List of English words of Arabic origin (T-Z)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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]


tabla (percussion instrument in music of India) 
طبل tabl, drum. English tabla is from Hindi/Urdu tabla, which is from Persian tabla = "small drum", Persian tabl = "drum", and Arabic tabl. The Persian is from the Arabic. Tabl in Arabic has been the usual word for drum (noun and verb) since the beginning of written records.[2] [1]
طحينة tahīna, tahini. Derives from the Arabic verb for "grind" and is related to tahīn = "flour". The written Arabic tahīna is pronounced "taheeny" in Levantine Arabic. The word entered English directly from Levantine Arabic around year 1900, although tahini was rarely eaten in English-speaking countries until around 1970. [2]
طلق talq, mica and talc. Common in medieval Arabic. Documented in Latin alchemy from around 1200 onward, meaning mica and talc. Uncommon in the Latinate languages until the later 16th century. In all European languages today.[3] [3]
طلسم tilsam | tilasm, talisman. The Arabic came from Late Greek telesma = "consecration rite". Medievally in Arabic and Syriac it was used in the sense of "incantation" sometimes. Al-Masudi (died 956) and Ibn al-Awwam (died c. 1200) are examples of Arabic writers who used the word in the sense of an astrology-based talisman. An 11th-century, 400-page Arabic book about occult magic, astrology and talismans, the book entitled the Ghāyat al-Hakīm, uses the word about 200 times in the sense of a talisman, meaning an image with talismanic powers created through the guidance of astrology. The word entered astrology in the West with this meaning in the early 17th century, beginning in French. Early users in French said the word came from Arabic.[4] [4]
تمر هندي tamr hindī (literally: "Indian date"), tamarind. Tamarinds were in use in ancient India. They were not known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. They entered medieval Latin medical practice from Arabic. In English the early records are in translations of Latin medical texts. Tamarind's medieval medical uses were various.[5] [5]
tanbur, tanbura, tambur, tambura, tambouras, tamburica, tembûr 
These are all long-necked plucked string musical instruments. From Arabic طنبور ṭunbūr (also ṭanbūr), long-necked plucked string instrument. The word occurs early and often in medieval Arabic. It was also in use in Early Medieval Aramaic.[6] The English tambourine, a percussive instrument, is without any documentary evidence that would etymologically relate it. Likewise tambour = "drum" is either unrelated to tambur = "string instrument" or else the relation is poorly understood.[7] [6]
طنجة Tanja, city and port of Tangier in Morocco. Tangerine oranges or mandarin oranges were not introduced to the Mediterranean region until the early 19th century.[8] The English word "tangerine" arose in the UK in the early 1840s from shipments of tangerine oranges from Tangier. The word origin was in the UK.[9] The Arabic name for a tangerine is unrelated. The city existed in pre-Arabic times named "Tingi". [7]
tare (weight) 
طرح tarh | طرحة tarha, a discard (something discarded; from root tarah, to throw).[10] Medieval Arabic tarh | tarha was also used meaning "a deduction, a subtraction".[11] The tare weight is defined in English as the weight of a package that's empty. To get the net weight of goods in a package, you weigh the goods in their package, which is the gross weight, and then discard the tare weight. Catalan tara dates from 1271,[12] French tare 1311, Italian tara 1332,[13] England tare 1380.[14] The word has a record in Spanish around 1400 in the form atara, which helps affirm Arabic ancestry because the leading 'a' in atara represents the Arabic definite article.[15] It is spelled tara in today's Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian. [8]
تعريف taʿrīf, notification, specification (from ʿarraf, to notify). The word was widely used in medieval Arabic and meant any kind of notification or specification.[10] Among the Latins the word starts in late medieval commerce on the Mediterranean Sea where it meant a tabular statement of inventory on a merchant ship (bill of lading) or any tabular statement of products and prices offered for sale. In use by Italian and Catalan merchants in the 14th century. Entered French and English in the 16th as a tabular statement. In Spanish the word is absent or very rare before the late 17th.[16] From the meaning of a tabular statement of import tax liabilities on different goods, the meaning of an import tax grew out by metonymy. [9]
tarragon (herb) 
طرخون tarkhūn, tarragon. The word with that meaning was used by Ibn Al-Baitar (died 1248), who gives a description of the plant and mentions both culinary and medical uses.[17] Tarkhūn comes up in a medical context in Al-Razi (died circa 930), and in a culinary context in Ibn al-Awwam (died circa 1200).[17] In later-medieval Latin (late 12th century onward) it comes up in a medicine context spelled altarcon, tarchon and tragonia and was acknowledged at the time to be from Arabic. Until then in Latin there is no record of the plant under any name, or at least no clear record. Records for Italian tarcone | targone, French targon | tragon, Spanish taragoncia | traguncia, English tarragon and German Tragon all start in the 16th century and all are in a culinary context.[18] [10]
