The American Heritage Dictionary Semitic Roots AppendixThe letter ʾ (aleph) and the letter ʿ (ayin) are alphabetized before the letter a. Therefore, ʿbd follows ʾzr and b follows ʿzz.
For more information about this section, please refer to the Guide to the Semitic Roots Appendix.
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Common Semitic noun *ʾab‑, father.
To blossom (?).
West Semitic noun *ʾabaq‑, dust, chaff, whence denominative verb, to be(come) dusty.
Common Semitic noun *ʾad‑, father, lord.
Central Semitic noun *ʾadam‑, human being, perhaps akin to Common Semitic noun *dam‑, blood, and the root *ʾdm, red, ground.
Common Semitic noun *ʾuḏn‑, ear.
To hire, rent.
Common Semitic noun *ʾaḫ‑, brother.
(To be) late, behind, in back.
Common Semitic noun *ʾalp‑, ox.
West Semitic, to go toward, lead.
West Semitic, to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe.
To see, know, make known, say.
Common Semitic noun *ʾipād‑, a type of garment.
To be(come) late, do later, answer.
Common Semitic noun *ʾarṣ́‑, earth.
West Semitic noun *ʾarz‑, cedar.
Central Semitic noun *ʾaš(a)d‑, lion.
Central Semitic root meaning "front, first."
Central Semitic, to be(come) light.
Common Semitic noun *ʾāyat‑, sign, mark (*-at‑, feminine suffix).
To be(come) hostile to, hate; in nominal forms, enemy.
Common Semitic interrogative stem *ʾayy‑, which?, where?.
Central Semitic, to surround, gird.
Central Semitic, to serve, work; noun *ʿabd‑, servant, slave.
Central Semitic, to help.
West Semitic, to press, bend.
Arabic root, to know.
To ascend, become high, exalted.
Common Semitic noun *ʿamm‑, paternal kinsman, kin, clan, people.
Central Semitic, to live, dwell, build; noun *ʿumr‑, life.
Central Semitic, to load, carry.
West Semitic, to follow, guard, protect.
West Semitic, to bend, bind, confine.
To enter, stand surety or bail for, guarantee.
Central Semitic, to reckon, know.
West Semitic, to gnaw, strip.
Arabic root, to sweat. Perhaps a specialized semantic development of ʿrq1 (< *"to become emaciated"? < "to gnaw, strip&;rdquo;).
Common Semitic *ʿaśr‑, ten.
West Semitic, to press. restrain, retain.
To reap, cut.
Common Semitic masculine noun *ʿaṯtar‑, feminine *ʿaṯtart‑, gods representing the morning and evening stars.
West Semitic, to smoke, burn incense.
West Semitic, to be(come) blind.
Common Semitic noun *ʿayn‑, eye.
To be(come) strong.
Common Semitic preposition bi‑, in, on, at, with.
Common Semitic noun *biʾr‑, well, cistern.
Common Semitic noun *baʿl‑, lord.
To change, divide, separate.
West Semitic, to be(come) desolate, desert; noun *badw‑, desert.
West Semitic, to be dumb.
Central Semitic, to be(come) empty, deserted.
Common Semitic noun *baḥr‑, sea, coast.
Common Semitic *bukur‑, *bikr‑, *bak(u)r‑, first-born.
Common Semitic noun *b(i)n‑, son, and feminine derivative *bint‑, daughter.
To build, create.
West Semitic, to bless. Probably a metathesized variant of krb.
To flash (especially of lightning). emerald, from Greek smaragdos, emerald, probably ultimately from a Semitic source akin to Akkadian barraqtu and Hebrew bāreqet, a kind of gemstone (probably emerald).
To be(come) clear, pure, white.
Common Semitic noun *biry‑, interval, in-between area.
Central Semitic noun *baśam‑, balsam.
Akkadian noun bābu, gate, doorway.
West Semitic, to be separate, clear, distinct; in derived stems, to discern, understand.
Common Semitic noun *bayt‑, house.
Common Semitic noun dubb‑ (also daby‑), bear.
West Semitic, to cling, adhere.
Central Semitic, various forms meaning "(honey‑)bee."
Common Semitic noun *dagan‑, grain.
Common Semitic noun *dalt‑, door (*-t‑, feminine suffix).
To turn one's back on (probably denominative from an old word for "back"). West Semitic variant (assimilated) form dbr.
Arabic root, to become dirty.
West Semitic, to seek, examine, study.
To turn, circle, dwell.
