|Jaredite noun||1.||“Honey-bee” (Ether 2:3)|
Until possible language affinities for JAREDITE names can be determined, all suggestions for etymologies of JAREDITE names must remain more speculative than substantive. With that caveat, the onomasticon does offer etymologies for some JAREDITE names, especially if it is possible that some JAREDITE names were translated into NEPHITE, or were otherwise related to one or more Semitic languages.
The Book of Mormon supplies its own meaning for this word.
If EGYPTIAN may be appealed to, dšr.t, “red (land), desert” as well as a name for Upper EGYPT, of which the symbol was the bee, and the king’s crown (the dšr.t-crown) was a short crown with a bee proboscis coming out the top. Also, dsrt = “archaic and ritual designation of the bee was ‘DESERET’, a ‘word of power’, too sacred to be entrusted to the vulgar.”
Kevin Barney explained the etymology as Proto-Semitic or Archaic Hebrew GN dbrt (Joshua 19:12 > Classical Hebrew dĕbôrâ “bee; Deborah”), which may have been equated or confused with ancient Egyptian dšrt, with the above meaning discussed by Nibley, but which can also mean "desert."
See also Deseret Variant
Deseret Alphabet: 𐐔𐐇𐐝𐐀𐐡𐐇𐐓 (dɛsiːrɛt)
- Nibley, Hugh W., “There were Jaredites III,” Improvement Era, (April 1965).
- Nibley, World of the Jaredites, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book: 1988) p. 192.
- Barney, “On the Etymology of Deseret,” By Common Consent Papers 1/2 (Nov 2006): 3-6, cited in Book of Mormon Central, “Where Does the Word ‘Deseret’ Come From? (Ether 2:3),” KnoWhy #236 (Nov 22, 2016), nn. 7-9, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/ where-does-the-word-%E2%80%9Cdeseret%E2%80%9D-come-from ; even Hirsch Miller used Hebrew dĕbôrîm “honey-bees” as his 1922 translation of DESERET.
- Ramy Samir Mina, “The Influence of the Ancient Egyptian Language on the European Languages,” master’s thesis (Cairo University, 2005), Table 1.
- Sjodahl, Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p.11.
- Daniel H. Ludlow A Companion to your Study of the Book of Mormon. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1969.