Origin of English word ABBOT

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word









The Greek word abbas is the source for the title ABBOT, father superior of a monastery. Scholars prefer to pin paternity on the Aramaic word for father,  אבא AhBAh, rather than on the Biblical Hebrew term  אב Ah[V] or AhBH. In today’s Tel Aviv, calls for daddy are the same AhBAh.  אב A[V] is the first part of ABHRaHaM (Abraham’s) name, as “the father of many nations, but can also refer to the Heavenly Father: "Is he not your father ?"- Deuteronomy32:6.    אב AhB, Aleph-Bhet, means“originator” in Genesis 4:20, 21.  The built-in opposite of this Aleph-Bhet father word is אב AiBH, young sprout, shoot (Songs 6:11).

For the Aleph-Bhet-Bhet extension of bearing fruit, see “VIVID.” For the wider “father” as
”originator,” see “AB-,“  ABRUPT and OF.


Whether considered similar to or exactly the opposite of the .    א-ב Aleph-Bhet origin word (father), prepositions like OF and suffixes like –IVE  in English or –OV   (locative suffix) in Russian are linked to אב Ah[V] –   see OF.  

Beyond Westminster ABBEY one finds ABBA as ministerial father of the Coptic Church; ABBE is the French equi­valent.   An  ABBESS is a "female father" heading an ABBACY.  

Note that PA and PAPA (French and English) backwards is אב Ah[V] and ABBA (B or V shifts bilabial to P). The venerated papa of the Catholic Church is the POPE, from the Greek word for father: poppas.

The Ixil tribe of Guatemala call father pap.  Another  אב  ABH shifted  to PA is Sinhala (Sri Lanka) pi-yaah (dad).  From the Romans come English words like ATAVISM,   as avus means grandfather or ancestor in Latin.  Bpoo is the grandfather term in Thailand.

A sampling of "fathers" round the globe includes: abu (Arabic), baba (Persian), babe (Kurdish), babbo (Italian), baba (Javanese, Turkish, Taino and Swahili), ubaba (Zulu), ba and fu  and bàba (Chinese), apa (Hungarian), bap (Hindi),paw (Thai) and pa (Vietnamese). The five North Caucasian protoforms for “father” are aba, obu..p:u, ap:aj and aba again.  Rather than seeing all these "father words" as chips off the old Hebrew block, linguists feel that these P and B sounds (bilabials) are easy for babies to say. "Mama" is easy too, which is the official reason why M's dominate the world's words for mother. (See MAMA.) The linguists haven't explained, however, why there  are no “gaga” parent words. Gaga is the first and easiest sounds that babies make. Scholars may be attributing too many words to the mouths of babes . . . and cavemen.

At the MAMA entry, we see that the Edenic mother or father both mean “origin,” “from” or “of.” 

Wierd etmological theories aside (about nasals M and N being suited for mother terms from suckling babies crying and pouting for breasts), it is perfectly reasonable for Malay to have twenty-three dialect words for father that are ama.  ( אם EM and אמא     EeMAh  are the Edenic mother and the Hebrew mama). Of the 59 Malay dialect terms for father, only seven are like bapa and baba. Since vowel-B means “from or parentage” it’s OK that Taino mother is bibi.

Some Slavic “father” words, like tata,  double T rather than B. Perhaps we have to go back to ancient Egypt to find a father word with with a vowel T and F, which can allow for the varients vowel  plus T and/or F. The following is from Jim D. Long’s The Riddle of the Exodus, (2006 edition): “ In Genesis 45:8, Joseph describes, to his family, his new status as vizier or prime minister stating, “G-d has made me a father to Pharaoh.” This odd designation actually agrees with the ancient Egyptian traditions. According to Egyptologist A.S. Yahuda, the vizier was also called Itf — which means “father.’ “

Fu in Bilau (Papue, New Guinea) means “origin,” reversing our vowel-bilabial etymon.

For a double-Bilabial relative term, rather the opposite of a father, see BABY.  For “father” words with a double dental, rather than the double bilabial here , see DAD.

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