Sunday, March 05, 2006


The word dat -דת appears approximately 20 times in Megilat Esther. The meaning in the megila is "law" or "custom". Over time the word was adopted into Hebrew as "religion", as discussed here. In modern Hebrew we have dati as religious, and the Ashkenazic pronunciation gives us dosim, which has a derogatory tone in secular Israeli culture.

Everyone agrees that the word dat comes from a Persian word - data. (In the Book of Ezra the word appears as such - דתא). Horowitz claims that the Iranian data led to our English data, as well as the English word date. While no one denies that the English words data and date are connected, is there really a connection between dat and data? Just how redundant is the site DosiDate?

Since Horowitz did not provide sources for his theory, I'm going to rely on Klein's research. Klein claims that the Persian word data derives from the Indo-European base dhe. This root means "to put, to place" or "to do, to make" and gives us such words as deed, the suffix -dom, edify and many more.

On the other hand, the English word data derives from the Indo-European root do, meaning "to give". From here we get the words date, doron (Greek for gift, later migrating into Hebrew), donate, dowry and dose.

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