The origin of the term remains uncertain. The biblical word Ivri (Hebrew: עברי), meaning to traverse or pass over. In the plural it is Ivrim, or Ibrim. It is usually rendered as Hebrew in English, from the ancient Greek Ἑβραῖος and Latin Hebraeus.
In Genesis 10:21 Shem, the elder brother of Ham and Japheth, first born son of Noah, is referred to as the father of the sons of Eber (עבר), which may have a similar meaning.
Some authors argue that Ibri denotes the descendants of the biblical patriarch Eber (Hebrew עבר), son of Shelah, a great grandson of Noah and an ancestor of Abraham, hence the occasional anglicization Eberites.
The term has not been found in biblical or extra-biblical sources for any tribe or nation other than Abraham and his descendants.
Read more about this topic: Hebrews
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Famous quotes containing the word etymology:
“Semantically, taste is rich and confusing, its etymology as odd and interesting as that of style. But while stylederiving from the stylus or pointed rod which Roman scribes used to make marks on wax tabletssuggests activity, taste is more passive.... Etymologically, the word we use derives from the Old French, meaning touch or feel, a sense that is preserved in the current Italian word for a keyboard, tastiera.”
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“The universal principle of etymology in all languages: words are carried over from bodies and from the properties of bodies to express the things of the mind and spirit. The order of ideas must follow the order of things.”
—Giambattista Vico (16881744)