[122s] Abstract ideas include also—
(c) Collectives in the fem. form, generally fem. participles used substantivally, especially as the comprehensive designation of a number of persons, e.g. אֹֽרְחָה (fem. of travelling), prop. the travelling (company), i.e. travelling persons (a caravan); גּוֹלָה (fem. of גֹּלֶה one going into exile) the company of exiles (also frequently used of those who had returned home again); יוֹשֶׁ֫בֶת (that which inhabits) i.e. the population, Is 126, Mi 111 f.; אֹיֶ֫בֶת (prop. that which is hostile) the enemy, Mi 78, 10 (cf. Mi 46 f. the halting, cast off, driven away, i.e. those who halt, &c.); דַּלָּה (the abject) the poorest sort; of living beings which are not persons, cf. חַיָּה (that which lives) in the sense of cattle, beasts; דָּגָה a shoal of fish, Gn 126 (but in Jon 22 as a nomen unitatis, cf. t, for דָּג a fish, which in verses 1 and 11 is used as the nomen unitatis). Cf., moreover, נְבֵלָה dead body, Is 2619, &c. (construed as masculine), for a heap of dead bodies.—On the collective poetic personification of a nation, by means of בַּת daughter, in בַּת בָּבֶל, בַּת עַמִּי (equivalent to בְּנֵי עַמִּי) my countrymen, see above, i.
[122t] (d) Conversely the feminine form of substantives is sometimes used (as in Arabic) as a nomen unitatis, i.e. to indicate a single example of a class which is denoted by the masculine form; cf. אֳנִי a fleet (1 K 926), אֳנִיָּה a single ship (Jon 13 ff.); צַ֫יִד hunting, game, צֵידָה Gn 273 Keth. (צָ֑יִד Qerê) a piece of venison; שֵׂעָר hair (coll.), שַֽׂעֲרָה a single hair (Ju 2016; in the plural, ψ 4013, 695); שִׁיר a poem, frequently collective, שִׁירָה a single song; so probably also תְּאֵנָה a fig (the corresponding masculine tîn is collective in Arabic); שֽׁוֹשַׁנָּה a lily (also שׁוֹשָׁן); לְבֵנָה a brick (Arab. libina, but libin collective), &c.
(e) The feminine is also used for things without life (as being weaker or less important), which are named from their resemblance to organic things expressed by the corresponding masculine form; cf. יָרֵךְ side (of the body), thigh, יְרֵכָה or יַרְכָּה back part, border (of a country, house, &c.); מֵ֫צַח forehead, מִצְחָה greaves. On a similar distinction between the masculine for natural, and the feminine for artificial objects, see §87o.
[122v] Rem. The juxtaposition of the masculine and feminine from the same stem serves sometimes to express entirety; e.g. Is 31 מַשְׁעֵן וּמַשְׁעֵנָה stay and staff, i.e. every kind of support (unless we omit verse 1b as a gloss and take staff as = staff-bearer, official; the list of officials begins in verse 2); cf. Is 166, Pr 813. For similar groupings in the case of persons, see Is 436, 4922, 604 (sons and daughters); 49:23, Ec 28.
[123a] Besides the plural endings treated in §87a–i, the language employs other means to express a plurality of living beings or things:
(a) Certain words employed exclusively in a collective sense, while the individual members of the class are denoted by special words (nomina unitatis, but not in the same sense as in §122t).
- Cf. in Greek ἡ ἵππος, the cavalry (as well as τὸ ἱππικόν), ἡ κάμηλος, Hdt. 1, 80, &c., the camel corps.