Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
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.
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.
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