Origin of English word ATLAS

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ATLAS is a legendary giant supporting our world on his shoulders or, in Homer, a god in charge of the pil­lars of heaven. The Greeks, as Japhetics (Indo-Europeans whose genius involves image/beauty, not truth/meaning)  put a titan, Atlas, in place to suspend planet Earth. The Bible, on the contrary, has the Creator suspending Earth in the nothingness of outer space,   תלה    ToaLeH (Job 26:7).   Latin tollere is to lift, while the Indo-European “root” for ATLANTA, ATLANTIC or the ATLAS MTS. is tela (to lift, support, weigh). תל    TeL is a hill – see TALL. An ATLAS or book of maps derives from the legendary figure that often was illustrated on geographical books.

Lifting, supporting and weighing clearly point to hang­ing, suspending and affixing - the definitions of  תלה  TaLaH. Hoisting a weight aloft is not the issue. Statues of Atlas with the earth on his shoulders infer suspension - not weight lifting. The pagan Atlas image leaps out of Job 26:7 where the Lord is extolled for having "suspended earth over emptiness."   תלה  TaLaH means "hanging" in Genesis40:19 or Esther7:10.  “Hanging” a person in antiquity was a long, ugly, and public spectacle that involved attaching the victim to a high place, as in crucifixion -- .not strangling with a noose – see HANG.  Pharoah’s baker has birds eating him (Genesis 40:19) and the executed person, תלוי   TaLOOY,  is a “curse”  Deuteronomy 21:23.   תלי   TiLeeY is a quiver (Genesis 27:4) which hangs on an archer’s back.

The   תולעה TOALGHaH is a caterpiller or thread-spinning worm that is “the suspended one.”  In Exodus 28:5 they appear to be the source of scarlet (thread-spinning silkworms).  In Isaiah 41:14 non-poets rendered the phrase “fear not, thou worm Jacob” without depicting Israel as a tiny insect hanging by a thread. (More below.)  A poignant metaphor of vulnerability was lost in translation.

The insect’s second ,  לע  Lamed-Ayin element, means chewing (YJS) . לוע   Lamed-Vav-Ayin  means a jaw, speaking rashly (jawing) or chewing/swallowing (Proverbs 20:25).  Adding the two elements for another double-root,  the תולעה TOAL[A]yaH (caterpillar) is the “suspended chewer.”

  תלע TaL[A]h in Arabic is to be extended or stretched out (Harkavy). תלתלים   TaLTaLeeYM are the pendulous locks of hair in Songs 5:11. Shifting the dental from T to D,   דלי DiLeeY is the water pitcher or bucket dangled or suspended in a well – Isaiah 40:15.     

For other hanging, suspended dental-liquid terms, see DRAW and TAIL.

The mammal who sleeps suspended upside-down is the bat.  The עטלף [A]DTaLeF (bat) has   our T-L sound and sense of “hanging . ”  


Money and taxes are weighed, so TAEL, TALENT and DOLLAR are related to TOLL and tala (Samoan currency). A TOLL road had a weighing station to exact taxes for goods transported.

Beyond the hanging TiLOOY (handle) or hanging TiLeeY (quiver for arrows - Genesis27:3), TaLaH also means to leave in suspense or doubt.  A quiver is not suspenseful, but it lies dangling or suspended from the archer’s back.

The metaphorical suspense explains the dental (T orD) plus L root of DALLY, DAWDLE (from Old French dalier), DELAY, and perhaps DANDLE and DANGLE. TANTALIZE and the mythic TANTALUS are official cognates of TOLL(HOUSE) at the Indo-European “root” tela. Other listed cognates include ABLATION,  COLLATE, DILATORY, ELATE, EXTOL, ILLA­TION, LEGISLATOR, OBLATE, PHILATELY, PRELATE, PRO­LATE, RELATE, RETALIATE, SUPERLATIVE, TALION, TELAMON, THOLE, TOLA, TOLERATE and TRANSLATE.

The ear is a hanging, affixed handle. Toli and telinga, therefore, are ear terms in Malay.

More Tahf-Lamed hanging terms at TAIL. In Japanese such terms have shifted to T-R, like tarasu (to hang down, suspend) and tareru  (to hang down, droop).  Japanese taoreru is to fall down.  This resembles the T-R in MaDTaR, rain (Deuteronomy 11:17) or the R-D of RaiD (go down – Genesis 11:5.

The animal world has a Tahf-Lamed  creature who hangs suspended: the caterpiller or                   TOALGHah. This thread-spinning worm is related to Biblical words for silk  and scarlet.  With the Tahf pronounced as a Sahf you can hear SILK in Sahf-Vav-Lamed-(guttural) Ayin. This insect is not merely a ReeMaH, worm ( “the lowly creeper” – see WORM).  The Tahf-Vav-Lamed-Ayin is about suspension – as  above. This creature’s name means “the suspended.”  These worms dangle from tree limbs, from thin lines of stringy secretions.  In Isaiah 41:14

sloppy translators call the TOALGHah a “worm.” Non-poets rendered the phrase “fear not, thou worm Jacob” for the TOALGHah without depicting Israel as a tiny, vulnerable insect whose existence is hanging by a thread.    

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