tazza (cup), demi-tasse 
طسّ tass | طاسة tāsa | طسّة tassa, round shallow cup or bowl, which was made of metal, typically made of brass.[10] The word has been in all the western Latinate languages since the 13th and 14th centuries.[13] Medievally the Latinate tasse | taza | taça (ç = z) was very often made of silver and was in the luxury category.[19] The word was common in Arabic for many centuries before it shows up in the Latinate languages.[10] English had it as tass in the 16th century, which continued much later in colloquial use in Scotland, but today's English tazza and demitasse came from Italian and French in the 19th century. [11]


from Arabic tafriq "distribution." Meaning "people and vehicles coming and going"
التنّ al-tunn, tunafish. The standard etymology report is: Ancient Greek and classical Latin thunnus = "tunafish" -> medieval Arabic al-tunn (or al-tūn) -> medieval Spanish atún -> colloquial American Spanish tuna -> late 19th century California tuna -> international English. Note: Modern Italian tonno, French thon, and English tunny, each meaning tuna, are descended from the classical Latin without an Arabic intermediary. Note: Isidore of Seville (died 636, lived in southern Spain) spelled it thynnus in Latin, where the Latin letter 'y' in Isidore's case was likely pronounced "eu", roughly like in British "tuna", which was roughly how the letter 'y' was pronounced in classical Latin.[20] Note: The word was common in ancient Greek and Latin; and common in late medieval Spanish; but a rarity in medieval Arabic, and it is not listed in medieval Arabic dictionaries.[21] [12]. The Albacore species of tunafish got its name from 16th century Spanish & Portuguese albacora, which might be from Arabic, although there is no clear precedent in Arabic.[22] [13]. In the tuna family the Bonito is another commercial fish species whose name comes from Spanish. The name is in late medieval Spanish, and it might have got there from Arabic, or might not.[23] [14]
see Monsoon


varanoid (in lizard taxonomy), Varanus (lizard genus) 
ورل waral and locally in North Africa ورن waran, varanoid lizard, including Varanus griseus and Varanus niloticus. In Europe in the 16th to 18th centuries it was usually spelled with an L, e.g. "varal" (1677, French), "oûaral" (1725, French), "warral" (1738 English traveller), "worral" (1828 English dictionary). But certain influential European naturalists in the early 19th century adopted the N spelling, "varan".[24] The V in place of W reflects Latinization. Historically in Latin and Romance languages there was no letter W and no sound /w/. [15]
see sultan


سمت samt, direction; سمت الرأس samt al-rā's, direction vertically upwards, zenithal direction, literally the "top direction". Samt al-rā's is in the astronomy books of, for example, Al-Farghani (lived mid 9th century)[25] and Al-Battani (died 929),[26] both of whom were translated to Latin in the 12th century. From its use in astronomy in Arabic, the term was borrowed into astronomy in Latin in the 12th century. The first-known securely-dated record in the Western languages is in the Arabic-to-Latin translation of Al-Battani.[26] Crossref the word nadir, whose first record in the West is in the very same Arabic-to-Latin translation. [16]
صفر sifr, zero. The use of zero as one of the elementary digits was the Hindu-Arabic numeral system's key innovation. Medieval Arabic sifr -> Latin zephirum = "zero" (used in 1202 by Leonardo of Pisa, who was one of the early Latin adopters of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system) -> Old Italian zefiro (used by Piero Borgi in the 1480s)[27] -> contracted to zero in Old Italian before 1485 -> French zéro 1485[13] -> English zero 1604; rare in English before 1800.[28] Crossref cipher. [17]

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

English tambourine is from French tambourin = "small drum" (15th century), which is from French tambour = "drum" (14th century), which is from French tabour = "drum" (13th century), which is from French tabor | tabur = "military drum used by Muslim armies" (12th century).[13] Which is probably from Arabic طبول taboul = "military drums, and any drums". Military drums were not in use in French armies at the time when the word emerged in French in the 12th century as a military drum. Most of the early records in French are in a genre of military-legend ballads known as chansons de geste in which war-drums are pounded by the enemy side only, and the enemy is non-Christian, usually Muslim. First record in French is in the war ballad Chanson de Roland about 1100, featuring a Muslim enemy. Muslim armies standardly used drums from the 10th century onward and taboul is the usual word for drums in Arabic since the beginning of written records. In evaluating this etymology, different people have expressed different views about the prior probability of the phonetic change involved in the step from taboul to tabour.[29]
