|Lehite noun||1.||A cultivated plant (Mosiah 9:9)|
No etymology is suggested. A semitic root such as nās/ṣ/š/ś/z, na ’s/ṣ/š/ś/z or na ‘s/ṣ/š/ś/z would be the likely source. On the other hand, this noun may be borrowed into Lehite from a native indigenous vocabel. The fact that Joseph Smith did not translate the word means that he did not have or was not aware of a suitable English translation. This would seem to exclude potato, tomato, pepper, etc., indigenous American plants, and, depending on New England agricultural practices, the Old World grain emmer.
All the proffered suggestions are highly questionable: Late Babylonian *nušû(m), nešu, a plant of some sort; Late Babylonian *kaš nāšu, a kind of beer (i.e., fermented from some cereal product, like malt). Akkadian *na’ṣu, nāṣu, “chew; in the mouth,” used with “root” and “cedar-wood,” so that “NEAS” might be a tuber of some sort. These etymological possibilities suggest that the word is a Jaredite borrowing (RFS). Equally questionable is EGYPTIAN n, “belonging to” and is, “old, ancient,” i.e., “that which is ancient” (JAT).
Cf. Book of Mormon NEUM
See also Neas Variants