A more common word for to wipe is לְנַגֵּב, also a פִּעֵל verb. Unlikeלקנח, however, לנגב implies wiping to the point of dryness.
You may have noticed that the root of לנגב is נ.ג.ב (n.g.b), the same as that of the name of the Israeli desert (not dessert, desert), the Negev – הַנֶּגֶב. It’s not clear exactly what the etymology of נגב-Negev is, but one theory is that the נגב is a place that has “been wiped dry” of precipitation.
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About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.
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