tartar (a chemical), tartrates (chemicals), tartaric acid 
Early records of tartar as a chemical name in Latin are in the mid-12th century in the medical books of the Salernitan school of medicine in southern Italy, spelled tartarum, designating a substance that consisted mainly of what is now called potassium bitartrate.[30] The ancient Greeks and Romans used this substance, including in medicine (e.g. Dioscorides in Greek in the 1st century AD called it trux[31]). The name tartar is not in classical Latin or Greek in any chemical sense, although there was a classical mythological hell called Tartarus. The origin of the medieval Latin name is obsure. A parent in Arabic has been speculatively suggested by a number of dictionaries. A parent in Byzantine Greek is also speculated. [18]
The English word comes from Spanish tabaco. Most of today's English dictionaries derive the Spanish word from the Amerindian language of Haiti. But most of today's Spanish dictionaries derive it from a late medieval Spanish plantname that they say came from a medieval Arabic plantname. The question is unsettled.[32] [19]
This word, which is in the great majority of European languages today, is seen earliest in early 14th-century Italian.[13] Records from the port of Pisa in the 1320s have noun traffico and verb trafficare.[33] The early meaning was "bringing merchandise to a distant selling market", more often than not by sea, "commerce, especially long-distance commerce". The origin is obscure: various propositions have been aired from Latinate and Arabic sources but none convincingly. The following are Arabic-descended words in English that got established in later medieval Latinate commerce on the Mediterranean Sea with start dates in Italian (also Catalan) earlier than Spanish or Portuguese: arsenal, average, carat, garble, magazine, sequin, tare (weight), and tariff. In view of those borrowings, and because "traffic" lacks a convincing derivation from Latin, an Arabic source for "traffic" is a possibility. [20]
zircon, zirconium 
English and French zircon are from German zirkon, which starts in German mineralogists and chemists in the 1780s meaning a zircon gemstone. The German zirkon is almost surely from the pre-existing Italian zargone, Italian giargone, French jargon, which in 18th century Italian and French was a jewellry word meaning zircon gemstones and zircon-like gemstones, in various colors.[34] The German zirkon in the late 1780s was a scientifically defined species of zargone | giargone | jargon.[34] The mineralogists of Italy and France started adopting the German wordform around year 1800 because of its better mineralogical specificity. The Italian zargone | giargone and French jargon gemstone-name was descended from medieval French jargonce, medieval Italian giarconsia, medieval Spanish iargonça, medievally meaning zircon gemstones and zircon-like gemstones, in various colors.[35] It is also in medieval French, Spanish and Italian as jagonce | jagonça | giagonzo with the same meaning.[35] Jagonce was the parent of jargonce. The immediate source of medieval jagonce is not clear. It is demonstrably related to medieval Syriac yaqūndā, a gemstone with about the same meaning, but there is no known basis in Arabic for deriving jagonce from Arabic.[36] [21]

Notes about the List[edit]

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 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. In Arabic the words for father, mother and son are often used to denote relationships between things. Surrounding the brain and spinal chord is a tough outer layer of membrane called in today's English the dura mater. The words dura = "hard" and mater = "mother" are each in Latin from antiquity. Medieval Latin dura mater [cerebri], literally "hard mother [of the brain]" is a loan-translation of Arabic الأمّ الجافية al-umm al-jāfīa [al-dimāgh], literally "dry-husk mother [of the brain]" (a dry husk is a hard shell), and the translator in this case was Constantinus Africanus (died c. 1087).[37] As another well-known example of a loan-translation, 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 and quite 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, and the translator was (probably) Gerard of Cremona (died c. 1187).[38] 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.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Tabl = "drum" is a common word in medieval Arabic. As one reflection of that, in the 14th-century dictionary of Fairuzabadi, normal definitions of well-known words were given by the notation م denoting "well-known (definition unnecessary)", and طبل tabl was so given – In Arabic dictionaries today, another written form of the noun is طبلة tabla. But that is not in medieval and early modern Arabic dictionaries. In some Urdu dictionaries, طبل tabl is one of the words for a drum – e.g. in [httpxact&display=utf8 Platts' Urdu-English Dictionary year 1884].
