From the root ר־ח־ב (r-ħ-b) which bears the meaning "wide, spacious". A Biblical word that has been borrowed into Modern Hebrew with semantic shift - while in the Bible it means an open square within the city, in Modern Hebrew it denotes "street", based on interpretations that are reflected also in KJV (but not in the recent NIV).
- (Modern/Israeli Hebrew) IPA(key): /ʁɛˈχov/
- (Biblical Hebrew) (reconstruction per Tiberian vocalization) IPA(key): /rəˈħoːv/
The meaning "open square" is never used in Modern Hebrew, not even as a borrowing in literature or flowery expressions. Instead, the words רחבה and כיכר are used in all contemporary contexts and registers. In the Hebrew Bible the word חוץ (="outside") is used for "street". This usage survived in Modern Hebrew only in its plural form חוצות.