List of English words of Arabic origin (N-S)
The following English words have been acquired either directly from Russia 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. Some of them are not ancient in Arabic, but are loanwords within Arabic itself, entering Arabic from Persian, Greek or other languages.
To qualify for this list, a word must be reported in leading etymology dictionaries as having descended from Arabic. A handful of dictionaries has been used as the source for the list. In cases where the dictionaries disagree, the minority view is omitted or consigned to a footnote. Rare and archaic words are also omitted. A bigger listing including many words very rarely seen in English is available at en.wiktionary.org.
Given the number of words which have entered English from Arabic, the list of English words of Arabic origin is split alphabetically into sublists, as listed below:
- List of English words of Arabic origin (A-B)
- List of English words of Arabic origin (C-F)
- List of English words of Arabic origin (G-J)
- List of English words of Arabic origin (K-M)
- List of English words of Arabic origin (N-S)
- List of English words of Arabic origin (T-Z)
- separate lists of botanical names, textile names, cuisine words, and musical terms can be found on the main list.
- Dozens of the stars in the night sky have Arabic name etymologies. These are listed separately in the list of Arabic star names article.
- Words associated with Islam are listed separately at the glossary of Islam article.
Loanwords listed in alphabetical order
- نظير naẓīr, a point on a celestial sphere diametrically opposite some other point; or a direction to outer space diametrically opposite some other direction. Naẓīr more broadly meant "counterpart". "The Arabic 'z' here used is the 17th letter of the Arabic alphabet, an unusual letter with a difficult sound, which came to be rendered by 'd' in Low Latin." The earliest records in the West are in 12th- and 13th-century Latin astronomy texts as nadahir and nadir. Crossref zenith on the list. 
- natron, natrium, kalium
- The ancient Greeks had the word nitron with the meaning of naturally-occurring sodium carbonate and similar salts. The medieval Arabs adopted this word, spelled نطرون natrūn, and used it with that meaning. The modern word natron, meaning hydrated sodium carbonate, is descended from the Arabic. In Europe shortly after sodium was isolated as an element for the first time, in the early 19th century, sodium was given the scientific abbreviation Na from a created Latin name, initially natronium then natrium, which goes back etymologically to the Arabic natrūn (and then to the Greek nitron). Also in the early 19th century, elemental potassium was isolated for the first time and was soon afterwards given the scientific abbreviation K representing a created Latin name Kalium, which was derived from new Latin Kali meaning potassium carbonate, which goes back etymologically to medieval Arabic al-qali, which for the Arabs could mean both potassium carbonate and sodium carbonate. Crossref alkali on this page. 
- نارنج nāranj, orange. Arabic descends from Sanskritic nāraṅga = "orange". The orange tree came from India. The Arabs introduced the orange tree to the Mediterranean region in the early 10th century. The word is in all the Mediterranean Latin languages from the later medieval centuries. 
- popinjay (parrot)
- ببغاء babaghā', parrot. The change of Arabic 'b' to English 'p' also occurs in the loanwords Apricot, Calipers, Julep, Jumper, Serendipity, Spinach, and Syrup. French gai = "jay (bird)". The French papegai = "parrot" has a late-12th-century start date. The English dates from one century later. 
- racquet or racket (tennis)
- The French fr:Raquette, Italian it:Racchetta, and the synonymous English racquet are usually taken as derived from medieval Latin rascete which meant the bones of the wrist. The earliest records of the Latin are in two 11th-century Latin medical texts, one of which was by the Arabic-speaking Constantinus Africanus who drew from Arabic medical sources. Today's etymology dictionaries all suppose the Latin to be from Arabic and the most popular theory derives it from راحة rāha(t) = "palm of the hand". A less popular theory derives it from رسغ rusgh = "bones of the wrist". 
- رهج الغار rahj al-ghār, arsenic sulfide. In medieval times, realgar was used as a rodent poison, as a corrosive, and as a red paint pigment. The ancient Greeks & Romans knew the substance. Other names for it in medieval Arabic writings include "red arsenic" and "rodent poison". Ibn al-Baitar in the early 13th century wrote: "Among the people of the Maghreb it is called rahj al-ghār" (literally: "cavern powder"). The earliest records in the West are in 13th-century Spanish spelled rejalgar, and 13th-century Italian and Latin spelled realgar. Early records in English spelled it resalgar. 
