List of English words of Arabic origin (A-B)

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The following English words have been acquired either directly from Arabic or else indirectly by passing from Arabic into other languages and then into English. Most entered one or more of the Romance languages before entering English.

To qualify for this list, a word must be reported in etymology dictionaries as having descended from Arabic. A handful of dictionaries has been used as the source for the list.[1] Words associated with the Islamic religion are omitted; for Islamic words, see Glossary of Islam. Archaic and rare words are also omitted. A bigger listing including many words very rarely seen in English is available at Wiktionary dictionary.

Loanwords listed in alphabetical order[edit]


أمير amīr, military commander. Amīr is common in medieval Arabic as a commander on land (not sea). In medieval Latin it has lots records as a specifically Muslim military leader or emir.[2] A Latin record of a different kind comes from Sicily in 1072, the year the Latins defeated the Arabs in Sicily at the capital city Palermo. In that year, after about 200 years of Arabic rule in Sicily, a new military governing official at Palermo was assigned as "Knight, to be for the Sicilians the amiratus", where -atus is a Latin grammar suffix. This title continued in mainly non-marine use over the next century among the Latins at Palermo, usually spelled am[m]iratus;[3] spelled amiraldus in year 1113 where -aldus is a Latin suffix that functions much the same as -atus;[4] ammiral year 1112 influenced by Latin suffix -alis. In 1178 (and earlier) the person holding the title amiratus at Palermo was put in charge of the navy of the Kingdom of Sicily.[3] After that start, the use of the word to mean an Admiral of the Sea was taken up in the maritime republic of Genoa starting in 1195 as amirato, and spread throughout the Latin Mediterranean in the 13th century.[3] Medieval Latin word-forms included ammiratus, ammirandus, amirallus, admiratus, admiralius,[2] while in late medieval French and English the usual word-forms were amiral and admiral.[5] The insertion of the letter 'd' was undoubtedly influenced by allusion to the word admire, a classical Latin word. [1]
الطوبة al-tūba | at-tūba,[6] the brick. The word is in a number of medieval Arabic dictionaries meaning "brick". The Arabic dictionary of Al-Jawhari dated about year 1000 made the comment that the Arabic word had come from the Coptic language.[7] The first record in a Western language is 12th-century Spanish adobe with the same meaning as today's, "sun-dried brick".[8] Other cases of Arabic 't' becoming medieval Spanish 'd' include es:Ajedrez, es:Algodón, es:Badana, es:Badea.[9] The word entered English from Mexico in the 18th and 19th centuries. [2]
afrit (mythology) 
عفريت ʿifrīt, an ancient demon popularized by the 1001 Arabian Nights tales.[10]
The medieval Arabic source-word was probably الغطّاس al-ghattās which literally meant "the diver", and meant birds who caught fish by diving, and sometimes meant the diving waterbirds of the pelecaniform class, including cormorants.[11] From this or some other Arabic word, late medieval Spanish has alcatraz meaning pelecaniform-type large diving seabird.[11] From the Spanish, the word entered English in the later 16th century as alcatras with the same meaning, and it is also in Italian in the later 16th century as alcatrazzi with the same meaning.[12] The albatrosses are large diving seabirds that are only found in the southern hemisphere and the Pacific Ocean regions. Beginning in the 17th century, every European language adopted "albatros" with a 'b' for these birds, the 'b' having been mobilized from Latinate alba = "white". [3]
alchemy, chemistry 
الكيمياء al-kīmiyā, alchemy, meaning in particular "studies about substances through which the generation of gold and silver may be artificially accomplished". In Arabic the word had its origin in a Greek alchemy word that had been in use in the early centuries AD in Alexandria in Egypt in Greek.[13] The Arabic word entered Latin as alchimia in the 12th century and was widely circulating in Latin in the 13th century.[14] In Latin the word alchimia was strongly associated with the quest to make gold out of other metals but the scope of the word also covered the full range of what was then known about chemistry and metallurgy.[15] The late medieval Latin word-forms alchimicus = "alchemical" and alchimista = "alchemist" gave rise to the Latin word-forms chimicus and chimista beginning in the mid 16th century. The word-forms with and without the al- were synonymous up until the end of the 17th century.[16] [4]
الكحل al-kohl, very finely powdered stibnite (Sb2S3) or galena (PbS) or any similar fine powder.[7] The word with that meaning entered Latin in the 13th century spelled alcohol. In Latin in the 14th and 15th centuries the sole meaning was a very fine-grained powder, made of any material.[17] In various cases this powder was obtained by crushing, but in a variety of other cases the powder was obtained by calcination or by sublimation & deposition, or occasionally by distillation. In the alchemy and medicine writer Theophrastus Paracelsus (died 1541), the alcohol powders produced by sublimations were viewed as kinds of distillates, and with that mindset he extended the word's meaning to distillate of wine. "Alcohol of wine" (ethanol) has its first known record in Paracelsus.[18] The biggest-selling English dictionary of the 18th century (Bailey's) defined alcohol as "a very fine and impalpable powder, or a very pure well rectified spirit."[19] [5]
القبّة al-qobba, "the vault" or cupola. That sense for the word is in medieval Arabic dictionaries,[7] and the same sense is documented in Spanish alcoba around 1275.[8] After semantically changing in later medieval Spanish,[20] alcoba begot French alcove, earliest known record 1646,[8] and French begot English. [6]
alembic (distillation apparatus) 
الانبيق al-anbīq, "the still" (for distilling). The Arabic root is traceable to Greek ambix = "cup". The earliest chemical distillations were by Greeks in Alexandria in Egypt in about the 3rd century AD. Their ambix became the 9th-century Arabic al-anbīq, which became the 12th-century Latin alembicus.[21] [7]
الفصفصة al-fisfisa, alfalfa.[22] The Arabic entered medieval Spanish.[22] In medieval Spain alfalfa had a reputation as the best fodder for horses. The ancient Romans grew alfalfa but called it an entirely different name; history of alfalfa. The English name started in the far-west USA in the mid-19th century from Spanish alfalfa.[23] [8]
الجبر al-jabr, completing, or restoring broken parts. The word's mathematical use has its earliest record in Arabic in the title of the book "al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-jabr wa al-muqābala", translatable as "The Compendium on Calculation by Restoring and Balancing", by the 9th-century mathematician Mohammed Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi. This algebra book was translated to Latin more than once in the 12th century. In medieval Arabic mathematics, al-jabr and al-muqābala were the names of the two main preparatory steps used to solve an algebraic equation and the phrase "al-jabr and al-muqābala" came to mean "method of equation-solving". The medieval Latins borrowed the method and the names.[24] [9]
algorithm, algorism 
الخوارزمي al-khwārizmī, a short name for the mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (died c. 850). The appellation al-Khwārizmī means "from Khwarizm". The Latinization of this name to "Algorismi" in the late 12th century gave rise to algorismus in the early 13th. Until the late 19th century both algorismus and algorithm simply meant the "Arabic" decimal number system.[25] [10]
