bhel- / Indo-European roots


To shine, flash, burn; shining white and various bright colors.

Derivatives include blue, bleach, blind, blond, blanket, black, flagrant, flame.

I. Suffixed full-grade form *bhel-o-.
1. a. beluga from Russian belyĭ, white; b. Beltane from Scottish Gaelic bealltainn, from Old Irish beltaine, "fire of Bel" (ten, tene, fire; see tep-) , from Bel, name of a pagan Irish deity akin to the Gaulish divine name Belenos, from Celtic *bel-o-.
2. phalarope from Greek phalaros, having a white spot.
3. phalaenopsis from Greek phallaina, moth (< *"white creature").
II. Extended root *bhleə1-, contracted to *bhlē-.
1. Suffixed form *bhlē-wo-. blue from Old French bleu, blue, from Germanic *blēwaz, blue.
2. Suffixed zero-grade form *bhl̥ə-wo-. flavescent, flavo-; flavin, flavone, flavoprotein from Latin flāvus, golden or reddish yellow.
III. Various extended Germanic forms.
1. bleach from Old English blǣcan, to bleach, from Germanic *blaikjan, to make white.
2. bleak1 from Old Norse bleikr, shining, white, from Germanic *blaikaz, shining, white.
3. blitzkrieg from Old High German blëcchazzen, to flash, lighten, from Germanic *blikkatjan.
4. a. blaze1 from Old English blæse, torch, bright fire; b. blesbok from Middle Dutch bles, white spot; c. blemish from Old French ble(s)mir, to make pale. a-c all from Germanic *blas-, shining, white.
5. a. blind; blindfold, purblind from Old English blind, blind; b. blende from Old High German blentan, to blind, deceive; c. blend from Old Norse blanda, to mix; d. blond from Old French blond, blond. a-d all from Germanic *blendaz, clouded, and *bland-, *bland-ja-, to mix, mingle (< "make cloudy").
6. a. blench1 from Old English blencan, to deceive; b. blanch, blank, blanket; blancmange, Pinot Blanc from Old French blanc, white. Both a and b from Germanic *blenk-, *blank-, to shine, dazzle, blind.
7. blush from Old English blyscan, to glow red, from Germanic *blisk-, to shine, burn.
IV. Extended root *bhleg-, to shine, flash, burn.
1. O-grade form bhlog-. black from Old English blæc, black, from Germanic *blakaz, burned.
2. Zero-grade form *bhl̥g-. a. fulgent, fulgurate; effulgent, foudroyant, refulgent from Latin fulgēre, to flash, shine, and fulgur, lightning; b. fulminate from Latin fulmen (< *fulg-men), lightning, thunderbolt.
3. a. flagrant; conflagrant, conflagration, deflagrate from Latin flagrāre, to blaze; b. chamise, flambé, flambeau, flamboyant, flame, flamingo, flammable; inflame from Latin flamma (< *flag-ma), a flame.
4. phlegm, phlegmatic, Phlegethon from Greek phlegein, to burn.
5. O-grade form *bhlog-. phlogiston, phlox; phlogopite from Greek phlox, a flame, also a wallflower.

[Pokorny 1. bhel- 118, bheleg- 124, bhleu-(k)- 159.]


To blow, swell; with derivatives referring to various round objects and to the notion of tumescent masculinity.

Derivatives include boulevard, boulder, phallus, balloon, ballot, fool.

1. Zero-grade form bhl̥-.
a. bowl1 from Old English bolla, pot, bowl;
b. bole1 from Old Norse bolr, tree trunk;
c. bulk from Old Norse bulki, cargo (< "rolled-up load");
d. rocambole from Old High German bolla, ball;
e. boulevard, bulwark from Middle High German bole, beam, plank;
f. boll from Middle Dutch bolle, round object;
g. biltong from Middle Dutch bille, buttock;
h. boulder from a Scandinavian source akin to Swedish bullersten, "rounded stone" boulder, from *buller-, "round object" a-h all from Germanic *bul-.
2. Suffixed zero-grade form *bhl̥-n-.
a. bull1 from Old Norse boli, bull, from Germanic *bullōn-;
b. bullock from Old English bulluc, bull, from Germanic *bulluka-;
c. phallus; ithyphallic from Greek phallos, phallus;
d. possibly Latin fullō, a fuller full2; refoulement.
3. O-grade form *bhol-.
a. bollock, bollix from Old English beallucas, testicles;
b. ball1 from Old English *beall, ball;
c. foosball from Old High German bal, ball;
d. bilberry probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Danish bolle, round roll;
e. balloon, ballot, ballottement from Italian dialectal balla, ball;
f. pall-mall from Italian palla, ball;
g. bale1 from Old French bale, rolled-up bundle. a-g all from Germanic *ball-.
4. Possibly suffixed o-grade form *bhol-to-.
a. bold from Old English bald, beald, bold;
b. bawd from Old Saxon bald, bold;
c. Balder from Old Norse ballr, baldr, brave. a-c from Germanic *balthaz, bold.
5. Suffixed o-grade form *bhol-n-. fils2, follicle, folly, fool from Latin follis, bellows, inflated ball.
6. Possibly Greek phal(l)aina, whale baleen
7. Conceivably from this root (but more likely unrelated) is Greek phellos, cork, cork oak phellem; phelloderm, phellogen

[Pokorny 3. bhel- 120.]


To thrive, bloom.

Possibly from bhel-2

Derivatives include foliage, blossom, flora, bleed, bless, blade.

I. Suffixed o-grade form *bhol-yo-, leaf.
1. foil2, foliage, folio, folium; cinquefoil, defoliate, exfoliate, feuilleton, milfoil, perfoliate, portfolio, trefoil from Latin folium, leaf.
2. -phyll, phyllo-, -phyllous; chervil, gillyflower, podophyllin from Greek phullon, leaf.
II. Extended form *bhlē- (< *bhleə-).
1. O-grade form *bhlō-. a. Suffixed form *bhlō-w-. blow3 from Old English blōwan, to flower, from Germanic *blō-w-; b. (i) bloom1 from Old Norse blōm, blōmi, flower, blossom; (ii) bloom2 from Old English blōma, a hammered ingot of iron (semantic development obscure). Both (i) and (ii) from Germanic suffixed form *blō-mōn-; c. blossom from Old English blōstm, blōstma, flower, blossom, from Germanic suffixed form *blō-s-; d. ferret2, flora, Flora, floral, floret, floriated, florid, florin, florist, -florous, flour, flourish, flower; cauliflower, deflower, effloresce, enfleurage, florigen, millefiori glass, millefleur from Latin flōs (stem flōr-), flower, from Italic suffixed form *flō-s-; e. suffixed form *bhlō-to-, possibly in the meaning "swell, gush, spurt" in Germanic *blōdam, blood. (i) blood from Old English blōd, blood; (ii) bleed from Old English *blēdan, to bleed, from Germanic denominative *blōdjan; (iii) bless from Old English bloedsian, blētsian, to consecrate, from Germanic *blōdisōn, to treat or hallow with blood..
2. emblements from Medieval Latin blādum, bladium, produce of the land, grain, from Germanic suffixed form *blē-da-.
3. Suffixed zero-grade form *bhlə-to-. blade from Old English blæd, leaf, blade, from Germanic *bladaz.

[Pokorny 4. bhel- 122.]

Browse all Indo-European or Semitic roots.