E 0784ááááááááá SEED

The word " seed " is of Germanic origin .

H 1006 áááááááááááááם י א צ א צááá ááááááááááááááá

Concept of root : seed

Hebrew word


English meanings

áם י א צ א צ



Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ם י א צ א צ



ts . (‘) .




to sow

s . r




s . d







to sow

z . t ;

s . (‘) .


zaad ; nazaat

zāt ;


seed ;


z . d ;

z . t

Old Norse

to sow

s .



Proto-Semitic *TS'Ē --- *SĒ Indo-European



The sound or consonant TS is a peculiar one, that can be created by the pleasure of expressing oneself or just to accentuate pronunciation. This is a phenomenon that is very actual in today’s Italy, especially in the central parts where S is very frequently pronounced TS. But also in Germany, where the S or Z of other languages often have become TS, spelled Z. Therefore we should not wonder if we find one and the same meaning expressed by S, Z or TS in various languages.


The Hebrew word "tse’Útsaim" as found in the Bible is a plural with its suffix "-im". The root itself has been doubled and the original one is just " צ א , tse’Ó ". This does not have a final dental like English, but scholars agree that the original root for "seed", "to sow" and Latin "serere = to sow" as well as "semen = seed" was "* SE-" which we would consider "S . (‘)", or an S with a vowel. In fact this becomes obvious in Germanic, with the verbs without dental : German "sńen", Dutch "zaaien" end of course English "to sow" from Old English "sawan". And as well in Latin, with the cases of "serere" : " sevi, serui, satum ".


Generally the verbs with the meaning of "to sow" do not have a dental after the main vowel, but the nouns meaning "seed" have a "D" or "T". From the brief root "SE" have thus been built:


SE > sēan, with noun "*seds" (Gothic)
sāen, with noun "sāt" ( OHGerman )
säen, with nouns "Saat, Samen" ( German)
så with nouns "sad, sæ" ( Swedish etc.)
сеять, seyatj, with noun семя,semya (Russian)
SE + Y > sঙian (Old Saxon)
säjen, with nouns "sād, sāt ( MHGerman)
zaaien, with noun "zaad" ( Dutch )
SE + W > sawan, with noun "sæd (Old English)
> to sow, with noun "seed" (English)
SE + R > serere, sevi, serui, satum, with noun "semen" ( Latin )
> zar'Ó, with noun "zÚr'Ó ( Hebrew, non Indo European)
SE + M > Samen ( German)
> semen ( Latin )
> семя,semya (Russian)


One may think and debate long over the details, but the basic concept is that people have begun speaking with very brief roots, like this "se-" and then gradually have built out and diversified both the roots and their meanings.


We remain in this entry with a couple of question marks about the possible common origins.


The problem is looked into further in Entry E 0868 (Hebrew 0940 , "shetil"). There we see that the words on the basis of SE + T(I) may have another far cousin in Hebrew.



  • Hebrew and Dutch. Dutch, just like Hebrew, uses this root to form a word for "descendant". Instead of doubling the root it has applied the prefix "na-", that means "after" : the seed that comes after.


    Just for the record we mention that these words obviously have nothing to do with "seat" or "to sit", as some think. This idea was based on the thought that our descendants later sit on the place where we sit now. We do not see this as convincing.


  • Hebrew . An existing view is that the Hebrew word "tse'Útsa'im" is based on the root with the verb "yats'Ó", that means "to go out", because our descendants "go out" from us . But the word צ א צ א, tsē'ēts'à itself in singular, in the Bible has also the meaning of "produce, yield" and in Modern Hebrew it is used to say "seed" in the agricultural sense . Usually the root with an initial Y(od), that normally is a development from "W", is a derivation from an earlier root without it . The "W" and after that the "Y" give an indication of "to be" that is then added to the original sense of the root .


  • Proto-Semitic . The original root "*TS Aleph" was doubled in order to obtain the word, and root, of this entry. In Akkadian the root became a prefix Aleph, In other languages a prefix W defined the new meaning of " to come or go out". This prefix W is present in Ethiopian "wadha'a= he went out" and in Arabic " wadhu'a" with the related meaning of " became beautiful, neat". In Ugaritic and Hebrew the W became a Y. In all probability Proto-Semitic had the root "* צ א , TS Aleph" for "seed, offspring". There can yet be some doubt about the root "TS Aleph" carrying the meaning of (something that is) coming out. This would be confirmed by the Hebrew word "tse'Ó" for excrement, with its cognates in other Semitic languages.


  • Proto-Germanic. . Older and newer Germanic languages have an initial "S" that in German is pronounced "Z" and in Dutch also spelled "Z". The following vowel is originally an "A" that has become an "O" in the English verb and an "E", pronounced a long "Ī " in the noun "seed". The A" in the northern countries often is pronounced near "O" in verbs or near "Ē" in nouns. In the verbs we find a second consonant "W", that sometimes becomes a "Y" and often then disappears. Old High German shows the sequence "sāwan, sajen, sāen". In the nouns we find a dental , nearly always "D", but as usual in German and its predecessors a "T". Proto-Germanic probably had the forms "*S Ā W-" and "*S Ā D-".


  • Indo European. Regarding "seed", the common reasoning tells us that there was an original root, a very brief " *S Ē-" , with the specific meaning "to sow". From this root have been built the words in the above table.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 14/12/2012 at 10.12.38