Greek hágyos

Qcumber

Senior Member
UK English
I suppose scholars have already tackled this issue, and some forumites might know the outcome.
Are Greek hágyos αγιος "saint, holy" [sorry MS-Word doesn’t have Greek spirits] and Arabic ħāgg حاج "pilgrim" related?
If so, did Arabic borrow its term from Greek or was it Byzantine Greek that borrowed its own from Arabic?
 
  • Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Hello Mr Q,

    American Heritage English Dictionary (2000: Appendix II) says that the Arabic word comes from Central Semitic ḥgg (to make a pilgrimage). Since Hebrew ḥag (feast) has been derived from the same root, I assume this is a very old Semitic etymon.

    Whether ḥgg is related to Greek hágios is another matter entirely. Since the Greek word dates back at least to Herodotos, the possibility of borrowing from Arabic is very thin. Moreover, relating an Indo-European word to a Semitic one —other than by borrowing— is known to be a very slippery fish.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    American Heritage English Dictionary (2000: Appendix II) says that the Arabic word comes from Central Semitic ḥgg (to make a pilgrimage). Since Hebrew ḥag (feast) has been derived from the same root, I assume this is a very old Semitic etymon.
    Yes, this is extremely interesting, Dr. Flaminius.
    I am not quite convinced the concept of "feast" and that of "pilgrimage" can be naturally associated. Generally pilgrims do not feast. They rather fast, or do not eat much, meditate and pray ... but, why not?

    Whether ḥgg is related to Greek hágios is another matter entirely. Since the Greek word dates back at least to Herodotos, the possibility of borrowing from Arabic is very thin. Moreover, relating an Indo-European word to a Semitic one —other than by borrowing— is known to be a very slippery fish.
    Yes, I noticed that. So the matter is still undecided.
    Do you know to what IE root the Greek term is related?

    Thanks a lot for you answer.
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Babiniotis' dictionary says it comes from the IE root *yag (honour, revere) and point also to the sanskritic (?) yáj-ati (worships)
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The link to Sanskrit is very interesting, since I cannot think of any other Indo-European language (except Greek) that use the root *iag- for "to worship" (yaj/यज in Sanskrit) or similar things.
    yaj (Monier-Williams p. 838) = to worship.
    Does IE -g normally reflex as -j in Sanskrit?
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Babiniotis' dictionary says it comes from the IE root *yag (honour, revere) and point also to the sanskritic (?) yáj-ati (worships)
    Yes.
    And there is a couple of other IE y- that correspond to Gr. h-, e.g. IE yer [long e] > Gr. hóra [o mega] "season" > Eng. "hour".
    Of course one could always discuss why IE y- was reconstructed whereas in Gr. we have h- (represented by the strong spirit).
     

    Erutuon

    Member
    English, USA
    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, English year as well corresponds to Greek hōrā.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    From the page No., we seem to have identical editions of MMW (mine's 1899).
    IE had supposedly quite an assortment of g's.
    palatal g -> Skt. j
    plain g and gw -> g or j
    gh, gwh -> gh or h
    palatal gh -> h
    Is there another edition? With a different paging?

    So we should have IE gy (palatal g) > dy > Sans. j.

    By the way, I noticed a similiar evolution in Tagalog (Philippines) for an isolated term that means "pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan)": kagyós > kadyós. The two doublets coexist in current Tagalog. The latter is pronounced now kad-yós now ka-jós.
     

    jaxlarus

    Senior Member
    Greek (el-CY)
    hágios < αρχ. áγιος < áγος (= purification)

    My Biblical Encyclopedia states that holiness means "religious cleanness of purity; sacredness". Also the original Hebrew qódhesh conveys the thought of separateness, exclusiveness, or sanctification to God, who is holy; a state of being set aside to the service of God. In the Christian Greek Scriptures (NT), the words rendered 'holy' (há.gi.os) and 'holiness' (ha.gi.a.smós) [also: 'sanctification']; ha.gi.ó.tes; ha.gi.o.sy'ne) likewise denote separation to God; they also are used to refer to holiness as a quality of God and to purity of perfection in one's personal conduct.
     
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