- ream (quantity of sheets of paper)
- رزمة rizma, bale, bundle. Paper itself was introduced to the West by the Arabs in and around the 12th and 13th centuries – the adoption in the West went slowly; history of paper. The Arabic word for a bundle spread to most Western languages along with paper itself, with the initial transfer from Arabic to the West in Spain. Castillian Spanish was resma. Catalan raima, first record 1287, looks the forerunner of the English word-form. First record in English is 1356. 
- rook (chess), roc (mythology)
- رخّ rukhkh, (1) the rook piece in the game of chess, (2) a mythological bird in the 1001 Arabian Nights tales. The medieval Arabic dictionary Lisan al-Arab said the chess-piece name rukhkh came from Persian; crossref check. The bird meaning for Arabic rukhkh may have come from Persian too. But not from the same word. All available evidence supports the view that the two meanings of Arabic rukhkh sprang from two independent and different roots.  
- sabkha (landform), wadi (landform)
- سبخة sabkha, salt marsh. One of several words established in geology including sedimentology. Their entrypoint was in late-19th-century studies of the Sahara Desert. The word occurs occasionally in English and French in the 19th century. Sabkha with a technical meaning as coastal salt-flat terrain came into general use in sedimentology in the 20th century through numerous studies of the coastal salt flats on the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula. 
- Entered English in the late 19th century from Swahili language safari = "journey" which is from Arabic سفر safar = "journey". 
- عصفر ʿusfur, safflower; or أصفر ʿasfar, (1) yellow, (2) safflower. The Arabic "fur" or "far" part mutated in Italian to "fiore" which is Italian for flower. The flower was commercially cultivated for use as a dye in the Mediterranean region in medieval times. In medieval Italian the spellings included asfiore, asfrole, astifore, affiore, and saffiore. In medieval Arabic the usual was ʿusfur, a word formally related to ʿasfar = "yellow". 
- زعفران zaʿfarān, saffron. The ancient Romans used saffron but called it "crocus". The word saffron is first seen in Latin in 1156. In Arabic zaʿfarān is commonplace from the outset of writings in Arabic. It was common in medieval Arab cookery. 
- saphena (saphenous vein)
- سافين sāfīn or صافن ṣāfin, saphenous vein. The word is first seen in any language in Ibn Sina's The Canon of Medicine, 11th century. The saphenous veins were among the more commonly used veins in medieval bloodletting (a practice The Canon of Medicine endorsed). 
- sash (ribbon)
- شاش shāsh, a ribbon of fine textile wrapped to form a turban, and usually made of muslin. Crossref muslin which entered English at about the same time. Among the earliest records in English is this comment from an English traveller in the Middle East in 1615: "All of them wear on their heads white shashes.... Shashes are long towels of Calico wound about their heads." In English around 1700 a "shash" (also a "sash") was a large ribbon of fine textile wrapped around the waist. In Arabic today shāsh means gauze or muslin. 
- Wordforms سجلّاط sijillāṭ and سقلّاط siqillāṭ have plentiful records in Arabic from the early 9th century onward meaning fine colored cloth in various colors. A variant siqirlāṭ has no record in Arabic until a date too late, but the equivalent to such a form has a record in Mozarabic language in Spain about year 1000. The Mozarabic word is believed to be the source of the medieval Latin scarlata, first seen about year 1100, meaning fine cloth, expensively dyed bright cloth, in various colors, red most common. The red dye was usually kermes a.k.a. crimson, but today's scarlet is a brighter red than the kermes red was. 
- sequin (clothing ornament)
- سكّة sikka, minting die for coins, and also meaning coinage in general. In its early use in English, sequin was the name of Venetian and Turkish gold coins. "The word might well have followed the coin into oblivion, but in the 19th century it managed to get itself applied to the small round shiny pieces of metal applied to clothing." 
