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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Modern Hebrew Words


By Jeff A. Benner

The Modern Hebrew word for a verb is פועל (po’al). This word is derived from the Biblical Hebrew word פעל (P.Ah.L, Strong's #6466), a verb meaning “to work.” The noun פועל (po’al), meaning “working” or “action,” is used for verbs because “verbs” are words describing “action.”

An adverb is a word that modifies the verb. For instance, in the sentence, “John ran quickly,” the word “quickly” is an adverb because it modifies how John ran. In Modern Hebrew, the word for an adverb is תואר הפועל (to’ar hapo’al). The word תואר comes from the Biblical Hebrew verb תאר (T.A.R, Strong's #8388) meaning to “mark out” or “shape.” Therefore, the Hebrew phrase תואר הפועל (to’ar hapo’al) means “to shape the action.”

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