  3. ^ Talq = "mica or talc" is in Arabic writings by Al-Jahiz (died 869), Yahya ibn Sarafyun (died before 900), Al-Razi (died circa 930), Al-Masudi (died 956), Ibn Sina (died 1037), a servant of emir Ibn Badis (died c. 1062), Ibn Al-Baitar (died 1248), and others – Ref, Ref, Ref (page 24 footnote #170). The word is in Latin in the early 13th century in two alchemy books that were translated and derived from Arabic: the Liber de Aluminibus et Salibus and the Liber Luminis LuminumRef (section §69), Ref (appendix III). The influential Latin alchemist Pseudo-Geber, who was influenced by Arabic literature, used the word in Latin around 1300 spelled talc | talck | talk in Latin. He was not the only late medieval Latin alchemist who used it. Late medieval Latin alchemy examples are at Ref, Ref, Ref. Latin talk is also in the medical book of Ibn Sina in late 12th century Arabic-to-Latin translation (Ref). But the word is uncommon in late medieval Latin (e.g. it is not in the extensive medieval Latin glossaries of Du Cange and Niermeyer) and the earliest known attestations in the vernacular Western languages come relatively late: Spanish = 1492, German = 1526, Italian = 1550, French = 1553, English talcum = 1558, English talc = 1582 – Ref, ref, ref. The writings of Paracelsus (died 1541) increased the circulation of the word in 16th-century Europe. The 16th century Latin talk | talcum meant mica and talc (e.g.), (e.g.).
  4. ^ "Talisman" with roughly today's meaning is first recorded in French in 1592 (, in English in 1638 (NED). The word with the same meaning is in today's Italian and Spanish and arrived there from French (as reported by today's Italian and Spanish etymology dictionaries). In the Western languages for three centuries before 1638 and continuing for a while after, a "talismani" meant an Islamic prayer leader or mullah, as documented in Yule & Burnell (page 893). With regard to "talisman" with roughly today's meaning, this meaning is found in French in Joseph Scaliger in 1590s, Jacques Gaffarel in the 1620s, and Charles Sorel in the 1630s, and the more exact meaning they have for the word is an astrology-based constructed image serving as an amulet, and those three writers say the word with this meaning has come from the Arabic language. More details on the history of the word are at English Words That Are Of Arabic Etymological Ancestry: Note #137: Talisman.
  5. ^ In Latin, tamarindi occurs in the later 11th century in the Arabic-to-Latin medical translator Constantinus Africanus (ref), and the word is frequent in the writings of the 12th and 13th century medical school at Salerno in southern Italy (collected in the five-volume set Collectio Salernitana). It entered late medieval English in medical books that were influenced by the Salernitan school (see the Middle English Dictionary). In Arabic, the book on medicaments by Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248) gives brief summaries of the statements of a handful of medieval Arabic medical writers about tamr hindīref: page 166-167. One of the people quoted by Ibn al-Baitar says the tamarind "grows in Yemen and India and Central Africa [Bilād al-Sūdān]". The tamarind has a large number of different names spread across the languages of Central Africa, and the tree is evidently native in Central Africa. Nevertheless Arabic medicine got introduced to the tamarind from India. Another one of the medieval commentators quoted by Ibn al-Baitar says the tamarind is used as a cuisine item in Oman. That is surely true, but other evidence indicates that tamarind's use as a cuisine item was rare among the medieval Arabs (ref, ref, ref), though it was not rare in medieval India (ref). The most commonly recorded use of the tamarind among the medieval Arabs and Latins was as a laxative (see the medical books just referenced, including Ibn al-Baitar's).
  6. ^ Early Medieval Aramaic has ṭnbwr = "long-necked string instrument", with records in the Syriac and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic dialects. Aramaic writing systems omit short vowels, so ṭnbwr may be read as tanbawr | tunboūr | etc. – Tnbwr @ Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon. An Arabic writer who wrote at length about the tunbūr was Al-Farabi (died 950). A 17-page extract from Al-Farabi about the tunbūr is online in Arabic in Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of Orientalists meeting in Leiden year 1883. The records for the word tunbur | tanbur are many centuries older in Arabic and Aramaic than in Persian. In Persian the very old word for a long-necked string instrument was tar and dotar and setarDictionary of Music by Willi Apel, year 1969, entry under "Lute II".