- This word was created in English in 1754 from "Serendip", an old fairy tale place, from سرنديب Serendīb, an old Arabic name for Sri Lanka. Fortified in English by its resemblance to the etymologically unrelated "serenity". The fairy tale was The Three Princes of Serendip. 
- شيخ shaīkh, sheikh. It has been in English since the 17th century meaning an Arab sheikh. In the 20th century it took on a slangy additional meaning of "strong, romantic man". This is attributed to a hit movie, "The Sheik (film)", 1921, starring Rudolph Valentino, and after the movie was a hit the book it was based on became a hit, and spawned imitators. 
- soda, sodium
- Soda first appears in Western languages in late medieval Latin and Italian meaning the seaside plant Salsola soda and similar saltwort plants used to make soda ash for use in glassmaking, and subsequently meaning soda ash itself. It is most often said to be from سواد suwwād or سويدة suwayda, one or more species of saltworts whose ashes yielded soda ash, especially the species Suaeda vera. That etymon suffers from a want of documentary evidence at a sufficiently early date. But still an Arabic origin is thought most likely. The name "sodium" was derived from soda in early 19th century. 
- صفّة soffa, a bench or dais. The Arabic was adopted into Turkish, and from Turkish it entered Western languages in the 16th century meaning an oriental-style dais with rugs and cushions. Today's meaning of sofa started in late-17th-century French. 
- إِسبناخ isbinākh in Andalusian Arabic, and إِسفاناخ isfānākh in eastern classical Arabic, from Persian aspanākh, spinach. "The spinach was unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was the Arabs who introduced the spinach into Spain, whence it spread to the rest of Europe," and the same is true of the name as well. The first records in English are around year 1400. 
- sugar, sucrose, sucrase
- سكّر sukkar, sugar. The word is ultimately from Sanskritic sharkara = "sugar". Cane sugar developed in ancient India originally. It was produced by the medieval Arabs on a pretty large scale. History of sugar. Among the earliest records in English are these entries in the account books of an abbey in Durham: year 1302 "Zuker Marok", 1309 "succre marrokes", 1310 "Couker de Marrok", 1316 "Zucar de Cypr[us]". In other Western languages the word is found roughly a century earlier than in English. The Latin form sucrum | succarum or the French form sucre = "sugar" produced the modern chemistry terms sucrose and sucrase. 
- sultan, sultana
- سلطان soltān, authority, ruler. The first ruler to use Sultan as a formal title was an Islamic Turkic-speaking ruler in Central Asia around the year 1000. He borrowed the word from Arabic. Caliph, emir, qadi, and vizier are other Arabic-origin words connected with rulers. Their use in English is mostly confined to discussions of Middle Eastern history. 
- سمّاق summāq, sumac species of shrub or its fruit (Rhus coriaria). In the medieval era, different components of the sumac were used in leather making, in dyeing, and in herbal medicine. Geography writer Al-Muqaddasi (died 1000) mentions summāq as one of the commercial crops of Syria. The word is on record in 10th-century Latin and as such it is one of the earliest loanwords on this list. 
- سواحل sawāhil, coasts (plural of sāhil, coast). Historically Swahili was the language used in commerce along the east coast of Africa, along 2000 kilometers of coast. Swahili is grammatically a Bantu language, with about one-third of its vocabulary taken from Arabic. 
- syrup, sherbet, sorbet
- شراب sharāb, a word with two senses in Arabic, "a drink" and "syrup". Medieval Arabic medical writers used it to mean a syrupy medicinal drink. It was passed into Latin in the 12th century as siroppus, a thickly sweetened drink, a syrupy medicinal drink. The change from -sh- to -s- in going from sharāb to siroppus reflects the fact that Latin phonology did not use an -sh- sound ever. The -us of siroppus is a carrier of Latin grammar and nothing more. . Separately from sirup, in the 16th century the same Arabic rootword re-entered the West from Turkish. Turkish sherbet | shurbet = "a sweet lemonade" entered with that meaning into Italian and French as "sorbet"  and directly into English as "sherbet" .
Addendum for words that may or may not be of Arabic ancestry
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Notes about the list
Chandra.k> The various etymology dictionaries are not always consistent with each other. This reflects differences in judgment about the reliability or uncertainty of a given etymological derivation.
