Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pink in Hebrew

JUST GIVE ME A REASON: Word of the Day / Varod: Pink, or, a rose by any other ancient Persian name. How the island of Rhodes and the Hebrew for rose came from the same word. (Elon Gilad, Haaretz). Excerpt:
At the end of the 19th century, Eliezer Ben Yehuda was busy coming up with a variety of words Hebrew was missing, not only for print in his publications but also for his day-to-day use, as he and his family had vowed only to use Hebrew at home. One of the words the family needed, probably for the dresses of his wife Hemda or one of their daughters, was a word for pink.

Ben-Yehuda simply decided to adopt the French practice of calling the flower (the rose) and the color (pink) by the same name. As we said, the Hebrews had adopted the ancient Persian word for rose in the form vered. Ben-Yehuda took that root, v-r-d, and created varod. And thus Hebrew got a word for pink.