العضادة al-ʿiḍāda (from ʿiḍad, pivoting arm), the rotary dial for angular positioning on the Astrolabe surveying instrument used in astronomy. The word with that meaning was used by, e.g., the astronomers Abū al-Wafā' Būzjānī (died 998)[26] and Abu al-Salt (died 1134).[9] The word with the same meaning entered Latin in the Late Middle Ages in the context of Astrolabes.[27] Crossref azimuth, which entered the Western languages on the same pathway. [11]
القلي al-qalī | al-qilī, an alkaline material derived from the ashes of certain plants. Particularly plants that grew on salty soils—see glasswort and saltwort. Al-Jawhari (died 1003) said "al-qilī is obtained from glassworts".[7] In today's terms, the medieval al-qalī was mainly composed of sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate.[28] The Arabs used it as an ingredient in making glass and making soap. Earliest known record in the West is in a 13th-century Latin alchemy text, with the same meaning as the Arabic.[29] [12]
ambergris and possibly amber
عنبر ʿanbar, meaning ambergris, i.e. a waxy material produced in the stomach of sperm whales and used historically for perfumery. From Arabic sellers of ambergris, the word passed into the Western languages in the mid-medieval centuries as ambra with the same meaning as the Arabic. In the late medieval centuries the Western word took on the additional meaning of amber, from causes not understood. The two meanings – ambergris and amber – then co-existed for more than four centuries. "Ambergris" was coined to eliminate the ambiguity (the color of ambergris is grey more often than not, and gris is French for grey). It wasn't until about 1700 that the ambergris meaning died out in English amber.[30] [13]
anil, aniline, polyaniline 
النيل al-nīl | an-nīl,[6] indigo dye. Arabic word came from Sanskrit nili = "indigo". The indigo dye originally came from tropical India. From medieval Arabic, anil became the usual word for indigo in Portuguese and Spanish. Indigo dye was uncommon throughout Europe until the 16th century; history of indigo dye. In English anil is a natural indigo dye or the tropical American plant it is obtained from. Aniline is a technical word in dye chemistry dating from mid-19th-century Europe.[31] [14]
البرقوق al-barqūq, apricot.[32] Arabic is in turn traceable back to Early Byzantine Greek and thence to classical Latin praecoqua, literally "precocious" and specifically precociously ripening peaches,[33] i.e. apricots.[9] The Arabic was passed onto the late medieval Spanish albarcoque, Catalan albercoc, Portuguese albricoque, all meaning apricot.[34] Early spellings in English included abrecok (1551), abrecox (1578), apricock (1593).[35] [15]
دار صناعة dār sināʿa, literally "house of manufacturing" but in practice in medieval Arabic it meant government-run manufacturing, usually for the military, most notably for the navy.[36] In the Italian maritime republics in the 12th century the word was adopted to designate a naval dockyard, a place for building ships and military armaments for ships, and repairing armed ships. In the later-medieval centuries the biggest such arsenal in Europe was the Arsenal of Venice. 12th century Italian-Latin has the spellings darsena and arsena. In 14th-century Italian and Italian-Latin the spellings included terzana, arzana, arsana, arcenatus, tersanaia, terzinaia, darsena, and 15th century tarcenale, all meaning a shipyard and in many cases having naval building activity. In 16th century French and English an arsenal was either a naval dockyard or an arsenal, or both. In today's French arsenal continues to have the same dual meanings as in the 16th century.[37] [16]
الخرشف al-kharshuf | الخرشوف al-kharshūf, artichoke. The word with that meaning has a number of records in medieval Andalusi and Maghrebi Arabic.[38] Spanish alcachofa (circa 1400), Spanish carchofa (1423), Spanish alcarchofa (1423),[39] Italian carciofjo (circa 1525)[8] are reasonably close to the Arabic precedent, and so are today's Spanish alcachofa, today's Italian carciofo. It is not clear how the word mutated to French artichault (1538), northern Italian articiocch (circa 1550),[8] northern Italian arcicioffo (16th century),[39] English archecokk (1531), English artochock (1542),[39] but all of the etymology dictionaries say it must be a mutation. [17]
حشاشين ḥashāshīn, an Arabic nickname for the Nizari Ismaili religious sect in the Levant during the Crusades era. This sect carried out assassinations against chiefs of other sects, including Crusading Christians, and the story circulated throughout western Europe at the time (13th century and late 12th). In Latin, French & Italian, the sect was called the Assassini, and it is well understood why the word-form got phonetically changed from Arabic Hashāshīn to Latinate Assassini. Generalization of the sect's nickname to the meaning of any kind of assassin happened in Italian at the start of the 14th century. The Italian word entered French and English in the 16th century.[40] [18]
attar (of roses)
عطر ʿitr, perfume, aroma. The English word came from the Hindi/Urdu-speaking area of northeast India in the late 18th century and its source was the Hindi/Urdu atr | itr = "perfume",[41] which had come from the Persian ʿitr = "perfume", and the Persian had come medievally from the Arabic ʿitr. [19]
البادنجان al-bādinjān, aubergine.[42] The plant is native to India. It was unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was introduced to the Mediterranean region by the medieval Arabs. The Arabic name entered Romance languages late medievally, from which comes today's Spanish berenjena = "aubergine". The Catalan albergínia = "aubergine" has records starting either 13th century[8] or early 14th century.[43] The Catalan was the parent of the French aubergine, which starts in the mid 18th century and which embodies a change from al- to au- that happened in French.[44] [20].
عوار ʿawār, a defect, or anything defective or damaged, including partially spoiled merchandise; plus عواري ʿawārī = "of or relating to ʿawār"; and عوارية ʿawārīa (slimly attested wordform), relating to a state of partial damage.[45] Within the Western languages the word's history begins in medieval sea-commerce on the Mediterranean. 12th century Genoa Latin avaria meant "damage, loss and unexpected expenses arising during a merchant sea voyage"; and the same meaning for avaria is in Provence in 1210, Barcelona in 1258 and Florence in the late 13th.[8] 15th century French avarie had the same meaning, and it begot English "averay" (1491) and English "average" (1502) with the same meaning. Today, Italian avaria, Catalan avaria and French avarie still have the primary meaning of "damage". The huge transformation of the meaning in English began with the practice in later medieval and early modern Western merchant marine law contracts under which if the ship met a bad storm and some of the goods had to be thrown overboard to make the ship lighter and safer, then all merchants whose goods were on the ship were to suffer proportionately (and not whoever's goods were thrown overboard); and more generally there was to be proportionate distribution of any avaria. From there the word was adopted by British insurers, creditors, and merchants for talking about their losses as being spread across their whole portfolio of assets and having a mean proportion. The modern meaning developed out of that, and started in the mid 18th century, and started in English.[46] [21].