Obsolete words and very rarely used non-technical words are not included in the list, but some specialist technical words are included. For example, the technical word "alidade" comes from the Arabic name for an ancient measuring device used to determine line-of-sight direction. Despite few English-speaking people being acquainted with it, the device's name remains part of the vocabulary of English-speaking surveyors, and today's instrument uses modern technology, and is included in the list.
There are no words on the list where the transfer from Arabic to a Western language occurred before the ninth century AD; the earliest records of transfer are in ninth century Latin. Before then some words were certainly transferred into Latin from Semitic sources (usually via Greek intermediation), including some that later ended up in English, but in most cases the Semitic source was not Arabic and in the rest of the cases it is impossible to know whether the Semitic source was Arabic or not. See List of English words of Semitic origin, excluding words known to be of Hebrew or Arabic origin.
The list has been restricted to loan words: It excludes loan translations. Here's an example of a loan translation. Surrounding the brain and spinal chord is a tough outer layer of membrane called the dura mater. Dura and mater are each in Latin from antiquity. Quoting an etymology dictionary: "Medieval Latin dura mater cerebri, literally "hard mother of the brain", a loan-translation of Arabic umm al-dimagh as-safiqa, literally "thick mother of the brain". In Arabic, the words 'father', 'mother' and 'son' are often used to denote relationships between things."[§ 1] As another well-known example, the word "sine"—as in sine, cosine and tangent—has its first record with that meaning in an Arabic-to-Latin book translation in the 12th century, translating Arabic jayb. Jayb had a second, entirely unrelated meaning in Arabic that was translatable to Latin as sinus and the translator took up that connection to confer a new meaning to the Latin sinus, in preference to borrowing the foreign word jayb.[§ 2] About half of the loan-words on the list have their earliest record in a Western language in the 12th or 13th century. Some additional, unquantified number of terms were brought into the West in the 12th and 13th centuries by Arabic-to-Latin translators who used loan-translations in preference to loan-words. Some related information is at Translations from Arabic to Latin in the 12th century.
For Islamic terms, see Glossary of Islam.
- Online Etymology Dictionary, which in turn is quoting Ernest Klein. Similarly reported at "dura mater" @ NED (year 1897). See also "pia mater" @ NED and "pia mater" @ CNRTL.fr.
- Webster's (1913), Dictionary.Reference.com (2010), sinus#2 @ CNRTL.fr, and many others. Cf medieval جيب jayb in Lane's Lexicon page 492.
- The dictionaries used to compile the list are primarily 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.
- 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 Baheth.info. The earliest dictionary at Baheth.info 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. Very 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.
- Reported in An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, by Walter W. Skeat, year 1888. Downloadable.
- The earliest known record of the wordform nadir in the West is in the short but influential astronomy textbook De Sphaera Mundi by Johannes de Sacrobosco, which is dated roughly 1233. The book took some of its material from Arabic astronomy; e.g. it quotes by name the Arabic astronomer Alfraganus five times. In the context of talking about how planet Earth blocks sunlight from reaching the moon during a lunar eclipse, Sacrobosco says in Latin: "The nadir is a point in outer space directly opposite to the sun." Nadir @ CNRTL.fr, Sacrobosco's De Sphaera in English, Sacrobosco's De Sphaera in Latin. Roughly a century before Sacrobosco, Plato Tiburtinus did an Arabic-to-Latin translation of an astronomy book by Al-Battani (died 929). In the translation, Al-Battani's Arabic naẓīr and naẓīra was written down in Latin as nadahir. (Remarked on in a history of astronomy by Jean Delambre in 1819 – ref). The 10th century text by Al-Battani is in Arabic at Alchamel14.org (and also at Archive.org), and its 12th century translation by Plato Tiburtinus is at Google Books.
