Semitic word root √spr

🏷  Semitic word root · etymology   —   by Gerry · Oct 2018 · 733 words

The root √spr, or √špr in Akkadian & Arabic, revolves around governing & commanding, in the sense of “sending out” commands & documents. It is the most important subgroup of the general “emitting” root which I have placed under √špr.

Overseeing, messages, orders, commanded work

This meaning only seems to exist in Akkadian, though it may be related to the Egyptian √spr with similar meanings.

Akkadian špr = sending messages, commanding, governing

In Akkadian, the prevalent meaning of √špr is that of messages and commands, which merges into that of commissioned work, and then work and craftiness in general. Of the many terms for work, the ones listed here emphasize that the work is overseen, commanded or commissioned, similar to √mlk.

šapiru : giver of instructions; “ruler” said of kings; “governor, controller” said of officials, gener. “administrator, boss”; š. māti/PlN/nārim “(provincial) governor; controller of land, city, canal”; “controller” of people, troops; esp. NB “overseer” of craftsmen etc.; < šaparu — Akkadian (Black)

𒉺 šāpiru : overseer; governor; šāpir māti: governor — Akkadian (AAF)

šāpir : overseer, governor, prefect, commander, chief — Akkadian (Huehnergard)

šapru : messenger, that sends (carries) a message — Akkadian (AAF)

𒆥 šipru : to send s.o.; to send a message; to write; to give orders / to order — Akkadian (AAF)

šipāru : commandments, rules, instructions, orders; an assembly, a gathering — Akkadian (AAF)

šipāru : assembly; regulations — Akkadian (CCPo)

šaprūtu : a delegation — Akkadian (AAF)

𒆥 šipru : work, manufacture, a task; a mission, an expedition, a message; skill, craft, art; ruse / a ruse, a trick — Akkadian (AAF)

ša-šipri : a worker — Akkadian (AAF)

Mission, commissioned business

This meaning exists in Akkadian and Arabic.

Akkadian nšpr = message, commission, business

In Akkadian, the consonants nšpr may be derived from the √špr root and are used for missions, commission, and commissioned business. The meaning of commissioned business is particularly evident with the derived terms, such as “business agent”.

našpartu; nešpertu : message, commission, written message, letter; mission, embassy — Akkadian (AAF)

našpartu; šipirtu; šipru : message — Akkadian (AAF)

našpirtu : a message — Akkadian (AAF)

našpāru : an envoy, a messenger — Akkadian (AAF)

ina našpartu : on behalf of — Akkadian (AAF)

ša našpartu : person under commission — Akkadian (AAF)

ālik našpartu : business manager, agent — Akkadian (AAF)

našpartu alāku : to conduct business for someone — Akkadian (AAF)

našpartu šullumu : to fulfill a mission, to run an errand — Akkadian (AAF)

Arabic sfr = travel, journey

Also derived from “emitting” in the sense of “traveling”, the most well-known term in English from the √špr root is safari.

سَافَرَ sāfara : to travel — Arabic (Wikt)

سَفَر safar : departure, journey, travel; campaign, military expedition — Arabic (Wikt)

سُفْرَة sufra : traveling provision, victuals; leather sheet, eating mat, place mat, tablecloth; dining table, table board — Arabic (Wikt)

Documents, accounting and writing

This is the main meaning in Hebrew and Aramaic.

Akkadian spr = document, accounting

sipru : document — Akkadian (AAF)

sepēru : to write in Aramaic script — Akkadian (AAF)

𒇽𒀀𒁄 ; 𒇽𒋢𒊬 sepīru : scribe in Aramaic (non cuneiform) characters — Akkadian (AAF)

Hebrew spr = document, accounting

ספר spr sepher : missive, document, writing, book — Old Hebrew (Strong)

ספר spr sopher : enumerator, secretary, scribe — Old Hebrew (Strong)

Aramaic spr = document, accounting

מספר mspr : number — Aramaic (CAL)

ספר spr : to tell; to narrate; to count — Aramaic (CAL)

ספר spr : document; book; letter; writing; learning, literacy — Aramaic (CAL)

ספר spr : scribe; learned person — Aramaic (CAL)

Edge, razor

This one is only found in Aramaic. It is traditionally grouped in with the scribes. Perhaps derived from cuneiform “writing”, i.e. etching texts into clay with the edge of a sharp instrument. Perhaps directly via the “ray-like” nature of sharp edges.

Aramaic spr = razor, edge, shave

ספר spr : to shave, cut the hair; to be shaved, have a haircut; to be gnawed — Aramaic (CAL)

ספר spr : barber — Aramaic (CAL)

ספר spr : bank, edge; sea shore; river bank; border region; corner — Aramaic (CAL)

מספרה msprh : scissors, razor — Aramaic (CAL)

סופרה swprh : sweepings — Aramaic (CAL)

Trickery and deceit

The meaning “ruse” is apparently only found in Akkadian. It is derived from: commission → work → craft → craftiness.

While šipru generally means “(commissioned) work” in Akkadian, it is also used as a term for trickery, as šipir for “skillful craftiness” can refer to both actual work and trickery, just as in English.

Akkadian špr = ruse, craftiness, trickery

šipru : ruse — Akkadian (AAF)

𒆥 šipru : ruse / a ruse, a trick — Akkadian (AAF)

šipir nikilti : trickery; an artefact — Akkadian (AAF)

šipir nikilti : skillful technique, work of art, artefact; artifice, craftiness, deceit, trickery — Akkadian (AAF)

🏷  Semitic word root · etymology