Origin of English word SPELUNK

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word







[SH- PH-L → SPL]


a low place


The SPELUNKER who explores caves is a favorite word among extreme lexicographers. SPELUNK is a cave or vault, from Latin spelunca,cave, and Greek spelunx, a cave.

There is no Indo-European “root” for this subterranean noun or verb; the Indo-European “root” spil (to split, break off) is no help. Deeper down than Greek is Edenic. Israel’s SHiPHayLaH is her lowland. SHiPHLaH is a low place – Isaiah 32:19.  SHePHeL means low. More on Shin-Phey-Lamed depth at SPILL.  For the two-letter root of going down, see  NaPHaL, to fall, at FALL.    For psychological lowliness, see SIMPLE.


Other S-P terms relevant to caves areSHeePOOLeeYM  (bottom) and  SHaPHOON  (hidden – Deuteronomy 33:19).  Burials in antiquity were often in undergroubd caves, which explains the SPL in SEPULCRE and SEPULTURE. Latin sepelire, to bury, fits our deep Shin-Pey/Phey-Lamed Edenic etymion. The AHD’s invented IE “root” sep- 2 --  to foster, serve, venerate (the dead) is quite shallow.

An SP antonym may be SHePHeeY (hill, height) – see   SUPER.     SPELAEAN and SPELEAN mean pertaining to a cave or dwelling in them.  Today’s authorities assume that cavemen or spelean linguists developed words from gorilla grunts. SPELEOLOGY is the science of exploring caves. A cave in Modern Greek is a spilia. Sepultra is a Spanish grave.

SHaPHOON (idden) explains the SHaPHaN (rock badger or hyrax- Psalma 104. The hyrax is always hidden near its rocky habitat, but Wikipedia cites that the SHaPHaN named a major country:

Bible Verses

Isaiah 32:19 ו ברד ברדת היער ובשׁפלה תשׁפל העיר׃

“And it shall hail, in the downfall of the forest; but the city shall descend into the valley.”



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