Common Semitic *ḏV̄‑ (or *ṯV̄‑), determinative-relative pronoun.
Common Semitic noun *ḏibb‑, *ḏubāb‑, *ḏubūb‑, fly.
Central Semitic noun *ḏahab‑, gold.
To mention, remind, remember.
To be(come) clean, pure.
Central Semitic, to blame, plot.
Common Semitic noun *ḏanab‑, tail.
West Semitic noun *dirāʿ, arm.
To winnow, scatter, disperse.
To stand, stand up, move.
West Semitic, to gather, collect.
To be(come) bent, curved; to cut.
Central Semitic root, appearing in various nouns denoting "border," "frontier," "mountain."
West Semitic, to gather, collect.
Central Semitic, to wall, build walls; noun *gadir‑, wall.
Arabic root, to strive.
West Semitic, to become foolish, ignorant. Medjool date, from Arabic majhūl, unknown, passive participle of jahila, to be ignorant of, not to know.
West Semitic, to catch, fetch.
Central Semitic, to cut, break off, separate.
Central Semitic, to become hard, congeal, freeze, contract.
Common Semitic noun *gamal‑, camel.
Common Semitic noun *gaml‑, throwstick.
To complete, finish, bring to an end.
Northwest Semitic, to steal.
West Semitic, to cover, surround.
To be(come) strong, prevail, work. West Semitic variant (assimilated) form gbr.
Central Semitic noun *guraḏ‑ (exact form uncertain), rodent. jird, from colloquial Maghrebi Arabic jird, rat, jird, from Arabic juraḏ.
West Semitic, to drag, draw, pull.
Central Semitic noun *gāy‑, tribe.
Central Semitic, to pass through.
Assumed root of Hebrew gayʾ, valley.
West Semitic, to rejoice.
West Semitic, to cut off, destroy.
Central Semitic noun *ġadan‑, *ġidn‑, softness, tenderness, verdure.
Central Semitic noun *ġumr‑, sheaf.
West Semitic, to be(come) delighted, delightful.
Common Semitic noun *ġārib‑, *ġurāb‑, raven.
West Semitic, to ladle, scoop.
Central Semitic noun *ġār‑, *ġarr‑, *miġarr, cave.
Arabic root, to prick, insert, plant.
Central Semitic, to surround.
Arabic root, to plunge, dive.
Arabic root, to snatch, grab, destroy.
Central Semitic, to spin (yarn or thread).
Arabic root, to strive, make a raid.
West Semitic, to move, set out, blow (of wind).
Arabic root, to shuffle along, totter.
West Semitic, to lead, extend.
Arabic root, to depart.
To shout, boast; in derived stem, to praise.
Arabic root, to prick, urge on, prod.
Central Semitic (?), to weep, yearn.
Northwest Semitic noun *harr‑, mountain.
Central Semitic, to crush, break.
Arabic root, to smash, shatter, destroy.
To fall, happen, be, become.
To be(come) sharp.
To be(come) new.
Central Semitic, to go around, encompass.
Central Semitic, to cover, conceal.
Central Semitic, to make a pilgrimage.
Central Semitic, to be(come) wise, understand, judge.
To be(come) clean, pure, holy.
Central Semitic, to desire, delight in, praise.
Common Semitic noun *ḥimār‑, donkey.
West Semitic, to (make) understand, train.
To be(come) gracious.
Central Semitic, to surround, enclose, cover.
Central Semitic, to be mindful of, preserve.
West Semitic, to cut into, level, make correct, decree.
Central Semitic, to be kind, ashamed.
Arabic root, to mow.
Arabic root, to occur, obtain, attain, receive.
Central Semitic, to be insolent.
Arabic root, to weave.
West Semitic, to go around, turn, change.
Central Semitic, to be(come) white.
To live. Common Semitic adjective *ḥayy‑, alive, living.
To be(come) strong.
Central (Common?) Semitic, to see.
West Semitic, to pierce. challah, from Hebrew ḥallâ, a kind of bread or cake, probably "something perforated," from ḥālal, to pierce.
To pass, follow.
Arabic root, to cover, conceal.
Common Semitic *ḫam(i)š‑, five.
Common Semitic noun *ḫar(r)ūb‑, carob.
To be early, do (something) early, with associated nouns denoting "early season."
Aramaic root, to be strong.
Central Semitic, to be fearful, reverent, righteous
West Semitic root, to increase, swell.
East Semitic, to burn, char.
West Semitic root, to encircle, overturn.
