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ספר - hair dresser, scissors, books, numbers

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by Yaella, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. Yaella Junior Member

    Français - Belgique
    How come that the root ספר has so many different meanings?
    - count (compter)
    - tell a story, book, novelist (conter)
    - cut the hair (I assume that מספריים - scissors come from that meaning)

    It seems that the origin of "conter" (tell a story) in French is the same as "compter" (count), because from count you go to enumerate and list and then tell a story. Would this be true also in hebrew?
  2. origumi Senior Member

  3. Yaella Junior Member

    Français - Belgique
    Thanks Origumi. Bookmarked the page for further reference.
  4. haoninbar New Member

    The basic meaning of the root sfr is to cut hair. Books were made from animal hides from which the hair was removed as part of the process of preparing the parchment. A "sefer" was accordingly a sheet of parchment that had been prepared for writing in this fashion. A "sipur," a "story," is a communication, frequently told by reading from such a parchment document. Counting and numbers are lexical extensions of this concept. Compare English words such as "count" and "recount," the latter meaning to tell a story. Compare further "telling" a story and the word "teller," as in a bank, whose job is to count money. The English expression "all told," refers to counted objects. So it is not surprising (or maybe it is!) that the words for book, number and barber derive from a common root.
  5. origumi Senior Member

    Based on what?

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