Arabic Origins of English Words -Learn Arabic Free Online

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 Arabic Origins of English Words
English Arabic Origin Arabic Meaning
admiral amir al-baHr Ruler of the Sea
alcohol al-kuHul a mixture of powdered antimony
alcove al-qubba a dome or arch
algebra al-jabr to reduce or consolidate
almanac al-manakh a calendar
arsenal daar As-SinaaH house of manufacture
azure al-azward lapis lazuli
candy qand cane sugar
coffee qahwa coffee
cotton quTun cotton
elixir al-iksiir philosopher’s stone
gazelle ghazaal gazelle
hazard az-zahr dice
magazine al-makhzan a storehouse; a place of storage
mattress matraH a place where things are thrown
ream rizma a bundle
saffron za’fran saffron
Sahara SaHraa’ desert
satin zaytuun Arabic name for a Chinese city
sherbet sharaba to drink
sofa Sofaa a cushion
sugar sukkar sugar
zero Sifr zero

 

 

admiralami:r-al-bahr ‘ruler of the seas’ (and other similar expressions) – amara command
adobeal-toba ‘the brick’
albacoreal-bukr ‘the young camel’
alchemyal-ki:mi:a: – from Greek
alcoholal-koh”l ‘the kohl
alcoveal-qobbah ‘vault’ – qubba vault
alembical-ambi:q ‘the still’ – from Greek
alfalfaalfas,fas,ah ‘fodder’
algebraal-jebr ‘reintegration’ – jabara reunite
Algolal-ghu:l ‘the ghoul
algorithmal-Khowarazmi ‘the (man) of Khiva’
alkalial-qaliy ‘calx’ – qalay fry, roast
Allah`allah, from contraction of al-ilah ‘the god’
Almagestal-majisti – from Greek
almanac – (Andalucian Arabic) al-mana:kh, of uncertain origin
amber`anbar ‘ambergris’
antimonyal-íthmid ‘antimony trisulphide’ – perhaps from Greek
apricotal-burquq – from Greek
Arab`arab
arsenal – dar as,s,ina`ah ‘house of making’, i.e. ‘factory’ – s,ana`a make
artichokeal-kharshu:f

assagaiaz-zaghayah – from Berber
assassinh’ashsha:shi:n ‘hashish eaters’, from the Isma`ili sectarians
attar`itr ‘aroma’
ayatollah‘ayatu-llah ‘miraculous sign of God’
azimuthas-sumut ‘the paths’; see also zenith
azureal-lazward ‘lapis lazuli’ – from Persian

barbican – (possibly) bâb-al-baqara ‘gate with holes’
berdache – (possibly) bardaj ‘slave’
Betelgeusebi:t al-jauza:’ ‘shoulder of the Giant’
bezoarbazahr – from Persian
bintbint ‘daughter
bledbalad ‘vast open country’
boraxbu:raq – from Persian
burkaburqa`
burnouseburnus

caliberqali:b ‘mold, last’ –
calicoQaliqu:t ‘Calicut’, city in India
caliphkhali:fah ‘successor’ – khalafa ‘succeed’
camiseqami:s ‘shirt’ – from Latin
camphorka:fu:r – from Malay
candy – short for ‘sugar candy’, from sugar + qandi ‘candied’, from qand ‘cane sugar’ – from a Dravidian language
caratqi:ra:t ‘small weight’ – from Greek
carawayalkarawya: – probably from Greek
carafegharra:f – gharafa ‘dip’
carmineqirmazi: ‘crimson’
carobkharrubah
cassock – kaza:ghand ‘padded jacket’ – from Persian

checksha:h ‘king’ – from Persian
checkmatesha:h ma:t ‘the king is dead’
chemistry – see alchemy
chess – from Old French eschecs, plural of check
cipher
s,ifr ’empty’

civetzaba:d
coffeeqahwah

Copt quft – from Greek
corkqu:rq
cottonqutn

couscouskuskuskaskasa pound, bruise
crimsonqirmazi:, related to the qirmiz, the insect that provided the dye

