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Subject: The Word
Question: Good morning. Here is an interesting one. Do you have any information or could you expound on the relationship between the words: Urim (Hebrew), Aurum (Latin), Oro (Spanish), Ore, Or (That's the French isn't it). Urim is from the Bible. Also, I was wondering if these words are related to the name of the ancient middle eastern place called Ophir (in the Bible too). I'm thinking that in the Bible when it says ''the Urim...'' that it is talking about ''the shiny, brilliant, gold-like things'' sort of. Plural of course because ''im'' in Hebrew makes things plural. Aurora, Aura are obviously all related. Thanks a lot.
Reply: As Dr Stahlke notes, the etymology of metal words like "gold" is not always clear. I can tell you want the standard etymologies are Spanish 'oro' and French 'or' are both direct descendants of Latin 'aurum' which is said to be from Proto-Italic 'auso'- "glow, dawn". Note that this etymology assumes that the root was aus-, meaning that the /r/ was a Latin innovation. In fact, many word-internal /r/'s in Latin were originally /s/, which means that if a borrowing is pre-Latin, you might expect an /s/ and not an /r/. FYI - According to the Oxford English dictionary, the "ore" word is not directly connected with Latin "aurum" There are plenty of words with unclear origins in the Mediterranean region such as "wine" (possibly a Semitic borrowing into Latin), but their exact origins can be difficult to determine because of the way its transmitted. Ideally, you should be able to have a consistent phonetic pattern between original Semitic words and Latin words.
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
Date: 10-Jan-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: The Word    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (10-Jan-2013)
  2. Re: The Word    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (10-Jan-2013)

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