  7. ^ "Tabor #1" (plus "tambour", "tamboura") in NED. More etymology details about the Western word tambour | tambourine meaning drum are at English words of Arabic ancestry: Note #140: Tambour (drum), Tambourine.
  8. ^ Origin of Cultivated Plants by Alphonse de Candolle, year 1885, pages 183–188 for orange, page 188 for mandarin orange. "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.
  9. ^ "Tangerine" in NED (year 1919). Like Levant -> Levantine, Alexandria -> Alexandrine, and Damascus -> Damascene, "Tangerine" meaning "of Tangier city" has records in English that pre-date the creation of "tangerine" the orange. The English word "tang" meaning piquant flavour was also in English before "tangerine" the orange. Incidentally, Morocco today is one of the world's biggest exporters of fresh tangerine and mandarin oranges, with the exports mostly in the form called clementine, which is a variety of tangerine with no seeds and a less tangy taste. Tangier is not one of the main export ports – ref.[dead link]
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Supplement aux Dictionnaires Arabes, by Reinhart Dozy, volume 2, year 1881.
  12. ^ (in Catalan).
  13. ^ a b c d e More details at Etymologie in French language. This site is a division of the French National Centre for Scientific Research.
  14. ^ The first record of "tare" in England, recorded 1380, is in Anglo-Norman French in London; and the first pure English record for "tare" is in 1429 as per the MED. Later records are cited in the NED.
  15. ^ Glossaire des mots espagnols et portugais dérivés de l'arabe by R. Dozy & W.H. Engelmann, year 1869, on page 313. In Arabic, where tarha = "a discard", al-tarha = "the discard". The written al-tarha is always pronounced "at-tarha" (see pronunciation of al- in Arabic). At-tarha transfers into medieval Spanish as atara. However, the word's early records among the Latins are as tara in Catalan and Italian, and it arrived in those languages from Mediterranean sea-commerce, and it did not arrive there from Spanish nor from the Arabic of Iberia. The record of atara in Spanish about 1410 is in the collection of poems Cancionero de Baena which is a kind of document that is different from the commerce documents having the word in the other Latinate languages. The word, as atara or tara, is otherwise very rare in medieval Spanish. From the chronology of attestations, it is highly likely that the Modern Spanish tara did not come from Iberian Arabic, and instead it came from the Catalan and Italian word. A good example of the word in medieval Italian commerce is Pegolotti's Mercatura in 1340, which has tara 190 times meaning the tare on merchandise – Ref. The Spanish atara of 1410 looks an isolated and exceptional record – this point about atara is made in Los Arabismos del Castellano en la Baja Edad Media, by Felipe Maíllo Salgado, 3rd edition 1998, on page 359.
  16. ^ Catalan tarifa is first recorded in 1315 – Italian tariffa 1358, and French tariffe 1572 – Spanish tarifa 1680 – Raja Tazi 1998 citing Corominas.
  17. ^ a b Ibn al-Baitar's 13th century Book of Simple Medicaments and Foods is online in Arabic (5 megabytes; PDF) (tarkhūn on page 558), and in German translation (year 1842, tarkhūn in volume 2 page 156). The book was compiled in the 1240s. It says طرخون tarkhūn is a herb that grows to a height of between a handspan and a forearm tall, has long narrow delicate leaves, and has "camphor-like" aromatic qualities, and the leaves can be dined on at table mixed with mint and other herbs, but when chewed in quantity it causes a numbing effect in the mouth. Ibn al-Baitar gives excerpts from ten medieval Arabic commentators about the plant. The commentators are not totally consistent with each other in what they have to say, and some of them are exclusively interested in the medical utility of the numbing effect. Ibn Al-Baitar himself says tarkhūn is "a herb well-known among the people of the Levant". More than three centuries later, in the 1570s, a German visitor to the Levant, the physician and botanist Leonhard Rauwolff, observed that the local inhabitants of Lebanon used tarragon culinarily and they called it "Tarchon"Der Raiß inn die Morgenländer, year 1582 page 24. Ibn al-Awwam in 12th century southern Iberia has طرخون tarkhūn listed together with mint, chicory-endive, rocket (arugula), basil, parsley, chard, and a few other small leafy plants of an ordinary vegetable garden – Ref.