Denebdanab al-jaja:ja ‘tail of the hen’
dhowda:w
dinardi:na:r – from Greek
dirham dirham – from Greek

dragomantarjuma:ntarjama interpret
drubdaraba ‘beat’

dura mater – Latin calque on umm al-ghali:dah ‘hard mother’

efreet‘ifri:t ‘monster’
El Cidal-Sayyid ‘the lord’
elixiral-iksi:r ‘philosopher’s stone’ – from Greek
emirami:r amara command

fakirfaqi:r ‘poor man’ – faqura be poor
fardelfardah ‘load’
FarsiFa:rs ‘Pars’, a province of Iran – from Persian
fatwafetwa – fata: instruct by a legal decision
fedayeenfida:’iyi:n ‘commandos’ – fida:` redemption

felafelfala:fil
fellahfella:h’ ‘husbandman’ – falah’a till

feluccafulk ‘ship’ – falaka be round
Fomalhautfum u’l-haut ‘mouth of the fish’

garblegharbala ‘sift’ – perhaps from Latin
gazelleghaza:l
geniejinni: ‘spirit’

gerbilyarbu:`
ghoulghu:l ‘demon’ – gha:la take suddenly

giraffezara:fa

hadith
h’adi:t ‘tradition’

hajh’ajj ‘pilgrimage’ – h’ajja go on a pilgrimage
halalh’ala:l ‘lawful’
halvahh’alwa:
haremh’aram ‘prohibited, set apart’ – h’arama prohibit
hashishh’ashi:sh ‘dried herbs, hemp’
hazardyásara ‘play at dice’
hegirahijrah ‘departure’ – hajara separate, go
hennah’enna:`
HezbollahH’izbulla:h ‘party of God’
hookahh’uqqah ‘water bottle (through which smoke is drawn)’
hourih’u:r al-`ayu:n ‘with eyes like gazelles’ – h’awura have eyes like gazelles

imamima:m ‘leader’ – amma precede
Islamisla:m ‘submission’ – aslama submit oneself

jarjarrah ‘large earthen vase’
jasmineya:smi:n – from Persian
jinnjinn ‘spirits’, plural of genie
julep
jula:b ‘rose water’ – from Persian

Kaabaka`bah ‘square house’
kabobkaba:b – from Persian
kaffirka:fir ‘infidel’ – kafara conceal, deny
keffiyehkaffi:yah
khamsinkhamsi:n ‘fifty (days)’

kismetqisma ‘portion, lot’ – qasama divide
kohlkoh”l ‘kohl’ – kah’ala stain, paint
Koranqura:n ‘recitation’ – qara`a read

lilacli:la:k – from Persian
lemonlaymu:n – from Persian
limeli:mah ‘citrus fruit’
loofahlu:fah a plant whose pods were used as sponges
luteal-`u:d

macramémiqramah ‘striped cloth’
magazinemakha:zin ‘storehouses’ – khazana store
Mahdimahdi:y ‘one who is guided aright’ – hada: lead
majlismajlis ‘council’
mancalamank.alanak.ala move
marzipanmawthaba:n ‘coin featuring a seated figure’
mask – perhaps maskhara ‘buffoon’ – sakhira ridicule
mattressmatrah ‘place where something is thrown, mat, cushion’ – tarah’a throw
minaretmana:rah – na:r fire
mohairmukhayyar ‘choice (goats’-hair cloth)’ – khayyara select
monsoonmausim ‘season’ – wasama mark
mosquemasgid – sagada worship
Mozarabicmusta`rib ‘would-be Arab’
muezzin
mu’adhdhin ‘criers’ – adhana proclaim

muftimufti: ‘one who gives a fatwa
mujahedeen – muja:hidi:n ‘figher in a jihad
mullahmawla: ‘master’
mummymu:miya: ’embalmed body’ – mu:m ‘(embalming) wax’
Muslimmuslim ‘submitter’ – aslama submit oneself
muslinMaus,il ‘Mosul’

nadirnadi:r as-samt ‘opposite the zenith’
natronnatru:n – from Greek
nizamnidam ‘government’

orangena:ranj – from Sanskrit
ottoman`uthma:n, a proper name

pia mater – Latin calque on umm raqi:qah ‘tender mother’
popinjaybabagha:
Primum Mobile – Latin calque on al-muh’ arrik al-awwal ‘the first mover’

racketrâh’et ‘palm of the hand’ RamadanRamada:n meaning perhaps ‘the hot month’ – ramata be heated
realgarrehj al-gha:r ‘powder of the cave’
reamrizmah ‘bundle’
rebecreba:b
Rigelrijl ‘foot (of Orion)’
rocrukh
rookrukh – from Persian
Rubaiyyatruba:`i:yah ‘quatrain’

safarisafari:y ‘journey’ – safara travel
saffronza`fara:n
Saharaçah’ra: ‘desert’
sahibça:h’ib ‘friend’
salaamas-sala:m `alaikum ‘peace be on you’
salukisalu:k.i: ‘from Saluk
Saracensharqi:yi:n ‘easterners’ – sha:raqa rise
sashsha:sh ‘muslin’
satin – probably zaytu:ni: ‘of Zaytu:n’ (a city in China)
scarletsiqilla:t ‘(cloth) adorned with images’ – from Latin
sequinsikkah ‘die for coinmaking’
Shariashari:`a
sheikhshaikh ‘old man’ – sha:kha grow old

