List of English words of Hebrew origin

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This is a list of English words of Hebrew origin. Transliterated pronunciations not found in Merriam-Webster or the American Heritage Dictionary follow Sephardic/Modern Israeli pronunciations as opposed to Ashkenazi pronunciations, with the major difference being that the letter taw (ת) is transliterated as a 't' as opposed to an 's'.

There is a separate list of English words of Semitic origin other than those solely of Hebrew or Arabic origin.

From Hebrew words[edit]

abacus 
from אבק 'abaq 'dust' (AHD), probably from Greek ἄβαξ abax 'slab' (MW)
agora (currency) 
from (AHD) אגורה agorah 'small coin' (MW), from Greek agora "an assembly of the People" from ageirein "to assemble
aliyah 
from (AHD) עלייה 'aliyah 'ascent' (MW)
almemar 
from אלממר 'almemar 'bema', from Arabic المنبر al-minbar 'pulpit' (AHD)
amen 
from אמן 'amen (MW) 'certainly', 'verily' (AHD)
baal 
from בעל ba'al 'lord' (AHD, MW)
babel 
from (AHD, MW) בלל balal 'confound' (SC) + in part from Akkadian 𒇷𒄿 𒀊𒁀 bāb-ilu 'gate of god' (MW)
bar mitzvah
from (AHD) בר מצוה bar miṣwah 'son of the commandment' (MW)
bath (volume)
from בַּת bath (MW) '10 gallons liquid measure' (AHD)from Greek βαθύς (bathus), "deep",[1]
bat mitzvah
from (AHD) בת מצוה bath miṣwah 'daughter of the commandment' (MW)
behemoth
from (MW) בהמות behemoth 'beasts' (AHD)
bethel
from (AHD) ביתאל beth'el 'house of God' (MW)
bethesda (chapel) 
(OSPD) from (AHD) Greek Bethesda 'Bethesda' (WNW), probably from bayith chesed 'house of kindness' (SC)
bris
from (WNW) ברית b'rith 'covenant' (MW)
brith milah
from (WNW) b'rith milah 'covenant of circumcision' (MW)
brouhaha
perhaps from barukh hab-ba 'blessed be he who comes' (WNW)
cab (volume)
from (MW) qab 'hollow vessel' (AHD)
cabal
from (AHD) קַבָּלָה qabbalah 'received (lore)' (MW)
challah
from (AHD) חלה ḥallah 'egg-rich yeast-leavened bread' (MW)
chazan, hazan
from חזן ḥazzan 'cantor' (MW) + in part from Aramaic, both from Akkadian (AHD)
cherub
from (AHD) כרוב kerubh 'celestial hierarchy angel' (MW)
chutzpah
from (AHD) חֻצְפָּה ḥuṣpah 'supreme self-confidence' (MW)
cider
from (AHD) שכר shekhar 'strong drink' (MW)
copacetic
disputed (MW) + perhaps from כל בצדק kol beṣedeq 'all with justice' (AHD)
cor (volume), kor (volume)
from kor (AHD, WNW) '100 gallons capacity' (MW)
corban
from (AHD) קָרְבָּן qorban 'offering' (MW)
dybbuk
from דיבוק dibbuq 'wandering soul' (AHD, MW)
edenic
from (WNW) עדן 'eden 'delight' (AHD)
ephah
from (AHD) איפה ephah '1/10 homer dry measure', from Egyptian (MW)
galilee
from Latin galilaea (AHD, MW), from גליל galiyl 'circle', 'circuit' (SC)
ganef
from (AHD) גנב gannabh 'thief' (MW)
gerah
from (MW) גרה gerah 'grain', 'bean' (AHD)
get (divorce document)
from גט get 'document of release' (MW)
golem
from גולם golem (AHD) 'shapeless mass' (MW)
goy
