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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 follow Sephardic/Modern Israeli pronunciations as opposed to Ashkenazi pronunciations, with the major difference being that the letter tav (ת) is transliterated as a 't' as opposed to an 's'.


From Hebrew words

abacus 
from Greek abak-, abax 'slab' (MW), probably from אבק 'abaq 'dust' (AHD)
agora  
from (AHD) agorah 'small coin' (MW)
aliyah 
from (AHD) 'aliyah 'ascent' (MW)
almemar 
from 'almemar 'bema', from Arabic (AHD)
amen 
from אמן 'amen (MW) 'certainly', 'verily' (AHD)
baal 
from ba'al 'lord' (AHD, MW)
bar mitzvah 
from (AHD) בר מצוה bar miswah 'son of the law' (MW) (bat mitzvah : from (AHD) בת מצוה bath miswah 'daughter of the law' (MW))
bath (volume) 
from bath (MW) '10 gallons liquid measure' (AHD)
behemoth 
from (MW) בהמות behemot 'beasts' (AHD)
bethel 
from (AHD) ביתאל beth'el 'house of God' (MW
cabal 
from (AHD) קַבָּלָה qabbalah 'received (lore)' (MW)
challah 
from (AHD) hallah 'challah' ('egg-rich yeast-leavened bread') (MW)
chazan, hazan 
from hazzan 'cantor' (MW) + in part from Aramaic, both from Akkadian (AHD)
cherub 
from (AHD) כרוב kerubh 'cherub' ('celestial hierarchy angel') (MW)
chutzpah 
from (AHD) huspah 'supreme self-confidence' (MW)
cider 
from (AHD) שכר shekhar 'strong drink' (MW)
corban 
from (AHD) qorban 'offering' (MW)
dybbuk 
from dibbuq 'dybbuk' ('wandering soul') (AHD, MW)
ephah 
from (AHD) epha 'ephah' ('1/10 homer dry measure'), from Egyptian (MW)
ganef 
(AHD) from gannabh 'thief' (MW)
gerah 
from (MW) gera 'grain', 'bean' (AHD)
get (divorce document) 
from get 'document of release' (MW)
golem 
from גולם golem (AHD) 'shapeless mass' (MW)
goy 
from goy 'nation' (AHD, MW)
gun moll 
from (AHD) gannabh 'thief' (MW) + from Miryam (AHD) 'Miriam' (MW, OED) ('rebelliously')
halacha 
from halakhah 'way' (MW)
hallelujah 
from הללויה halleluyah 'praise the LORD' (AHD, MW)
hebraize 
from (MW) עברי 'ibri 'Hebrew' (AHD) ('region across [descendant]') (SC)
heder 
from hedher 'room' (MW)
homer (volume) 
from homer '100 gallons capacity' (MW), 'heap' (AHD)
hora 
from horah 'hora' ('circle dance of Romania and Israel'), from Romanian (MW), from Greek (AHD)
jubilee 
from (AHD) יובל yobhel 'ram's horn', 'jubilee' (MW)
kabbalah 
from (AHD) קַבָּלָה qabbalah 'received (lore)' (MW)
kibbutz 
from קיבוץ qibbuṣ (MW) 'gathering' (AHD)
klezmer 
from (AHD) כלי זמר keley zemer 'musical instruments' (MW)
kosher 
from (AHD) כשר kasher 'fit', 'proper' (MW)
leviathan 