sherbetsharbahshariba drink
Shiiteshiya`i:y, from shiya:` ‘following, sect’ – sha`a follow
shrub [drink] – shurb ‘a drink’ – shariba drink
sine – Latin sinus, mistranslation of jayb ‘chord of an arc, sine’, through confusion with jayb ‘fold of a garment’
siroccosharq ‘east (wind)’ – sha:raqa rise
sofas,uffah ‘raised dais with cushions’
souksu:k. ‘marketplace’
spinachisfa:na:kh
Sufiçu:fi: ‘man of wool’
sugarsukkar – from Sanskrit
sultansulta:n ‘sovereign’
sumacsumma:q
Sunnisunni: ‘lawful’, from sunna:h ‘rule, course’
surasu:rah
syrup shara:b ‘beverage’ – shariba drink

tabboulehtabbu:la
tabby`atta:biy, a neighborhood in Baghdad where taffeta was made

tahini – – tah’ana crush
Talibantalib ‘student’ – talaba study
talismantilsam – from Greek
tamarindtamr-hindi: ‘date of India’
tambourine – a small tambour, from tanbu:r – from Persian
tandooritannu:r ‘oven’
tarbooshtarbu:sh
tare [weight] – tarh’ah ‘rejected’ – tarah’a reject
tariffta`ri:f ‘notification’ – `arafa notify
tarragontarkhu:n – possibly from Greek
tell [mound] – tall ‘hillock’

ujamaajama:` ‘community’
ulema – `ulima: ‘the learned ones’ – `alama know

Vegaal-nasr al-wa:qi` ‘the falling vulture’
vizierwazi:r ‘porter, public servant’ – wazara carry

wadiwa:di:
Waqfwaqf ‘religious foundation’

wisdom tooth – from a Latin calque on adra:su ‘l h’ikmi – calqued from Greek

zenithsamt ‘path’
zeros,ifr ’empty’

 

 

 
Top 50+ English Words—of Arabic Origin!

Posted on 21. Feb, 2012 by Hichem in Arabic Language, Culture, Film, Geography, History, Language, Vocabulary

Did you know that words like Adobe (nowadays of PDF Adobe Acrobat fame) and Safari (as in the Apple web browser) are actually Arabic?

Of course, you already knew of the existence of so-called “loanwords” in English, meaning words which are originally French, German, Spanish, etc.

But were you actually aware that several of them also come from ARABIC?

 IN SCIENCE AND MATH:

    ALCHEMY and CHEMISTRY (الكيميـــــــــاء.)

    ALCOHOL (الكُحُـــــــــول.)

    ALGEBRA (الجبــر: More on the eponymous founder of Algebra as an independent mathematical discipline here.)

    ALGORITHM (خوارزم: More on the eponymous founder of algorthimics here.)

    ALKALINE (القلوي: Meaning “non-acid, basic.”)

    ALMANAC (المنــــــاخ: Literally meaning “climate”)

    AVERAGE (From Old French avarie, itself from the Arabic term عوارية, meaning “damaged goods”, from عور meaning “to lose an eye.”)

    AZIMUTH (السمــــــــت: This concept is used in several fields, such as الفلك/astronomy، هندسة الطيران/aerospace engineering، and فيزياء الكم/quantum physics.)

    CIPHER (صِفـــــــــــــــــــــــــــر: The term “cipher” is now mostly applied in cryptography—see الكَندي/Al-Kindi’s work.)

    ELIXIR (الإكسيــــــــــــــر: Something like a “syrup”—also an Arabic term, possibly borrowed from Persian.)

    NADIR (نظيـــــــــــــر: It is the opposite of the zenith.)

    SODA (صـــــــــودا.)

    ZENITH (سمت الرأس: Literally the “azimuth of the head”، it is the opposite of the “nadir.”)

    ZERO (same as “cipher.”)

Names of many stars and constellations:

The name of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice is an obvious pun on the Arabic-named star بيت الجــــــوزاء/Betelgeuse

From an Arabic-named star of a constellation to a Star of video games: Vega (the “Flamenco-styled” Street Fighter character hailing from Spain!)

(Altair: الطَّائـــــــــر meaning “the bird”; Betelgeuse: بيت الجــــــوزاء, meaning “the House of the Gemini”; Deneb: ذنب meaning “tail”; Fomalhaut: فم الحوت which means “the mouth of the Pisces”, Rigel: رِجـــــــل meaning “foot”, it stands for رجل الجبَّار, or the “foot of the Titan”, Vega: الواقع meaning “the Falling”, refers to النسر الواقع، meaning “the falling eagle”, etc.)

    An entirely separate post is necessary to list all of the astronomical terms which are of Arabic origin.

