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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Words

By Jeff A. Benner


The Hebrew noun for the neck is עורף (oreph, Strong's #6203), which is derived out of the Hebrew verb ערף (araph, Strong's #6202) meaning “to be necked,” as in “breaking the neck.”

Isaac Mozeson, the founder of the study of Edencis, has some very interesting things to say about this Hebrew word.

If you think the GIRAFFE is a strange animal, check out its weird (given) etymology. French girafe and Italian giraffa is said to be a corruption of Arabic zirafah, even though the term is meaningless in Arabic and [besides,] a G from a Z corruption is unnatural… The Hebrew for [the neck] is OReF, more correctly pronounced by Sephardim as KHoReF or GHoReF. Now we've got the perfect sound and sense for GiRaFFe, since GHoReF means the scruff of the neck. Like sCaRF and sCRuF [being] neck words whose initial S is non-historic.

Any word with more than 3 root letters in Hebrew, or any language, is carrying extra baggage around the root or roots. These CRF neck words come from Biblical Hebrew KHoReF (neck) just like the CRaVat (necktie). A related Gimel-Resh term, GaRoN (throat, neck) gives us other long-necked animals, like the CRaNe, eGRet and HeRoN, along with neckwear like the GoRGeous GoRGet, the throaty GRoaN of a CRooNer and the GaRGling of a GouRmet GaRGoyle.

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