السموت al-sumūt | as-sumūt,[6] the paths, the directions, the azimuths. The word's origin is in medieval Arabic astronomy and especially the Arabic version of the Astrolabe instrument.[47] The first record in English is in the 1390s in Geoffrey Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe, which used the word many times.[48] The first in any Western language is in the 1270s in Spanish as acimut in a set of astronomy books that took heavily from Arabic sources, the Libros del saber de astronomía del rey Alfonso X de Castilla.[8] [22]
azure (color), lazurite (mineral), azurite (mineral) 
لازورد lāzward | lāzūard, lazurite and lapis lazuli, a rock with a vivid blue color, and this rock was crushed to a powder and used as a blue colorant in inks, enamels, eye-makeup, etc.[49] The word is ultimately from "Lajward" the place-name of a large deposit of the rock in northeastern Afghanistan, which was the only source-place for the high-quality version of the rock in the medieval era. Latin had lazurium and azurium for the rock, with records starting in the 9th century.[8] Late medieval English had azure and lazurium for the rock.[50] From the powdered rock, azure was a color-name in all the later-medieval Western languages. In today's Russian, Ukrainian and Polish the color-name is spelled with the letter 'L' (лазурь, lazur). [23]


benzoin, benzene 
لبان جاوي lubān jāwī, benzoin resin, literally "frankincense of Java". Benzoin is a natural resin from an Indonesian tree. Arab sea-merchants shipped it to the Middle East for sale as perfumery and incense in the later medieval centuries. It first came to Europe in the early 15th century. The European name benzoin is a great mutation of the Arabic name lubān jāwī and the linguistic factors that caused the mutation are well understood.[51] Among European chemists, benzoin resin was the original source for benzoic acid, which became the source for the 19th-century benzene. [24]
بازهر bāzahr (from Persian pâdzahr), a type of hard bolus, containing calcium compounds, sometimes formed in the stomachs of goats (and other ruminants). Today in English a bezoar is a medical and veterinary term for a ball of indigestible material that collects in the stomach and fails to pass through the intestines. Goat bezoars were recommended by medieval Arabic medical writers for use as antidotes to poisons, particularly arsenic poisons. That is how the word first entered Latin medical vocabulary.[52] [25]
borax, borate, boron 
بورق būraq, various salts, including borax. Borax (i.e., sodium borate) was in use medievally primarily as a fluxing agent in soldering gold, silver and metal ornaments. The ancient Greeks and Romans used fluxing agents, but borax was unknown to them. In medieval Europe there was no borax except as an import from Arabian lands. From Arabic būraq, Latin adopted the name borax | baurach in the 12th century[8] meaning borax for fluxing metals, and sometimes meaning any kind of salts used for fluxing metals.[53] In medieval Arabic the usual name for borax was تنكار tinkār. This name was adopted by the medieval Latins starting in the 12th century as tincar | atincar with the same meaning. Today's Tincalconite, which is a mineral variant of borax, is descended from the medieval Latin tincar = "borax",[53][54] conjoined with ancient Greek konis = "powder" plus the conventional suffix -ite. "Boron" and "borate" descend from "borax". [26]

Addendum for words that may or may not be of Arabic ancestry[edit]

Alizarin is a red dye with considerable commercial usage. The word's first records are in the early 19th century in France as alizari. The origin and early history of the French word is obscure. Questionably, it may have come from the Arabic العصارة al-ʿasāra = "the juice" (from Arabic root ʿasar = "to squeeze"). A majority of today's dictionaries endorse the al-ʿasāra idea, while a minority say the connection with al-ʿasāra is improbable.[55] [27]
This word's earliest securely dated record in the West is in Latin in 1267. A very small number of possibly a little earlier records exist but come with insecure dates. In its early records in Latin it was spelled almanac and it meant a set of tables detailing movements of astronomical bodies. Namely the movements of the five then-known planets and the moon and the sun. A lot of medieval Arabic writings on astronomy exist, and they don't use a word that can be matched to the Latin almanac. One of the words they do use is "zīj" and another is "taqwīm". The 19th-century Arabic-word-origin experts Engelmann & Dozy said about almanac: "To have the right to argue that it is of Arabic origin, one must first find a candidate word in Arabic" and they found none.[9] There is a medieval Arabic المناخ al-munākh, which would be a good fit phonetically, but it has no semantic connection to the Latin almanac. The origin of the Latin remains obscure.[56] [28]
amalgam, amalgamate
This word is first seen in the West in 13th-century Latin alchemy texts, where it meant an amalgam of mercury with another metal, and it was spelled amalgama. It lacks a plausible origin in terms of Latin precedents. In medieval Arabic records a word الملغم al-malgham with suitable meaning is rare but does exist. Today a number of dictionaries say the Latin was from this Arabic, or probably was. But other dictionaries are unconvinced, and say the origin of the Latin is obscure.[57] [29]
This word was first used by Constantinus Africanus (died circa 1087), who was a widely circulated author in later-medieval Latin (crossref borage). His spelling was "antimonium"[8] and his meaning was antimony sulfide. The substance Constantinus called antimonium was well-known to the medieval Arabs under the names ithmid and kohl and well-known to the Latins under the name stibi | stibium | stimmi. The medieval Latin name antimonium is of obscure origin. Possibly it is a Latinized form of some Arabic name but no clear precedent in Arabic has been found. [30]
borage (plant), Boraginaceae (botanical family) 
The borage plant is native to the Mediterranean area. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans under other names. The name borage is from medieval Latin borago | borrago | borragine. The name is first seen in Constantinus Africanus who was an 11th-century Latin medical writer and translator whose native language was Arabic and who drew from Arabic medical sources. Many of today's etymology dictionaries suppose the name to be from Arabic and the most popular theory is that Constantinus took it from أبو عرق abū ʿaraq = "sweat inducer", because tea made from borage leaves has a sweat-inducing effect and the word would be pronounced būaraq in Arabic.[8] However, in medieval Arabic no such name is on record for borage, and phonetically the match between būaraq and borrago is weak, and a non-Arabic good alternative proposition exists.[58] [31]


  1. ^ The dictionaries used to compile the list are these: Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales: Etymologies, Online Etymology Dictionary, Random House Dictionary, Concise Oxford English Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary, Collins English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Arabismen im Deutschen: lexikalische Transferenzen vom Arabischen ins Deutsche, by Raja Tazi (year 1998), A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (a.k.a. "NED") (published in pieces between 1888 and 1928), An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (year 1921) by Ernest Weekley. Footnotes for individual words have supplementary other references. The most frequently cited of the supplementary references is Glossaire des mots espagnols et portugais dérivés de l'arabe (year 1869) by Reinhart Dozy.
  2. ^ a b A set of usage examples of medieval Latin amiræus, ammiratus, ammirandus, amirallus, admiratus, admiralius is in Du Cange's Glossary of Medieval Latin. In medieval Latin the word carrying the meaning of a specifically Muslim commander starts earlier than the meaning of a naval commander. The same is true in Old French. The earliest in Old French is in a well-known long ballad about war-battles between Christians and Muslims, the Chanson de Roland, dated circa 1100, which contains about three dozen instances of amirail or amiralz (plural) meaning exclusively a Muslim military leader on land – ref. Two late 12th century examples with the same meaning are cited in the dictionary of Anglo-Norman French – ref. In French, the word meaning admiral of the sea has its first known record circa 1208 in the Crusader chronicler Geoffrey of Villehardouin (died circa 1212), who spelled it admiral. Later in medieval French, it is commonly spelled both amiral and admiral, with both spellings having both meanings – Amiral | Admiral @ Dictionnaire du Moyen Français. The same is true in late medieval English; see Amiral | Admiral @ Middle English Dictionary.
  3. ^ a b c An in-depth treatment of the origin and early history of the Western word "admiral" is in the book Amiratus-Aμηρας: L'Emirat et les Origines de l'Amirauté, XIe-XIIIe Siècles, by Léon Robert Ménager, year 1960, 255 pages, including chapter headed "Les émirs siculo-normands de la court de Palerme" and chapter headed "La naissance du terme "amiral" ". The article "Le point sur l'origine du mot amiral", by Omar Bencheikh, 5 pages, year 2003 (published by Bulletin de la SELEFA), ONLINE, is primarily interested in showing that the Arabic amīr = "commander" was not in use meaning a sea commander in Arabic at the time when the Latins started using the word in the sense of sea commander in the 12th and 13th centuries. This is consistent with Ménager's documentation that the word evolved as a title of governance within Norman Sicily from an original meaning of a commander on land in Norman Sicily. More on the 12th century amiratus in Norman Sicily is contained in the book The Administration of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, by Hiroshi Takayama, year 1993. And more notes on the word's early history in the West are in Arabismi Medievali di Sicilia, by Girolamo Caracausi, year 1983 on pages 102-105 (in Italian) and Arabismen im Deutschen, by Raja Tazi, year 1998 on pages 184-186 (in German). A 1963 book review of Ménager's book has some info about the subject of the book in English in Journal Speculum, Vol 38 number 2, pages 371-373.
  4. ^ The Latin suffix -aldus | -aldi is discussed in An etymological dictionary of the French language, by A. Brachet, translated to English by G. W. Kitchin, year 1873, on page cix. The Sicilian Latin amiraldi year 1113 is cited in Arabismi Medievali di Sicilia, by Girolamo Caracausi, year 1983 on page 105.
  5. ^ Amiral | Admiral @ Middle English Dictionary and Amiral | Admiral @ Dictionnaire du Moyen Français.
  6. ^ a b c Arabic al- = "the". In Arabic where tūba means brick, "the brick" is written al-tūba but universally pronounced "at-tūba". Similarly, the written al-sumūt ("the paths") is always pronounced "as-sumūt". Similarly, al-nīl is always pronounced "an-nīl". This pronunciation applies to al- in front of about half of the Arabic consonants. In front of the other half the al- is pronounced al-.