  18. ^ See "tarragon" in the NED (year 1919). One of the things noted by the NED is that an English botany book explaining Latin names in English in 1548 said: "[Latin] Tarchon... is called with us [English] Tarragon". A late-13th-century Latin medical dictionary, "Synonyma Medicinae" by Simon of Genoa, spelled it both tarcon and tarchon and defined the plant solely by saying what was written about it by the Arabic medical writer Avicenna. Early records of the tarragon plant in Italian include among others 1541 targone in Pietro Aretino, 1546 targon in Luigi Alamanni, and 1576 dragone in Bartolomeo Boldo. Italian tarcone + taracone = "tarragon" is in John Florio's year 1611 Italian-to-English Dictionary. The earliest known in French is 1539 Late 16th century French has the wordforms targon | tragon | estargon | estragon = "tarragon", where the prefix es- seems merely prosthetic. In the 18th century, the etymology writer Jacob Le Duchat and others believed in the idea that the word had arisen within the Latinate languages as a mutant of the classical Latin draco[n] = "dragon", an idea which they supported with the fact that some botanicals have been called dragonwort, Dracunculus and suchlike in Europe going back uninterruptedly to ancient Greek and Roman times. No one believes in that idea today. "It would be the sole example of Latin dr becoming tr in French." – Marcel Devic, year 1876. The Italian dragone = "tarragon" is a mutant of the Italian targone = "tarragon" in the judgement of numerous commentators, including Ottorino Pianigiani, year 1926.
  19. ^ For the word in medieval French see tasse @ Dictionnaire du Moyen Français 1330-1500. For medieval Spanish see taça @ Corpus Diacrónico del Español (note medieval Spanish plata meant silver). For the word in medieval Latin see Du Cange under the spellings tacia, tassia #1, tassa #2 and taxea #2.
  20. ^ Classical Latin borrowed the letter Y from Greek in the 1st century BC to represent the Greek letter Υ, which in Greek was pronounced approximately "eu" (/ü/). Up until the 1st century BC, Latin borrowings from Greek had used the Latin letter U to represent this Greek sound. The Latin letter Y in its early history was pronounced in the same way as the Greek letter Υ. The Latin that survives from Spain from the era of Isidore of Seville, including the output of Isidore himself, preserves classical usages, in general. Thynni (the plural of thynnus) is in Isidore of Seville's Origines Book XII paragraph 6 (in Latin).
  21. ^ Records of the use of the word in ancient Greek, classical Latin, medieval Arabic, and medieval Spanish are reviewed at English words of Arabic ancestry: Note #190: Tunafish (this review of the documentary evidence concludes that "it is uncertain and debatable whether the word tuna can be claimed to be of Arabic ancestry or not").
  22. ^ The earliest records of the albacora tunafish name are in 16th-century Spanish and Portuguese. The origin of the name is obscure according to the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Españolaalbacora #2 @ Diccionario RAE. Old Arabic dictionaries do not contain a phonetically similar word with the meaning of a fish – ref: Dozy (year 1869, pages 61 & 388). Albacore tuna flesh is white when cooked and is a lighter shade of red when raw when compared to other tunas. "Alba" is a classical Latin and old Spanish & Portuguese word for white (e.g. English albino is borrowed from Portuguese); and the Portuguese word for color is "cor". Hence albacora may have been created in Portuguese meaning "white color" [tuna meat] – that is the judgement of the Portuguese and Arabic expert pt:José Pedro Machado. But there is uncertainty because the Portuguese word did not have the exclusive meaning of albacore tuna; it could also designate the yellowfin tuna. In today's Portuguese the bluefin tuna is often called atum vermelho, literally "red tuna", referring to its red flesh when raw. In Spanish, atún rojo, literally "red tuna", is a frequently used name for the bluefin tuna. In Spanish, atún blanco, literally "white tuna", is a frequently used name for the albacore tuna; it is synonymous with Spanish albacora. Again, the names refer to the color of the flesh. Another consideration is the 16th century start date of the Spanish and Portuguese word albacora. Spanish & Portuguese had stopped borrowing words from Arabic well before the 16th century. Of the words they had borrowed from Arabic in the earlier centuries, the large majority of those in use today are found in writing before the 16th century. A small minority, borrowed well before the 16th century, do not show up in writing until the 16th century. The lateness of the start date of albacora makes it less likely that albacora came from Arabic.
