Lev 11 talks about animals being unclean. What word for this is used in the original Hebrew texts and what can one say about the different meanings of the word? Synonyms, etymology etc.?


1 Answer 1


There is the verb טָמֵא (tame; pronounced tä·mā') formed from the triliteral root (shoresh) tet- mem- alef. In binyan Pa'al (Kal), it means "to be/ become unlcean."

There is the adjective טָמֵא (tame; pronounced tä·mā'), meaning "unclean."

There is a noun טֻמְאָה (tum'ah; pronounced tüm·ä'), meaning "uncleanness."

  • Okay, so the word is as specific or unspecific as "unclean". No risk of lost meanings between all of the translations. Thanks.
    – citizen
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 7:00
  • Citizen: Well, you would have to understand the meaning and significance of the words from the contexts in which they are used in the Torah. One can contract tum'ah by other means besides eating an unclean animal. And other things besides certain animals are considered tame. I would simply recommend reading through the Torah. You can use Blueletterbible to research each occurrence of the word if you want to narrow it down. But, context is what you need to examine.
    – user862
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 10:12

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