  7. ^ a b c d A number of large dictionaries were written in Arabic during medieval times. Searchable copies of nearly all of the main medieval Arabic dictionaries are online at and/or One of the most esteemed of the dictionaries is Ismail ibn Hammad al-Jawhari's "Al-Sihah" which is dated around and shortly after year 1000. The biggest is Ibn Manzur's "Lisan Al-Arab" which is dated 1290 but most of its contents were taken from a variety of earlier sources, including 9th- and 10th-century sources. Often Ibn Manzur names his source then quotes from it. Therefore, if the reader recognizes the name of Ibn Manzur's source, a date considerably earlier than 1290 can often be assigned to what is said. A list giving the year of death of a number of individuals who Ibn Manzur quotes from is in Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, volume 1, page xxx (year 1863). Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon contains much of the main contents of the medieval Arabic dictionaries in English translation. At, in addition to searchable copies of medieval Arabic dictionaries, there are searchable copies of a large number of medieval Arabic texts on various subjects.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l More details at Etymologie in French language. Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales (CNRTL) is a division of the French National Centre for Scientific Research.
  9. ^ a b c d Glossaire des mots espagnols et portugais dérivés de l'arabe by R. Dozy & W.H. Engelmann. 430 pages. Published in 1869.
  10. ^,
  11. ^ a b Several bird-names in Spanish are established as having entered Spanish from Arabic during the medieval era. They include today's Spanish alcaraván = "curlew bird" from medieval Arabic al-karawān = "curlew bird" and today's Spanish zorzal = "thrush and similar bird" from medieval Arabic zurzūr = "starling bird". The late medieval Spanish alcatraz = "seafish-catching large bird", such as pelican or cormorant or gannet bird, is presumed by everybody to be from an Arabic word. But it is not very clear what the Arabic word was. On looking at candidate words, Arabic al-ghattās = "the diver" (from verb غطس ghatas, to dive in water), implying a diving pelecaniform bird, is the one favored today by the dictionaries Concise OED, American Heritage, Merriam-Webster,, and some others. Al-ghattās is a fish-catching diving bird in chapters about birds by Ahmad al-Qalqashandi (died 1418) (ref), Yaqut al-Hamawi (died 1229) and Zakariya al-Qazwini (died 1283) (ref). In modern Arabic al-ghattās is a grebe (a diving waterbird of a different class) and also means a human skin-diver. This candidate word has the problem that the phonetic alterations involved in moving from al-ghattās to alcatraz are irregular and unusual: In Iberian Romance loanwords from Arabic, a conversion of gh- to c- is very rare, and an insertion of -r- is uncommon. The candidate favored by older dictionaries (including the dictionaries by Devic 1876, Skeat 1888, Weekley 1921) is Arabic al-qādūs = "bucket of a water wheel (hopper)", which certainly became Portuguese alcatruz well-documented with the same meaning, which in turn, it is speculatively proposed, became Portuguese and Spanish alcatraz = "a pelican with a bucket-like beak". One problem with this idea is that, although alcatraz has records meaning pelican, it also has records meaning cormorant and in the 16th century frigatebird and also gannet, which are large diving seabirds without a bucket-like beak. (These records are acknowledged by Devic (1876) and his followers). Moreover the word's early records have no highlighting of a bucket-like beak. The very earliest known record, which is in Spanish in year 1386, says "birds that maintain themselves on fish such as sea-eagles and alcatraces and other birds of the sea", and a relatively early record in Spanish at around 1440 speaks of "...pigeons and vultures and alcatrazes" – cited in Los Arabismos del Castellano en la Baja Edad Media, by Felipe Maíllo Salgado, 3rd edition 1998, on page 230. The fact that al-qādūs (the waterwheel bucket) is certainly the parent of alcatruz (the waterwheel bucket) lends phonetic support to the view that al-ghattās can be the parent of alcatraz.
  12. ^ Alcatras in New English Dictionary on Historical Principles.
  13. ^ During the early centuries AD, the Greeks in Egypt developed new alchemical and distillation methods. These were not acquired by the Late Classical Latins and they were unknown to the early medieval Latins. The later-medieval Latins acquired the methods in the 12th century from the Arabs, who had acquired them from the Greeks. The parent of the Arabic word al-kīmīā was a Late Greek word chymeia = "art of alloying metals, alchemy", which was used in Greek in Alexandria in Egypt in the writings of the alchemist Zosimos (4th century AD) and the Zosimos commentator Olympiodoros (5th or 6th century AD) – ref: Liddell-Scott-Jones. Zosimos and other Alexandrian Greek alchemy writers were translated to Arabic during the early centuries of Arabic literature – ref: Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, Band IV: Alchimie-Chemie, Botanik-Agrikultur. Bis ca. 430 H., by Fuat Sezgin, year 1971 (including pages 74-76). Distillation was the most important of the chemical techniques that were known to the Greeks of Late Antiquity, and known to the medieval Arabs, and unknown to the early medieval Latins. A Short History of the Art of Distillation, by Robert James Forbes, year 1948, "Chapter II: The Alexandrian chemists" and "Chapter III: The Arabs" and "Chapter IV: The [Latin] Middle Ages".
  14. ^ In Latin, the earliest records for the word alchemy are dated about 1140 to 1145 – ref: Alchimie @ and The Secrets of Alchemy by Lawrence M. Principe, year 2012, on pages 51-53. A century later, Vincent de Beauvais (died 1264) compiled a general-purpose encyclopedia about all subjects. He could not read Arabic and did not have any particular interest in alchemy, but for his encyclopedia he was able to copy alchemy material from several Arabic books that were available to him in Latin translation – ref: Les sources alchimiques de Vincent de Beauvais by Sébastien Moureau, year 2012, 113 pages.
  15. ^ "Alchemy vs. Chemistry" by William R. Newman and Lawrence M. Principe, in journal Early Science and Medicine Vol. 3, No. 1 (year 1998), pages 32-65, which is an historical review of the meanings of the words "alchemy" and "chemistry" in Europe up to the 18th century. Reiterated more briefly in Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature, by William R. Newman, year 2004, preface page XII Terminology Note.
  16. ^ See Etymology of the word "chemistry". See also "Alchemy vs. Chemistry" by William R. Newman and Lawrence M. Principe, in journal Early Science and Medicine Vol. 3, No. 1 (year 1998), pages 32-65.
  17. ^ An alcohol of antimony sulfide (stibnite) is in Spanish with date 1278 and in Latin with date 13th century –, Raja Tazi 1998. An alcofol of eggshells and an alcofol of iron sulfide (marcasite) are in a medical book by Guy de Chauliac in Latin in 1363 – ref: MED. In these cases alcohol | alcofol meant a substance in the form of a very fine powder. A medieval use for such powder was in eye cleaning treatments for eye complaints (see collyrium). A Latin medical dictionary dated 1292 defined alcohol solely as "a powder for an eyewash" – Synonyma Medicinae by Simon of Genoa. A medical book translated from Arabic to Latin in the late 13th century has Latin cohol on about 30 different pages, always meaning "a powder for an eyewash", involving powders of a variety of materials – De Simplicibus Medicinis by Serapion the YoungerDjVu. Alcohol is defined solely as an exceedingly fine powder in the early 16th century Latin Antidotarium of Pseudo-Mesuae, a book which professes to explain the meanings of ambiguous and difficult medicinal terms.
  18. ^ One of Paracelsus's followers and advocates was Martin Ruland (died 1602). Ruland wrote a dictionary of Latin alchemy terms in which he explained Paracelsus's mindset about the semantics of alcohol. Ruland said: (1) alcohol is an exceedingly fine-grained powder; (2) alcohol vini is distilled wine; (3) it is an error to think of the fine powder as having been obtained by mechanical grinding; (4) Paracelsus's alcool powders, synonymous with alcohol powders, which are powders obtained from various mineral rocks by Paracelsus, are prepared by first mechanically breaking up the mineral and then heating the mineral until it sublimates to a vapor, with "the sublimation performed by a carefully tempered fire, so that the powder of the mineral may be liquefied as little as possible, but at the same time may ascend until the flos [or essence] of the powder is seen sticking to the walls of the enclosure", and (5) the alcool | alcohol, whether a powder or a liquid, is a purified body [and in other words it is a distillate] – ref: Martin Ruland's Lexicon alchemiae (in Latin). Reference also A Short History of the Art of Distillation, by R.J. Forbes (1948), year 1970 on page 107 regarding Paracelsus, and on numerous pages regarding fine powders made medievally by sublimations and distillations. And the same is covered more briefly in Makers of Chemistry, by E.J. Holmyard, year 1931 on page 111 regarding Paracelsus and on pages 58-59 regarding fine powders made medievally by sublimations and calcinations. In today's English dictionaries there are a number of other words or word-meanings that originate in the writings of Paracelsus, though none are nearly so well known as alcohol: they include alkahest, gnome, laudanum, nostoc, synovial. Paracelsus was also instrumental in increasing the circulation of a number of words that are rarely found before he used them – an example is zinc.
