The etymology of this theonym has been discussed very extensively in scholarly literature but remains uncertain. There are two variant forms, יהוה yhwh and יהו yhw. The longer form יהוה yhwh is generally considered primary. The initial yod is probably a 3rd person verbal prefix, but the meaning of the root hwh remains unknown.
- In Biblical Hebrew of antiquity (before 400 BC), the word was probably pronounced approximately /jahwe/.
Proper noun 
Usage notes 
- The word is written in the Old Testament Hebrew either without vocalisation or as יְהֹוָה, using the vocalisation of the word אֲדֹנָי (adonáy, “my Lords”), because of the prohibition of uttering the name. It is thought that the original pronunciation was probably lost around the Hellenistic era.
- Secular Jews in Israel pronounce the word as אֲדֹנָי (adonái) usually, under most circumstances.
- Religious Jews pronounce it as אֲדֹנָי (adonái) only for liturgical purposes, otherwise they use הַשֶּׁם (hashém).
- Samaritans pronounce it as שְׁמָא (šmā’) (the Aramaic equivalent of הַשֶּׁם (hashém)) under all circumstances, even in liturgy.
See also 
- אֵל (él)
- אלוהים \ אֱלֹהִים (elohím)
- הַשֵּׁם (hashém)
- The Tetragrammaton on Wikipedia.Wikipedia:Tetragrammaton
- Names of God in Judaism on Wikipedia.Wikipedia:Names of God in Judaism
- Brown, Driver & Briggs, A Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Oxford 1907