 TECHNICAL TERMS (ENGINEERING, MILITARY, BUSINESS, COMMODITIES, etc.)

    ADMIRAL (أميــــــــر الرحلة, meaning commander of the fleet, or literally “of the trip”)

    الرايس حمِّيـــــــــــدو (Rais Hamidou): A legendary Admiral who led the Algerian Navy before the invasion of his country by France

    ADOBE (الطوب: meaning a “brick.” Next time you use an Adobe Acrobat product, you will remember that Adobe is originally Arabic!)

    ALCOVE (القبة: meaning “the vault”, or “the dome”)

    AMBER (عنبر: Anbar, “ambergris.”)

    ARSENAL (Do fans of F.C. Arsenal today, including those living in the Arab world, know where the name of their favorite team came from? دار الصناعــــــــــــــــة : “manufacturing house”)

    ASSASSIN (Just like the word MAFIA, it is of Arabic origin: It either comes from “حشَّــــــــــــــاشين”, referring to the medieval sect of the same name famous for the heavy hashish consumption by its knife-wielding members, or “العسَّاسيــــــــــــــــن”, meaning “the watchmen.”)

    It seems that the medieval Assassin sect has made quite a comeback with “Assassin’s Creed”, the historical fiction action-adventure video game series featuring the character “Desmond Miles”, a descendant of one of the leaders of the sect named “Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad” (literally “Bird Son of No One”—as mentioned above, “Altair” is the name of a constellation still identified by its Arabic name)

    CALIBER (قـــــــالب: meaning “mold”)

    CANDY (from قندي, itself from Persian for “hard candy made by boiling cane sugar”)

    CHECK (from صکّ, also from Persian meaning “letter of credit.” It would give the Chess expression “Checkmate”, from “الشيخ مات”, or “the Shaikh is dead.”)

    CORK (القورق)

    COFFEE (قهوة: For long snubbed by Europeans as the “wine of the infidels”—that is, many centuries before the age of Starbucks and instant coffee!)

    COTTON (قُطْـــــــــن)

    GAUZE (either from قَــــــــــزّ, meaning “silk”, or from غَــــــــزّة, “Gaza”, the Palestinian city.)

    GUITAR (just as LUTE, العود, a musical instrument known to Europeans through the Arabic قيثارة, itself possibly borrowed from a word of Ancient Greek.)

    HAZARD (الزّهر: “the dice”—Think of an Arabic TV series hazardly titled “The Dukes of Al-Azhar”…)

    LAZULI (As in “Lapis Lazuli”, لاژورد: Arabic word for a semi-precious stone famous for its intense blue color. The Arabic word is said to come from a Persian city where the stone was mined.)

    MASCARA (Just as with the English “masquerade” and the French “mascarade“, mascara comes from the Arabic word مسخرة, an event during which people wear masks, such as carnivals.)

    “مسخرة/Mascarades”: A 2008 prize-winning comedy by Algerian director إلياس سالم (Lyes Salem)—Not fully exempt from stereotypes and distortions, yet much preferrable to many comparable “made-for-Western-audiences” movies, such as the calamitous “turkeys” so typically served by a Merzak Alloueche (to name only him!)

    MATTRESS (مطـــــــــــــــــــرح.)

    MONSOON (موسم: Arabic for “season.”)

    MUMMY (مومياء: Originally from Persian root “موم”, meaning “wax”.)

    RACQUET (As in a “tennis racket”. Some point to an Arabic origin of Tennis. The word racket comes the Arabic word “راحـــــــة”, as in “راحـــــة اليد”, meaning the “palm of the hand.”)

    REAM (as in a “ream of paper”, it comes from Arabic رزمة, meaning a “bundle.”)

    SAFARI (سفـــــــر: “travel”—As in Apple’s Safari web browser)

    SASH (شــــــــاش.)

    SATIN (زيتــــــــــــوني: “Olive-like”, perhaps related to modern Tsinkiang in Fukien province, southern China.)

    SOFA (الصُفــــــــة)
    Safari

    TALCUM (التلك)

    SWAHILI (Comes from سواحــــــــــل: Plural of ساحــــــــــل, meaning a “coast.”)

    ZIRCON (زرقـــــــــــــون: “golden-colored.” Zirconium is a chemical element with the symbol Zr and atomic number 40)

  • TARIFF (تعاريـــــــــــــــف, plural of تعريـــــــــــــــفة, meaning a “fee”, or simply تعريـــــــــــــــف, as in “بطاقــــــــة التعريـــــــــــــــف“, meaning an “identity card.”)

Finally, to close this list, it is fitting to greet everyone by saying “SO-LONG” (an English expression which, according to The Penguin Dictionary of Historical Slang, may come from the Arabic word ســـــــــــــــــــــــلام/SALAAM!)