Origin of English word COVER

Bookmark and Share

English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word









To place over or on


The dictionary credits this to Latin co (intensifier + operire, to hide). The so-called Indo-European “root” for “cover” is similarly not guttural-bilabial, but wer – 5 (to cover ).

For thisWR    “root,”  כפר KoPHaR will be featured in the heading.

When Noah was told to "cover (the ark) inside and out with pitch" (Genesis 6:14) the word used was  כפר KoPHaR.    כפרת KaPoReT (covering on the holy ark—Exodus 25:17) seem to cover the etymology more successfully. Arabic ghafara means “he covers.” כפור   KePOOR, atonement – as in Yom Kippur— is a theological covering.  כפר KoaPHeR is a kind of perfume (Song 1:14) because it covers odors, adds Rabbi Lt. Col. Yehoshua J. Steinberg (YJS). 

     קובע QOABH[A]h (helmet   -- I Samuel 17:38 ) קבר QeBHeR (grave), חבא   K[H]aBAh  (to hide --- I Samuel 10:22) and חבה   K[H]aBHaH (to hide – II Kings 7:12).  ח-ב Het-Bet words for hiding, covering up, are at  HABIT.

Other like-sounding, guttural-bilabial words are   עפה  GHaPHaH (to cover – Harkavi) and עפר     GHaPHeR (to cover with dust—II Samuel 16:13).

    עור Ayin-Vav-Resh, which can sound like GH-V-R, is a word meaning the primary cover of hide or skin – see CORIUM.     More of guttural-bilabial antonyms of  being uncovered, naked, and blind (eyes covered) at “LO!”). Atmospheric cover is provided by the ע-ב Ayin-Bhet of עב   GHa(V), the obscuring thickness of clouds (Exodus 19:9 – see FOG). עבב GHABHaBH is to cover with clouds – see EVENING. 

The   ח-פ Het-Pey family of covering is large:  חפף [ K]HaPHahPH is to cover, protect, shield (Deuteronomy 33:12).  חפא K[H]aPHAh (to cover – II Kings 17:9), later, a cover or case;   חופה   K[H]OOPaH or   חפה K[H]ooPaH (canopy, a bridal canopy in Joel 2:16);   חפה K[H]aPHaH is to cover or veil, as in   חפוי K[H]aFOOY, covered (II Samuel 15:30); חפיפה    K[H]aPHeeYPHaH (covering -- post-Biblical);    חפף K[H]aPHaPH is to cover, protect, shield – Deuteronomy 33:12 ( see רחף RaK[H]aPH below and at HOVER) ; and חפש  K[H]oaPHeSH is an “outspread covering” (Harkavy) as for horseback riding (Ezekiel 27:20) . The second subroot here is seen in פשה PaSaH (to spread – Leviticus 13:5).  רחף   RaK[H]aPH  (to hover), as a mother bird covering her young (Genesis 1:2). 

Built-in ח-פ Het-Pey antonyms of uncovering include יחף     YaK[H]eF, uncovered, barefoot ) Jeremiah 2:25), חפר K[H]aPHaR (to dig up – see GOPHER) and a similar uncovering is     חפש K[H]aPHaSH is to dig or search for (Proverbs 2:4).   חפשי K[H]aPH’SHeeY (free, exempt – Exodus 21:2) may also be understood as not covered.


A CAPE can cover the head and shoulders, so the AHD files CAPE under kaput (head). Without the vast network of Semitic guttural-bilabial “cover” words, the Eurocentric AHD places HAVEN  with the Indo-European “root” of kap (to hold) and HEAVEN above with the Indo-European “root” ak (sharp). Like  a protective guttural-bilabial HAVEN, the Amharic (Ethiopia) kabet is a house .

עפר GHeePaR means covered with dust.   כפור K’PHOAR is frost, the clean cover for manna in Exodus 16:14.    קבר QaBHaR is to bury (Genesis 23:6) or cover with earth, while   חפר K[H]oaPHeR is to uncover by digging (see GOPHER).  In the phrase “who covers the heavens with clouds” (Psalms 147:8), the cloud-cover is another guttural-bilabial,   ע-ב Ayin-Bhet,   עבים AhBHeeYM. ע-ב Ayin-Bhet clouds are obscured by an suffix in Indonesian, awan,  and by a reversal and nasalization of the guttural Ayin  in Swahili wingu.

כפרת KaPoaReT (covering on the holy ark—Exodus 25:17) has a synonym by M231 metathesis in  פרכת PaRoKHeT (the curtain before the holy of holies – Exodus 26:33). The Finish curtain, esirippu, is a metathesis of one of these, perhaps a reversal of  כפרת KaPoRe(S).   

Just as   כפרת KaPoaReT is the covering material above, Kapra is cloth in Hindi, and koverta is an envelope (covering for a letter) in Polish.  In Russian, it is nasalized as kanvyert .  Covor is a Rumanian carpet; the Czech is koberec. The Edenic curtain begins to sound like a better source of COVER.  Hawaiian reverses their curtain word to paku. But a Hawaiian blanket or quilt is a kappa.  A metathesis of COVER is seen in the Modern Greek top, korfi.

 KB cover words in Japanese include kabureru (to wear) and kabuseru (to cover).  Chinese fu is to cover. More at CAB, CAP and EVENING. 

Harkavy links  חב [K]HoaBH, bosom, to the   ח-ב Het-Bet COVERING words above; EDK traces חבית K[H]aBeeY(S), a jug (Aramaic-Syriac, Arabic) to the same. Both offer a source for Japanese chibusa (woman’s breast).

Related Words


Leave a Comment

Comments are moderated and rel="nofollow" is in use. Offensive / irrelevant comments will be deleted.


 *Email (will not be published)

 *Enter captcha code

 Website (optional)