from גוי goy 'nation' (AHD, MW)
gun moll
from (AHD) גנב gannabh 'thief' (MW) + from מִרְיָם Miryam (AHD) 'Miriam' (MW, OED) (='rebelliously') (SC) + perhaps from Egyptian (HH)
habdalah
from (AHD) habhdalah 'separation' (MW)
haftarah, haphtarah
from (MW, WNW) patar 'separate', 'discharge' (AHD)
haggadah
from (AHD, MW) heged 'a saying' (WNW)
halacha
from הלכה halakhah 'way' (MW)
hallelujah, alleluia
from הללויה halleluyah 'praise the LORD' (AHD, MW)
halutz
from hlṣ 'be in the vanguard' (WNW)
hebraize
from (MW) עברי 'ibri (AHD) 'region across [descendant]' (SC)
heder
from חדר hedher 'room' (MW)
homer (volume)
from (AHD, MW) חמר hamar 'surge up', 'swell up' (WNW), Greek ὅμηρος (hómēros), "hostage"
hora
from הוֹרָה horah 'circle dance of Romania and Israel', from Romanian horă (MW), from Turkish hora, perhaps from Greek χορός khoros 'round dance' (AHD)
hosanna
from (AHD) hoshi'ah-nna 'save please' (MW)
jubilee
from (AHD) יובל yobhel 'ram's horn' (MW)
judas
from (MW) יהודה yehuda (AHD) 'celebrated' (SC)
kabbalah, cabala
from (AHD) קַבָּלָה qabbalah 'received (lore)' (MW)
kaddish
from (AHD, MW) qds 'sanctify' (WNW)
kashrut
from (AHD, MW) כשר ksr 'be appropriate' (WNW)
kibbutz
from קיבוץ qibbuṣ (MW) 'gathering' (AHD)
kibosh
disputed (AHD, MW) + perhaps from כבש kabash 'tread down', 'disregard'[citation needed]
kiddush
from (AHD) qiddush 'sanctification' (MW)
klezmer
from (AHD) כלי זמר k'ley zemer 'musical instruments' (MW)
knesset 
(OSPD) from kanas 'assemble' (AHD, WNW)
kosher
from (AHD, MW) כשר ksr 'be appropriate' (WNW)
lehayim 
(OSPD) from l'ḥaim 'to life' (WNW)
leviathan
from (AHD) לויתן liwyathan 'sea monster, whale' (MW)
macabre
from French (danse) macabre (AHD, MW), probably from Latin (Chorea) Machabaeorum, from מקבה maqqaba 'hammer' (WNW), from נקב naqab 'perforate' (SC)
maftir 
(OSPD) from maphtir 'one that dismisses' (NI)
mahzor
from (AHD) ḥzr 'return' (WNW)
manna
from מן man (AHD, MW) (SC)
matzo
from (AHD) מצה maṣah 'unleavened bread' (MW)
maven
from (AHD) מבין mebhin 'one who is experienced' (MW), 'one who understands' (OED)
mazeltov
from (WNW) מזל טוב mazzal tob 'good luck' (AHD)
mazuma
from (WNW) מזומן mezumman 'fixed' (AHD)
megillah
from (MW, WNW) galal 'roll' (AHD)
menorah
from (AHD) מנורה menorah 'candlestick' (MW)
meshuga
from (AHD) משוגע meshugga 'crazy' (MW).
messiah
from (AHD) משיח mashiaḥ 'anointed' (MW) + in part from Aramaic (AHD) meshiha 'anointed' (MW)
mezuzah
from מְזוּזָה mezuzah 'doorpost' (AHD, MW)
midrash
from (AHD) מדרש midrash 'exposition', 'explanation' (MW)
mikvah
from miqwah 'purification bath' (AHD)
minyan
from מִנְיָן minyan 'number', 'count' (MW), from Aramaic (AHD)
mitzvah
from (AHD) מצוה miṣwah 'commandment' (MW)
mohel
from מוהל mohel 'person qualified to perform circumcision' (WNW)
momser
from momser 'bastard' (WNW)
mishpachah
from mishpahah 'family', 'clan' (NI)
moshav