To complete. West Semitic *kull‑, whole, all.
Common Semitic noun *kammūn‑, cumin, perhaps from Sumerian gamun, cumin, unless this itself is of Semitic origin.
Also kns, knš.
To gather, collect, assemble.
Common Semitic noun *kanap‑, wing, side.
Common Semitic noun *kapp‑, palm of the hand.
To wipe clean, polish, purify, cover.
Common Semitic noun *kapar‑, village.
Northwest Semitic noun kupr‑, henna.
To praise. Common Semitic root, with West Semitic metathesized variant brk.
West Semitic, to pound, strike.
West Semitic root, to prick, cut; later, to write.
To succeed, achieve, be(come) suitable, proper.
To contain, hold, measure. Variant (Arabic) root form kyl.
To be, be(come) firm, true.
Common Semitic noun *kux̣l‑, also *gux̣l‑, (powder of) antimony.
Common Semitic noun *liʾ‑, bull, feminine *liʾat‑, cow.
West Semitic, to send.
Common Semitic noun *labʾ‑, *labīʾ‑, lion.
West Semitic root, to sprout, bud, be(come) soft. lulav, from Mishnaic Hebrew lûlā, sprout, palm branch, from liblēb, to bloom.
Central Semitic, to be(come) white; West Semitic noun *lubān(at)‑, frankincense.
Common Semitic noun *ladan‑, labdanum.
To learn, be(come) accustomed; in derived stem, to teach, instruct.
Arabic root, to soften.
To wind, twist, circle, encircle.
Early Aramaic noun *lawz‑, almond (tree).
Common Semitic noun *muḫḫ‑, marrow, brain, skull.
Common Semitic noun *milḥ‑, salt.
West Semitic, to rule, dominate, possess, own; Common Semitic noun *malk‑, ruler, king.
West Semitic, to be kind, show favor, patronize, disdain.
Common Semitic nouns *marʾ‑, *māriʾ‑, man, master, lord, feminine *marʾat‑, *māriʾat‑, woman, mistress, lady.
To be(come) bitter. Common Semitic noun *murr‑, bitterness, myrrh.
West Semitic, to remove, deliver, hand over.
To feel, grope for, touch.
West Semitic, to ferment, be(come) sour.
Common Semitic noun *mut‑, man.
Hebrew root, to circumcise.
Northwest Semitic *mīy‑, who?.
(exact root shape uncertain). Common Semitic noun *mā̆ʾ‑, *mā̆y‑, water.
Central Semitic, to sway, move, shake.
Common Semitic pronoun suffix *-na/-ni/-nu, we, us, our.
Central Semitic, to be(come) pleasant, agreeable.
West Semitic, to shake, roar.
To name, proclaim, summon.
Ethiopic root, to sit, dwell.
West Semitic, to vow, consecrate.
West Semitic, to become prominent, conspicuous, to drag, lead, travel.
West Semitic, to press, oppress, drive.
Common Semitic noun *nah(a)r‑, river.
Central Semitic, to console, comfort. Nehemiah, from Hebrew nəḥemyāh, Yahweh comforted, from nəḥem, reduced form of niḥam, he comforted. Both 1 and 2 from Hebrew niḥam, to console, comfort.
To shake, shatter.
Common Semitic noun *napṭ‑, naphtha.
To bore, pierce.
Central Semitic, to stretch out, extend, incline.
Arabic root, to arrange.
To see, watch, observe, guard.
Arabic root, to represent, act as deputy.
To rest, come to rest.
Common Semitic noun *nūn‑, fish.
To shine, be(come) bright.
Common Semitic noun *pV̄‑, mouth.
To redeem, ransom.
To watch over, judge, intercede.
To break through, pass through.
To cleave, till, work.
West Semitic, to split, cleave, open.
Common Semitic, to long for.
West Semitic, to separate.
Ethiopic root, to fear, revere.
Northwest Semitic, to make distinct, to separate.
Northwest Semitic, to break, rend.
Hebrew root, to pass over.
West Semitic, to advise.
To split, separate, detach.
Northwest Semitic noun *pawl‑, broad bean. ful, from Arabic fūl, broad beans, from Aramaic pōlā, broad bean.
Central Semitic, to bend, sit.
Common Semitic noun *qabl‑, front, whence West Semitic denominative verb qbl, to receive.
West Semitic, to collect, gather.
West Semitic, to collect.
Common Semitic noun *qadm‑, front, east, earlier time, with denominative verb, to precede, be in front.
