AMEN, a Church Term, used as the Conclusion of all solemn Prayers, &c. and signifying, so be it, or fiat. The Hebrews had four kinds of Amen — That just mentioned they called Amen past; which was accompanied with the greatest Attention, and Devotion: In this Sense, the Word has passed into almost all Languages, without any Alteration. Some Authors are of Opinion, that the Word Amen is formed of the initial Letters of these Words, Adonai Melech Neeman, Dominus Rex Fidelis; an usual Expression among the Jews, when they would give Weight or Sanction to anything they said. In effect, ’tis known, that to express the Words אדני מלך נאמן, Adonai Melech Neeman, in the ordinary way of Abbreviatures; the Rabbins only take the initial Letters, which joined together, are really the Letters of the Word אמן, Amen. See ABBREVIATURE. On the other hand, there are some of their Cabalists, who, according to their usual manner of finding hidden Meanings in Words, which they call Notaricon; out of the Letters of the Word Amen, form the whole Phrase, Adonai Melech, Neeman. See NOTARICON.

Yet, ’tis certain also, that the Word Amen was in the Hebrew Tongue, before ever there were any such things as Cabbala or Cabalists in the World: as appears from Deuteronomy, Chap. XXVII. ver. 15. See CABBALA, &c. The Primitive of the Word Amen, is the Verb aman, which, in the passive Voice, signifies to be true, faithful, constant, &c. — Hence came the Noun אמן, Amen, which signifies, Truth. And, lastly, of this Noun Amen they made a kind of affirmative Adverb, which, when placed at the End of any Phrase or Proposition, signifies, So be it, Be it true, I acquiesce in it, &c.

Thus, in the Passage above cited from Deuteronomy, Moses ordered the Levites to cry aloud to the People, Cursed is he that makes any graven or molten Image, &c. and all the People shall say, Amen; i.e. Yes, May he be cursed, We desire, we agree to it.

But at the beginning of a Phrase, as in several Passages of the New Testament, it signifies Truly, Verily. When it is redoubled, or repeated twice together, as is always done by St. John, it has the Effect of a Superlative, agreeably to the Genius of the Hebrew Tongue, and her two Daughters, the Chaldee and Syriack.

In this Sense, we are to understand Aven, Amen, "dico vobis". The Evangelists usually preserve the Hebrew word Aimen, in their Greek form; though St. Luke sometimes renders it by ὄντως (ontos), 'truly', or 'certainly'.