from (AHD) מוֹשָׁב moshabh 'dwelling' (MW)
nabla
probably from nebhel 'harp' (NI)
nachas
pleasure, satisfaction, delight; proud enjoyment (usage: I have nachas from you) (from Hebrew נחת pronounced 'nachat') (WNW)
nebel
from nebhel 'harp' (NI)
omer
from עמר 'omer (AHD) '1/10 ephah dry capacity' (MW)
parashah
from parashah 'explanation' (MW, WNW)
pascal
from 'Pascal' (AHD, MW), from[2] פסח pesah 'passover' (AHD, MW, OED)
paschal
from פסח על pasah al 'passed over' (AHD, MW, OED)
pharaoh
from פרעה par'oh 'ruler of ancient Egypt', from Egyptian (MW)
O1
O29
pr-'o 'great house' (AHD)
pharisee
from Aramaic (AHD) perisha 'separated', from (MW) פרש parash 'separate' (SC), 'cleave' (WNW)
rabbi
from (AHD, WNW) רב rabh 'master' (MW)
rebbe
from (AHD, WNW) רב rabh 'master' (MW)
rebbetzin
from (WNW) רב rabh 'master' (MW)
rhotacism
perhaps from rosh 'head' (WNW) + from Phoenician (AHD)
sabbatical
from (MW) שׁבת shabbat 'day of rest' (AHD)
sabra
from (AHD) ṣabar 'prickly pear' (MW)
satanic
from שטן satan 'adversary' (MW), 'devil' (AHD)
schmooze
from (AHD) שמועות shemu'oth 'news', 'rumor' (MW)
schwa
from שוא schewa' 'unstressed mid-central vowel' (MW), probably from Syriac ܥܗܘܐܝܝܐ sewayya 'equal' (AHD)
seder
from (AHD) סדר seder 'order' (MW)
selah
from (AHD) סֶלָה selah (MW) 'suspension', 'pause' (SC)
seraph
from (MW) שׂרף saraph 'celestial being' (AHD)
shadchan 
(OSPD) from shiddekh 'arrange a marriage' (NI)
shadrach 
(OSPD) from (AHD) shadrach 'captive' (WNW)
shalom
from (AHD) שָׁלוֹם shalom 'peace' (MW)
shalom aleichem
from (AHD) שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם shalom 'alekhem 'peace unto you' (MW)
shammes
from (AHD) שמש shammash 'sexton' (MW)
shamus
perhaps from (AHD) שמש shammash 'sexton' (MW)
shegetz
from (AHD) שקץ sheqes 'blemish', 'abomination' (MW)
shekel
from (MW) שקל saqal 'weigh', from Canaanite tql (AHD)
sheol 
(OSPD) from se'ol 'underworld' (AHD), perhaps from shaal 'dig' (WNW)
shibboleth
from (AHD) שיבולת shibboleth 'stream' (MW), 'ear of grain' (OED)
shiksa
from (AHD, WNW) שקץ sheqes 'blemish', 'abomination' (MW)
shivah
from (AHD) shibh'ah 'seven' (MW)
shofar
from shophar (MW) 'ram's horn' (AHD)
siddur
from סידור siddur 'arrangement' (AHD), 'order' (MW)
sukkah
from סוכה sukkah 'booth', 'shelter' (MW)
sycamine
from (AHD, MW) שִׁקמָה shiqmah 'mulberry tree' (OED)
tallith
from (MW) tillel 'cover' (AHD)
talmudism
from (MW) lamad 'learn' (AHD)
teraph
from (AHD) תרפים teraphim 'household god' (MW)
torah
from תּוֹרָה tora 'law', 'instruction' (AHD)
tref
from taraph 'tear' (AHD)
tsuris
from (AHD) ṣarah 'calamity' (WNW)
tush, toches
from (AHD) תחת tahath 'under', 'beneath' (MW)
tzitzit, zizith
from (AHD) ציצית ṣiṣith 'fringes', 'tassels' (MW)
ulpan
from aleph 'ox', 'leader' (WNW)
yeshiva
from (AHD) ישיבה yeshibhah 'talmudic school' (MW)
yid
from יהודה yehudah (AHD) 'celebrated' (SC)
zaddik
from צדיק ṣaddiq 'just', 'righteous' (MW)