To be(come) holy, sacred.
Arabic root, to conquer, vanquish.
Central Semitic, to be(come) weak, dim, dull, dark.
To burn, roast.
Central Semitic, to enclose.
Common Semitic noun *qanaw‑, reed.
West Semitic, to close, enclose.
West Semitic *qry, to meet; noun *qart‑, *qary(at)‑, *qiryat‑, village, town (*-(a)t‑, feminine suffix).
To call (out), read, summon.
To be(come) near, draw near.
West Semitic, to gnaw, glean.
West Semitic, to divide, distribute, assign, ordain, practice divination; noun *qasm‑, *qism‑, divination.
To cut, cut off.
West Semitic, to judge, decree, rule.
To be(come) thin, fine, small.
West Semitic, to lead.
West Semitic, to (a)rise, stand (up).
To replace, rectify.
Common Semitic noun *raʾš‑, head, top.
West Semitic, to see.
To graze (of flocks), to pasture, tend (flocks).
Common Semitic *ʾarbaʿ‑, four, Central Semitic noun *rubʿ‑, fourth, quarter, and other derived forms of various patterns.
To be(come) much, many, great.
Arabic root, to bind, tie.
Central Semitic, to fear.
West Semitic noun *rigl‑, *ragl‑, foot.
To say, speak, call, shout, contest, lay claim to.
Common Semitic noun *raḥt‑, hand, palm of the hand (*-t‑, feminine suffix).
West Semitic, to be(come) wide, large.
Common Semitic noun *raḫil‑, ewe.
West Semitic, to burn, be(come) scorched.
To throw, throw down, set down, establish. Jeremiah, jeremiad, from Hebrew yirməyāhû, Yahweh has established, from yirm(ə), he has established, old preterite of rāmâ, to establish, cast.
West Semitic, to heal, mend.
To be(come) thin, fine, soft, tender.
Arabic root, to adhere.
West Semitic, to be(come) high, exalted.
West Semitic, to drink one's fill.
East Semitic, to give.
Arabic root, to bundle.
Arabic root, to fix, stick, insert.
To arrange, put in order.
Aramaic root, to bow down, worship.
To close, plug, weave together.
East Semitic, to grind (groats).
Aramaic root, to be(come) red.
West Semitic, to measure, count.
Central Semitic, to discuss, take counsel.
Arabic root, to gather, disperse.
Central Semitic, to entwine, weave, insert.
Arabic root, to bridle.
To be(come) proud, lofty, joyful.
East Semitic noun *śamm‑, plant, herb.
Common Semitic noun *śaqq‑, sack.
To set, set up, erect, prescribe.
West Semitic, to drink, absorb.
Arabic root, to be noble, highborn.
West Semitic, to be(come) red, rise (of the sun); noun *śarq‑, rising (of the sun), east.
Common Semitic noun *śarr‑, prince, king.
West Semitic, to strive, strive for, save, protect.
Northwest Semitic, to be(come) hostile, accuse.
To tear apart, split.
Arabic root, to rise.
West Semitic, to consult.
Central Semitic, to assist.
To grow, grow up, grow old.
Common Semitic *šabʿ‑, seven.
To settle, become still.
Central Semitic, to cease, rest.
To strike, beat.
To draw, pull, plug, obstruct, despoil.
To rage, be(come) mad.
Hebrew root of uncertain meaning.
To sharpen, scrape off, peel.
Central Semitic, to dwell.
Common Semitic noun *šikar‑, intoxicating drink.
To be whole, sound; Common Semitic noun *šalām‑, well-being, welfare, peace.
West Semitic root, to precede, line up.
To dominate, rule, have power over.
Common Semitic noun *š(i)m‑, name.
Common Semitic noun *šamn‑, oil, fat.
Common Semitic noun *šamš‑, sun.
See šmm, šmn.
Common Semitic noun *šan(a)t‑, year (*-(a)t‑, feminine suffix).
Common Semitic noun *šinn‑, tooth; denominative verb, to sharpen.
To send a message, send on a journey.
To be(come) wild, detestable. Exact preform uncertain; other possible reconstructions are *šqṣ́, *šqṯ, *ṯqṣ, and *ṯqṣ́.
To water, give to drink.
To loosen, remove, begin.
Central Semitic, to be(come) evil, devastated, empty.
Arabic root, to be(come) black.
Northwest Semitic noun *šūr‑, wall.
Central Semitic, to be(come) even, equal.
