Horse-Related Semitic Roots

  1. حصان – protection
  2. خيلخال / مختال – prancing and strutting
  3. فرس – fierceness – compare פרש (parash – horseman)
  4. مهر – fastness
  5. סוס سوس – “sus” – Compare sisu, from Sumerian for “mountain ass,” Ugaritic ssw, Aramaic susiya and Arabic سيسي (siisii – pony), Akkadian susu

There is no deeply rooted common term for ‘horse.’ Akk. sisu, Ugr. ssw, ssw, Hbr. sus and Syr. susya are related to each other, but the common source is usually thought to be foreign rather than Semitic (SED II No. 199). PWS *paras-, represented by Hbr. paras, Syr. parrasa, Arb. faras-, Sab. frs, Gez. faras, Mhr. ferhayn, looks more genuine (SED II No. 182). PS *muhr- for a ‘foal’ is preserved in Akk. muru, Syr. muhra, Arb. muhr-, Sab. mhrt, Tna. mehir (SED II No. 149).

The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook  206 (Stefan Weninger, ed.) (2011)

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