  19. ^ "Alcohol" in N. Bailey's English Dictionary, year 1726.
  20. ^ "Alcoba" in Iberoromanische Arabismen im Bereich Urbanismus und Wohnkultur, by Y. Kiegel-Keicher, year 2005 pages 314-319.
  21. ^ Book A Short History of the Art of Distillation, by Robert James Forbes, year 1948, including pages 36-37 for the word alembic.
  22. ^ a b The 12th century Andalusian Arabic agriculture writer Ibn Al-Awwam goes into detail about how to cultivate alfalfa and his name for alfalfa is al-fisfisaref, ref. The 13th-century Arabic dictionary Lisan al-Arab says al-fisfisa is cultivated as an animal feed and consumed in both fresh and dried form – فصفصة @ In medieval Arabic another name for alfalfa was al-qatt (قتت @ and Pierre Guigues, year 1905). But al-fisfisa appears to have been the most common name for alfalfa. For example the entry for al-qatt in the 11th-century dictionary al-Sihāh says al-qatt is another word for al-fisfisa without saying what al-fisfisa is. In the Arabic of Andalusia a pronunciation as AL-FASFASA has some documentation (ref). In mutation from the Andalusian Arabic word, some late medieval Spanish records have it as alfalfez and some late medieval Catalan records have it as alfáffeç and alfaça meaning alfalfa (where ç = z), as reported by Dozy year 1869, Corriente year 2008 and Diccionari del castellà del segle XV a la Corona d'Aragó.
  23. ^ Alfalfa seeds were imported to California from Chile in the 1850s; history of alfalfa.
  24. ^ An Arabic copy of Al-Khwarizmi's algebra book is at ref. Historical information on the Latin term "algebra" is in "Robert of Chester's Latin Translation of the Algebra of Al-Khowarizmi: with an introduction, critical notes and an English version", by Louis Charles Karpinski, 200 pages, year 1915; downloadable. The earliest Latin translation of the book of algebra of Al-Khwarizmi was by Robert of Chester and the year was 1145. Centuries later in some Latin manuscripts this particular translation carried the Latin title Liber Algebrae et Almucabola. But the translation of 1145 did not carry that title originally, nor did it use the term algebrae in the body of the text. Instead it used the Latin word "restoration" as a loan-translation of al-jabr. Another 12th-century Latin translation of the same book, by Gerard of Cremona, borrowed the Arabic term in the form aliabre and iebra where the Latin 'i' is representing Arabic letter 'j'. In year 1202 in Latin the mathematician Leonardo of Pisa wrote a chapter involving the title Aljebra et Almuchabala where Latin 'j' is pronounced 'y'. Leonardo of Pisa had been influenced by an algebra book of essentially same title in Arabic by Abū Kāmil Shujāʿ ibn Aslam (died 930). In Arabic mathematics the term "al-jabr wa al-muqābala" has its first surviving record with Al-Khwarizmi (died 850), though Al-Khwarizmi gives signs that he did not originate it himself (ref, pages viii - x). Other algebra books with titles having this phrase were written by Al-Karaji a.k.a. Al-Karkhi (died circa 1029), Umar al-Khayyam (died 1123), and Ibn al-Banna (died 1321). Al-Khwarizmi's algebraic method was the same as the method of Diophantus of Alexandria, who wrote in the 3rd century AD in Greek. Diophantus's algebra book was in circulation in Arabic from the 10th century onward, and was known to Al-Karkhi (ref), but was not known to Al-Khwarizmi (see refs below). At the time when the Latins started to learn mathematics from Al-Khwarizmi and from other Arabic sources in the later 12th century, the Latins had no knowledge of the mathematics of Diophantus nor of similar other Late Greek sources. Refs: Karpinski pages 7, 19, 24, 33, 42, 65-66, 67, 159; and Encyclopaedia of Islamic Science and Scientists volume 1 (year 2005); and "The Influence of Arabic Mathematics on the Medieval West" by André Allard in Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, Volume 2 (year 1996); and The Algebra of Mohammed ben Musa [al-Khwarizmi], with notes by Frederic Rosen year 1831; and Diophantus's Arithmetica (in English), with notes on its dissemination history by Thomas Heath, year 1910. In the late medieval Western languages the word "algebra" also had a medical sense, "restoration of broken body parts especially broken bones" – ref: MED. This medical sense was entirely independent of the mathematical sense. It came from the same Arabic word by a different route.
  25. ^ In late medieval Latin, the introductory books about the Hindu-Arabic numeral system usually had the word algorismus in their title. The most popular such book was the one by Johannes de Sacrobosco apparently – Karpinski year 1915, page 16. "Algorithm" was a new spelling in the late 17th century, based on the model of the word Logarithm, with the "arithm" taken from ancient Greek arithmos = "arithmetic" and the "algor" descended from medieval Latin algorismus = "Hindu–Arabic numeral system". Algorithm simply meant the methods of the decimal number system until the late 19th century, at which point the word was practically obsolete, but then it was saved from oblivion by an expansion of the meaning to cover any systematic codified procedure in mathematics. Ernest Weekley (1921); Word Origins by John Ayto (2005).
  26. ^ Dictionnaire Étymologique Des Mots Français D'Origine Orientale, by L. Marcel Devic, year 1876.
  27. ^ Reinhart Dozy (1869) noted that alhidada = "alidade" is in Spanish in the 1270s in a set of astronomy books that were largely derived from Arabic sources, the Libros del saber de astronomía del rey Alfonso X de Castilla, where alhidada is a very frequent word – ref. Nevertheless the word is hard to find in astronomy books in Latin until the 15th century. In Latin in year 1523 an introduction to astrolabes says: "Alhidada, an Arabic word, is a dial which turns and moves on the surface of an [astrolabe] instrument." – ref. In 18th century English, Bailey's English Dictionary defined "alidada" as "the ruler or label that moves on the center of an astrolabe, quadrant, etc., and carries the sight." – ref.
  28. ^ The medieval al-qalī was obtained from glasswort plants, i.e. succulent flowering plants that grow where water is salty. The plants contain high levels of sodium. When the plants are burned, much of the sodium ends up as sodium carbonate. Another major component in the ashes is potassium carbonate, aka potash, which is the largest component in the ashes of plants in general; plus the ashes contained some calcium compounds, plus various minor components. Medievally these plants were collected at seashores and other saline places, and the plants were burned for their ashes. Glassmaking was the main thing the ashes were used for (also used for making soap). Non-salty-plant ashes were usable in making glass but the results were inferior. Analysis of the chemical composition of ancient glass from the Mediterranean region indicates that the ashes of glasswort plants (rich in sodium carbonate) were used as an ingredient in making glass thousands of years ago; Ancient Glass: An Interdisciplinary Exploration, by Julian Henderson, year 2013.
  29. ^ As per the earliest record of "alkali" in the West is in the 13th-century Latin alchemy text Liber Luminis Luminum, the authorship and/or translation of which is attributed to Michael Scotus, who had somewhere learned Arabic. The Liber Luminis Luminum is a 13th-century composite work drawn from multiple sources and possibly dates from later than Michael Scotus, who died in the early 1230s. Its text is online in Latin as Appendix III of The Life and Legend of Michael Scot and some of its history is in "The Ars alchemie: the first Latin text on practical alchemy", by A. Vinciguerra, year 2009. Records of "alkali" are in the English language from the later 14th century on – ref: MED. The word is also in Italian in the 14th century – ref: TLIO (in Italian). The earliest French is 1509. cites a book by Guy de Chauliac using the word "alkali" in France in 1363, but that was in Latin, and the subsequent translations of Chauliac's book into French did not use the Latin word – ref: DMF, ref: French Chauliac. The first record in Spanish is in 1555 as per Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico. The origin of the Arabic word al-qalī is most often guessed to be from the Arabic root قلى qalā = "to fry".