Common Semitic noun *ṣabar‑, aloe.
West Semitic, to be(come) just, righteous.
West Semitic, to be(come) pressed, constrained, associated.
West Semitic noun, dish, bowl, pan.
West Semitic, to prosper, be(come) good, better, useful.
West Semitic, to be(come) strong, do (something) skillfully, build, produce, make.
Northwest Semitic, to hide.
Also ṣpṣp and ṣwp.
To press down, cover, overlay.
Arabic root, to be(come) empty, vacant.
Central Semitic, to be(come) yellow. zaffer, perhaps from Arabic ṣufr, yellow copper, brass, from ʾaṣfar, yellow.
Arabic root, to be(come) white, covered with frost.
To burn, smelt, refine.
Central Semitic, to be(come) narrow, restricted, distressed, to bind, tie.
West Semitic, to protect.
Also wṣy. Central Semitic, to command, order.
Common Semitic reduplicated form *ṣīṣīt‑, tassel, fringe (*-t‑, feminine suffix).
To wage war; Common Semitic noun *ṣ́ab(a)ʾ‑, army, troop.
Also ṣḥw, ṣḥy, ṣḥḥ.
West Semitic, to be(come) bright, dazzling.
West Semitic, to strike, hit.
Central Semitic *ṣ́arw‑, *ṣ́urw‑, an aromatic resin.
To be(come) narrow, constricted.
Common Semitic noun *tihām‑, sea.
West Semitic *taḥt‑, under, under part.
Common Semitic noun *till‑, *tall‑, mound, tell.
Central Semitic, to be(come) complete, finished.
Common Semitic noun *tam(a)r‑, palm-tree, dates.
Common Semitic noun *tawʾam‑, twin.
Central Semitic noun *taww‑, mark, sign.
Common Semitic noun *ṯaʿlab‑, fox.
Common Semitic *ṯamāni‑, eight.
Common Semitic *ṯn‑, two; derived verb *ṯny, to repeat.
To judge, administer.
Common Semitic ṯūʿ‑, lord. Joshua, from Hebrew yəhôšûaʿ, perhaps "Yahweh (is) lord," from *šûaʿ, lord). Alternatively, "Yahweh (is) salvation" (šûaʿ, salvation; see wṯʿ).
To grind (flour).
Root of uncertain meaning in South Semitic noun *ṭaḥ(a)f, the love grass Eragrostis tef, teff.
West Semitic, to seek, request, claim.
To insert, throw, burden, toil.
Central Semitic, to tear, pluck, seize.
Central Semitic, to obey.
Arabic root, to be able, be capable, sustain, support.
To be(come) good, pleasant.
Central Semitic, to fly.
To be(come) dark, shaded; *ṯill‑, shade, shadow.
Common Semitic conjunction *wa‑, and.
Central Semitic, to fix a time; noun *ʿid(at)‑, fixed time, appointment, meeting (*-at‑, feminine suffix).
West Semitic, to put, place, cast.
Central Semitic, to beat, press; noun *gint‑, oil or wine press (*-t‑, feminine suffix).
To trust, rely.
Central Semitic, to be(come) near, associated, in charge.
Arabic root, to fall.
Common Semitic noun *warḫ‑, moon, month.
To lead, guide, cast, throw.
To be(come) fitting, suitable.
Central Semitic, to add, enlarge, increase.
West Semitic, to connect, join.
West Semitic, to insert, assign.
West Semitic, to help, deliver, save.
To sit, dwell.
Arabic root, to carry (a burden), take upon oneself.
Common Semitic noun *x̣alab‑, milk.
To be(come) sweet, pleasant, agreeable, merry.
To plan, carry.
To bend, incline.
Common Semitic noun *x̣arb‑, plough, blade, dagger.
To separate, ban, prohibit.
To be(come) yellow, gold(en).
To cut, divide, diminish.
Common Semitic pronoun suffix *-ī/-ya, my.
Canaanite noun *yōbil‑, ram, ram's horn.
Common Semitic noun *yad‑, hand.
West Semitic noun *yamīn‑ and East Semitic noun *yamin‑, right, right hand, south (on the right-hand side when facing east).
Common Semitic noun *yawm‑, day.
Northwest Semitic noun *yawn‑, feminine *yawnat‑, dove.
To carry, raise, exalt; Northwest Semitic noun *zabūl‑, prince.
Central Semitic, to shine, be splendid.
To make music.
East Semitic, to build high.
Root of uncertain meaning.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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