Etymology of the word: Pharaoh
Pharaoh is an Egyptian word for “Great House”. It comes to us via Middle English from Latin from Greek from Hebrew, פרעה, from Coptic from Ancient Egyptian.
As I understand it, the original Egyptian was pr-AA, the final part represented by the numerical three in hieroglyphs. Middle English was Paroh, and the PH (f sound) comes from Latin, which reflects the Greek, pharao (which is where the odd “ao” spelling comes from.) Originally the Egyptian Perro referred only to the “house” of the king, and only after the eighteenth dynasty was the word then applied to the title of the king himself.
There is also an interesting connection of the Coptic dropping the initial “p” to make their word for “king”, which is erro, pronounced with a glottal stop, which would account for the ayin in the Hebrew. In the first Century, Egyptians begin to use Greek for their alphabet, and that is when the softer PH or F initial sound appeared.
Of course, Hebrew students recognize right away the פר, which means “bull” in Hebrew. We certainly know from the Tanach that the Pharaoh was “bull-headed” regarding the Israelites! Jim Long plays on this in his The Riddle of the Exodus :
“The association of Pharaoh, the alleged human god, to a holy cow or bull is clear from Pharoah's dream of cows in Genesis 41, and from the golden calf in Exodus 32 to recall the Egyptian deity that many former slaves were used to”
The above is all very interesting, but I feel that the Hebrew is simply a transliteration (phonetic rendering) of the original Egyptian word itself and any resemblance to deeper meanings in the Hebrew are coincidental. I acknowledge there are those of the mindset that coincidence is never outside of higher designs and intent, and so have included the “bull” connection for their satisfaction.
For more information, the sources below are what I read. Feel free to explore on your own! Comments welcome to contribute to this study. Thanks for visiting.
Morah Ivrit, Keren
Jim Long's The Riddle of The Exodus, Lightcatcher Books, 2002