Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

Wait a second! That is not the correct pronounciation! The proper one should be 'yehowa' (with tiny stress on the 'w')! --Shunra

Note from a french version[edit]

Les traductions proviennent des différentes versions de la Bible (catholiques, protestantes, ou du rabbinat). Par ailleurs, quand Moïse a demandé son nom, Dieu lui répondit « JE SUIS CELUI QUI SUIS… JE SUIS m'a envoyé vers vous… » (version Darby). (note) --Luixxiul 00:31, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


/ʔadoˈnaj/ or /haˈʃem/ is not the pronunciation of the word יהוה but of the surrogate term אדני. The current article is not a lexicographic lemma but an hermeneutic approach to the Tetragrammaton. Best regards, Pvasiliadis 21:43, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

In the reference to the pronunciation before 400 B.C., the example given is, without question, simply wrong. There is no "j" letter or sound in Hebrew. This was fabricated/gifted/invented by the Germans and was thus introduced into English. This needs correction. 20:19, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
That’s not a j as in English "josh", "James"; it is an IPA /j/ (that is, it’s like an English y, as in "yes", "you", "yeah"). —Stephen (Talk) 20:34, 6 June 2015 (UTC)


[The discussion was moved here from there ]
An explanation of my reversion here: First, this is a Hebrew word, not an English one, and therefore does not get an English pronunciation (such a thing would exist at Jehovah, Yahweh, etc.). Also a number of your edits made no substantial change in content, but added bad/awkward grammar. Any questions feel free to ask. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:04, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

  • I disagree with your blind revert.
  • Yehowah/Jehovah or Yahweh/Jahveh are vocalisations of the Tetragrammaton. The word haShem ("the Name") is not a vocalisation of the Tetragrammaton but the pronunciation of an hermeneutical surrogate word.
  • What do you mean by "bad/awkward grammar"? --Pvasiliadis 06:49, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
To begin with, it was certainly not a blind revert. I carefully went through each of the changes, and I stand by my reversion of all of them. Secondly, yes, the pronunciation is a bit.....tricky. While I agree that יהוה, אדני, and השם are different words, the fact remains that when people read "יהוה", the sounds which come out of their mouths is /ʔadoˈnaj/ or /haˈʃem/, etc. Clearly, they are not really pronouncing the word itself, but rather substituting it, and if there wasn't an explanatory note about this then there would be a problem. However, the fact remains that there are ample explanatory notes, and this entry does in fact describe real usage of native speakers. As for bad/awkward grammar, here's an example: "Secular Jews in Israel for pronouncing the word they are replacing it with /ʔadoˈnaj/ (אדני) usually under all circumstances." That is incorrect grammar, or at the very least stilted and awkward. Additionally, a number of your edits to wording introduced uncertainty into statements where none was warranted (i.e. these are fairly well established scientific hypotheses). Hope that helps explain things a bit. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 07:30, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  1. you obviously undid all my edits at once even the correction about the name of the religious group called "Jehovah's Witnesses" and not "Jehova's witnesses"
  2. I wrote down that יהוה is "the proper name of God" and you just erase it, even though it is the well established consensus
  3. you erased my correction that "the pronunciation /jehoˈva/ (Jehovah or Yehovah, the Latin IEHOVA/IEHOUA/JEHOVA/JEHOUA)
    is believed to be a European innovation appearing at the 12th century C.E.
    " without giving the reasons
  4. you keep the Samaritan pronunciation and delete the comment about the Greek vocalisation without giving any reasons
  5. you erase my correction "Samaritan Jews when pronouncing the word they are replacing it with /ˈʃemɑː/ (= "the Name" in Aramaic)" to the previous "Samaritan Jews pronounce it as /ˈʃemɑː/ (= "the name" in Aramaic)" though it referes to a surrogate/replacing word and not to the lemma word יהוה
  6. you "hide" at the last line of the comments the phrase: "Many researchers believe the word was pronounced in antiquity approximately /jahwe/", which is probably the only comment at the current article concerning the pronunciation of the Name
  7. you undid my capitalisation of the word "name" at the translation of the Hebrew word "haShem", from my "the Name" back to the previous "the name"
Thank you for your time, Pvasiliadis 11:26, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
It was complete, but that does not mean blind.
  1. I will admit that I missed the spelling fix on Jehova's Witnesses, which I have now re-fixed.
  2. I am quite uncomfortable declaring it the "proper" name of God. Yes, certainly there are many groups which would make this claim, but many who would disagree. As this is a religious question, and one without consensus, I feel very strongly that we should simply say, "a name of God."
  3. I have inserted a link to [[Jehovah]], as this is admittedly relevant, but I think that the Latin is unnecessary overkill (certainly including all the variants).
  4. The bit about the Greek is confusing at best without any surrounding context. It may still have a useful place in the entry, but it needs some expansion, explanation, and a source.
  5. As I have said previously, I think the entry already clearly explains what it happening with the pronunciation. There is no need for that circumlocution. Additionally, as I stated previously, the sentence had bad grammar.
  6. I have added a link to Yahweh. However, I stand by the stronger "believe" as opposed to "propose that". This is a fairly well established theory.
  7. This is another thing which should not have been reverted. I have re-capitalized it. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 07:47, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

