Words are the building blocks of a language. When we study words, we hardly venture to think about its origin. Many words of any certain language have been adopted from other languages, due to difficulty in translation or for convenience. Such a word is Amen, which is present in many Western languages. Its use and meaning is almost the same in all languages that use it.
The word Amen is as common as ‘I’ or ‘you’ among Christians, Muslims and Jews. Amen came to English from Latin, to where it came from Greek, and the Greek got it from Hebrew or Aramaic. And it has expanded its presence in other romance languages and Arabic.
The word Amen doesn’t have an exact meaning in English. It is basically an expression, and changes meaning depending on the context. Amen actually first appeared in early texts of Judaism. It appears as a word for affirmation or declaration in the Hebrew bible as well as the New Testament. There are numerous theories and speculations regarding its Hebrew origin. The word is related to Hebrew verb aman, which means to be confirmed, be faithful or be supported. The Hebrew words for faith and truth, emuna and emet, are also believed to be related with the word amen.
There are other interesting beliefs as well. Some believe the word came from the Egyptian god Amun while a few oriental thinkers argue that the word was derived from the Sanskrit word Aum. However, these theories do not hold enough strength among the linguists.
Whatever its history is, Amen has a significant place in the three major religions in the world. In Christianity, the word is the ending note for every prayers and hymns. It appears a number of times in Bible. Jesus has used amen a few times to emphasize his words. Contrary to other places, he used it in the beginning of his sentences. Even before that, Jews had been using the word as a conclusion of prayer. With the evolution of community prayers and synagogues and churches, the use of amen became widespread. Amen is also used by Muslims, in its Arabic version, amin, at the end of dua (supplication) and as the agreement to others’ prayer.
In modern times, amen is used to express strong agreement to a thought or opinion. People often say ‘amen to that’ in this context. If you ask a believer though, he will tell you not to utter the word unless you have absolute conviction.
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