1)   Select a language Other Languages

 2)   Click on two letters of the foreign word
       OR  type the start of an English word and Enter

 

Identifying
the root

 3)   Click on the most likely word from the list
       then see the full lexicon entry or list of occurrences
Useful Lexicons

 

Lexicons for Biblical Studies:

The Bible was written in Hebrew (Old Testament), Greek (New Testament) and a little in Aramaic (eg parts of Daniel). Other languages are important for understanding obscure vocabulary (eg Akkadian helps with Hebrew), for understanding early translations of the Bible (eg Latin & Syriac) or for understanding literature in background cultures (eg Coptic).

2LetterLookup is much easier to use than most lexicons. You don't have to know the exact form of the word you are looking for - you only need to know the first two letters, without any pointing or accents. Hebrew lexicons are particularly difficult to use because 'weak' letters from the root are often missing, so you have to look up a multitude of possibilities - but the 2LetterLookup checks them for you and presents the possible results. For Bible words, it is easy to identify the Hebrew and Greek words using tools such as the Blue Letter Bible (click on C for concordance and Hebrew/Greek) or Study Light (requires fonts).

2LetterLookup links you to real lexicons (listed below). Small lexicons like Strong's are useful to identify the word, but real lexicons take you much further. You can find out what the word usually means, what it means in different contexts, and the range of meanings. Looking up the English provides a list of other similar words which the author decided not to use. And sometimes (very rarely) a lexicon may provide the clue to a different reading, especially in the Old Testament where the vowel pointing was added later so it isn't always reliable.

 

How to identify the root of a word:

A word can be made up of a Prefix + Root + Suffix. 
The 2LetterLookup lexicon only needs the first two letters of the root,
so although prefixes cause confusion, you don't need to be concerned about suffixes.

Greek words often have prefixes but they are usually part of the root, so there is no need to remove them. 
eg words starting α- (which act like English "un-") are listed in a lexicon under α-

Greek verbs in past tenses have prefixes which do need to be removed from the root.
ε- prefixes Aorist and Imperfect verbs, and sometimes Pluperfect.
Rε- (where R is a repeat of the first consonant) prefixes Perfect and sometimes Pluperfect,
eg "he loosed" is λυε (imperfect) or λέλυκε (perfect), so if a word starts with RεR- (where R are identical letters), remove the Rε -
Some letters are prefixed with a similar-sounding letter, instead of an identical letter, ie κεχ -   πεφτεθ -


Hebrew & Aramaic words have a variety of prefixes which should be removed. If the word starts with one of the following, try it looking up both with it and without it.

ב - 'in, on, with, by'
ד - (Aramaic) 'of'
ה - 'the' or causative tense
ו - 'and'
י - imperfect tense
כ - 'like, according to, as'
ל - 'to, for'
מ - 'from, some of', or a participle
נ - reflexive tense
ש - (Aramaic) 'which, who'


Weak Hebrew verbs sometimes lose a 'weak' letter from their root,
ie the letters א ה י ו   and also נ  if it is the first letter. 
2LetterLookup lists possible weak verbs based on the possible combinations with the two letters which are supplied.



 

Lexicons and tools accessible through the 2-LetterLookup:

Full & Middle Liddell & Scott: Greek-English Lexicon (hosted at Perseus)

Gesenius: Hebrew & Chaldee (ie Aramaic) Lexicon (hosted at TyndaleArchive)

Jastrow: Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud &  Midrashic Literature  (hosted at TyndaleArchive)

Bible Concordance of Hebrew vocabulary with English (at CrossWire)

Bible Concordance of Greek vocabulary with English (at Re: Greek)

W.E. Crum Coptic Dictionary (hosted at TyndaleArchive

Payne-Smith: Compendious Syriac Dictionary (hosted at TyndaleArchive)

Wilson: Englishman's Hebrew Dictionary (hosted at TyndaleArchive)

Thayer: Greek Lexicon with verse vocabulary lists (at BlueLetterBible

Sahidic Coptic Dictionary (at CopticChurch)

Akkadian Dictionary (at The Hittite Grammar Homepage)

 

Other useful lexicons on the web

Hebrew:

Milingo modern Hebrew dictionary (type in English, pointed or unpointed Unicode Hebrew)
Don't be put off by the Hebrew interface. Just type in the box and press Enter.
Gives straightforward answers in English & pointed Hebrew, very quickly.

Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language  (subscription site)
Virtually all classical Hebrew literature linked to dictionary & morphological analysis.

Semantics of Ancient Hebrew Database (in development)
Detailed bibliography and careful scholarship.

Semantic Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew (UBS)
Biblical Hebrew with accurate brief entries, semantic domains and links to the Hebrew text.

Aramaic:

Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (and Syriac)

Sokoloff's Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic

Greek:

Kalós  (a free program for PCs & Macs)
25,000 definitions and morphological analysis.

Aramaic Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon   (needs fonts)
Difficult to use but full entries make it worth it.

Perseus Greek Morphology analysis
Type in the word as it occurs in the text.

Demetrios - Database of Septuagint Greek (in development)
Scholarly articles on words (very little as yet)

Latin:

Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary (hosted at Perseus)

Whitaker Words (free program for Macs & PCs)
Very fast dictionary with some morphology.

Perseus Latin Morphological Analysis

Other ancient languages:

Chicago Demotic Dictionary  (incomplete)

Chicago Hittite Dictionary  (only vols from P onwards)

Hittite Lexicon (on The Hittite Grammar Homepage)

Hieroglyph Dictionary

Old Babylonian Akkadian (provisional dictionary)

Sumerian Word List

Lane's Arabic Lexicon

English & modern languages:

Search 992 Online English Dictionaries at Once!
- including 19 which knew the word "bodacious" (one of the better words invented by Americans).

Full Oxford English Dictionary (subscription)
Knows the word 'bodacious' but misunderstands it. The editors don't get out much.

Travlang's Translating Dictionaries - 35 modern languages
Useful for simple terms. It hasn't heard of 'bodacious' or 'eschatology'
and it can't translate 'capricious' into French though it can translate it into German!

YourDictionary - a seeming endless list of modern language dictionaries.
ForeignWord - a framed link to 275 online dictionaries. Neat.

The best dictionaries for the main 'theological' languages are probably:
German - knows 'bodacious' and 'eschatology'
Spanish - knows 'eschatology' but not 'bodacious'
French - a wiki project, which knows both 'bodacious' and 'eschatology'
Italian - knows 'eschatology' and 'bodacious'. Needs free registration.