|Lehite noun||Gold currency, ca. 82 BC (Alma 11:3; 3 Nephi 12:26)|
No etymology is persuasive.
The most likely candidate is the Egyptian term sniw (JG) a unit of silver currency during the New Kingdom in Egypt. There are two challenges with this candidate. The first is that attestation after the New Kingdom is wanting. The second is that it needs another n. There is one instance of a spelling snny, but one would like more examples to show that this one writing is not simply a scribal error.
Another possible Egyptian etymology is snn, "likeness, image," though this is normally used of statues. The word becomes rare after Late Egyptian, though it is attested through the Roman period (as snnw3).
A Hebrew root such as snn or śnn would be ideal. The closest proposed root is ṣll, “to lift up, exalt, raise, gather, cast up (into a heap)” or ṣlh, “to lift up, suspend (a balance), weigh.” This is a distant possibility. The only way that this proposal would work would be if Reformed Egyptian followed earlier Egyptian transcription systems where Semitic l was expressed as Egyptian n. See also the more likely post biblical Hebrew ṣnh (=Arabic ṣny), “to lift up, elevate” (JAT), though we have not been able to find this root (PYH, JG).
A possible, but unlikely, candidate for the origin of senine is Egyptian snw, a kind of jar (JAT), though the unit of measure, volume, is not the same as the Book of Mormon unit of measure, mass. The Egyptian word snw also needs another n.
See also Senine Variants
- It was worth about 5 diban; Janssen, Commodity Prices from the Ramessid Period, 102-8.
- Janssen, Commodity Prices from the Ramessid Period, 103.
- Wb. 3:460
- Jasnow and Zauzich, The Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth, 1:107, 240-41.
- Adolf Erman and Hermann Grapow, Worterbuch der Aegyptischen Sprache. Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1926-1931. Wb.
- Jac. J. Janssen, Commodity Prices from the Ramessid Period: An Economic Study of the Village of Necropolis Workmen at Thebes. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1975.
- Richard Jasnow and Karl-Th. Zauzich, The Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth. Weisbaden: Harrassowtiz Verlag, 2005.