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 Greek ἀβαξ abax 'slab' (MW), probably from אבק 'abaq 'dust' (AHD)
agora (currency) 
from (AHD) אגורה agorah 'small coin' (MW)
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 miswah 'son of the law' (MW)
bath (volume) 
from בַּת bath (MW) '10 gallons liquid measure' (AHD)
bat mitzvah 
from (AHD) בת מצוה bath miswah 'daughter of the law' (MW)
behemoth 
from (MW) בהמות behemot 'beasts' (AHD)
bethel 
from (AHD) ביתאל beth'el 'house of God' (MW)
bethesda (chapel) 
(OSPD) from (AHD) Greek Bethesda 'Bethesda' (WNW), probably from bayith checed 'house of kindness' (SC)
bris 
from (WNW) ברית berith 'covenant' (MW)
brith milah 
from (WNW) berith 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 ḥuspah 'supreme self-confidence' (MW)
cider 
from (AHD) שכר shekhar 'strong drink' (MW)
copacetic 
disputed (MW) + perhaps from כל בצדק kol betsedeq '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 epha '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 gera '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 hlc '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)
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) kds 'sanctify' (WNW)
kashrut 
from (AHD, MW) כשר ksr 'be appropriate' (WNW)
kibbutz 
from קיבוץ qibbuṣ (MW) 'gathering' (AHD)
kibitz 
from Yiddish קיבעצן kibetsn (MW), from German gibitz 'peewit' (AHD) + in part from קבץ qabazh 'grasp', 'collect'[citation needed]
kibosh 
disputed (AHD, MW) + perhaps from כבש kabash 'tread down', 'disregard'[citation needed]
kiddush 
from (AHD) qiddush 'sanctification' (MW)
klezmer 
from (AHD) כלי זמר keley zemer 'musical instruments' (MW)
knesset 
(OSPD) from kanas 'assemble' (AHD, WNW)
kosher 
from (AHD, MW) כשר ksr 'be appropriate' (WNW)
lambdacism 
perhaps from lamedh 'whip, 'club' (WNW) + from Phoenician (AHD)
lambdoid 
perhaps from lamedh 'whip, 'club' (WNW) + from Phoenician (AHD)
lehayim 
(OSPD) from l'chaim '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) hzr 'return' (WNW)
manna 
from מן man (AHD, MW) (SC)
matzo 
from (AHD) מצה massah 'unleavened bread' (MW)
maven 
from (AHD) מבין mebhin 'one who is experienced' (MW), 'one who understands' (OED)
mazeltov 
from (WNW) 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 mashiah 'anointed' (MW) + in part from Aramaic (AHD) meshiha 'anointed' (MW)
mezuzah 
from מְזוּזָה mezuzah 'doorpost' (AHD, MW)
midrash 
from (AHD) מדרש midhrash '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 
from nach 'rest' (WNW)
nebel 
from nebhel 'harp' (NI)
nadir 
from (AHD) נדיר nadir 'rare'
omer 
from עמר 'omer (AHD) '1/10 ephah dry capacity' (MW)
parashah 
from parashah 'explanation' (MW, WNW)
pascal 
from 'Pascal' (AHD, MW), from[1] 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 sabbat 'day of rest' (AHD)
sabra 
from (AHD) sabhar '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 sedher 'order' (MW)
selah 
from (AHD) סֶלָה selah (MW) 'suspension', 'pause' (SC)
seraph 
from (MW) שׂרף sarap '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)
tom 
from (AHD) תאום t'om 'twin' (MW)
torah 
from תּוֹרָה tora 'law', 'instruction' (AHD)
tref 
from tarap 'tear' (AHD)
tsuris 
from (AHD) tsarah 'calamity' (WNW)
tush 
from (AHD) תחת tahath 'under', 'beneath' (MW)
tzitzit, zizith 
from (AHD) ציצית sisith 'fringes', 'tassels' (MW)
ulpan 
from alef 'ox', 'leader' (WNW)
yanqui 
from 'Yankee' (MW), probably from (AHD) יוחנן Yohanan 'John' (MW) (='the LORD is gracious') (HH)
yeshiva 
from (AHD) ישיבה yeshibhah 'talmudic school' (MW)
yid 
from יהודה yehuda (AHD) 'celebrated' (SC)
zaddik 
from צדיק saddiq 'just', 'righteous' (MW)

From Hebrew names[edit]

abelia 
from 'Abel' (AHD, MW), from הבל Hebhel 'Abel'[2] (='emptiness') (SC)
abelian 
from 'Abel' (AHD, MW), from הבל Hebhel 'Abel'[2] (='emptiness') (SC)
abigail 
from (MW) אֲבִיגַיִל (SC) Avigail 'Abigail' (='father of exaltation') (HH)
adam-and-eve 
from אדם Adham 'Adam' (MW) (='earth') (HH) + from חוה Hawwah 'Eve' (MW) (='living') (HH)
ammonite
from עַמּוֹן Ammon, Biblical tribe
bedlam 
from (AHD, MW) בית לחם Beth Lechem 'Bethlehem' (='house of bread')
bejesus 
from (AHD) יֵשׁוּעַ Yeshua' '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 Dawidh 'David' (MW) (='loving') (SC)
hamantasch 
from Haman 'Haman' (MW) (='vizier') (SC) + from Yiddish (MW)
hansom 
from 'Hansom' (MW), from 'Hans',[3] 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[4] 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 Yeshua' '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 Yarov'am 'Jeroboam' (='people will contend') (SC)
jesuit 
from יֵשׁוּעַ Yeshua' '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[5] 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 Channah '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 Toviah 'Tobias' (='goodness of Jehovah') (SC)

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 alef '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. ^ pascal. French-English translation in CollinsDictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Abel". Behind the Name. 
  3. ^ 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." 
  4. ^ Henry Harrison. Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary. p. 233. "The French Jacquard = Jacque(s (q.v.) + the dim. suff. -ard [Teut. hard, hard]" 
  5. ^ 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)."