  30. ^ Some very early records of word amber in medieval Latin are given at "ambre #2" @ For the word in medieval Arabic see عنبر @ and عنبر @ Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon page 2168. Early records in English are in MED and NED. In the medieval era, ambergris mostly came from the shores of the Indian ocean (especially the western shores of India) and it was brought to the Mediterranean region by Arab traders, who called it ʿanbar (also ʿambar) and that is the parent word of the medieval Latin ambra (also ambar) with the same meaning. The word did not mean amber at any time in medieval Arabic. Meanwhile in the medieval era, amber mostly came from the Baltic Sea region of northern Europe. One can imagine in the abstract that a word of the form ambra meaning amber could be brought to Latin Europe by traders from the Baltic region. But the historical records are without any evidence for that. The records just show that the Latin word began with one meaning (ambergris) and later had two meanings (ambergris and amber).
  31. ^ Anil and Aniline in NED (English). Anil in Raja Tazi year 1998 pages 190–192 (German). Anil in (French). Añil in DRAE (Spanish). In medieval Arabic the word had the forms al-nīl and al-nīlajالنيلج @, Ibn al-Baitar (page 866-867).
  32. ^ Arabic al-barqūq means plum nowadays. Ibn al-Baitar lived in the 13th century in both the Maghreb and Syria. He wrote that the word meant apricot in the Maghreb and a species of plum in Syria – ref: Dozy, year 1869. In the medieval dictionary of Fairuzabadi, al-burqūq was an apricot – ref: برقوق @
  33. ^ Reported in An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, by Walter W. Skeat, year 1888. Downloadable.
  34. ^ Abricot @, albarcoque & albarquoque @,albercoc @
  35. ^ "Apricot" in NED (year 1888).
  36. ^ Medieval Arabic dār sināʿa was a manufacturing operation of the State, such as working the gold and silver of the sovereign, making weapons for the sovereign's military, or constructing and equipping warships – "Dār al-Ṣināʿa" in Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd Edition, edited by P. Bearman et al., published by Brill. In the 10th century Al-Masudi wrote that "Rhodes is currently a dār sināʿa where the Byzantine Greeks build their war-ships" – Al-Masudi's 10th century Arabic. In the 14th century Ibn Batuta wrote that soon after Gibraltar had been retaken by Muslims from Christians in 1333 a "dār sinaʿa" was established at Gibraltar as a part of military strengthening there – Ibn Batuta's 14th century Arabic. The historian Ibn Khaldoun (died 1406) quotes an order of the Caliph Abdalmelic (died 705) to build at Tunis a dār sināʿa for the construction of everything necessary for the equipment and armament of seagoing vessels – noted by Engelmann and Dozy 1869.
  37. ^ English "arsenal" in NED (year 1888). More in French at and Dozy year 1869. More in Italian at Arabismi Medievali di Sicilia by Girolamo Caracausi (year 1983) and Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini (TLIO). And in German at Raja Tazi year 1998. Some of those references are citing the researcher it:Giovan Battista Pellegrini. As reported by Pellegrini the form darsena meaning dockyard is in Latin in the port of Genoa in 1147, Pisa 1162, Sicily 1209. Two centuries later, from the port city of Pisa in Italian comes the form tersanaia (date 1313-23), tersanaja (1343) (where Italian j is pronounced y), terzinaia (later 14th century), meaning dockyard – ref: CNRTL, TLIO. This form from 14th century Pisa has the same basic meaning as the earlier Italian-Latin darsena and the Italian-Latin arsana (12th century), but it looks independently influenced by direct contact with the Arabic dār sināʿa, and not evolved out of darsena | arsana. In Catalan with meaning dockyard there was daraçana in 1230, darassana in 1329 (references in Caracausi's book), forms which display contact with an Arabic form having a definite article, dār as-sināʿa. The great majority of today's dictionaries take the view that the Arabic parent of arsenal was borrowed from Arabic in the Italian maritime republics, not in Iberia. Today's Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese word arsenal is a borrowing from the Italian (and French).
  38. ^ Medieval records of kharshuf | kharshūf (also harshaf) meaning artichoke are cited in Corriente's A Dictionary of Andalusi Arabic, year 1997 page 153 and the dictionary explains the abbreviations it uses for its sources at pages xiii - xvii. The Andalusian Arab Ibn Baklarish (author of Mustaʿīnī; died early 12th century) spelled it kharshuf, as reported in Reinhart Dozy year 1869. The Andalusian Arab Ibn al-Khatīb (died 1374) spelled it خُرشُف khurshuf, as reported in Los Arabismos del Castellano en la Baja Edad Media, by Felipe Maíllo Salgado year 1998. All the known medieval Arabic records of kharshuf | khurshuf are in authors who were located in the Far Western part of the Arabic-speaking world. The rest of the Arabic-speaking world used other words, but one of the other words was harshaf, which was obviously the parent of the Far Western kharshuf, as noted by Reinhart Dozy year 1869 and Marcel Devic year 1876.
  39. ^ a b c Early records in Spanish of alcachofa | carchofa | alcarchofa = "artichoke" are cited in Los Arabismos, by Maíllo Salgado, year 1998. A somewhat later instance in Spanish is alcarchofa in year 1513 in the book De Agricultura by Gabriel Alonso de Herreraref. Instances in 16th century Italian are cited in artichaut @ and artichoke @ NED. The NED cites Italian variant word-forms from John Florio's year 1611 Italian-English Dictionary. The NED also has the early records in English. The ancient Greeks and Romans commonly ate artichokes, as documented in "Plants and Progress", by Michael Decker, year 2009, on pages 201-203. It is thought, but more evidence is desirable, that an improved artichoke cultivar arrived late in the medieval era and was the impetus for the spread of the new name in Europe in the 15th and early 16th centuries.
  40. ^ "Genesis of the word Assassin" is §610 of the book History of the Ismailis, by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin (1998). Additional information at: assassin @ NED ; assassin @ ; assassin- @ TLIO (in Italian) ; and Note #33: "Assassin" @ English Words Of Arabic Etymological Ancestry.
  41. ^ The word attar is not used in European languages other than English. An early record in English, 1792: "Roses are a great article for the famous otter, all of which is commonly supposed to come from Bengal" in northeast India – ref: NED. The earliest known use of the wordform "attar" according to the NED is in 1798 in The view of Hindoostan: Volume 2: Eastern Hindoostan, by Thomas Pennant, which says the roses for the attar are grown near Lucknow city in the Hindi/Urdu-speaking area of northest India and the attar is extracted by distillation. In Urdu, عطر ʿatr | ʿitr = "perfume", and also عطار ʿatār = "perfume"; see e.g. عطر @ Platts' Urdu-English Dictionary, year 1884. The spelling in Hindi is इत्र ittr | itr | itra = "perfume" – see e.g. Caturvedi's Hindi-English dictionary, year 1970. In the English of India in the 19th century it was called "Otto of Roses, or by imperfect purists Attar of Roses, an essential oil obtained in India from the petals of the flower, a manufacture of which the chief seat is at Ghazipur", a city in the Hindi/Urdu-speaking area of northeast India – Yule & Burnell, year 1903. The writer Fanny Parkes resided in India from 1822 to 1838 and was based at Allahabad city in the Hindi/Urdu-speaking area of northeast India from 1827 to 1838. She wrote about India: "The Muhammadans, both male and female, are extremely fond of perfumes of every sort and description ; and the quantity of atr of roses, atr of jasmine, atr of khas-khās, &c., that the ladies in a zenāna put upon their garments is quite over powering." – Ref.
