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Shin-Lamedh-Mem is the triconsonantal root of many Semitic words, and many of those words are used as names. The root meaning translates to "whole, safe, intact, unharmed, to go free, without blemish". Its earliest known form is in the name of Shalim, the ancient god of dusk of Ugarit. Derived from this are meanings of "to be safe, secure, at peace", hence "well-being, health" and passively "to be secured, pacified, submitted".

  • Arabic: س ل م‎ S-L-M (Maltese: S-L-M)

  • East Semitic S-L-M

  • South Semitic "S-L-M" Ge'ez: ሰላም S-L-M

  • Northwest Semitic Š-L-M Canaanite Š-L-M (c.f. Shalem) Hebrew: שלם‎ Š-L-M Aramaic: ܫܠܡ‎ Š-L-M

Arabic salām (سَلاَم), Maltese sliem, Hebrew Shalom (שָׁלוֹם), Ge'ez sälam (ሰላም), Syriac šlama (pronounced Shlama, or Shlomo in the Western Syriac dialect) (ܫܠܡܐ) are cognate Semitic terms for 'peace', deriving from a Proto-Semitic **šalām-*.

Given names derived from the same root include Solomon (Süleyman), Absalom, Selim, Salem, Salim, Salma, Salmah, Salman, Selimah, Shelimah, Salome, etc.

Arabic, Maltese, Hebrew and Aramaic have cognate expressions meaning 'peace be upon you' used as a greeting:

  • Arabic as-salāmu ʻalaykum (السلام عليكم) is used to greet others and is an Arabic equivalent of 'hello'. The appropriate response to such a greeting is "and upon you be peace" (wa-ʻalaykum as-salām).

  • Hebrew shālôm ʻalêḵem, (שלום עליכם) is the equivalent of the Arabic expression, the response being עליכם שלום ʻalêḵem shālôm, 'upon you be peace'.

  • Maltese sliem għalikom.

  • Neo-Aramaic (ܫܠܡ ܥܠܘܟ) šlama 'lokh, classically ܫܠܡ ܠܟ, šlām lakh.

East Semitic

In the Amarna letters. A small number of the 382-letter corpus of the letters discussed the exchange of "peace gifts", namely greeting-gifts (Shulmani) between the Pharaoh and the other ruler involving the letter. The examples are Zita (Hittite prince), and Tushratta of Mitanni. Also, Kadashman-Enlil of Babylon, (Karduniaš of the letters).

Šalām, (shalamu) is also used in letter introductions, stating the authors health: an example letter EA19, from Tushratta to Pharaoh states:

"...the king of Mittani, your brother. For me all goes well. For you may all go well."--(lines 2-4) (an 85-line letter)[1]
  • Salimatu 'alliance'

  • Salimu 'peace, concord'

  • Shalamu 'to be(come) whole, safe; to recover; to succeed, prosper'.

  • Shulmu 'health, well-being'; also a common greeting


The Arabic word salām is used in a variety of expressions and contexts in Arabic and Islamic speech and writing. "Al-Salām" is one of the 99 names of God in Islam, and also a male given name in conjunction with ʻabd. ʻAbd al-Salām translates to 'Slave of Allah the All-Peaceable'.

  • سلام salām 'Peace'

  • السلام عليكم as-salāmu ʿalaykum 'Peace be upon you'

  • إسلام Islām 'Acceptance, entrusting one's wholeness to God'

  • مسلم muslim 'One who Accepts'

  • تسليم taslīm – 'delivering SLM – to give a salutation or a submission'

  • إستسلام Istislām –'the act of submission'

  • مستسلم mustaslim – One who submits*– no longer seeking opposition/conflict, the one who has submitted*

  • سالم sālim – 'subject of SLM' – its SLM, 'the vase is SLM', 'the vase is whole, unbroken'

  • مُسَلَّم musallam – 'undisputed'

  • Catholic Church: in the rosary: السلام عليك يا مريم as-salām ʻalayki yā Maryam 'Hail Mary'.

In Maltese:

  • Sliem – 'peace'

  • Sellem – 'to greet, to salute'

Arabic Islām

The word إسلام Islām is a verbal noun derived from s-l-m, meaning "submission" (i.e. entrusting one's wholeness to a higher force), which may be interpreted as humility. "One who submits" is signified by the participle مسلم, Muslim (fem. مسلمة, muslimah).[3]

The word is given a number of meanings in the Qur'an. In some verses (āyāt), the quality of Islam as an internal conviction is stressed: "Whomsoever God desires to guide, He expands his breast to Islam."[4] Other verses connect islām and dīn (usually translated as "religion"): "Today, I have perfected your religion (dīn) for you; I have completed My blessing upon you; I have approved Islam for your religion."[5] Still others describe Islam as an action of returning to God—more than just a verbal affirmation of faith.[6]

Given names

  • Salam (سلام Salām)

  • Salman (سلمان Salmān)

  • Salim (سالم Sālim)

  • Selim (سليم, originally: Salīm)

  • Suleim (سُليم Sulaym)

  • Suleiman (سليمان Sulaymān)

Northwest Semitic

The Koine Greek New Testament text uses eirēnē (εἰρήνη) for 'peace',[7] which perhaps represents Jesus saying šlama; this Greek form became the northern feminine name Irene. In the Epistles, it often occurs alongside the usual Greek greeting chairein (χαίρειν) in the phrase 'grace and peace'. However, comparison of the Greek Septuagint and Hebrew Masoretic Old Testament texts shows some instances where shalom was translated instead as soteria (σωτηρία, meaning 'salvation').

In Hebrew:

  • Shalom

  • Mushlam (מושלם) – perfect

  • Shalem (שלם) – whole, complete

  • Lehashlim (להשלים) – to complete, fill in

  • Leshallem (לשלם) – to pay

  • Tashlum (תשלום) – payment

  • Shillumim (שילומים) – reparations

  • Lehishtallem (להשתלם) – to be worth it, to "pay"

  • Absalom (אבשלום) – a personal name, literally means 'Father [of] Peace'.

  • Shlama – 'peace'

  • Shalmuta

Given names

  • Shlomi (שלומי or שלמי)

  • Solomon, Shlomo (שלמה)

  • Shlomit (שלומית)

  • Shulamit (שולמית)

See also

  • Names of Jerusalem


Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgWilliam L. Moran. The Amarana letters. p. 43. ISBN 0-8018-6715-0.
Oct 1, 2019, 3:19 PM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgHuehnergard, J. (2005). A Grammar of Akkadian. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.
Oct 1, 2019, 3:19 PM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgEntry for šlm, p. 2067, Appendix B: Semitic Roots, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000, ISBN 0-618-08230-1.
Oct 1, 2019, 3:19 PM
Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.eduQuran 6:125, Quran 61:7, Quran 39:22
Oct 1, 2019, 3:19 PM
Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.eduQuran 5:3, Quran 3:19, Quran 3:83
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.eduSee: Quran 9:74, Quran 49:14 L. Gardet; J. Jomier. "Islam". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online.
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Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgLk 24:36; Jn 20:19,26; vide NA27 per sy.
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu9:74
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu49:14
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu6:125
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu61:7
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu39:22
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu3:19
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu3:83
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu9:74
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Citation Linkwww.perseus.tufts.edu49:14
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