Hamsa

🏷  Semitic hidden ruler pun · symbol   —   by Gerry · Jul 2020 · 468 words

The hamsa is a symbol of a hand, often with an eye on its palm and two thumbs. The name comes from Semitic ḥmš / ḵms for “five”, and seems to be a pun with מסוה mswh for “cover” & “veil”, and with המצא h-mṣˀ for “make found”, “make happen”, “invent”. The spook meaning may be “shielding” from “being found”.

The hamsa is a decorative & protective amulet in the shape of a hand, sold as folksy superstition. It’s officially from Hebrew ḥmš / Arabic ḵms for “five”. That’s harmless though, so there must be some hidden spook puns.

(As an aside, the grammar form h-mṣˀ, which means “make happen”, may also be the origin of the handslap called “give five” to celebrate that you accomplished something, i.e. you made it happen. “High five” & “thumbs up” may be similar Semitic puns.)

Hebrew m-swh = veil, cover, conceal, camouflage

מסוה mswh : cover, veil, mask — Hebrew (Klein)

מסוה mswh : cover, sheath — Hebrew (Jastrow)

מסוה mswh : masked; camouflaged — Hebrew (Klein)

Hebrew h-mṣˀ = make found, make happen, invention, contrive

המציא hmṣyˀ : caused to find; caused to come upon; caused to meet, delivered up; supplied with, furnished; invented — Hebrew (Klein)

אמצאה ˀmṣˀh : invention — Hebrew (Klein)

המצאה hmṣˀh : bringing into existence; invention; device, contrivance; supplying — Hebrew (Klein)

המציא hmṣyˀ : to invent (something); to come up with (something) — Hebrew (Wikt)

Hebrew gdl = thumb, great finger, great, rich, majesty

גודל gwdl : thumb, great toe — Hebrew (Jastrow)

אגודל ˀgwdl : thumb; Perhaps derived from גדל ᴵ and lit. meaning ‘the large finger’. — Hebrew (Klein)

גדל gdl : to be great; grew up; became great; became rich; magnified; enlarged — Hebrew (Klein)

גדל gdl : greatness, magnitude; majesty, magnificence — Hebrew (Klein)

🏷  Semitic hidden ruler pun · symbol