Origin of English word TON

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word







[ TUN]




TON used to mean "loaded to capacity"; טען DT[A]’hN means to be laden - Gen. 45:17. It is said that Anglo-Saxon tunne is a 17th century variation of TUN. Anglo-Saxon tonne is a large cask and a liquid measure.

To fit this etymon, טנא  DTeNEh is a large produce basket - Deuteronomy  26:2. This heavy basketful word might have given rise to the weight we call a TON.


Swedish tung means weighty, with no specific TONNAGE in mind. Barrel, a large container, is tonne in Norwegian and tonel  in Spanish. Spanish tina  is a tub or vat.. Daish has toned, Finnish has tynnyri, and Indonesian has tong for its “barrel.”  More barrels at VAT.  In Swedish, “barrel” is tuna.  The container/weight connection is clear in French where tonne means ton,and  tonneau means barrel.

The TUNNY and TUNA fish might have been named for their great bulk and weight, and available in one massive net’s catch  – see   TUNA. Spanish atun (tuna) is from the Arabic. So oceanic TONNAGE appears to be Semitic.

CONTAINER is traced to Latin tener, to maintain, (IE “root” ten, to stretch).  This “holding” etymon is covered at TENURE.  It may be less of a stretch to consider the Biblical container above. [Philip Silverman]   Fernando Aedo provides the cognates below:

dnit, basket (Ancient Egyptian)

tan.t.o, bamboo receptacle (Dravidian: Trukkan)

tanaish , pitcher (Mayan:Pmam)

tam , basket (Amazonian:Amahuaca)

tensui , water jug (Japanese)

tetun , a basket made of palm leaves (Amazonian:Cashinahua)

tina , tub (Spanish)

More containers with this sound at STEIN. A smaller basket is the $ahL (Genesis 40:16), as echoed in the Japanese fricative-liquid zaru (basket).

Bible Verses

Genesis 45:17 ויאמר פרעה אל־יוסף אמר אל־אחיך זאת עשׂו טענו את־בעירכם ולכו־באו ארצה כנען׃

“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'Say unto thy brethren: This do ye: lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan;”



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