  42. ^ A book on agriculture by Ibn Al-Awwam in 12th century Andalusia described how to grow the aubergine. Ibn al-Awwam spelled it البادنجان al-bādinjān = "aubergine" – Banqueri year 1802, Clément-Mullet year 1866. Among copies of Ibn Al-Awwam's book there is the very unusual spelling البارنجان al-bārinjān, reported by Clément-Mullet 1866, but this is probably a scribal error. The most common spelling among medieval writers was الباذنجان al-bādhinjān (which is also today's spelling). The Arabic dictionary Lisan Al-Arab dated 1290 has the comment that the word came to Arabic from Persian – الباذنجان @
  43. ^ Albergínia @
  44. ^ The phonetic shift from -al- to -au- is common in French. French words showing this shift that have been borrowed into English include auburn, faux, mauve and sauce, as well as aubergine. The aubergine name has been found in provincial French some centuries ago as albergine (ref), in addition to the late medieval Catalan albergina | albarginia. However, the phonetic change from -d- to -r- in going from the Arabic al-bādinjān to the medieval Spanish (al)berengena and Catalan alberginia is very poorly understood and not understood.
  45. ^ Medieval Arabic had عور ʿawr with the essential meaning of "blind in one eye" and عوار ʿawār meant "any defect, or anything defective or damaged". Some medieval Arabic dictionaries are at, and some translation to English of what's in the medieval Arabic dictionaries is in Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, pages 2193 and 2195. The medieval Arabic dictionaries do not list the word-form عوارية ʿawārīa. ʿAwārīa can be naturally formed in Arabic to refer to things that have ʿawār, but in medieval Arabic ʿawārīa is a rarity, while the forms عواري ʿawārī and عوارة ʿawāra are frequently used when referring to things that have ʿawār or damage – this can be seen in the searchable collection of medieval texts at (book links are clickable on righthand side).
  46. ^ The Arabic origin of "average" was first reported by Reinhart Dozy in the 19th century. Dozy's original summary is in his 1869 book Glossaire des mots espagnols et portugais dérivés de l'arabe. Later, improved information about the word's early records in Italian, Catalan, and French is online at Avarie @ Information about the English word over the centuries is at NED (year 1888). See also the definition of English "average" in English dictionaries published in the early 18th century – Bailey's (1726), Blount's (1707 edition), Hatton's (1712). Some complexities surrounding the English word's history are discussed in Hensleigh Wedgwood year 1882 page 11 and Walter Skeat year 1888 page 781. Today there is consensus that: (#1) today's English "average" came from medieval Romance language avaria, and (#2) among the Latins the word avaria started in the 12th and 13th centuries and it started as a term of Mediterranean sea-commerce, and (#3) there is no root for avaria to be found in Latin, and (#4) a substantial number of Arabic words entered Italian, Catalan and Provençal in the 12th and 13th centuries starting as terms of Mediterranean sea-commerce, and (#5) the Arabic ʿawār | ʿawārī | ʿawārīa is phonetically a good match for avaria (conversion of w to v was regular). And most commentators agree that (#6) the Arabic ʿawār | ʿawārī | ʿawārīa = "damage" is semantically a pretty good match for avaria = "damage or damage expenses". A minority of commentators have been dubious about this on the grounds that the early records of Italian avaria have, in some cases, a meaning of "an expense" in a more general sense – see TLIO (in Italian). The majority view is that the meaning of "an expense" is an expansion from "damage and damage expense", and the chronological order of the meanings in the records supports this view, and the meaning "an expense" was never the most commonly used meaning. On the basis of the above six points, the inferential step is made that the Romance word came or probably came from the Arabic word.
  47. ^ In medieval Arabic astronomy the usual word for an azimuth or direction was al-samt and the plural form of this was al-sumūt. Brill's Encyclopaedia of Islam has an encyclopedia entry about the use of the word "al-Samt" in Islamic astronomy – ref. The plural form was the source for the late medieval Latin azimuth. Normally, the medieval Arabic texts on astronomy use the word in the singular. A number of these texts were translated to Latin in the 12th and 13th centuries, and the translations do not use the word azimuth in Latin. In the Latin languages the word begins in the late 13th century. The Latins adopted it via use of Arabic astrolabes. The medieval Arabic astrolabes (1) had enhancements over the astrolabes of the ancient Greeks, and (2) were specifically set up to deal with a large number of defined azimuths, and (3) were adopted and copied by the late medieval Latins – see e.g. "Islamic Astronomical Instruments and Some Examples of Transmission to Europe", by David A. King, and other articles by David A. King on the subject of astrolabes. Astrolabes in Latin Europe prior to the late 13th century are rare, whereas they are not at all rare in the 14th century – as cataloged by David A. King in Appendix B and Appendix A at ref.
  48. ^ "Azimutz" in the MED. Likewise in NED.
  49. ^ One medieval Arabic introduction to the azure stone, al-lāzward, is in the 11th century Book of Precious Stones of Al-Biruni. Al-Biruni emphasizes al-lāzward is crushed to a powder to be used as a blue colorant – ref (page 115 and elsewhere). The 9th century Arabic Stone Book of Aristotle (so-called; pseudonymously authored) says powdered lāzward is used as eye makeup – ref. An 11th century book about how to make inks, written by Ibn Badis, uses powdered lāzward as a blue ink colorant – ref (on page 29-30). Medievally lāzward was also used as a polished stone uncrushed, but the powdered form had greater use. Ibn Sina (died 1037) and Abu Jaʿfar al-Ghāfiqi (died c. 1165) said the blue stone known in Arabic as hajar al-armenī (literally: Armenian stone) (interpret: Azurite) is much inferior to the lāzward stone (i.e. Lazurite) as a colorant – ref (page 755 and page 225). Northeastern Afghanistan was the chief and probably the only source of true lāzward (Lazurite) in the medieval era.
  50. ^ Middle English Dictionary, entries for azure and lazurium.
  51. ^ Jāwī refers to Java in modern Arabic, but it referred to Sumatra in the medieval travel writer Ibn Batuta (died 1368 or 1369), who said that the best lubān jāwī came from Sumatra – Dozy, year 1869. The explanation for how the Arabic "lubān jāwī" got corrupted to the English "benzoin" is as follows, copied mostly from Benjoin @ The word is seen in Catalan in 1430 spelled benjuí and in Catalan the definite article was lo. It is seen in French in 1479 spelled benjuyn and in French the definite article was le. In French the letter J is pronounced not far from the neighborhood of zh (as in "soup du zhour") and that is similar to the Arabic letter J (ج). But in Latin and Old Italian, the letter J is pronounced as a Y (as in "Yuventus"), and therefore writing Z instead of J would be somewhat more phonetic in Latin and Italian, and the word is seen in Italian in 1461 spelled benzoi (Italian i is pronounced like English ee) – Yule & Burnell 1903. Similarly in Italian in 1510 a traveller in the Arabian peninsula wrote "Zida" for Jeddah and wrote "Azami" for AjamiTravels of Ludovico di Varthema (page 7 footnote 3).
  52. ^ "Bezoar" in Yule & Burnell (year 1903). "Bezoard" in Devic (year 1876)(in French). See also "A Treatise on the Bezoar Stone", by Mahmud bin Masud Imad al-Din (translation published in Annals of Medical History year 1935). "Bezoars" by R. Van Tassel, dated early 20th century, has a survey of the chemical and mineralogical composition of the historical bezoars.
