Amber - the stone

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by prtzllife, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. prtzllife Member

    Seoul, Korea
    English (US)
    I'm compiling a list of the word "amber" (as in the stone) in as many languages as I can for a friend (named Amber, of course) and I put this post in the Other Languages forum as I can of course get the translation in most common languages from Wikipedia. I figured since amber often washes up on shores it could be found anywhere (coastally at least) and thus could have a unique name (other than the borrowed English word) in many languages :)
    I'm particularly curious about Inuktitut and/or Greenlandic and Egyptian hieroglyph, but all would be much appreciated!
    Thanks for any help you can give!!
  2. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Dutch - Belgium
    As far as I know, "amber" in English is kind of a stone (semi-gem) formed by a resin from a tree, so I don't think it washes up on shores. The thing that washes up on shores is "ambergris" and comes from the intestinal system of some type of whale and is (was) used in the perfume industry.

    Anyway, if you mean the resin stone with "amber", then in Dutch it would be "barnsteen".
  3. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Oh, it does. The Baltic Sea is very famous for its amber.

    In German it's "Bernstein" which means "burnable stone".
  4. Perseas Senior Member

    Athens - GR
    My dictionary has ήλεκτρο, (capitals: ΗΛΕΚΤΡΟ)
  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Old English terms for "amber":
    glær (from the same root as glass)
    sāp (related to OE sāpe "soap, salve")
    smielting (possibly connected to melt, smelt etc.)
  6. AutumnOwl

    AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Swedish - Sweden, Finnish
    Swedish: bärnsten - probably from its German name, an older/dialectal name is rav, see below
    Norwegian, Danish: rav, probably from an Indoeuropean colourname word (e)rehb
    Finnish: meripihka - sea resin
  7. bibax Senior Member

    In the Slavic languages mostly: jantar, янтарь (yantar), a word of uncertain origin.
  8. origumi Senior Member

    In Hebrew ambar is called ענבר `inbar (notice the similar sound to English), apparently borrowed in medieval times from Arabic عَنْبَر (pronounced 3anbar = gray amber).
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  9. Maroseika Moderator

    According to one of the versions, it is a cognate of Lithuanian gintãras (Lettish dzĩtars) . However reverse way is also possible.
  10. arielipi Senior Member

    Hebrew: ענבר i​nbar
  11. ilocas2 Senior Member

    Czech: jantar

    It's 19th century loanword from Russian
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  12. Anja.Ann

    Anja.Ann Senior Member

    Italian: ambra (from Arabic ῾anbar)
    My best friend's name is "Ambra" by the way! :)
  13. ancalimon Senior Member

    Turkish: Kehribar
    Azerbaijan Turkic: Kahraba
    Bashkurt: Garaba
    Kazakh: Yantar
    Kyrgyz: Yantar
    Uzbek: Kahraba
    Tatar: Garaba
    Turkmen: Yantar
    Uighur: Kahriva

    Not sure about kehribar (probably not Turkic origin in this form. Sounds Persian) But yantar could be from
    yan: burn, shine.. (there are many other possibilities but this seems plausible)
    might be related with *jAŋgak meaning walnut.

    tar ~ çar ~ taş ~~ ...: stone
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  14. Perseas Senior Member

    Athens - GR
    Yes, except for "ήλεκτρο" (# 4), the other Greek word is "κεχριμπάρι" /cexri'bari/ from Turkish "kehribar" < Persian "kahruba".

    Does "yellow" exist in the Turkish or Persian word?
  15. bibax Senior Member

    By the way, in Czech the word jantar [yantar] is a slang equivalent of the word blbec (= idiot, imbecile, cretin), however somewhat milder.

    Vrať se do školy, ty jantare! = Go back to school, you dunce/blockhead!
  16. ancalimon Senior Member

    If you force it hard enough ( :rolleyes: ) "sarı" (yellow) sounds similar to "cexri". I don't know about the Persian etymology.
  17. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    In Arabic, amber is كهرمان /kahraman/
  18. origumi Senior Member

    Is عَنْبَر (as mentioned above, for "gray amber") also in use?
  19. Cowrie Senior Member

    In Japanese, 琥珀 (ko haku).
    The first character is made of two sub-characters “gem” and “tiger”, and the second “gem” and “white”. This “white” part might mean “transparency” in this case, but I’m not sure. For a friend?
  20. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    Yes, عنبر mean "gray amber".
  21. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    In Filipino the term amber was introduced by English Books and i never read-encountered Tagalog word for it. since amber is fossilized resin of wood or tree , the nearest word in Tagalog is "SAHING", the fossilized resin in Tagalog is "Batong Sahing" !
  22. Stoggler

    Stoggler Senior Member

    Regnum Sussaxonum
    UK English
    Welsh is a loan from English: ambr (masculine)
    Scottish Gaelic word is òmar (apparently a loan from Middle French ambre)
  23. AutumnOwl

    AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Swedish - Sweden, Finnish
    Could the -ribar, -raba, -riva have anything to do with this:
  24. Holger2014 Senior Member

    Finnish: meripihka
    Estonian: merevaik
    Latvian: dzintars
    Lithuanian: gintaras
    Polish: bursztyn
    German: Bernstein
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  25. animelover Senior Member

    Eastern Germany
    Chinese (Mandarin):


    Old Japanese:
    kunrokukou or kunnoko
    Small pebbles of amber were used as an inredient for burning incense (sticks).

    I would be careful about ascribing a certain meaning to 虎 and 白. 虎(こ) and 白(はく) mainly represent the phonetic elements of 琥珀 - 王(gem) is the semantic element.

    According to the 漢和大辞典: 白 in 珀 refers to a yellowish-white egg-like color. 虎 in 琥 refers to either the color of a tiger's fur, or a tiger-shaped gem, or an inscription of a tiger; apparently, such a gem/stone was the symbol of a millitary commander (shogun), or sent to people during war as a requisition order.

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014
  26. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    Hungarian: borostyán.

    But: "borostyán" means not only the stoned resin but creeping ivy, in Hungarian.
    Therefore the stoned resin might be called "borostyánkő" = amber+stone.
    The stoned resin used to indentify a yellow-brownish color.
    Borostyánszínű pulóver= pullover of color of amber.
  27. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    Not Ukrainian. It usually uses a German borrowing бурштин (burshtyn), though янтар (yantar)also exists.
  28. Diamant7

    Diamant7 Senior Member

    Catalan: ambre
    Spanish: ámbar

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