  1. They are not called "Jehovah's witnesses" neither "Jehova's Witnesses". Their name is "Jehovah's Witnesses".
  2. Feeling "uncomomfortable"? Is it a personal matter? What do you mean by "many groups"? My mention has to do with scholarly points of view. For example, The Anchor Bible Dictionary (1992) says that the Tetragrammaton is "the name of God in the OT". The (already referenced) Brown, Driver & Briggs Lexicon (Hebrew and English, 2005) defines the יהוה as "the proper name of the God of Israel". The current definition given in the article (and also the explanation above that is the "one without consensus") seems to be theologically/hermeneutically oriented as I have already mentioned.
  3. Iehova/Iehoua/Jehova/Jehoua is found written (and pronounced) in English texts. The origin is Latin (as also "Jesus") but the word had been inserted in the English language. See for example here.
  4. If the "surrounding context" is missing concerning the Greek vocalisation/pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton we should provide it and not just erase the whole sentence.
  5. If "the sentence had bad grammar" we should improve it and not delete it.
  6. The Anchor Bible Dictionary says that "the pronunciation of yhwh as Yahweh is a scholarly guess". So "believe" could also be too strong, on the other side. It is a "theory" as you wrote and it should also be clear.
  7. Thank you.
At your disposal, --Pvasiliadis 22:15, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
  1. Fixed.
  2. My discomfort is scholastic, not personal. Rest assured, as an atheist, I have no fear of being smitten by God. My BDB says "", and "" is expanded in the abbreviations section as "proper name," and I'm assuming "dei" means God/god, although, oddly, it's not in the abbreviation list. However, I'm fairly confident that this is a part of speech (i.e. proper noun), not a judgment on the correctness of the name. Note that a whole slew of other entries on the same page get that same designation.
  3. Perhaps, but I still fail to see its relevance here. The single English example should suffice.
  4. I don't know what the surrounding context is. If you have it, please present it here, and perhaps we can figure a useful way to work it into the entry.
  5. You replaced a grammatically correct sentence with basically the same context with the incorrect sentence. So, by reverting, I did replace it with a grammatically correct sentence.
  6. Please don't throw "theory" around as if it's synonymous to "wild guess." Science is composed of nothing but theories; gravity is a theory, the existence of atoms is a theory. A well established scientific theory does not need such qualifications.

-Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:40, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

  1. Thank you.
  2. For the same reason my answer has been scholarly. The source (I gave the exact edition) says "the proper name of the God of Israel". There is nothing obscure or needing a guess.
  3. The relevance of these forms (Iehova/Iehoua/Jehova/Jehoua) is that they consist historical English vocalisations that have come down to the present age. That is, I think that this point is much more relevant than the comment about the Samaritan practice.
  4. By "the surrounding context" what would you propose to be included? The information about the surrogate Samaritan word what more adds as "surrounding context"? I can provide the needed information as soon as it will be made lucid.
  5. My correction was "Samaritan Jews when pronouncing the word they are replacing it with /ˈʃemɑː/ (= "the Name" in Aramaic)". What makes this sentence an "incorrect sentence"?
  6. It is pretty clear to me, also, the notion of theory/guess/consensus point of view. Relating to the lemma, do you believe that exists any pronunciation of the יהוה that consists "a well established scientific theory"?
Thank you, Pvasiliadis 09:01, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Personally, I think the article should make the following points:

  • As a sign of respect for G-d, modern Jews do not pronounce (or attempt to pronounce) the Name. Instead, religious Jews usually replace it in liturgy with "Kadonai" (q.v.), and elsewhere with "Hashem" (q.v.), while secular Jews usually replace it with "Kadonai" in all cases.
  • According to tradition, ancient Jews also never pronounced the Name, except that the High Priest would utter it in the Temple during the Yom Kippur service.
  • Jewish tradition has not preserved knowledge of the ancient pronunciation. In the Masoretic text, it is given the vowels of "Kadonai", except that when it appears directly after the word "Kadonai", it is given the vowels of "Elokim" (q.v.).
  • Apparently due to confusion, Christian tradition has taken it to be pronounced as /~~/ (see ~~), with the vowels of "Kadonai". Although this is known to be a mispronunciation, religious Jews usually do not utter it, either, such as in the name of the J.'s Witnesses.
  • Scholars postulate that it was originally pronounced something like "~~".