from (AHD) לויתן liwyathan 'sea monster' (MW)
macabre 
from French (danse) macabre (MW), perhaps from Greek Makkabios (AHD), from מכבי makkabi 'Maccabee' ('my hammer')
manna 
from מן man 'manna' (AHD, MW) ('whatness') (SC)
matzo 
from (AHD) massah 'matzo' ('unleavened bread') (MW)
maven 
from (AHD) מבין mebhin 'one who is experienced' (MW), 'one who understands' (OED)
menorah 
from (AHD) menorah 'candlestick' (MW)
meshuga 
from (AHD) משוגע meshugga' 'crazy' (MW)
messiah 
in part from (AHD) משיח mashiah 'anointed' (MW) + in part from Aramaic (AHD, MW)
mezuzah 
from mezuzah 'doorpost' (AHD, MW)
midrash 
from (AHD) midhrash 'exposition', 'explanation' (MW)
minyan 
from minyan 'number', 'count' (MW), from Aramaic (AHD)
mitzvah 
from (AHD) מצוה miṣwah 'commandment' (MW)
moshav 
from (AHD) moshabh 'dwelling' (MW)
omer 
from 'omer 'omer' (AHD) ('1/10 ephah dry capacity') (MW)
pascal 
from 'Blaise Pascal' (AHD, MW), from פסח pesah 'Passover'
paschal 
from פסח pesah 'Passover' (AHD, MW, OED)
pharaoh 
from par'oh 'pharaoh' (AHD) ('ruler of ancient Egypt'), from Egyptian (MW)
rabbi 
from רבי rabbi 'my master' (AHD, MW)
sabbatical 
from (MW) שׁבת sabbat 'Sabbath' ('day of rest') (AHD)
sack 
from Greek sakkos (MW), perhaps from Hebrew שק saq 'bag', 'sackcloth' (OED), from Phoenician (AHD)
satanic 
from שטן satan 'adversary' (MW), 'devil' (AHD)
schmooze 
(AHD) from shemu'oth 'news', 'rumor' (MW)
schwa 
from שוא schewa' 'schwa' ('unstressed]] mid-central vowel') (MW), probably from Syriac (AHD)
seder 
from (AHD) sedher 'order' (MW)
selah 
from (AHD) selah (MW) 'suspension', 'pause' (SC)
seraph 
from (MW) sarap 'seraph' ('celestial being') (AHD)
shalom 
from (AHD) shalom 'peace' (MW)
shalom aleichem 
from (AHD) shalom 'alekhem 'peace unto you' (MW)
shammes 
from (AHD) שמש shammash 'sexton' (MW)
shamus 
perhaps from (AHD) שמש shammash 'sexton' (MW)
shekel 
from שקל sheqel '252 grains weight' (MW), from Canaanite (AHD)
shibboleth 
from (AHD) שיבולת shibboleth 'stream' (MW), 'ear of grain' (OED)
shiksa 
from (AHD) sheqes 'blemish', 'abomination' (MW)
siddur 
from siddur 'arrangement' (AHD), 'order' (MW)
sukkah 
from sukkah 'booth', 'shelter' (MW)
sycamine 
from (AHD, MW) שִׁקמָה shiqmah 'mulberry tree' (OED)
teraph 
from (AHD) teraphim 'household god' (MW)
torah 
from tora 'law', 'instruction' (AHD)
tush 
from (AHD) תחת tahath 'under', 'beneath' (MW)
tzitzit, zizith 
from (AHD) ציצית sisith 'tzitzit' ('fringes', 'tassels') (MW)
yeshiva 
from (AHD) ישיבה yeshibhah 'talmudic school' (MW)
zaddik 
from saddiq 'just', 'righteous' (MW)

