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Click to Expand/Collapse OptionEtymArab
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ḥurš حُرْش , var. ḥirš حِرْش , pl. ʔaḥrāš , ḥurūš
ID ... • Sw – • BP ... • APD ... • Aut SG
ḤRŠ
n.
forest, wood(s) – WehrCowan1979.
Probably via LevAr from Aram ḥūršā ‘wooded height’. Unless belonging to the complex of Sem *ḤRŚ (Ar →ḥariš ‘rough, coarse’) or *Ḥ/ḪRŚ (Ar →ḥaraša ‘to scratch’), the latter may go back to Akk ḫuršānu ‘mountain region’, itself a borrowing from Sum ḫur-sag̃ ‘mountainous region, hill-country’.
...
▪ DRS 9 (2010)#ḤRŚ-2: Hbr ḥōrā̈š ‘lieu boisé’, (BDB1906: Aram ḥûršāh ), Ar ḥarš ‘bois, forêt’, Jib ḥɔ́rɔ́ś , aḥréś ‘apporter des branchages pour construire un râtelier, un lit, etc.’.
▪ Zimmern1914: (? Akk ḫuršānu (pl.) ‘mountain region’), lHbr ḥōräš , Aram ḥūršā ‘wooded height’, LevAr ḥurs , ḥirs ‘forest’.
▪ Calice1936#271 compares LevAr ḥirš ‘forest’, (? Akk ḫuršu ‘mountain region’,) Hbr ḥōrā̈š and Syr ḥuršā ‘forest’ to Eg (Pyr) ḫ3s.t ‘mountainous region’.
▪ The item is absent from Freytag1830, Lane1877, and Bustānī1869, but listed in Kazimirski1860 (ḥarš ), Dozy1881 (ḥirš ), Wahrmund1887 (ḥurš ) and Hava1899 (ḥarš ). Bustānī1867 has it (as ḥirš ), but qualifies it as “foreign” (muwalladaẗ ). Given
  • that the word is missing in the more “rigorous” ClassAr dictionaries and mentioned only in those which draw on more modern and popular sources;
  • that vocalisation varies considerably in those dictionaries that have it;
  • that Calice1936 and some earlier sources think that it is specific to the Levant,
it seems justified to follow Bustānī1867 in assuming that the word is of foreign origin, and to further assume that it has entered MSA through a local dialect. According to Calice1936 (basing himself on Gesenius), and also to Zimmern1914, this was LevAr (note however that with Zimmern it is ḥurs ~ ḥirs , rather than ḥurš ~ ḥirš ). If this is correct, then the donor lang is very likely to have been Aram, and the fact that there is a cognate Aram ḥūršā ‘wooded height’, Syr ḥuršā ‘forest’ fits very well.
▪ Zimmern1914 would not exclude the possibility that Hbr ḥōräš and Aram ḥūršā are borrowed from Akk ḫuršānu (pl.) ‘mountain region’, a word that according to CAD is of Sum origin. Should this be correct, then the ultimate source may be Sum ḫur-sag̃ ‘hill-country; mountainous region’ (composed of ‘holes, valleys’ + ‘points, peaks’ – Halloran3.0).
▪ In contrast, Calice1936 puts the Akk, Hbr, Aram and Ar forms together with Eg (Pyr) ḫ3s.t ‘mountainous region’ (TLA: ‘id., foreign land, desert’).1
▪ While both an Akk < Sum connection and the possible Eg parallel are quite charming, the cognates in Jib (unless themselves borrowings) may also let us think of a purely Sem etymology. Should one, then, link ‘forest, wood’ (perh. from ‘mountainous region’) to the complex(es) of ‘roughness’ and ‘scratching’ (→ḥariš , ḥaraša ), a forest and, even more so, a mountainous region properly being a *‘rough landscape’ or a *‘region that looks as if scratched, roughened’?
1. The author also points to the interesting semasiological parallel Eg ḫ3swtjw (TLA: ḫ3s.tj ) ‘foreigner; barbarian’ from ḫ3s.t ‘mountainous region’ ≈ Fr sauvages ‘savages, barbarians’ from (ultimately) Lat silva ‘forest, grove’.
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