Origin of English word HIERARCHY

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The word HIERARCHY is addressed in the entry: HIEROGLYPHICS

English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word









Several HIERO- words are from Greek hieros divine, HOLY.  The AHD invents an Indo-European “root” for this HR word meaning holy:  eis – 1 (“in words denoting passion”).  As poor as the sound correspondance is beween eis and hieros, an alleged cognate is IRE.

 IRE is from   חרה   [K]HaRaH, to burn (as in the burning passion of anger) – see IRE. A holy

  ח -ר Het-Resh term is חרם  [K]HaRaM (banned from secular use, consecrated for holy use --- Leviticus 27:28. Arabic harim means, sacred, also as “forbidden.” An off-limits place we know from an English borrowing of this Arabic word  is the HAREM.   While the Het-Resh-Tet part infers engraving, not holiness, it is noteworthy that a חרטם    [K]HaRDToaM is a sacred scribe (Genesis 41:8) who reads and writes HIEROGLYPHICS.   ח -ר    Het-Resh religious belief is also seen at CREED.    Switching liquids to HL, there’s    חלל HALAL , Moslem kosher meat, as Arabic hall means allowed for use  (the opposite of the Het-Resh term above.  For more H + liquid antonyms :        חל [K]HoaL is unholy (Leviticus 10:10);   חלילה  [K]HaLeeYLaH means “it is profane” or “may the Lord forbid” (I Samuel 14:45, 20:2) and חלל     [K]HaLaL is to profane (Lev 21:4) and the ter for a no-longer holy priest.


Other English words from Greek hieros, holy are HIERATIC, HIERO-, HIERARCH, HIERARCHY,  HIEROGLYPHIC and HIEROPHANT.  Another path to H + liquid HOLINESS is at “ALL. For the latter part of words like HIEROGLYPHICS and HIERARCH,  see entries like “GRAPH” and ARCHITECT.  An HR term of veneration in Hindi is the divine invocation in Hare Krishna.

A HL holy word like HALLOW is from Old Norse halgian, whence H ALLOWEEN.

HOLY is from Old English halig . When the Nazis saluted ‘heil,” like the HAIL of “hail Mary,”

 this is a holy word of praising, as in HALELEUJAH.

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