- English dictionaries saying "natron" is from Arabic include Merriam-Webster, American Heritage Dictionary, Random House Dictionary, Etymonline, Concise OED, NED, and Weekley. According to all those English dictionaries, the transfer from Arabic to the Western languages was through Spanish, at an unspecified date. But all the major Spanish dictionaries say Spanish natron is from French. That includes the official dictionary of the Spanish language, Diccionario RAE. The earliest known record of natron in Spanish is year 1817, says the major Spanish etymology dictionary Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico (year 1983). The Spanish natron, and also the variant anatron, "are modern technical terms borrowed from French", says the Spanish and Arabic expert Federico Corriente (year 2008). The earliest French is 1653 – CNRTL.fr. The earliest English is 1684 – NED. "Natron" and the closely associated "anatron" were established together in English dictionaries from 1706. Nathan Bailey's English Dictionary in 1737 defined natron as "a kind of black, greyish salt taken out of a lake of stagnant water in the territory of Terrana in Egypt" – ref; and defined "anatron" as any of several salts including one taken from Egypt – ref. The substance natron was brought to Europe from Egypt in the medieval centuries as well as in the early modern centuries. The usual word for it in medieval Latin was nitrum (etymologically from ancient Greek without Arabic intermediation). It was called nitrum in late medieval English as well – ref: MED. One late medieval Latin dictionary defined nitrum as "a kind of salt brought from Alexandria", Egypt – ref: Alphita. In the medieval Latin literature more generally nitrum could also be a name for other alkaline salts – e.g.. The 11th-century Arabic writer Ibn Sina said al-natrūn was a type of salt – ref, ref. The wordform "natron" occurs in Latin in Italy in a book by Simon of Genoa in late 13th century, in which "natron" was stated to be simply "the Arabic word for nitrum" – ref: Raja Tazi, year 1998. The wordform "anatron" occurs in Latin around year 1300 in a book by the influential Latin alchemist Pseudo-Geber – ref: Pseudo-Geber as published 1542. Both of those two medieval Latin writers knew Arabic. Natron and anatron were rare in medieval Latin. However, in the 16th century, anatron | anathron was adopted in Latin in Germany in the widely disseminated writings of Paracelsus (died 1541) – Paracelsus was influenced by Pseudo-Geber – and then by Paracelsus's followers Oswald Croll (died 1609) and Martin Ruland (died 1602) – ref: Raja Tazi, year 1998. Martin Ruland also used the spelling natron and said natron was synonymous with nitrum – ref: Martin Ruland, year 1612. Despite those precedents in Latin, today's official dictionary of the French language judges that the French natron arrived in French directly from Arabic natrūn, from Egypt, in the mid-17th century – CNRTL.fr. In the early 17th century the name nitrum had undesirable ambiguity. Several incompatible meanings for nitrum are given in Martin Ruland's 1612 Lexicon Alchemiae. The primary meaning for nitrum was becoming nitre (the parent of "nitrogen"). Undoubtedly this encouraged adoption of name natron.
- "Natrium" at Elementymology & Elements Multidict.
- "Kalium" at Elementymology & Elements Multidict.
- Origin of Cultivated Plants by Alphonse de Candolle (year 1885), pages 178–181 for lemon and lime, pages 183–188 for orange, page 188 for mandarin orange. Further details in "Études sur les noms arabes des végétaux: l'oranger et ses congénères", by J.J. Clément-Mullet in Journal Asiatique sixième série Tome XV, pages 17 to 41, year 1870. Al-Masudi writing in the 940s (AD) said that the orange tree (shajar al-nāranj) had been introduced to Arabic-speaking lands only a few decades previously. He does not mention the lemon, and from other evidence it seems the lemon had not yet arrived in Al-Masudi's time.
- More details at CNRTL.fr Etymologie in French language. This site is a division of the French National Centre for Scientific Research.
- The ancient Greek and classical Latin name for a parrot was psittacus. The medieval Arabic dictionaries have babaghā = "parrot" and this is generally taken to be the parent word of the medieval Greek papagás = "parrot" (the 's' in papagás is a grammatical affix: masculine singular nominative-case nouns end in 's' in Greek grammar), medieval French papegai, and a similar form in a number of other medieval European languages. Parrots come from tropical or at least semi-tropical environs. Imports of parrots to Europe during the medieval era probably usually came through Arabic speakers. The origin of the Arabic word itself is uncertain. The same word babaghā is in Persian. An origin in a tropical locale has been suggested.
