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Semitic etymology :

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Number: 2358
Proto-Semitic: *ʕVt_(V)t_-
Afroasiatic etymology: Afroasiatic etymology
Meaning: moth
Akkadian: ašāšu 'a moth' SB [CAD a2 422], 'Fischmotte' [AHw. 79]. // Hapax in Hh. XIV 268 (v. [Landsberger Fauna 127]).
Hebrew: ʕāš 'clothes moth' [KB 895], pB. 'moth' [Ja. 1124]. // According to [KB 895], [Barr 895] to be separated from ʕāš 'pus' in Hos 5.12 (waʔănī kāʕāš lǝʔäprāyim wǝkārāḳāb lǝbēt yǝhūdā 'I am like the pus for Ephraim and like the decay for the house of Judah'), compared to Arb. ɣat_t_- 'pus'. We believe that this passage can hardly be separated from Jb 13.28 (wǝhū(ʔ) kǝrāḳāb yiblǟ // kǝbägäd ʔăkālō ʕāš 'he will perish like the decay // like a garmenent which moth has eaten') where ʕ. is also paralleled by rāḳāb but the meaning 'moth' is pretty certain. Accordingly, we would prefer to postulate only one lexeme ʕāš 'moth' as it is done in earlier lexicographic works (e.g. [BDB 799]). In Jb 27.18 (bānā kāʕāš bētō // ūkǝsukkā ʕāŝā nōṣēr 'he built his house like ʕ. // like a booth made by a watchman') ʕ. is often emended to ʕakkābīš 'spider' ([KB], [BHS]); the translation 'moth' is preserved in [Pope 169], however.
Judaic Aramaic: ʕāšā 'moth' [Ja. 1124], [Levy WT I 248], [Levy WTM III 710].
Syrian Aramaic: ʕaššā 'pediculus' [Brock. 551].
Arabic: ʕut_t_at- 'teigne qui ronge la laine, les livres, les cuirs' (also 'serpents qui, dit-on, s'entre-dévorent pendant une année stérile', ʕat_t_āʔ- 'serpent') [BK 2 169], [Fr. III 106-7], [Lane 1951-2], [LA II 167].
Notes: š instead of the expected t in Arm. is unusual and requires an explanation; a Hebraism is quite likely in Jud. but not so much in Syr. (note also that the Syr. term is attested in very late texts only). // Two possible though less likely parallels see in Arb.: ʕaysāʔ- 'sauterelle femelle' [BK 2 420], [Fr. III 349], [Lane 2210], [LA VI 152]; ɣayt_- 'sorte d'insecte qui ronge le bois et dont on entend le bruit' [BK 2 522], [Fr. III 305] (according to [Lane 2314], in the combination d_ubābu l-ɣayt_i 'the fly of the rain', which means 'bee'; v. more details in [LA II 175]). // Cf. possibly Tna. ʕǝsʕǝs 'muffa' [Bass. 684], ʕasʕasä 'ammuffirsi, guastarsi per umidità, di cereali' [ibid.]. // In [KB 895] Ugr. ʕt_ is quoted, identified with the present root in [Caquot-Masson 18]. This word is supposed to be found in the scribal exercise KTU 5.23.7 in the sequence th̊ṣʕt_ whose division and interpretation remain totally obscure (not listed as a separate word in [DLU]). // One hesitates to agree with the commonly accepted comparison between this root and Gez. ʕǝṣ̂e 'vermin, worm, moth, caterpillar' [LGz. 75] (reproduced with due caution by Leslau) because of the phonological difference. For an alternative etymological approach to Gez. ʕǝṣ̂e v. No. .... // [Schulthess Arm. 53]: Arm., Arb., Akk.; [AHw. 79]: Akk., Hbr. Arm., Arb., Gez. (ʕǝṣ̂e); [KB 895]: Hbr., Arm., Ugr., Arb., Gez. (ʕǝṣ̂e); [Brock. 551]: Syr., Jud., Hbr., Akk., Arb., Gez. (ʕǝṣ̂e).

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