To mark the start of Hanukkah, we\u2019re taking a look at how Hebrew has influenced the English language. There are, of course, many words associated with Judaism and Jewishness in English, including Hanukkah itself. But there are also some you may not know come from Hebrew!\r\nFor instance, how many of these terms have you used in your writing?\r\n1. Behemoth (Possibly a Hippo?)\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_12796" align="alignright" width="227"] Behemoth and Leviathan.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nIn English, we use the word \u2018behemoth\u2019 for anything large and powerful. But the original Behemoth was a huge Biblical beast, derived from the Hebrew b\u2019hemoth. Some suggest this term itself comes from the Egyptian pehemau (i.e. water ox), an old name for a hippopotamus.\r\nWe see a similar journey with the word \u2018leviathan\u2019 (or livyathan in Hebrew). This term began as a Biblical sea monster. In modern English, though, we can use it to describe anything that is large or powerful.\r\n2. Cider (Strong Drink)\r\nCider may not seem the most Biblical drink, but the word can be traced to the Hebrew term shekhar. This was originally used for any strong alcohol, but eventually found its way into Old French as cisdre via the Latin sicera, by which point it referred to alcoholic pear or apple juice.\r\nIt was then a short jump via the Middle English cidre to the modern \u2018cider\u2019.\r\n3. Jacket (Jacob\u2019s Coat)\r\nThe word \u2018jacket\u2019 comes from the Middle French jaquet, a short coat with sleeves. But we can trace this term to the name Jacque, which itself is a shortened version of the Hebrew name Jacob.\r\nThe fact the Biblical Jacob is well known for his coat is a pure coincidence.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_12798" align="aligncenter" width="389"] Coat? Cloak? Jacket? It's colourful in any case.[\/caption]\r\n\r\n4. Jubilee (A Celebratory Ram\u2019s Horn)\r\nIn Judaism, the original Jubilee was a year of emancipation and land restoration for slaves, which was then to be celebrated every 50 years. The name for this came from the Hebrew word for a ram\u2019s horn (yobhel), which was sounded on Yom Kippur to mark the start of a Jubilee year.\r\nAnd while this tradition is no longer observed in Judaism, we can now use \u2018jubilee\u2019 for any celebration or major anniversary.\r\n5. Marionette (A Rebellious Puppet?)\r\nA marionette is a puppet worked by strings. But the word \u2018marionette\u2019 is French, literally meaning \u2018little Mary\u2019, since the Virgin Mary was a popular character in puppet shows during the Middle Ages.\r\nThe name \u2018Mary\u2019, though, comes from the Hebrew Miryam, the name of Moses\u2019 sister and a word said to literally mean \u2018rebellious\u2019. It feels slightly ironic, then, that marionettes have become a common metaphor for being manipulated, especially in phrases like \u2018pulling the strings\u2019!\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_12800" align="aligncenter" width="452"] We await the puppet rebellion nervously.\r\n(Photo: Dominic Alves\/Flickr)[\/caption]\r\n\r\n6. Schmooze (Gossip or Chat)\r\nWhile many of the words above reached English via French, \u2018schmooze\u2019 comes to us via Yiddish, a mix of Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, German and Polish historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. Thus we get \u2018schmooze\u2019 (talk intimately and informally) from the Yiddish shmues (idle talk or chat), which itself comes from the older Hebrew term shemu\u2019oth (news or rumours).\r\n7. Tush (Backside)\r\n\u2018Tush\u2019 has a couple of meanings in English, but we\u2019re interested in buttocks. That\u2019s because \u2018tush\u2019 is a shortened version of tochus, which itself comes from the Hebrew tahat, meaning \u2018beneath\u2019. See? It was relevant to this post and we didn\u2019t just get distracted by thinking about bottoms.\r\nOn that note, we\u2019ll bid you all a chag sameach! And if you have a favourite English word with roots in Hebrew, let us know in the comments below!