bher- / Indo-European roots


To carry; also to bear children.

Derivatives include birth, fertile, suffer, furtive, metaphor.

a. (i) bear1 from Old English beran, to carry; (ii) forbear1 from Old English forberan, to bear, endure (for-, for-; see per1). Both (i) and (ii) from Germanic *beran;
b. bier from Old English bēr, bǣr, bier, and Old French biere bier, both from Germanic *bērō;
c. bore3 from Old Norse bāra, wave, billow, from Germanic *bēr-.
a. bairn from Old English bearn, child, from Germanic *barnam;
b. barrow1 from Old English bearwe, basket, wheelbarrow, from Germanic *barwōn-.
a. burly from Old English *borlic, excellent, exalted (< "borne up"), from Germanic *bur-;
b. burden from Old English byrthen, burden, from Germanic *burthinja-;
c. birth from a source akin to Old Norse burdhr, birth, from Germanic *burthiz;
d. birr1 from Old Norse byrr, favorable wind, perhaps from Germanic *burja-.
4. Compound root *bhrenk-, to bring (< *bher- + *enk-, to reach; see nek-2) bring from Old English bringan, to bring, from Germanic *brengan.
5. -fer, fertile; afferent, circumference, confer, defer1, defer2, differ, efferent, infer, offer, prefer, proffer, refer, suffer, transfer, vociferate from Latin ferre, to carry.
6. Prefixed and suffixed zero-grade form *pro-bhr-o-, "something brought before one" (*pro-, before; see per1) opprobrium from Latin probrum, a reproach.
7. Possibly suffixed zero-grade form *bhr̥-tu- in Latin words having to do with "chance" (? < "a bringing, that which is brought").
a. fortuitous from Latin fortuītus, happening by chance;
b. Fortuna, fortune from Latin fortūna, chance, good luck, fortune, and Fortūna, goddess of good fortune.
8. Probably lengthened o-grade form *bhōr-. ferret1, furtive, furuncle; furunculosis from Latin fūr, thief.
9. feretory, -phore, -phoresis, -phorous; amphora, anaphora, diaphoresis, euphoria, metaphor, periphery, pheromone, telpher, tocopherol from Greek pherein, to carry, with o-grade noun phoros, a carrying.
10. paraphernalia from Greek phernē, dowry ("something brought by a bride").
11. sambal from Sanskrit bharati, he carries, brings.

[Pokorny 1. bher- 128.]


Bright, brown.

1. Suffixed variant form *bhrū-no-.
a. brown from Old English brūn, brown;
b. bruin from Middle Dutch bruun;
c. brunet, burnet, burnish from Old French brun, shining, brown. a-c all from Germanic *brūnaz.
2. Reduplicated form *bhibhru-, *bhebhru-, "the brown animal" beaver. beaver1 from Old English be(o)for, beaver, from Germanic *bebruz.
3. bear2 from Old English bera, bear, from Germanic *berō, "the brown animal" bear.
4. berserker perhaps from Old Norse björn, bear, from Germanic *bernuz.

[Pokorny 5. bher- 136.]

Browse all Indo-European or Semitic roots.