- The etymology dictionaries are almost unanimous that "racquet" is of Arabic ancestry (see any of the references at the foot of this page), but they generally don't explain how. The origin in Arabic anatomy terminology is reported at CNRTL.fr in French, and some additional info in French is in Devic, year 1876. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is one of the minority that judges the medieval Latin rasceta | rascete to be from the Arabic word rusgh (not Arabic rāhat). The derivation from rusgh looks weak from the phonetic point of view. But it has the strength that, in medieval Arabic, besides meaning the human wrist bones rusgh also meant the human tarsal bones (and the pastern bones in horses) and the Latin word's two earliest records are (1) rasca = "the tarsal bones" and (2) rasceta manus = "the wrist bones" where the Latin manus = "hand". Ref: CNRTL.fr; and رسغ @ Baheth.info (cf. رسغ in Richardson's). From the medieval Latin came the medieval French rachete = "the wrist bones", which according to most dictionaries was the progenitor of the 15th-century French ra[c]quette = "racquet". There is also a small minority of dictionaries who make the judgement that there is not enough evidence from late medieval European writings to warrant belief that the word for the racquet came from the word for the wrist bones (e.g.).
- Glossaire des mots espagnols et portugais dérivés de l'arabe by R. Dozy & W.H. Engelmann. 430 pages. Published in 1869.
- Arabic alchemists used the substance realgar but not the name realgar. Generally in medieval Arabic writings the name was al-zarnīkh al-āhmar | al-zirnīq al-āhmar = "red arsenic". The name realgar has its ancestry in mostly oral, non-literary, medieval Maghrebi usage, as demonstrated in Dozy, year 1869. A comment on what Dozy says is in Lammens, year 1890.
- Documented in the Middle English Dictionary (the "MED").
- Rem | Reme in the MED.
- An Intro to Sabkhas. Also A Proposed Formal Definition for Sabkha.
- The safflower is an annual plant that is native to an arid climate that has an annual rainy season. A summary of the evidence of the Arabic origin of "safflower" via late medieval Italian is in Yule & Burnell (year 1903). Medieval Arabic dictionaries at Baheth.info have definitions for عصفر ʿusfur and أصفر ʿasfar. Spanish alazor = "safflower" descends from the same Arabic word with al- prepended. Clearly it is independent of the Italian. An obsolete form in Portuguese is açaflor = "safflower" where flor = "flower" and ç is s. That is not as clearly independent of the Italian, but the form may "imply an evolution from a non-attested alaçfor" in Portuguese – Dictionary of Arabic and Allied Loanwords: Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Galician and Kindred Dialects, by Federico Corriente (year 2008). Other forms in Portuguese include alaçor and açafroa.
- Book Medieval Arab Cookery: Essays and Translations, by M. Rodinson, A.J. Arberry and C. Perry, year 2001.
- Etymology summary of saphenous vein at saphène @ CNRTL.fr. "It is difficult to connect the form of the Arabic word to an Arabic root", judges Henri Lammens, year 1890. He and others have proposed a Greek root for the Arabic, but this is not universally accepted. In year 2002 in Journal of Vascular Surgery there was a Comment and a Reply about where the Arabic word may have been drawn from.
- Dictionnaire détaillé des noms des vêtements chez les Arabes by Reinhard Dozy, year 1845. Has several pages of detail on the old meaning of the Arabic word shāsh.
- The quote is from "A relation of a journey begun in 1610... containing a description of the Turkish Empire, of Egypt, of the Holy Land, of the remote parts of Italy, and islands adjoining", by George Sandys, first published in 1615: online. In the Middle East around that time, it was the custom for men to wear a turban that consisted of about seven meters of fine lightweight muslin cloth wound around the head. Another traveller's description was given by Fynes Moryson in 1617: Fynes Moryson's Itinerary, 1617. More quotations of early use of "s[h]ash" in English are in NED (year 1914). An Italian-to-English dictionary dated 1611 written by John Florio has Italian sessa and Italian mussolo with approximately the same meaning as Arabic shāsh. Sessa is an Italian representation of the Arabic word shāsh (Italian normally did not use an /sh/ sound, historically, and normally converted the /sh/ sound of foreign words to an /s/ sound in Italian). The word was rendered into French as sesse around the same time – ref.
