Lethargic Man (anag.) (lethargic_man) wrote,
Lethargic Man (anag.)

Etymological detective work needed.

The Collins Concise English Dictionary gives the etymology of "pitta" as a Greek word for a cake; Jastrow's Dictionary of the Talmud (etc) gives פיתא pita as the Aramaic of Hebrew פת pat, a piece of bread (and the Encyclopaedia Judaica gives פַת becoming פִיתָה as an example of vowel transformation in Hebrew). The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology has nothing to say on the subject, neither does the Oxford English Dictionary (first edition).

Can anyone resolve this conundrum and tell me whether the English word really does come from Hebrew, or Greek, or the Greek from the Hebrew, or whether we're looking at two unrelated words that just happen to sound the same and have similar meaning?

[Update: More information on Balashon—thanks, Dave!]
Tags: linguistics geekery
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