shout", but also indicates sounds of animals and is found besides in Hebrew also in Syriac and Aramaic, as well as Arabic.


  • Germanic has worked with quite some fantasy on this root;


    1. staying like HebrewEnglish, DutchCRY, KRAAIEN
    2. adding a final SDutch, GermanKRIJS, KRIJSEN, KREISCHEN
    3. adding a final TDutch KREET, KRIJTEN
    4. adding an initial SGerman, DutchSCHREIEN
    5. initial S + final K EnglishSHRIEK
    6. adding a final PMiddle DutchCRIEP



  • English "to cry" comes from Middle English "crien" and according to the general opinion from French "crier". Possibly, yes, but French "crier" does not come from Latin "quiritare", and may instead rather have a Germanic origin. "Quiritare" had become "critare" or had travelled together with that then more popular word. Italian had and has "gridare" and there is no reason why French should have lost that dental.


    Some people want to add the word "crack" to the range of this root. It would be based of the sound one hears when something cracks. There are many different such sounds, which makes the thesis a bit less smooth. But anyhow , as shown in entry E 0202 (Hebrew 0447), English "crack" is related to a different Hebrew root.


  • Proto-Germanic. Proto-Germanic, Form 1 , "cry". In this case we see a development in Germanic, in which a "W" becomes a "Y"-sound that is often also spelled "J" or " I ". We note the following two examples: Old High German "krawa, kraja, kraha" and Old English "crawan", English "to crow". Middle Dutch already had only "craeyen, crayen", leading to Dutch "kraaien". German "krhen" is not pronounced with "H" bu with a slight Y-like sound, though some wrong exaggerated pronunciation of the written "H" sometimes can be heard, as is the case with the verb "gehen = to go". The probable Proto-Germanic form is "* KR A W-".


    The same root has given the word "crow", German "Krhe", Dutch "kraai", and in Swedish and Norwegian the "K" has been doubled, making a Swedish crow a "krka, kroka", in Danish "softened" into "krage". The related verbs are not found in Scandinavian.


    Proto-Germanic, Forms 2 and 3, "KR (I) S" and "KR (I) T" , are found in a limited territory. "KR (I) T" is found in Middle Low German "kriten", Middle Dutch "criten" and Dutch "krijten". It may be a specific local development, of which it is hard to suppose a relation with Latin "critare" and that may be more recent than Proto-Germanic. "KR (I) S" is there in Middle Low German "krīschen ( also krisken), Middle Dutch "criscen > crijsscen", Dutch "krijsen" and German "kreischen". Also this territory is rather limited and the root may be more recent than Proto-Germanic, that probably had "*K R I-.


    Proto-Germanic, Form 4, SKR I -.. The adding of an initial "S" is a common phenomenon in Germanic. And in fact we find here older languages and wider territory . The words cover the two basic meanings of English "to cry", also diversifying between the two: Old Saxon "skrian", Old Frisian "skria", Old West Frisian "scraya", Old High German "scrian" and "screion", Middle Low German "schreien, schrewen", Middle Dutch "screyen, screuwen", German "schreien", Dutch (fully diversified) " schreien, schreeuwen". Probably Proto-Germanic knew a form "*SKR I -".


    Proto-Germanic, Forms 5 and 6. . Besides English "shriek" one may note that in Scandinavian languages , like Swedish "skrik = cry" and "skrika = to cry" also the previously mentioned "skri" has received a doubling of the "K". This may well be a local development that occurred later than Proto-Germanic. The same goes for form 6 with its final "P".


  • Indo-European. An existing hypothesis is "*G Ā R-". In this the initial "G" as seen in Old Indian and Latin, is considered the original opening consonant. In Greek, Slavic and Germanic we see a "K", but there is no vowel between this "K" and the "R" : "KR-". This may be later development, but it is probable that both forms were already present in Indo-European : "*G Ā R-" as well as "*KR Ā -". One must take into consideration that the metathesized form "KRA" is at the basis of a rich diversification.



    Indo-European has also a hypothesis for an extended root with the meanings of "to shout, to shriek, to yell": "*K R A W K". This has a solid basis in various groups. It seems not directly related to Hebrew. Back to the basic form there are more references:


    Old Indian has a word for "to shout, roar", that has added a "J" to the original root "G A R-" in "garjati". And also, in its rich variation, a "járatŷ = to call" as well as derived meanings for various sounds.


    Slavic. Russian "кричать, kritshatj stands for "to cry, scream, shout" with an extended root that is comparable to those of forms 2 and 3 of the previous Note on Proto-Germanic. It has cognates in other modern Slavic languages. In the word "krik = cry, shriek, shout, roar", the final "K" seems to be a doubling of the initial one.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 21/05/2013 at 16.05.45