- John Kersey's English dictionary of 1708 and Nathan Bailey's English dictionary of 1726 have "shash" = "the linen of which a Turkish turbant is made; also a kind of girdle made of silk, etc. to tie about the waist" (online in Bailey's). Those two dictionaries also have "sash" = "a sort of girdle" [girdle = a band around the waist] (online in Bailey's). Samuel Johnson's English dictionary of 1756, which has no "shash", has "sash" = "a belt worn by way of distinction; a silken band worn by officers in the army" (ref). The change in English from earlier "shash" to later "sash" is a case of phonetic dissimilation, says Weekley 1921, Klein 1966, and Random House Dictionary 2001.
- The etymology of "scarlet" is difficult or problematical. A 12-page article devoted to the question was published in 1913, "Ciclatoun Scarlet" written by George Foot Moore. The article reaches the conclusion that the Western word came from Arabic in Spain. In the years since that article was written, an additional item of evidence has surfaced to support the same conclusion, namely a record in the Mozarabic language in year 1001. Dictionaries that say the word is of Arabic ancestry one way or another: CNRTL.fr, Concise OED, American Heritage Dictionary, Random House Dictionary, Diccionario RAE, A Dictionary of Andalusi Arabic (1997), Raja Tazi (1998), Partridge (1966), Weekley (1921). Some other dictionaries say the Western word came from Persian (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary is one). But that idea has the twin weakness that (1) records for the word in Persian do not begin until the early 14th century (in Jami' al-tawarikh), which is after the word had become common in the Romance languages, and (2) the meaning of the Persian word was a cloth imported from the Mediterranean region (see George Foot Moore's article and CNRTL.fr). The word in Arabic had come from Late Classical Latin and Early Medieval Greek – that is detailed by George Foot Moore and it was said in the medieval era in Arabic for سجلّاط and سجلّاطس and سقلّاط and سقلاطون in the medieval dictionaries.
- Quote from Ayto (2005). Likewise reported at CNRTL.fr.
- The Arabic "Sarandib" meaning Sri Lanka also occurs in English in translations of the Sinbad the Sailor tales. In a translation of the tales Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume Six (1885) the translator Richard F. Burton has a footnote that the Arabic Sarandīb | Serendīb is etymologically from Sanskritic "Selan-dwipa" where "dwipa" is Sanskritic for "island" and "Selan" is the same thing as the old English name "Ceylon". Further discussed at Names of Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka in year 1902 a previously unknown type of mineral was discovered and given the name Serendibite from the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka. The mineral Serendibite has since been found in North America and elsewhere but remains very rare.
- The late medieval Italian soda and late medieval Latin soda | sodanum referred to plants that grew on salty land around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and were burned to obtain sodium carbonate from their ashes (glasswort plants). The name is without a plausible derivation from earlier Latin. The NED (1919) says the name soda is "of unknown origin" – ref. Most of today's dictionaries say the name is from, or probably from, an Arabic glasswort plantname of the approximate form suwwad | suaeda. Those dictionaries include Merriam-Webster; American Heritage; Random House; Etymonline.com; Concise OED; and CNRTL.fr. See also glassmaking in the medieval Islamic countries. The Arabic suaed is attested in Arabic in the 1760s as a name of a glasswort (see the English Suaeda). But it is not attested in medieval Arabic with that meaning – ref: Raja Tazi year 1998 (in German) and "Soda" by Arnald Steiger in journal Vox Romanica year 1937 pages 73-76 (in German). According to Ayto (2005) and Partridge (1966), the name soda may have come from Arabic sudāʿ meaning headache. There is a late medieval Latin medical term soda = "headache" which is clearly borrowed from the Arabic sudāʿ = "headache" – Du Cange, MED. However, soda = "headache" appears to be a totally different word from soda = "soda ash plant" | "soda ash".
