E 0786 (TO) SEETHE

The verb " to seethe " is of Germanic origin .

H 1083 ד י ז , ד ו ז

H 1083 ד י ז ה ;

Concept of root : to boil

Hebrew word


English meanings

ד ; י ז ,ד ו ז

ד י ז ה

zod, zd ;


to boil

to make boil

Related English words

to seethe

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ד י ז ,ד ו ז ;

ד י ז ה

zod, zd ;


to boil;

to make boil

z . w . d >

z . y . d

Old English

sēoðan; ,



to seethe ;


boiling (n)

s (o) ð <

s . (o) d ;

s (o) d

Middle English

sodden ;


to seethe

s (o) d >

s . th


to seethe;


to seethe, boil ; boiled

s . th ;

s (o) d




to boil

z (i) d


zieden ;

zode, zooi ;



zode, zoy; sŭdderen

to boil ;

(a) boiling;

to simmer

z (i) d ;

z (o) d ;

s (u) d


ζεω ;








to boil, make boil ;


to fry

z . <

z . s;

s (i) z <

* s (i) d



Proto-Semitic *ZOD --- *SŌD- Indo-European



The similarity between English " to seethe " and Hebrew " zid " is not very obvious , but between Hebrew and Dutch the distance is much less . This does not change the fact that English "to seethe" , German " sieden " and Dutch "zieden" are sisterwords.


From the above table one can see that Hebrew shared with English and Dutch the development in the use of this root from the central O-sound to the I-sound, both of which are found between the initial Z or S and the final D.


Another important fact is that one sees how Hebrew and English, or in general Germanic, share a root , " Z W D ", that in the Indo European language Greek seems not to be present . In fact it is rather uncertain if and how the Greek words of this entry fit into the pattern of similarity with Hebrew, but it seems worthwile to look into the matter . A couple of paragraphs are necessary and can be found in the last part of this entry .



  • Hebrew gives us here another interesting example of how the letter ו (waw) may change into י ( yod ), which it does very often. Nearly always at the beginning of a root and frequently in the middle, as is the case here.


    Figurative uses of the verb are important . They are for example " to be insolent ", and in the causative form attitudes that can call for anger in someone else .


  • Proto-Semitic . This Hebrew verb also has the figurative meaning of " to act presumptuously", that is seen in related words in Syriac and Arabic. Probably Proto-Semitic had in use "* ז ו ד, Z W D", anyhow in the basic meaning of " to boil".


  • English and Hebrew. It is important to observe that the old-fashioned past tense in English, "sod" , is very near to the oldest known past tense in Biblical Hebrew : "zod" !


  • English has taken a long time to make a double change, abolishing the O and changing the D into TH. The process was seen during Old English , did not complete during Middle English and has hardly finished in modern English. In fact the past tense of "to seethe" still has two versions, the old fashioned "sod" and the newer "seethed".


    The verb " to boil " is of Latin origin .


  • Dutch "zieden" is an old word that has ceded its space to the verb "koken = to cook". It is still used in some expressions, like "de ziedende golven = the boiling waves" or "hij ziedde van woede = he seethed with rage " or "zeepziederij " that is a soap-factory in which the process is that of boiling. The nouns " zode" and "zooi" as well as the frequentative verb " sudderen " feature vowels , relatable to Hebrew "zod".


  • Proto-Germanic. For Proto-Germanic , without any written testimony , hypotheses have to be made on the basis of the languages that have developed out of it . All of these hypothetical roots have an initial S and use a vowel U . This vowel belongs to a group of sounds, "O", "U", "Y" or even "I", that corresponds with the vowels we find in Hebrew , and that are related to the letters Waw and Yod, as mentioned herefore .


    In some supposed Germanic words there is a dental, mostly D , but other hypotheses leave that out. This perhaps conditioned by the idea to harmonize towards a hypothetical Indo- European origin without D , but anyhow, as all various Germanic languages have a dental, and nearly all a D , the most probable version remains "* saudan " . The original Proto-Germanic then probably is "*S Ō D-" , but other vowels were used in different verbal and nominal forms, like "*S Ī D-" . An example is Old Norse "seyd = boiling water".


  • Indo-European. One has to conclude that the usually presumed Indo European root "*seu" for "to seethe", thus without dental, is not too convincing . The dental is present in both Semitic and Germanic . There also is a hypothesis of "*K-seut", but we can see no reason for that initial "K". On the basis of Greek and Germanic, with an existing Baltic of "*shŬt-", Indo-European may have used a form "*S Ō D-", though for verbal forms an alternative vowel may have been present: "*S Ī D-".


  • Latin. We have not found related words or roots in this language . Proposed cognates "sitis " for " thirst " and " sudare " for " to sweat " are too far off in meaning .


  • Russian has a rather similar sounding root in the verb : "жидить , zjiditj " . This means " to liquify " , " dilute " and it might be a far relative of the Hebrew and Germanic words of this entry . Diluting and boiling both are done in liquid, and sometimes diluting requires a higher temperature . But this remains just a far shot , and it has not been inserted in the above table .


  • Greek may have had the W, perhaps absorbed into the suffix "ω" , a long O. But in Classic Greek it does not have the final D . Greek scholars say that " zeo " had a root with " zes –" . This sounds fair, because the already old word "ζεστος , zestos " stands for " boiled, boiling, hot , ardent " also in figurative senses . When one visits Greece in the summer, he may hear people say " σημερα ζεστη Τι , ti zesti simera " or " What a heat today !"


    The other hypothesis is that Greek at some time lost the dental D and acquired an S instead .


    But this would be just conjecture and we believe a different explanation is possible .


  • Greek, besides " zeo " also has a verb "σιζω , sizo " that means " to fry ". In sound it comes a bit nearer to English " seeth" and Hebrew " zid " . And frying is basically cooking in oil or fat . The roots of both Greek verbs might well be related.


    According to some Greek scholars " sizo " is a sound-imitating word . It is also used more figuratively, like to illustrate the sound that was heard from the eye of the Cyclops Polyphemos , when Odysseus bored the famous glowing hot pole into his single eye . The same kind of sound-imitation we would find in English " to sizzle " .


    We must instead consider the possibility that the Greek " Z " in " sizo " may have developed out of a " D " . We confess that this is just a hypothesis, but it seems a fair one . Scholars indicate many more instances in which we see a Z developing out of a D . The most famous one is that of the name of Zeus , the supreme God in Classic Greek. "Ζευς" has as the genitive case "Διος , Dios " . And it is considered to have come from a root beginning with " D " . On the beautiful island of Aegina not far from Athens , there exists a very impressive temple-ruin, with cyclopic walls, that has kept its antique name " Έλλανιον Δια , Hellanion Dia ". People will tell you that this is a temple of Zeus, The Supreme God of the Greeks.


    Naturally this word has the same root as Latin " deus " . Less obvious is where the other Greek word for " God " , that is "Θεος , Theos" comes from. We see it in English composed words, like " Theology " . Greek scholars suppose it may mean " He Who placed All " , the Creator , linking it to the verb "τιθημι , tithmi ", meaning " to place ". The word " tithmi " consists of three parts . "Ti " is a doubling of the main part , " mi" is a suffix for the first person and " th " is seen as the root . This root is then considered as having an Indo-European predecessor "* dh-" or " * dhe" , and we are nearly back at a consonant " D ".


    We conclude that the Greek verb " sizo" may have at its origin a root "*S (I) D " , and we have placed it as such in the above table, but we can not be fully certain of this .





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 21/05/2013 at 16.22.43