Origin of English word BRIER

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The word BRIER is addressed in the entry: BRACKEN

English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word









BRACKEN is a large, coarse fern, like the BRAKE, a clump or thicket of “briars” (Webster’s).

The Indo-European “root” guesses that the prehistoric source was bhreg (to break).  Breaking does sound like BRAKE, and walking through a briar patch should involve breakage.  Fortunately, Edenics doesn’t involve theoretical roots and flimsy logic.  The AHD does cite a Germanic base brak (bushes...”that which impedes motion”).  So blockage, not breakage is the point.  They also cite Old Norse brakni (undergrowth) as the probable Scandinavian source of Middle English BRACKEN and BRAKE.

In Judges 8:7, together with קוצים QOATSeeYM, “thorns” are the ברקנים BaRQahNeeYM, translated “briers” by both the JPS and KJV. The singular is   ברקן BaRQahN.


Just as BRAKE is short of BRACKEN, BRIAR and BRIER may be further clipped versions.  Irish briar is a prickle or thorn.  The prickly BURR has no Indo-European “root”, and should be yet a further clipping of this lowly plant.

Back to BRACKEN, Danish bragne, fern, is probably related.  But the BRKN sound echoes more menacing and stiff resistance.    Not every thorny word was abbreviated from the Edenic. Some involve added letters. The Indo-European “root” of THORN is (s)ter-n (name of thorny plants).  The parentheses and dash in this reconstruction indicate that the core is TR or dental plus R. Just evicted from Eden, Adam is warned in Genesis 3:18 that life would present KOATS (thorns) and DaRDaR (thistles).

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