Linguist Avraham Even-Shoshan Dies
Shoshan pictured with a first edition of his dictionary. Photo: National Library of Israel

August 8, 1984

Hebrew linguist and lexicographer Avraham Even-Shoshan dies at age 77 in Tel Aviv and is buried in Jerusalem.

Born Avraham Rosenstein in 1906 in Minsk, Belarus, he attended a Jewish school run by his father, Chaim, before going to a yeshiva. He settled in Palestine in 1925, worked as a laborer, and changed his last name to Even-Shoshan, a translation of Rosenstein. His father remained in the Soviet Union and was imprisoned for his Zionist activities.

He studied at the College for Hebrew Teachers in Jerusalem and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Between 1946 and 1958, he worked on the New Dictionary of the Hebrew Language, known since 2003 as the Even-Shoshan Dictionary, his greatest accomplishment. The dictionary contains almost 25,000 main entries and more than 70,000 words, including vowel variations. It includes equivalent words in Aramaic, Akkadian, Arabic and Ugaritic. The dictionary remains in print and is available online.

He published a concordance of words and phrases found in the Hebrew Bible in 1984.

Even-Shoshan was awarded the Israel Prize for language in 1978. He won the Bialik Prize in 1981.