Yiddish: נחת

Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by water, May 23, 2013.

  1. water Member

    arabic mixed up with french, but strongest in english
    Hey everyone,

    So I was listening to this video (<<link removed by moderator>>) and he said that there is a yiddish word for when you deeply care for someone that their success feels like your success. He said it was "naa khiss"...Anyone know the etymology as well as how to properly say/write it?

    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2013
  2. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    Firstly, Yiddish and Hebrew are not the same language but you're in luck because this one of the words which is kind of shared between the two languages. The word is pronounced nakhes in Yiddish (I suppose more like naakhus: ˈnɑx.əs/) and is pronounced nakhat in Hebrew (short a's, stress on the final syllable). It is spelt נחת in both. Clearly, the Yiddish version comes from the Hebrew. I think the Biblical Hebrew pronunciation was nakhath but th doesn't exist in modern Hebrew.

    Meaning: the original Hebrew meaning is contentment, satisfaction, perhaps also comfort, peace, rest. In Yiddish, the definition you/he gave is fairly good, it can also be "a feeling of contentment at another's successes" or "the pleasure a parent derived from a child's success".
  3. Tararam Senior Member

    "נחת" (nakhat) is "peace", "serenity", "calmness".
    In the Talmud, the term "נחת רוח" appears which means "contentment"/"satisfaction" (literally it means "peace/serenity of the spirit").
    Today, the word "נחת" can have both meanings, that of "peace" and that of "satisfaction" (even without the word "רוח").
    I couldn't find a formal etymology, but the root נח"ת revolves around "descending"/"going down" both in Hebrew and Aramaic (לנחות for example is "to go down"/"to land"), so that explains the meaning of "calmness" and "peace" in my opinion. Again, this is my attempt of folk etymology, I couldn't find a verifiable one.

  4. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    Is it possible that there is a connection to לנוח (to rest). I appreciate there is no ת in the root, but they have similar meanings and there are two shared root letters so perhaps there is still a connection.
  5. origumi Senior Member

    Both meaning appear already in the Bible.

    I suspect the the root is נ-ו-ח, not נ-ח-ת. Maybe נ-ח-ת is a secondary root built on נ-ו-ח.
  6. water Member

    arabic mixed up with french, but strongest in english
    Thanks everyone!
    It's a beautiful word.
  7. Tararam Senior Member

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, but either way secondary roots are roots too.
    If you prick them, do they not bleed? If you tickle them, do they not laugh?
  8. Tararam Senior Member

    Maybe all these verbs (נ-ח-ת , נ-ו-ח , נ-ח-מ) stem from a bilateral root נ-ח?
    like ג-ז-ר , ג-ז-מ, ג-ז-ז etc come from ג-ז.

    Edit: Why was this moved to "other languages"?
    This is not a Yiddish word, it is Hebrew.
  9. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    This phenomenon (three-consonant roots apparently sharing a two-consonant base) is found in all the Semitic languages and has been discussed by Semitists for a long time now. The problem is: if n-ḥ-t and n-ḥ-m are both formed from the base n-ḥ, what exactly is the function of the “suffixes” t and m?

    PS.: I agree. This should be in either the Hebrew or the Etymology forum.
  10. origumi Senior Member

    "Original" Hebrew naḥat changed its pronunciation to naḥes or naḥis in Ashkenazi Hebrew, and then (or in parallel) became class-A citizen of the Yiddish language. When appearing in Yiddish texts, should it be regarded as Hebrew or Yiddish? That's a philosophical question rather than linguistic.

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