Yiddish: Liebepelech

Spharadi

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi to you all

In the Yiddish Bible you find "Liebepelech" for "mandrake" in English or "Glückswürzel" in German. Does anybody know where this word "pelech" comes from?
Thanks
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The shape of the root is reminiscent of a spindle; therefore the Hebrew פלך would be a candidate. In this case, Yiddish would have retained the original spelling but Liebepelech is spelled ליבעפעלעך. Hence Hebrew is probably not the source. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Yes:thumbsup::idea:, you are right, עך- (not לעך-) is a plural suffix (this suffix doesn't exist in German therefore I didn't see it immediately).
    Hence, it might not be ליבע-פעלעך (as Spharadi thought) but ליב-עפעל-עך = love-apple-s. Normally, you write apple as עפל and not עפעל but as Yiddish spelling is not fixed it is possible. In German, the term Liebesapfel (=love apple; plural: Liebesäpfel) is used by Luther for mandrake in his Bible translation.
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech pelech means den (as in lion's, robbers' den), the ethymology is unknown (maybe a loanword from German?). Liebepelech looks like love den.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    And why would you call a friut or a root a nest? That is my problem with this explanation.

    EDIT: I am not saying your explanation is wrong (the explanation as "love apples" is also inconclusive, the argument I presented before contains also only circumstantial evidence). I am saying there is a gap in your explanation to be filled.
     
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    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    I am not able to fill the gap, mainly because the origin of the Czech word "pelech" is unknown (certainly not Slavic). "Pelech" is a colloquial and expressive word and sounds like a borrowing from German (B...loch ??) or Yiddish.
     

    Rajki

    Member
    Hungarian
    Old Testament love-apples ('Lieb-epelech') are absolutely feasible, because Old Testament Hebrew dudaim 'mandrake' comes from the Semitic root *d-w-d, meaning love.

    In addition, dudaim is plural (or rather dual), the same way as the word Lieb-epelech is.
     

    Rajki

    Member
    Hungarian
    The "love" part is not disputed. It is the "(e)pelech" part which gives us a headache.
    In some Yiddish words (mostly diminutives or words felt as being diminutives), the plural ends with -(e)kh.

    einikel, einikelekh - grandchild, grandchildren

    ketsele, ketselekh - kitten, kittens

    As a result, epel, epelekh - apple, applets are totally feasible.
     

    Lars H

    Senior Member
    Hej!

    The mandrakes belong to the same family of plants as potatoes do, which made me think of the french saying "pommes de terre" - apples in the earth. Also in Swedish dialects you can hear "jordäpplen" with the same meaning. So there is a possible connection mandrakes - apples.

    As Sweden is a predominantly Lutheran country, also the Swedish bible translates mandrake into "kärleksäpplen", meaning "love apples". (Makes sense since it was seen as an afrodisiac).
     
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