- "Sofa" in NED (in English) and CNRTL.fr (in French), and CNRTL.fr makes reference to Lammens. In E. W. Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, Lane says the medieval Arabic soffa was "an appurtenance of a house", and he cites a handful of medieval Arabic dictionaries but "in none of which is it explained". Soffa had further usages in Arabic; more from Lane at ref. However, the use of soffa in Arabic to mean a sofa (found in Bocthor's dictionary in early 19th century) was a late development and happened under the influence of the Turkish and Western word.
- The quote is from Lammens year 1890 and is stated in the same way in Partridge (1966).
- A 12th-century Andalusian Arab called Ibn Hisham Al-Lakhmi called spinach isbinākh and another Andalusian Arab source spelled it asbinākh – A Dictionary of Andalusi Arabic (year 1997). That Andalusian Arabic wordform is phonetically very close to the later medieval French forms espinache, espinage, espinoche, espinace and also the Catalan espinacs, Latin spinachium and similar forms – CNRTL.fr, DMF, Godefroy, MED, Diccionari.cat. Spinach is thought to occur natively in Iran; and the cultivation of spinach is thought to have originated in Iran not long before the Islamic conquest of Iran – De Candolle, Origin of Cultivated Plants (1885). In the 14th century, the Arabic dictionary of Fairuzabadi spelled it إِسفاناخ isfānākh and labelled it م = "well-known (definition unnecessary)" – www.Baheth.info. The 11th-century writer Ibn Sina did the same – ref. The form isfānākh is on record in Arabic from the late 9th century, which is nearly three centuries before a record of spinach in a Western language – CNRTL.fr.
- "Sugar" in the Middle English Dictionary. "Marrok" meant Morocco – that is clear from elsewhere in the same dictionary.
- Spellings of the word for sugar in late medieval Latin included sucrum, succarum, sucharum, sucarium, succurum, zucrum, zucara, zuchar, zucharum, zuccura, zucurium – Du Cange. Those are Latinizations of oral Romance speech.
- Lammens, year 1890. Extracts from Al-Muqaddasi's late-10th-century book Description of Syria in English translation are online at Ref (sumac is in the book's "Commerce" section).
- Amber, Azure and Camphor have 9th-century Latin records; www.CNRTL.fr.
- Swahili-to-English Dictionary, with etymologies for the Swahili words, compiled by Andras Rajki (2005)[dead link].
- "Syrup" in late medieval Europe usually meant a medicinal potion (sugar + water + medicine). That is well documented for 15th-century English in the Middle English Dictionary and is evident in the entry for sirop in the Dictionary of late medieval French. The 11th-century medical writer Ibn Sina called syrup sharāb and has dozens of different syrups in his Book V, Treatise 6: On potions and thickened juices. "Sharāb... is very common in [old] Arabic medical writings as a cough medicine or electuary", says Dozy, year 1869.
- Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales – well-referenced etymologies in French language
- Arabismen im Deutschen: lexikalische Transferenzen vom Arabischen ins Deutsche, by Raja Tazi (year 1998). – 400-page book about the German words of Arabic ancestry. Mostly the same words that are seen in English. German got the words mostly from French and Latin, and thirdly from other European languages.
- Baheth.info – searchable copies of large medieval Arabic dictionaries, including the dictionaries by Ibn Manzur, Fairuzabadi, and Al-Jawhari
- Richardson's Persian-Arabic–English Dictionary, year 1852 Edition – 1400 pages; downloadable
- Middle English Dictionary – biggest and best for late medieval English, fully searchable online
- Online Etymology Dictionary – compiled by Douglas Harper – Online Etymology Dictionary
- Dictionary.Reference.com – has the online copy of Random House Dictionary
- CollinsDictionary.com – online copy of Collins English Dictionary
- Concise OED – online copy of Concise Oxford English Dictionary
- TheFreeDictionary.com – has online copy of American Heritage Dictionary
- Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary – online copy of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
- An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (year 1921), by Ernest Weekley – downloadable, 850 pages, a good compilation of short summary etymologies
- An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (year 1888), by Walter W. Skeat – sometimes found incorrect by later research but usually not
- Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (1966), by Eric Partridge
- Word Origins (2005), by John Ayto
- Arabic Contributions to the English Vocabulary, by Habeeb Salloum and James Peters. 1996. Beirut: Librairie du Liban. 142 pages.