In the book of Genesis Adam identifies Eve (Chava) as "isha" because this word ["ishah"] came from "ish" (man). the hebrew word "ish" is IN WHOLE etymologically the source of "ishah", which the hebrew text points out. Therefore, is there any other languages (that claim to be the same age as biblical hebrew), in which the word MAN is IN WHOLE the root of the word WOMAN? (we already know that arabic, no matter how far one goes back, is not older than biblical hebrew.)

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    I don't understand your question (and it might be on the wrong site because your focus is linguistic, not religious); couldn't you write the same question saying "Adam called Eva 'woman' because this word came from 'man'. and this is proof that Adam spoke English"?
    – Danno
    Jun 7, 2015 at 11:49
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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Your question, while motivated by Judaism, seems to be primarily about word origins. That's not on-topic here, but fortunately there's another site on the network where it is. I'm going to migrate this to Linguistics for you so (with luck) you can get helpful answers from them. I'll also make some edits to make it a better fit there; feel free to edit further. (If you don't have an account on that site yet, just sign in using the same OpenID you used here and you'll be automatically connected.) Jun 7, 2015 at 15:34
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    @ninamag: The English word man is etymologically the source of (part of) the English word woman. It comes from Old English wifman; the wif part means, as you might suspect, wife, and the man part is not gendered, but simply means 'human'. Just as Hebrew ish means 'human' in some contexts. The difference is that woman comes from a noun compound, while isha comes from a regular gender inflection.
    – jlawler
    Jun 7, 2015 at 16:13
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    In fact, the Old English form is wīfmann. The original meaning of mann is "human* and it was only later that it took on the meaning "male human" (which was wer in OE). Wfmann is a compound of wif meaning "female" and "human".
    – user6726
    Jun 7, 2015 at 16:17
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    Can you narrow the scope? This is a very broad question and list questions are strongly discouraged in the SE network.
    – Alenanno
    Jun 9, 2015 at 21:44

2 Answers 2


This is indeed the case in Arabic: al-marʼ “man (male)” and al-marʼa “woman”. -a is a productive feminine suffix. Hebrew ʼiš is a Semitic cognate with Arabic ʼinsān “human being (male or female)” which in turn is related to nisāʼ “women (plural)”.

Another example: Sanskrit nar- “man”, nārī- “woman”; also the equivalent words in Avestan, nar- and nāirī-.

  • where is there an online dictionary with etymology that confirms that the arabic word al-mar' is WHOLLY the source of the arabic word al-mara'? and does the arabic bible in genesis use al-mar' and al-mara' when adam referred to the woman as ishah, because she came out of man (ish)?
    – ninamag
    Jun 8, 2015 at 4:39
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    There is no reliable on-line etymological dictionary of Arabic, but your question is about elementary grammar. These words are in any Arabic dictionary, e.g. here: ejtaal.net/aa/…
    – fdb
    Jun 8, 2015 at 7:58
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    @ninamag. In Gen. 2:23 all the translations that I have seen have imraʼ and imraʼa for אש and אשה respectively.
    – fdb
    Jun 8, 2015 at 8:10

In Manchu, there's a group of nouns that belong to different synharmonic groups when they name males (a-group) or females (e-group), here are some of them:

haha 'man' – hehe 'woman'

ama 'father' – eme 'mother'

arslan 'lion' – erslen 'lioness'

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