E 0809         (TO)  SHINE

The verb " to shine " is of Germanic origin .

H 0920              ה נ ש ,  א נ ש

Concept of root : shining

Hebrew word


English meanings

ה נ ש , א נ ש

shan’ą, shinnč

to illuminate, shine

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ה נ ש , א נ ש

shan’ą, shinnč

to shine,


sh. n .


to shine

to shine

sh . n




to shine

sh . n





s y . n .



Hebrew SHAN'À, SHINNÉ --- *SKĪN- Proto-Germanic < *SKĪN- Indo-European



These words show us a straighforward similarity . We see the use of vowels in English "to shine" as well as the absence of a syllable-opening vowel after the N, both in English " to shine", identically in the intensive form of Hebrew : shinnč. But we must note that not all dictionaries give this specific meaning of "to shine" for "shan'ą", though they indicate shiny colors like "crimson" and "scarlet".


  • Proto-Semitic . There are many uses of roots with the consonants SH and N, but we lack specific information that would allow a hypothesis for the meaning of this entry.


  • English " to shine " has sisterwords in the other languages of the Germanic group.


  • Russian also has a shorter word for the noun "shine", that is "свет , swyet" that is at the basis of the common verbs for " to shine". But as well the less-used verb "синий , siyatj" had lost the original N we see in English and Hebrew.


  • Proto-Germanic . The initial consonants have the variations that are usual in the Germanic languages, older and newer: "SK" as in Old Saxon "skinan", "SH" as in English "shine" and German "scheinen" and "SGH" in Dutch "schijnen". The original form was presumably "SK", though "SH" is identical to the Semitic version. The basic vowel is an "I", that has undergone nearly identical developments in English and German and a similar in Dutch, where the vowel "ij" is a specific typical Dutch straight vowel without final "Y"-sound as is heard in the other two. It must be noted that in Germanic different vowels are used in other verbal forms, as in English "shone" and Dutch "scheen". The consonant after the vowel is "N". It has to be remarked as well that the consonant "N" in some related words is substituted by an "M".


    Examples are English "shimmer", that is an iterative verb coming from Old English that has "scimerian", but also the standard verb "scimian" besides "sciman". Proto-Germanic should have had "*SK I N-" , but perhaps also "*SK I M-". A basic question remains, with the strong similarity between Hebrew and some newer languages as German and English, when was the sound "SH" there and when "SK" ? Perhaps Proto-Germanic was a development out of an earlier "SH"? Anyhow Proto-Germanic probably had "*SK I N-" with other vowels (E, O) used in some verbal forms.


  • Indo-European. There is a hypothesis of "*SKI-".


    Outside Germanic there is little information about possible cognates. But the Russian word "syanye" in the table gives a very clear testimony. Then there is the adjective "синий , sinijj" that carries the meaning of "blue", is used to describe the blue colour of the sky, but is considered to have had an original meaning of "shining".


    Another proposed cognate is Greek "skia = shadow" , together with Tocharian "sksiyo = shadow". Old Indian "chāya = shadow, dusk" is also called forward, but in our view "shadow" is too far from "shine".


    The information from Russian is useful for a hypothesis of "SK Ī N-" for Indo-European, similar to Proto-Germanic.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 03/12/2012 at 17.43.45