10 Arabic Loanwords Into English

10 Arabic Loanwords Into English

No language is pure; not least, English. It has loaned many words from foreign languages – Arabic being one of them. And these words have something to add.

1. Assassin:

The word assassin meaning killer is derived from Arabic word “hashish” – drug. In medieval western Iran, one rebel Hassan-ibn Sabbah formed his band of followers. These followers were least fearful of death; they would intoxicate themselves with “hashish” and would kill an enemy, often for ransom. Their lives have been a source of much fantasized Arabic literature. Some modern historians have equated the present suicide bombers as the new assassins. Are they?

2. Admiral:

It is derived from Arabic amir-al-bahr meaning “commander of the seas.” Much like its literal translation, admiral is the highest ranking officer in navy.

3. Arsenal:

Does the football club arsenal have ammunitions in their store? No. It was formed by the workers at Royal Arsenal, a military depot that carried out ammunition manufactures and proofing for the British Army. The word arsenal means a storage house of arms and ammunition. It is derived from the Arabic word dar-ul-sinnah meaning “house of manufacture.”

4. Al-Khwarizmi and his jabr:

Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizimi was a great mathematician and astrologer. One of his books title coined in the word algebra; his name slipped into as algorithm.

5. The digit zero:

It is said that before the Arabs stepping into the knowledge zone, there was no zero. Others say the Indians had it in the form of sunya – the Arabs took it from them. Whatever, the Arabs imported it. Two English words zero and cipher are Arab man’s export.

6. Arabian Sea:

Arabs usually mastered the sea but were often slaved by the storms. One word monsoon entered its way into English after the Arabs found this mausum (weather) unbearable. Another one, typhoon came from the unrelenting toofan (storm) of the sea.

7. Dragoman:

In classic English and you can check the dictionary now too, dragoman used to be official translators. Originally, it used to refer to people in the courts of Ottoman Empire who would translate the language and enjoyed high position within the empires. This word is a derivative from Arabic tarjumaan (translator).

8. Sweet Arabs:

Had it not been to Arabic, we would have something others for the words “sugar” and “syrub” – the former derived from sukkar; the latter from serbet. The word candy is also Arabic loanword from qandi, literally “cane sugar.”

9. Have rest on stone:

Two commodities, sofa and mattress, are also Arabic derivates. The difference is the English sofa isn’t what the stone ledge suffa used to be. You cannot relax of suffa.

10. Lime soda:

These days, soda and lime go together. But both the words find their genesis to a single language- Arabic. The two words come from from limuh and suwwada. May be lime soda was common with them too.

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