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I happened to be reading the Wikipedia entry for Carob tree, and it gives the Hebrew name as חרוב.

I always thought the Hebrew word was pronounced boxer. Is that, perhaps, Aramaic? Or Yiddish?
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I happened to be reading the Wikipedia entry for Carob tree, and it gives the Hebrew name as חרוב.

I always thought the Hebrew word was pronounced boxer. Is that, perhaps, Aramaic? Or Yiddish?


Boxer? What's that, other than someone wearing boxing gloves? :-)
There isn't even an equivalent for the letter x in Hebrew, Yiddish, or Aramaic.

Elan
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There isn't even an equivalent for the letter x in Hebrew, Yiddish, or Aramaic.

The X sound in boxer can also be spelled ks, as in bokser.
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There isn't even an equivalent for the letter x in Hebrew, Yiddish, or Aramaic.

The X sound in boxer can also be spelled ks, as in bokser.


Nonetheless, I've never heard the word.

Elan
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Elan, even though you never heard of the word, you helped get me pointed in the right direction.

The word is more appropriately spelled "bokser," and it is indeed Yiddish.

I found my answer here: http://www.forward.com/articles/a-brief-on-bokser/

The Forward's explanation starts with a question sent in by Forward reader Vera Perlman:

“From childhood on, we celebrated Tu B’Shvat by eating ‘bokser.’ As we matured, we learned that we were eating the pods of the carob tree, known in Hebrew as the haruv. And as we became even more enlightened, we learned that the proper name for this fruit in English was ‘St. John’s bread.’ Now I have been looking high and low to learn how the Hebrew haruv morphed into the Yiddish ‘bokser.’ Can you solve the problem for me?”

Perlman’s problem is that she has been looking in the wrong place. What morphed into “bokser” was not h.aruv (whose Arabic cognate of h.arub does lie behind “carob”), but rather Bocks-horn. This is the medieval German word for the fruit of the carob tree, which was once known as a Bockshornbaum and is called in modern German — as in English — a Johannesbrautbaum.
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What morphed into “bokser” was not h.aruv (whose Arabic cognate of h.arub does lie behind “carob”), but rather Bocks-horn.

I find it odd that The Forward ties carob to an Arabic source rather than a Hebrew source. Certainly the earliest documented use of the word in Hebrew predates the Arabic.

Elan
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I find it odd that The Forward ties carob to an Arabic source rather than a Hebrew source. Certainly the earliest documented use of the word in Hebrew predates the Arabic.

Perhaps it first entered English from an Arabic source? Dictionaries sometimes say words come to English from French or Spanish, even when there's an obvious Latin root.
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Here's what Merriam Webster has to say on that subject:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/carob
Etymology: Middle French carobe, from Medieval Latin carrubium, from Arabic kharrūba
Date: 1548


The earliest arabic writings are a mere 2800 years old, so it's possible that Arabic took the word from Hebrew. But it's also possible that both languages took the word from Proto-Semitic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Semitic
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