[DWJ] the Ites

Colin Fine colin at kindness.demon.co.uk
Sun Apr 22 15:39:04 EDT 2007

estairm at yahoo.com wrote:
> I think Israelite is used to mean a descendant (direct
> or spiritual, by conversion) of Israel/Jacob, in other
> words, a Jew.
But to use it of anybody in the modern world would be at least 
old-fashioned, if not downright strange.
> Israeli means a citizen of the State of Israel, many
> of whom are not Jews.
with the ending -i which is used to form several demonyms in the middle 
East and South Asia. It also corresponds to the ending of the Hebrew 
> The lost tribes of Israel were a part of the
> Israelites up until the time that Assyria was the big
> cheese in the Middle East.  Then Assyria uprooted and
> scattered them.  
> Some peoples around the world have oral traditions
> that they were once of the ten lost tribes.  Someone
> told me recently that a Japanese man told him that the
> name of the Mikado of Japan comes from mi-Gad (meaning
> from Gad, one of the lost tribes). I have no way of
> knowing if this is true, but it is a cool idea.
Unlikely. 'kado' is an ordinary Japanese word for 'gate', and 'mikado' 
('exalted gate') is found from the eighth Century in the sense both of 
the Imperial palace and of the person of the Emperor (cf 'Sublime 
Porte', as the OED points out).
In compounds, Japanese words often voice their initial consonants, ie. 
'mi' + 'kado' might easily have come out as 'migado'. Given that, a 
derivation from a word 'gad' seems untenable.


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