  53. ^ a b Medieval Arabic būraq encompassed various salts used for various purposes, and the name often came with a qualifier attached to give more specificity. The salts included naturally-occurring sodium carbonate (natron), potassium nitrate (niter), and sodium borate (borax). On the other hand, medieval Arabic tinkār meant specifically borax. Tinkār was used primarily as a fluxing agent in soldering metals. It seems the Arabs and Persians were introduced to it from sources in India. The Persian and Arabic name tinkār probably originated from a Sanskritic word tinkana meaning borax from Tibet and Cashmere – H. Grieb, year 2004. The medieval Arabic writer Al-Razi (died c. 930) said that tinkār is one type of būraq and another type is "goldsmith's būraq" (meaning a type of salt in customary use by goldsmiths for soldering) – H. Grieb, year 2004. More examples of usage of both būraq and tinkār in medieval Arabic are in ref and ref. In late medieval Latin alchemy books it was spelled borax, baurac (e.g.), baurach (e.g.), boracia, and other similar, and for some late medieval Latin writers this word had the same broad meaning as in Arabic (e.g.) but more usually in late medieval Latin it meant a substance used as a fluxing agent – e.g., e.g., e.g.. Later-medieval Latin also had tincar | atincar | tinkar, always meaning a fluxing agent, usually borax, not always borax – e.g., e.g., e.g., e.g.. In the 16th and 17th centuries in European metallurgy literature, non-borax substances could be called "borax" when they were used as fluxing agents, and borax at that time was often called tincar | atincar, and "Arabian borax", as well as "borax" – Martin Ruland's year 1612 Lexicon Alchemiae (in Latin) has the definitions of that era for tinckar, borax, boras, baurac, and chrysocolla.
  54. ^ Tincal @ Greater details about the Portuguese origin of the wordform tincal as a variant of the medieval Latin tincar, from the medieval Arabic tinkār, at English Words of Arabic Etymological Ancestry: Note #44: Borax and Tincal.
  55. ^ Until the late 19th century the alizarin dye was made from the roots of the madder plant, aka Rubia tinctorum plant. (Today alizarin is made in pure synthetic form). Dye-making from the madder root was common in medieval and early modern Europe. The word alizari[n] is only on record from the early 19th century. In France in year 1831 the official dictionary of the French language defined "izari" as "madder from the Levant" and flagged it as a recent word – Ref. It seems that an expansion of exports of madder from the Levant to western Europe may have occurred in the early 19th century – Ref. But (1) the Arabic word for madder was a completely different word; (2) the Arabic al-ʿaṣāra = "the juice" is very rarely or not at all used in Arabic in any sense of a dye; and (3) the way you get the dyestuff from the madder root is by drying the root, followed by milling the dried root into a powder – not by juicing or squeezing. So the Arabic verb ʿaṣar = "to squeeze" is semantically off-target, as well as being unattested in the relevant sense. Also the earliest known records are in French and it is not natural for an Arabic 'ṣ' to be converted to a French 'z' instead of a French 's' – Ref. Regarding the Spanish word alizari the experts Dozy & Engelmann say it looks Arabic but they can find no progenitor for it in Arabic – Ref: (year 1869) (page 144). In 1826, chemist Pierre Jean Robiquet discovered in madder root two distinct molecules with dye properties. The one producing a rich red he called "alizarin" and it soon entered all major European languages as a scientific word. Robiquet says in his 1826 research report: "regarding this new [red] entity coming from the neutral-coloured substance, we propose the name alizarin, from alizari, a term used in commerce for the entire madder root." – Ref: (year 1826)(page 411).
  56. ^ The first securely dated records of almanac in the West come from Roger Bacon (died 1294), who lived in northern Europe (Paris) and had no knowledge of Arabic. Roger Bacon writing in Latin spelled it almanac and almanach, both of which are foreign-looking in Latin. They definitely look Arabic in Latin. But no antecedent word is on record in Arabic. Thus the origin of the Latin is a puzzle. Some worthwhile information and some speculations about it are given at "Almanac" in New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (year 1888). In some other dictionaries it is claimed that the Latin almanac came from Arabic al-munākh and in particular it is claimed that munākh is attested meaning almanac in medieval Arabic. Those dictionaries include and Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch (year 2002). However, the medieval documentary evidence for this claim is extremely weak and is nothing more than a statement by a native Spanish speaker written after the word had come into use in Latin. There is no medieval attestation of munākh meaning almanac in actual Arabic. More details at English Words of Arabic Etymological Ancestry: Note #165: "Almanac".
  57. ^ Those reporting the 13th-century Latin amalgama to be either surely or probably from Arabic al-malgham include Partridge (1966), Raja Tazi (1998), Random House Dictionary (2001), and (2010). Loss of the first 'L' in going from al-malgham to amalgama (if it occurred) is called dissimilation in linguistics. 20th century Arabic has malgham = "amalgam" as a borrowing from Europe. Malgham was in earlier use in Arabic meaning a poultice or medicinal bandage dressing. E.g. Richardson's Arabic–English Dictionary, 1810 and 1852 editions, translates malgham as a poultice and does not translate it as an amalgam – ref: Year 1810 and Year 1852. In antiquity and medievally and continuing almost until the invention of modern antibiotics, amalgams containing mercury were often used in poultices to treat wound infections, because they were effective (example in 19th century English) (although they had known poisonous side-effects). An early medieval Syriac alchemy text has malagma meaning "amalgam" – ref: Supplement to Thesaurus Syriacus page 194. The usual meaning for malagma in medieval Syriac was "poultice" (e.g.). More convincingly, it is stated in the Arabic dictionary of Ibn Sida (died 1066): "any melting substance such as gold, etc. mixed with mercury is called مُلْغَمٌ molgham" – لغم @ Ibn Sīda's dictionary. Ibn Sida's statement was copied into the dictionary of Ibn Manzur (died 1312) – لغم @ Lisan al-Arab. However, it is hard to find further instances of the word in medieval Arabic in the broad vicinity of that meaning. The Book of Stones of Al-Biruni (died 1048) has كالملغمة kal-malghama meaning a paste consisting of cowdung and salt – ref. More instances plus more historical details about the medieval Arabic records of this word are at: English Words of Arabic Etymological Ancestry: Note #24 "Amalgam".
  58. ^ Constantinus Africanus writing in Latin in the 11th century mentions two Arabic names for borage (including the usual name for borage in medieval Arabic, lisān al-thūr) and he does not indicate that his own name borrago | borragine is an Arabic name. Ref: ISBN 9004100148 page 176 footnote 28. Nevertheless an Arabic source-word for borrago is the preferred proposition in a majority of today's dictionaries including Merriam-Webster, American Heritage, Concise OED, Collins English,, and Helmut Genaust. The Concise OED says: "medieval Latin borrago is perhaps from Arabic abū ḥurāš 'father of roughness' (referring to the leaves)." The other dictionaries just named say it is probably or perhaps from abū ʿaraq = "father of sweat" (referring to the herbal medicine use). There is a non-Arabic proposition deriving borrago from Latin burra | borra = "coarse wool, stuffing", horse-hair or wool used as stuffing, also "shaggy garment", "garment made of coarse material". This derivation is in observance of borage's hairy stems and rough-textured leaves, together with the Latin suffix -ago appended. Burra is attested since the 5th century in Latin. The Latin was also spelled borra. The Latin is the source of the medieval Italian borra = "raw hair, particularly raw hair used as wadding" (today's Italian borra means "wadding") – borra @ , borra @ Medieval French borre (today's French bourre) is the same word – bourre @ The suffix "-ago" in Latin means "a sort of" (examples: classical Latin virago where Latin vir = "courageous man"; classical Latin plumbago (mineral) where Latin plumbum = "lead (a metal)"; classical Latin plantago where Latin planta = "foot-sole"). It is in botanical names from Latin including Filago, Medicago, Plantago, Plumbago, Selago, Solidago, Tussilago, Ventilago, fabago, githago, lentago, liliago, populago, trixago. Dictionaries who favor the derivation of the medieval Latin borrago from the Latin borra + -ago include: The Names of Plants by David Gledhill (year 2008); Dictionary of Arabic and Allied Loanwords, by Federico Corriente (year 2008); Random House Dictionary (2001); "Borra" @ (in Italian); "borraggine" in Friedrich Diez year 1864; "borage" in Walter Skeat year 1888. More about the historical context surrounding this word's beginnings in medieval Latin is at: English Words of Arabic Ancestry: Note #167 "Borage".