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Uncertain; perhaps from עָזַז (azáz, “to be strong, impudent”) + אֵל (él, “god, God”). The English word scapegoat comes from an interpretation as coming from עֵז (éz, “goat”) + אוֹזֵל (ozél, “escapes”).
עֲזָאזֵל • (azazél) m
- It is unclear to what exactly עזאזל refers. One common theory is that it refers to the wilderness where the scapegoat was to be released; another is that it refers to a demon, a Canaanite deity. The Talmud identifies עזאזל as a cliff over which the scapegoat was driven. One theory, reflected in early Bible translations and in the English word scapegoat itself, is that עזאזל refers to the actual scapegoat.