Was There a Color Term *ḥmr ‘to be red’ in Proto-Semitic?
The article considers the evidence for the existence of a Proto-Semitic root *ḥmr ‘to be red’ and argues that the reconstruction of this root, albeit generally accepted by modern Semiticists, is by no means convincing. A close inspection reveals that this reconstruction solely relies on the Arabic basic colour term for ‘red’, ʔaḥmar-. Almost all potential cognates of the Arabic term can be safely discarded: the meaning of some of them is obscure, others are apparently derivatives from *ḫamr- ‘wine’, others are Arabic borrowings. Special attention is given to the terms which can be plausibly reinterpreted as reflexes of Proto-Semitic *ḥmr ‘to be inflamed (said of internal and external organs)’.