From Hebrew names

abelia 
from '[=Clarke Abel' (AHD, MW), from הבל Hebhel 'Abel'[1] (from a word meaning 'emptiness': SC)
abelian 
from 'Niels Abel' (AHD, MW), from הבל Hebhel 'Abel'[1] (from a word meaning 'emptiness' : SC)
abigail 
from 'Abigail' (MW), from Avigail (from a phrase meaning 'father of exaltation': HH)
adam-and-eve 
from אדם Adham 'Adam' + from חוה Hawwah 'Eve' (MW) (from words meaning respectively 'earth' and 'living': HH)
babel 
from בבל Babhel, from an Akkadian phrase meaning 'gate of God' (MW)
bedlam 
from 'Bedlem' (AHD, MW), from בית לחם Beth Lechem 'Bethlehem' (from a phrase meaning 'house of bread')
bejesus 
from (AHD) Yeshua' 'Jesus' (MW) (from a word meaning 'savior': HH)
davit 
from (AHD) Dawidh 'David' (MW) (from a word meaning 'loving': SC)
galilee 
from Latin (MW) galilaea 'Galilee' (AHD), from galiyl 'circle', 'circuit' (SC)
hansom 
from 'Joseph Hansom' (MW), from 'Hans',[2] from Yohanan 'John' (from a phrase meaning 'the Lord is gracious': SC, HH)
jack 
from Yohanan 'John' (MW) (from a phrase meaning 'the Lord is gracious': SC, HH) + perhaps in part from Ya'qob 'Jacob' (from a word meaning 'He has protected') (AHD)
jakes 
perhaps from Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' (from a word meaning 'He has protected') (AHD)
jeez 
from (AHD) Yeshua' 'Jesus' (MW) (from a word meaning 'savior': HH)
jehu 
from Yehu 'Jehu' (MW) (from a phrase meaning 'Jehovah [is] He': SC)
jeremiad 
from (AHD) Yirmeyah 'Jeremiah' (MW) (from a phrase meaning 'the LORD will rise': SC)
jeroboam 
from 'Jeroboam' (AHD, MW), from Yarov'am 'Jeroboam' (from a phrase meaning 'people will contend': SC)
jesuit 
from Yeshua' 'Jesus' (AHD) (from a word meaning 'savior': HH)
jimmy 
from 'Jimmy' (MW), from 'James', from Ya'aqobh 'Jacob' 'Jacob' (from a word meaning 'He has protected') (AHD)
jezebel 
from (AHD) איזבל Izebhel 'Jezebel' (MW) (from a word meaning 'chaste': SC)
joe 
from Yoseph 'Joseph' (MW) (from a word meaning 'He shall add': HH)
john 
from (AHD) Yohanan 'John' (MW) (from a phrase meaning 'the Lord is gracious': SC, HH)
jorum 
perhaps from 'Joram' (AHD, MW), from Yehoram 'Joram' (from a phrase meaning 'Jehovah-raised': SC)
joseph 
from (AHD) Yoseph 'Joseph' (MW) (from a word meaning 'He shall add': HH)
judas 
from (MW) יהודה yehuda (AHD) (from a word meaning 'celebrated': SC)
lazar 
from (AHD) El'azar 'Lazarus' (MW) (from a phrase meaning 'God is my help: HH)
lazaretto 
from (AHD) El'azar 'Lazarus' (MW) (from a phrase meaning 'God is my help: HH) + from 'Nazareth' (AHD, MW), from נָצְרַת‎ Nazhrath 'Nazareth' (from a word meaning 'truth', 'sprout', 'separate')
macadam 
from John Loudon McAdam (MW), in part from Adham 'Adam' (from a word meaning 'earth': HH)
macadamia 
from John Macadam (MW), in part from Adham 'Adam' (from a word meaning 'earth': HH)
marry (interjection) 
from Miryam 'Mary' (AHD), 'Miriam' (MW, OED) (perhaps from a word meaning 'rebelliously' [SC] or perhaps from Egyptian [HH])
moll 
from Miryam 'Mary' (AHD), 'Miriam' (MW, OED) (perhaps from a word meaning 'rebelliously' [SC] or perhaps from Egyptian [HH])
nance 
from 'Nancy' (MW, AHD), probably in part from חנה Channah 'Anna' (OED) (from a word meaning 'He has favored': HH)
nimrod 
from נמרוד Nimrodh (AHD, MW)
philistine 
1 from פלשתים Pelistim 'Aegean people who settled Philistia' (AHD) 2 from 'Philistia' (MW), from פלשת Pelesheth 'Philistia' (from a word meaning 'rolling', 'migratory': SC)
rube 
(AHD) from Re'ubhen 'Reuben' (MW) (from a phrase meaning 'see ye a son': SC)
samaritan 
from (MW) Greek Samareia 'Samaria' (AHD), from Shomron (from a word meaning 'watch-station': SC)
semitist 
from Shem 'Shem' (MW) (from a word meaning 'name': SC)
simony 
from (AHD) Shim'on 'Simon' (MW) (from a word meaning 'hearkening': HH)
sodom 
from (MW) סדום s'dom 'Sodom' (AHD, OED) (from a word meaning 'burnt': SC)
toby 
from Greek Tobias (AHD, MW), from Toviah 'Tobias' (from a phrase meaning 'God is good': HH)
tom 
from 'Thomas' (AHD), from t'om 'twin' (MW)

Letter names

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

See also

References

  • AHD: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: 3rd or 4th edition
  • HH: A Dictionary of First Names, Patrick Hanks & Flavia Hodges
  • MW: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: 10th or 11th edition
  • OED: Oxford English Dictionary: online edition
  • SC: Strong's Concordance
  1. 1.0 1.1 "Abel". Behind the Name. http://surnames.behindthename.com/php/search.php?terms=abel. 
  2. 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." 
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