From Hebrew names[edit]

abelia 
from 'Abel' (AHD, MW), from הבל Hebhel 'Abel'[3] (='emptiness') (SC)
abelian 
from 'Abel' (AHD, MW), from הבל Hebhel 'Abel'[3] (='emptiness') (SC)
abigail 
from (MW) אֲבִיגַיִל (SC) Avigail 'Abigail' (='father of exaltation') (HH)
adam-and-eve 
from אדם Adam 'Adam' (MW) (='earth') (HH) + from חוה Hawwah 'Eve' (MW) (='living') (HH)
ammonite
from עַמּוֹן Ammon, Biblical tribe
bedlam 
from (AHD, MW) בית לחם Beth Leḥem 'Bethlehem' (='house of bread')
bejesus 
from (AHD) יֵשׁוּעַ Yeshu'a 'Jesus' (MW) (='Jehovah-saved') (SC)
benday 
from (AHD) Binyamin 'Benjamin' (MW) (='son of [the] right hand') (SC) + from Old English (AHD, MW)
cassia
from קסיה qəṣi`â
davit 
from (AHD) דָּוִד Dawid 'David' (MW) (='loving') (SC)
hamantasch 
from Haman 'Haman' (MW) (='vizier') (SC) + from Yiddish (MW)
hansom 
from 'Hansom' (MW), from 'Hans',[4] from Yohanan 'John' (='the LORD is gracious') (HH)
jack 
1 from יוחנן Yohanan 'John' (MW) (='the LORD is gracious') (HH)
2 perhaps from יַעֲקֹב Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' (MW) (='he has protected') (AHD)
jacket 
from יַעֲקֹב Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' (MW) (='he has protected') (AHD)
jacobean 
from יַעֲקֹב Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' (MW) (='he has protected') (AHD)
jacquard 
from 'Jacquard' (AHD, MW), from[5] יַעֲקֹב Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' (MW) (='he has protected') (AHD)
jacquerie 
from יַעֲקֹב Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' (MW) (='he has protected') (AHD)
jakes 
perhaps from יַעֲקֹב Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' (MW) (='he has protected') (AHD)
jeez 
from (AHD) יֵשׁוּעַ Yeshu'a 'Jesus' (MW) (='Jehovah-saved') (SC)
jehu 
from יהוא Yehu 'Jehu' (MW) (='Jehovah [is] He') (SC)
jeremiad 
from (AHD) יִרְמְיָה Yirmeyah 'Jeremiah' (MW) (='the LORD will rise') (SC)
jeroboam 
from (AHD, MW) יָרָבְעָם Yarobh'am 'Jeroboam' (='people will contend') (SC)
jesuit 
from יֵשׁוּעַ Yeshu'a 'Jesus' (AHD) ('Jehovah-saved') (SC)
jezebel 
from (AHD) איזבל Izebhel 'Jezebel' (MW) (='chaste') (SC)
jimmy 
from (MW) 'James' (AHD), from יַעֲקֹב Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' (MW, OED) (='he has protected') (AHD)
jockey 
from (AHD) יוחנן Yohanan 'John' (MW) (='the LORD is gracious') (HH)
joe 
from יוֹסֵף Yoseph 'Joseph' (MW) (='he shall add') (HH)
john (washroom) 
from (AHD) יוחנן Yohanan 'John' (MW) (='the LORD is gracious') (HH)
johnny (gown) 
from (AHD) יוחנן Yohanan 'John' (MW) (='the LORD is gracious') (HH)
jorum 
perhaps from (AHD, MW) Yehoram 'Joram' (='Jehovah-raised') (SC)
joseph 
from (AHD) יוֹסֵף Yoseph 'Joseph' (MW) (='he shall add') (HH)
lazar 
from (AHD) אלעזר El'azar 'Lazarus' (MW) (='God is my help') (HH)
lazaretto 
from (AHD) אלעזר El'azar 'Lazarus' (MW) (='God is my help') (HH) + from (MW) נָצְרַת natzerath 'Nazareth' (WNW)
macadam 
from 'McAdam' (MW), in part from Adham 'Adam' (='earth') (HH)
macadamia 
from 'Macadam' (MW), in part from Adham 'Adam' (='earth') (HH)
marionette 
from מִרְיָם Miryam (AHD) 'Miriam' (MW, OED) (='rebelliously') (SC) + perhaps from Egyptian (HH)
marry (interjection) 
from מִרְיָם Miryam (AHD) 'Miriam' (MW, OED) (='rebelliously') (SC) + perhaps from Egyptian (HH)
mick 
from Mikha'el 'Michael' (MW) (='who [is] like God?') (SC)
mickey (drink) 
perhaps from (AHD) Mikha'el 'Michael' (MW) (='who [is] like God?') (SC)
miquelet 
probably from Catalan Miquel (NI), from[6] Mikha'el 'Michael' (MW) (='who [is] like God?') (SC)
moll 
from מִרְיָם Miryam (AHD) 'Miriam' (MW, OED) (='rebelliously') (SC) + perhaps from Egyptian (HH)
nance 
from 'Nancy' (MW, AHD), probably in part from חנה Ḥannah 'Anna' (OED) (='favored') (HH, SC)
nimrod 
from (AHD) נמרוד Nimrodh 'Nimrod' (='hunter') (MW)
philistine 
1 from פלשתים Pelistim 'Philistines' 'Aegean people who settled Philistia' (AHD)
2 from (MW) פלשת Pelesheth 'Philistia' (='rolling', 'migratory') (SC)
rube 
(AHD) from רְאוּבֵן Re'ubhen 'Reuben' (MW) (='see ye a son') (SC)
samaritan 
from (AHD, MW) שֹׁמְרוֹן Shomron 'Samaria' (='watch-station') (SC)
semitist 
from שם Shem 'Shem' (MW) (='name') (SC)
simony 
from (AHD) שִׁמְעוֹן Shim'on 'Simon' (MW) (='hearing') (HH, SC)
sodom 
from (MW) סדום s'dom 'Sodom' (AHD, OED) (='burnt') (SC)
toby 
from (AHD, MW) טוביה Toiah 'Tobias' (='goodness of Jehovah') (SC)
yankee 
probably from (AHD) יוחנן Yohanan 'John' (MW) (='the LORD is gracious') (HH)

