Examples I have found are: Sindh from India; zindiq(a heretic) from Arabic; and zeen + deen or zin+din (compare to sindon) which is from Hebrew meaning 'leaped the law'; and Sin/Shin is the 21st letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. The word 'sin' as in the Wilderness of Sin can also be referred to as the Wilderness of Zin as the same place. I also find it peculiar that this word 'sind' is phonetically the same as the word 'sinned'. This seems to point to a possible cross-fertilization of language between ancient peoples or rather that the Anglo-Saxons were from one of these nations such as the Hebrews as some in the world have declared. I am looking for more evidence to my inquiry for or against from open-minded scholars out in the world.

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    Welcome! Can you edit your question and give translations for the Anglo-Saxon words (and also the others for which you haven't already given translations)? This will increase the likelihood of getting useful answers.
    – robert
    Jun 10, 2014 at 19:52
  • @Robert- Thank you for responding. I found the word 'sind' in both the Concise Anglo-Saxon dictionary of 1916 and the Bosworth-Toller A.S. Dict. of 1898, each on line. One gives the definition as 'be' and the other as 'are'. Sindon is defined as 'to be' while 'sinder' is defined as dross, scoria, slag. Samuel Johnson in his 1755 English dictionary defines 'sindon' as 'a fold, a wrapping, and he as a scholar in his own day declared that the word came from Latin. Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary says the same thing. By studying each text convinces me that the Anglo-Saxon Dicts. are correct.
    – user3689
    Jun 10, 2014 at 21:49
  • Where are you getting zin+din ... which is from Hebrew meaning 'leaped the law'? Hebrew din does mean "law", but I'm not aware of any verb zin meaning "leaped", nor of an idiom such as "leap the law" in Hebrew.
    – TKR
    Jun 11, 2014 at 23:04
  • @TKR: Webster's Hebrew Dictionary under 'zeen' and then under 'deen', the double 'ee' being transliterated to the 'i' in modern Hebrew. There is no 'i' in the Hebrew alphabet. I combined the words to make a comparison between 'sindon' and the possibilities existing from Hebrew. Perhaps other languages can offer similarities as well, thus the reason behind my question to look for remnants of words from other languages that have survived through the centuries with a pagan people who had no written language per say until Ecclesiastical scribes and priests recorded what they learned from them.
    – user3689
    Jun 12, 2014 at 13:16
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    @user3689 With your "methodology" one can "find evidence" for any statement. I'm surprised, you came just to such a mild conclusion that Anglo-Saxons descend from Jews. A side note: Hebrew alphabet doesn't have 'ee' either.
    – alephreish
    Jun 12, 2014 at 13:30

5 Answers 5


The existing of similar-sounding words in different languages tells you approximately nothing about any possible connection between the words. Unless you can show that they are part of a wider, regular, sound correspondence between the languages, or that there is a plausible route by which one might have been borrowed, there is no reason to believe that anything other than coincidence is involved.


To answer the question literally, of course the Anglo-Saxon words sind and related words are from older languages. Every word is, by definition, from an “older” language, that older language being either an ancestor of the current language or a language providing the source for borrowings. Specifically, these are from Proto-Germanic *sindi, which is from the Proto-Indo-European stem *h1es‑, particularly the third-person plural *h1s-énti.

Any connection to Arabic is completely spurious, as Colin said. It would be extremely surprising (though not completely unprecedented) for a basic word like "are* to be borrowed, which is a strong clue in this case that the relationship to Arabic is imaginary.


According to the Bosworth-Toller dictionary (http://bosworth.ff.cuni.cz/027789) , and based on my arabic and modern german knowledge ,i can say that "sind" which means "are"(thus "to be") have nothing to do with words such as "zindiq" in arabic.In addition,the meaning of the two words is completely different...

By the way, i don't think that some people will wait for others to borrow verbs of 'first class' like "being" or "having" or they will ?

  • @Colin Fine: In following your statement about looking for a "plausible route" I remember now that the Hebrew prefix 'be' is defined as 'in' from English. Now I find the word 'sind' means 'be'. I find this a little more than coincidence and a possible route in the making. The letter combination 'ind' intrigues me into knowing more of its origin. Research is needed.
    – user3689
    Jun 11, 2014 at 14:29
  • I agree with you that sind and zindiq are not defined the same from one language to another. The 's' and 'z' are often transliterated from one language to another. A small case in point may be the 'tz'(tzade) in Hebrew is written as 'ts' in Sephardic. Other examples can be found and thus I took the liberty to use both sind and zind as related to 'sin' as part of sind. Suppositions can lead to a definitive truth.
    – user3689
    Jun 11, 2014 at 14:45
  • @Anixx: I checked the Bosworth-Toller dictionary again and discovered that 'sin' is listed as an Anglo-Saxon word and can also mean 'be' as well as 'sind' is. Why the 'd' is added I don't know except it may have been from another early dialect attached to the Anglecynn in ancient times. Its my understanding that few words from the Old English were created out of Latin but were created from the existing words in use to expand the vocabulary.
    – user3689
    Jun 11, 2014 at 18:38
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    @user3689: please read about some linguistics before speculating any further. First, letters are not part of language: sounds are. Letters represent sounds, better in writing some languages than others. Secondly, the fact that a word or part of a word in one language resembles a word in another language means absolutely nothing unless either it is part of a set of regular correspondences, or there is a known route (= path of transmission in geography and history) by which one word can have been borrowed. There is no connection between the Hebrew preposition "be" and English "be".
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 12, 2014 at 22:49

The origin of the English word for sin is believed to originate either directly (through e̯sentia̯, the existing, real) or through early borrowing from Latin from Proto-Indo-European e̯esonti "are" with "-ont" being a common present plural 3rd person verb suffix in PIE, from the basic verb e̯esti "is".

  • It's unlikely to come from an inflected verb form, surely.
    – TKR
    Jun 11, 2014 at 23:01

It sounds like what you are really looking for is linguistic evidence of a Semitic substrate in Old English. Not being a linguist, you chose words which sounded similar in various languages and asked about the potential relationships. This, as you have found out by the answers you got, is not really the right way to go about establishing such a relationship. Don't be alarmed, as your mistake is very common.

If you want to continue this search on your own, you should first read the wikipedia entry on language strata. You may also want to read up on historical linguistics generally, and this hypothesis which specifically concerns itself with a Semitic influence on the Germanic languages.

  • After reading about linguistic strata as you suggested I am now reminded of scientific studies surrounding the ancient Cimmerians/Cimbri who formerly emerged from the southern Black Sea region migrated from there across Europe, had extensive military campaigns with the Roman Empire before being defeated by them. The descendants of the Cimbri then dispersing into Western Europe and the British Isles. The Cimmerians/Cimbri have been conjectured by some researching them to have sprung from the ten tribes of Israel. If this could be proven then their strata of language should be seen.
    – user3689
    Jun 20, 2014 at 13:21

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