I think mention of the Samaritan is fine, but not particularly necessary.
I also think that the "Pronunciation" section is completely misleading. It's true that that's what people say when they encounter the Name in written text, but in a very real sense, those aren't pronunciations of the Name. I think the "Pronunciation" section should be simply replaced with a pointer to the usage notes. (And, those pronunciations should be moved to the entries for the words they're actually pronunciations of, if those entries don't already have them.)
RuakhTALK 19:45, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Ancient Greek[edit]

May I ask what your source is for the Hellenistic pronunciation? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 10:20, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

  • The Greek form Iao (ΙΑΩ) was present during all the Hellenistic period. An interesting primary testimony is that of Diodorus Siculus' (Bibliotheca Historica I, 94:2, 1st century BCE) that mentions: "Among the Jews Moses referred his laws to the god who is invoked as Iao (Gr. Ιαώ)." Lydus, also, wrote (De Mensibus IV 53): "The Roman Varo [116-27 BCE] defining him [that is the Jewish God] says that he is called Iao in the Chaldean mysteries." Even Christian writers used this form of the Tetragrammaton. For example, Theodoret of Cyrus (5th sentury CE) wrote that "the word Nethinim means in Hebrew 'gift of Iao', that is the God who is" (Quaestiones in I Paral. IX). (Pseudo-)Jerome mentions that "Tetragrammaton legi potest Iaho" (Breviarium in Psalmos,P.L. XXVI 828, 4-5th century).
  • Van Cooten mentions that Iao is one of the "specifically Jewish designations for God" and "the Aramaic papyri from the Jews at Elephantine show that 'Iao' is an original Jewish term" [ftn. Stern M., Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (1974-84) 1:172; Schafer P., Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World (1997) 232; Cowley A., Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century (1923); Kraeling E.G., The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri: New Documents of the Fifth Century BC from the Jewish Colony at Elephantine (1953)]. Sufficient examination of the subject is available at Sean McDonough's YHWH at Patmos (1999), pp 116 to 122 and George van Kooten's The Revelation of the Name YHWH to Moses (2006), pp 114, 115, 126-136. It worths to mention a foundamental though aged source about the subject: Adolf Deissmann's Bible studies: Contributions chiefly from papyri and inscriptions to the history of the language, the literature, and the religion of Hellenistic Judaism and primitive Christianity (1909), at chapter "Greek transcriptions of the Tetragrammaton". --Pvasiliadis 17:05, 21 November 2008 (UTC)


Just wanted to let everyone know that I have copyedited this for style only. I removed the obvious biases, including the word 'many' in 'many researchers'. --Neskaya kanetsv 07:06, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

RFC discussion: April 2015[edit]

TK archive icon.svg

The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup (permalink).

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

Pinging User:Wikitiki89. The most recent IP edit has left the usage notes a misspelled mess and could simply be rolled back. Should the edit before it (changing "my Lords"to "my Lord") also be undone? - -sche (discuss) 21:07, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Chuck has already rightly rolled back the last edit. As for the previous one, I'm not sure. The summary says "Majestic plural should be translated as singular", but I don't know what "should be translated" means. If I were translating a sentence, I would use "my Lord", but for the purpose of etymology it might make sense to translate it as "my Lords". --WikiTiki89 15:24, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Another idea for root of tetragammaton[edit]

Tetragrammaton can be derived from הוה i think. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 19:03, 14 February 2017.

This isn't a forum for personal opinions. You need sources to back that up. Now as it happens there are sources that agree with you, but there isn't enough evidence for any one theory. --WikiTiki89 19:24, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Answer: My source is here

But again, there isn't enough evidence for any one theory. --WikiTiki89 19:43, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Adding euphemistic variant in usage notes + adding יה under "see also"[edit]

Something like:

Observant Jews, outside of prayer, may prefer to write and say יקוק, so as not to abuse the name of God.

Also, Jah under 'see also' pls 14:05, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

No one says יקוק; that's only written. Even if you are spelling out the word, you would spell it out as "yud kay vav kay", not as "yud kuf vav kuf". --WikiTiki89 15:05, 12 July 2017 (UTC)