E 0197         COURT, GARDEN, YARD

The word “ court “ is, via Old French, of Latin origin.

The words “ garden “ and “ yard “ are of Germanic origin.

H 0780             ת ר ק

Concept of root : enclosed space

Hebrew word


English meanings

ת ר ק



Related English words

garden ,yard ; court from Latin (cohors)

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


      ת ר ק



q . r . t




fenced space;


kh . r t




cohors, gen


hortus ;


cohors, cohortis

fenced garden; fenced space,

h . r t ;

h . r t











g . r . d ;

g r . d



yard ; court

garden ;


g . r d

y . r d

Old English


fenced space, court

g . r d





g . r t

Swedish, Norwegian, Danish




protected farm

g . r d

 Middle Dutch











fenced ground, garden;

protected farm; court

g . r d ;

g . r t



Proto-Semitic *QARAT --- *GĀRD- *GHŎRT- Indo-European



This entry is related to the numbers E 0357 (Hebrew 0350), E 0134 (Hebrew 0418) and E 0481 (Hebrew 0481)


We see two different Hebrew roots serving comparable concepts. One of these roots uses voiced consonants ( G and D ) , the other explosive ones ( Q and T ) , but of the same categories .


People already in the oldest times decided to put up fences and walls to ensure more privacy and protection. Russian "gorod" and the Hebrew word tell of a such a protection around a place where an important number of people lived. The Germanic ones and Russian "ogorod" deal with a smaller place, a piece of ground around a house or some houses, but anyhow fenced off.


The great similarity with which the various groups of languages express this concept of an enclosed space is an indication how old the desire to create such spaces is. The Indo-Europeans and the Semites hereditated the same habit with the same linguistic root from their common predecessor.


As we see the meaning of town, we may recall that also this word refers to an enclosure of the same kind. “Town” has its sisters in German “Zaun = fence” and Dutch “tuin = garden, fence” !


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


    ג ד ר G D R, gadar, 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, this 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.


  • Cartaghe . The first part of the name of this famous Phoenician town with its long wars with Rome, the Punic Wars, is based on the Semitic root of this entry. In Phoenician it was "Qart-ghadast" , which meant " New Town", just like for example Naples, in Greek Neapolis. This Punic New Town "Qart-ghadast" can be compared to old Hebrew "Qarat-ghadashà", in newer language "Qeret-ghadashà".


  • Proto-Semitic. The three consonant root "ק ר ת , Q R T" is found in Aramaic, Ugaritic and of course Phoenician. It should have been present in Proto-Semitic. Various vowels may have been used, but we have indicated the standard double " A ".


  • Proto-Semitic. There is also a related root without final " T ", certainly in Proto-Semitic, found in entry E 0171 (Hebrew 0781) Our note there reads: " We see no basis for a supposition that in Proto-Semitic an Aleph as a vowel stop would be found between the initial Qoph and the following vowel.



    We note that Hebrew has two plurals , " qeriyot " and " qariyot " . In singular we see Hebrew "qiryà", Syriac "qerità ", Aramaic "qerià" and Arabic "qarià" as well as "qirià". Ugaritic "qryt-" is instead related to Hebrew "qeret", seen in ( this ) entry E 0197 (Hebrew 0780).


    The conclusion for Proto-Semitic seems to be a root " *ק ר י , Q R Y " . Yet there may have been an earlier root "*ק ר ו , Q R W", with a "waw" and later a "yod" after the "Q", as we see in the Aramaic Judaic word "quriata". This is understandable when we find such U/O sounds and I-sounds also in Indo European, in entries E 0171 (Hebrew 0781) and our actual "E 0197 (Hebrew 0780) . "


  • Towns and gardens. We see in Russian the word “gorod”, but in composed names we find “-grad” : Wolgagrad in Russia, Belgrade in Serbia and even Graz in Austria have the root of this entry.


    The Danish philosopher “Kierkegaard” was well aware that his name said “churchgarden” or in English “churchyard”. He was rather sad in his views anyway. The Old English called a churchyard still a “cirictun”. “Ciric”, like German “Kirche” and Dutch “kerk” are direct sisters of English church”. And a “tun” a sister of Dutch “tuin” together with “town” and of course German “Zaun”, that stands for “ fence “.


    “Bogarde”, well known as a name, comes from Dutch “boomgaard”, the garden with the fruit trees.


  • Latin gives us with “hortus” an interesting example of how a Latin H can correspond with a Germanic explosive guttural, a "G", instead of vice-versa. Naturally, later this H disappeared and we were left with Italian “orto” for Latin “hortus”. The final "O" instead of “-US” is just the suffix of the Latin ablative case that was “horto”. The ablative as the most frequently used case out of six in Latin nouns has remained the single existing case in Italian nouns.


    The second word, “co-hors” of the same root, has a prefix “co-“ that expresses the concept of “with, together”. The need for this word was apparently to express the idea of a fenced space, in which to keep together those who might want to get away. A “cohors” was a fenced space in which to keep animals.


    A bright light on the Roman way of looking at others shines when we look at the second meaning of “cohors” : a batallion of about 600 men, the tenth part of an official legion. This sounds still nice, but originally … a “cohors” stood for troops consisting of so-called allies. They should not try to get away from their newly imposed obligation to help their conquerors in conquering others !


  • English is well represented in this entry with two developments, “garden” and “yard”. The second word has undergone a typically English development from "G" into "Y".


  • 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 Ā R D".


  • Indo-European. An existing hypothesis is "*GH A R DH-", that we should like to amend : *G A R D-". Another hypothesis is "*GH O RT-". 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 "gŗhagh = 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 "*gŗdhá-;", also with a vowel-like "R".


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





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 25/09/2013 at 12.08.26