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Jul 27, 2015
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from Hebrew

This week’s words
tohubohu
behemoth
leviathan
manna
gehenna

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

A language revival is rare in history, but if you are determined anything is possible. The Hebrew language had ceased to be a spoken language and then revived between the 19th & 20th centuries. Today there are some nine million speakers of the language. Hebrew is not your typical language. It has 22 letters, all consonants. No vowels. No capital letters. And it’s written from right to left.

There are many everyday words in the English language that are borrowed from Hebrew, for example, cider, jubilee, and amen. There are also words that have come to English from Hebrew with a stopover in Yiddish, for example, maven, kosher, and schmooze.

Over the last 21 years in A.Word.A.Day, we have featured words borrowed from Hebrew from time to time, but never a whole week of them. This week it’s all Hebrew.

tohubohu

PRONUNCIATION:
(TOH-hoo-BO-hoo)

MEANING:
noun: Chaos; confusion.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Hebrew tohu wa-bhohu, from tohu (formlessness) and bhohu (emptiness). Earliest documented use: 1619.

USAGE:
“Our problem is tohubohu. Our industry is drowning in it. But somehow, even with all the confusion and disorder, we manage to develop systems.”
Jerrold Grochow; Take a Little Tohubohu Off the Top; Software Magazine (Englewood, Colorado); Nov 1995.

See more usage examples of tohubohu in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Euphemism is a euphemism for lying. -Bobbie Gentry, singer and songwriter (b. 27 Jul 1944)

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