Letter names[edit]

aleph, beth, gimel, daleth, he, waw, zayin, heth, teth, yod, kaph, lamed, mem, nun, samekh, ayin, pe, sadhe, qoph, resh, shin, taw (AHD, MW, WNW)

alpha 
from Greek Άλφα alpha, perhaps from אלוף aleph 'ox', 'leader' (WNW) + from Canaanite 𐤀𐤋𐤐 'alp 'ox' (AHD)
beta 
from Greek Βήτα beta, from בית bet 'house', probably from Phoenician (WNW) + from Canaanite 𐤁𐤉𐤕 bet 'house' (AHD)
gamma 
from Greek Γάμμα gamma, perhaps from גמל gimel 'ruminant beast' (WNW) + from Phoenician 𐤋𐤌𐤀𐤂 (AHD)
delta 
from Greek Δέλτα delta (AHD), perhaps from דלת deleth 'door' (WNW) + of Semitic origin, akin to Phoenician 𐤕𐤋𐤀𐤃 dalt 'door' (AHD)
eta 
from Greek eta, perhaps from chet (WNW) 'terror' (SC) + from (MW) Phoenician 𐤕𐤇 (AHD)
iota 
from Greek Ιώτα iota, perhaps from יד yodh 'hand' (WNW) + from (MW) Phoenician 𐤕𐤏𐤉 (AHD)
kappa 
from Greek Κάππα kappa, perhaps from כף kaph (WNW) 'palm of the hand' (MW) + from (MW) Phoenician 𐤅𐤀𐤊 (AHD)
lambda 
from Greek Λάμβδα lambda, perhaps from למד lamedh 'whip', 'club' (WNW) + from (MW) Phoenician 𐤃𐤌𐤀𐤋 (AHD)
nu 
from Greek Νυ nu, perhaps from נון nun 'fish' (WNW) + of Semitic origin (AHD)
pi 
from Greek Πι pi, perhaps from פה pe 'mouth' (WNW) + from (MW) Phoenician 𐤄𐤐 (AHD)
rho 
from Greek Ρω rho, perhaps from ראש rosh 'head' (WNW) + from (MW) Phoenician 𐤔𐤏𐤓 (AHD)
tau 
from Greek Ταυ tau, perhaps from taw (WNW) 'mark', 'cross' (MW) + from (MW) Phoenician 𐤅𐤀𐤕 (AHD)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ βαθύς, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  2. ^ pascal. French-English translation in CollinsDictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Abel". Behind the Name.
  4. ^ Weekley, Ernest, M.A. (1912). The Romance of Words. London: John Murray. p. 51. Apart from assimilation, there is a tendency in English to substitute -m for -n .... In the family name Hansom, for Hanson, the son of Hans, we have dissimiliation.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Henry Harrison. Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary. p. 233. The French Jacquard = Jacques (q.v.) + the dim. suff. -ard [Teut. hard, hard]
  6. ^ Aaron Demsky. These Are the Names: Studies in Jewish Onomastics. p. 300. Names from other traditions that were present in the Catalan-speaking area .... include: Adam, Noè (Noah), Miquel (Michael), and Samsó (Samson).