Word Family - Earth

August theme: Earth and Water 🌎🌊


Here we have three possibly tied groups: Afro-Asiatic *ʔariĉ̣-: "earth" (e.g. eretz), Indo-European *h₁er-: "earth" (e.g. earth) and Indo-European "to plow" (e.g. arable)

There are several indicators that *h₁ was pronounced as a glottal stop, including a number of other words that are apparent correspondences between PIE *h₁ and Semitic *ʾ.

A non-borrowing possibility is that *h₁er-, "earth, ground" (which seems to be a late western PIE dialect word) is related to *h₃er- "to move, to rise", via a meaning shift that parallels Greek ὄρος oros: "mountain".

But the notation of Laryngeal Theory notation is probably making relation between *h₁er-: "earth, ground", *h₂erh₃-: "to plow", and *h₃er- "to move, to rise" seem more plausible than it really is.


אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל ʾéretz yisraél, earth, arable

Full Text

  • ?
    • Proto-Afro-Asiatic *ʔariĉ̣-
      • Berber
        • Tashelhit ṛṛgg earth, soil
      • Chadic
        • West Chadic *Hrit͜ɬ’-
          • Pa'a riŝa earth
        • East Chadic *ʔirt͜ɬ’-
          • Bidiyo 'iraadya valley
      • Semitic *ʾarṣ́-
        • Central Semitic
          • Arabic أَرْض ʾarḍ land, earth, country, ground
            • Maltese art earth
            • Swahili ardhi land, earth
          • Northwest Semitic
            • Aramaic אַרְעָא ʾarʿā land, soil, earth
            • Canaanite
              • Hebrew אֶרֶץ ʾéretz country, land, earth, ground
                • Hebrew אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל ʾéretz yisraél Land of Israel
              • Phoenician 𐤀𐤓𐤑 ʾrṣ earth, land
            • Ugaritic 𐎀𐎗𐎕 ảrṣ earth, ground
              • Ugaritic 𐎀𐎗𐎕𐎊 ʾArṣay Earthy (fem.), Divinity of Earth [1]
        • East Semitic
          • Akkadian 𒆠
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₁er-
      • Old Armenian երկիր erkir earth, world, soil, land, country
        • Armenian երկիր erkir country, state, territory
      • Balto-Slavic
        • Lithuanian erdvė̃ space, expanse
      • Germanic *erþō earth
        • East Germanic
          • Gothic 𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌸𐌰 airþa earth
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse jǫrð
            • Danish jord earth, dirt, soil, ground
            • Icelandic jörð earth, ground, estate
            • Old Norse Jǫrð Giantess, personification of the earth, mother of Thor
              • Icelandic Jörð Jord
                • English Jord
        • West Germanic
          • Old English eorþe earth, ground, dry land
            • English earth
            • Scots yird earth, Earth, bury [2]
          • Old High German erda Earth, soil, ground
            • German Erde Earth, soil, ground
            • Yiddish ערד erd Earth, earth, ground, soil
      • Hellenic
        • Ancient Greek ἔραζε éraze to/on the ground apparently unrelated to "raze"/"erase"
      • Tocharian
        • Kushean yare gravel
    • Proto-Indo-European *h₂erh₃- to plow
      • Proto-Indo-European *h₂ér-ye-ti to be plowing
        • Balto-Slavic *arˀti
          • Lithuanian árti to plow
          • Slavic *oràti to plow
            • East Slavic
              • Russian ора́ть orátʹ to plow archaic
            • South Slavic
              • Serbo-Croatian о̀рати òrati to plow, to till
            • West Slavic
              • Polish orać to plow, to work hard
        • Celtic *aryeti to plow
          • Brythonic *ėrðɨd to plow
            • Welsh aredig to plow
          • Old Irish airid to plow, to till
            • Irish air to plow archaic
        • Germanic *arjanã to plow
          • East Germanic
            • Gothic 𐌰𐍂𐌾𐌰𐌽 arjan to plow
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse erja
              • Danish ærje
              • Icelandic erja to plow, to till
          • West Germanic
            • Old English erian to plow
              • English ear to plow archaic, dialectic
            • Old High German erren
        • Hellenic *aroyō to plow, to till
          • Ancient Greek ἀρόω aróō I plow, I till, I sow, I beget
            • Ancient Greek ἀροτήρ arotḗr
        • Italic *araō
          • Latin arō I plow, I till, I cultivate land, I acquire by farming
            • Sardinian arai to plow
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian a ara to plow
            • Western Romance
              • Italian arare to plow
              • Spanish arar to plow
            • Latin arabilis able to be plowed, able to be farmed, capable of growing crops, arable
              • Western Romance
                • French arable arable
                  • English arable
                • Italian arabile arable
      • Proto-Indo-European *h₂érh₃ōs plowing action or result noun
        • Old Armenian արօս arōs untilled soil
          • Armenian արօս arōs fallow field
        • Old Armenian հարաւունք harawunkʿ tilled land, fields, sowing
      • Proto-Indo-European *h₂érh₃trom plow instrumental
        • Old Armenian արօր arōr plow
          • Armenian արոր aror plow
        • Balto-Slavic *árˀtla plow
          • Lithuanian árklas scratch plow, ard
          • Slavic *òrdlo plow
            • East Slavic рало ralo
              • Russian ра́ло rálo plow
            • South Slavic
              • Old Church Slavonic рало ralo
              • Serbo-Croatian ра̏ло rȁlo plow, plowshare
            • West Slavic
              • Polish radło simple plow, ard
        • Celtic *aratrom plow
          • Brythonic *aradr plow
            • Welsh aradr plow
          • Old Irish
            • Irish arathar plow archaic
        • Germanic *arþrã plow
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse arðr plow
              • Danish ard
              • Norwegian ard scratch plow, ard
                • English ard
              • Swedish årder scratch plow, ard
            • Finnic *atra plow
              • Finnish aura plow, V of birds
        • Hellenic
          • Ancient Greek ᾰ̓́ροτρον
            • Greek άροτρο
        • Italic
          • Latin arātrum plow
            • Sardinian aradu
            • Eastern Romance
              • Romanian arat plow
            • Western Romance
              • French araire scratch plow, ard
              • Italian aratro plow
              • Spanish arado plow
      • Proto-Indo-European *h₂erh₃wós plowable, arable
        • Celtic *arwor
          • Brythonic
            • Welsh erw field, acre, erw
              • English erw
          • Old Irish arbar
            • Irish arbhar grain, cereal
        • Italic
          • Latin arvus arable, plowed, cultivated


Image is a visual representation of the text content above.

Collected English words

Jord, earth, ear, arable, ard, erw


  1. ^

    Ugaritic 𐎀𐎗𐎕𐎊 ʾArṣay, daughter of Baʿal in the Ugaritic Cycle. Hat tip to https://twitter.com/OlaWikander/status/1026494672083054592

  2. ^

    There seems to be some confusion over whether the Scots yird is from eorthe (English earth) or ġeard (English yard). The evidence seems better for eorthe.