  23. ^ Bonítol is a commercially caught bonito-type fish in Catalan records in 1313, 1361, 1365, 1370 and later – "Una llista de peixos valencians de Mariano Bru" by Antoni Corcoll in Estudis de Llengua i Literatura Catalanes, Volume XL, year 2000, pages 21 - 22. The terminal letter L in Catalan bonítol is a diminutive (similarly, Catalan fillol = "godson" is from Catalan fill = "son" and classical Latin formula is from Latin forma = "form"). Some dictionaries report the name bonito may be a Spanish-ization of بينيث baynīth which is a sea fish in medieval Arabic general dictionaries (including Lisan al-Arab); others report the name's origin is unknown or may be from Spanish bonito = "pretty good".
  24. ^ Varan @, Worral @ NED, Varan @ NED.
  25. ^ The following book published in 1669 consists of a text in Arabic by Al-Farghani (aka Alfraganus), plus a translation of the text into Latin by Jacobus Golius, plus notes by the translator. The Arabic page with the term "samt al-rā's" is here and the translator has a note about it in Latin here.
  26. ^ a b Al-Battani's Kitāb Al-Zīj was translated to Latin around 1140. The translator was Plato Tiburtinus. In the translation, Al-Battani's Arabic samt al-rā's = "top direction" was written down in Latin as zenith capitis and zenith capitum. The Latin capitis | capitum = "head (or top)" is a straight translation of Arabic rā's = "head (or top)". Today's etymology dictionaries are unanimous that the Latin zenith was a mangling of Arabic samt = "direction". In the same book translated by Plato Tiburtinus, Arabic سمت مطلع samt motalaa = "direction to the rising sun" was translated as Latin zenith ascensionis (chapter 7); قد تعرف السمت qad taarif al-samt = "the direction can be made known by" was translated as zenith sciri potest (chapter 11); سمت الجنوب samt al-janoub = "southern direction" was translated as zenith meridianum (chapter 12) (where medieval Latin meridianus meant "southern" and "midday"). In other words, for Plato Tiburtinus zenith meant "direction" and did not mean "zenith". But the direction that was used the most was the samt al-rā's = zenith capitis = "top direction; vertically up". The phrase zenith capitis or zenith capitum meaning "vertically up, zenithal direction" occurs in medieval Latin in Johannes de Sacrobosco (died circa 1245) (Ref), Roger Bacon (died 1294) (Ref), Albertus Magnus (died 1280) (Ref), and others. Later writers dropped the capitis and used zenith alone to mean the zenith capitis. Refs: zenith at; zenith in Brill's Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1st Edition; zenith capitis and zenith capitum in Plato Tiburtinus in Latin; سمت الرأس samt al-ra's in Al-Battani's book in Arabic. An independent Arabic-to-Spanish translation of most of the same book of Al-Battani, dated around 1260 in Spanish, rendered the Arabic samt into Spanish 105 times as zonte = "direction" – Canones de Albateni.
  27. ^ The Introduction and Spread of the Hindu-Arabic Numerals, by Smith and Karpinski, year 1911, pages 57 to 60: Online.
  28. ^ Nathan Bailey's English Dictionary in year 1726 defined zero as "a word used for cypher or nought especially by the French" – ref. Samuel Johnson's English Dictionary in 1755 and 1785 did not include the word zero at all. The usual names for zero in English from the late medieval period until well into the 19th century were "nought" and "cifre" | "cipher" – ref1a, ref1b, ref2a, ref2b, ref3.
  29. ^ Discussed at length at English words of Arabic ancestry: Note #140: Tambour (drum), Tambourine.
  30. ^ Details at English Words That Are Of Arabic Etymological Ancestry: Note #187.
  31. ^ The Materia Medica of Dioscorides is downloadable from links on the Wikipedia Dioscorides page. Trux meaning "tartar" is in Dioscorides' Book 5, where Dioscorides briefly describes how to make it and how to use it in medicine.
  32. ^ A number of reports in Spanish in the 16th century clearly say the word tabaco is indigenous to the West Indies – According to the same and other reports at the time, there were a number of indigenous names for tobacco in the West Indies and tabaco was not one of those names strictly speaking, and the reporters are in conflict about what the indigenous name tabaco meant, and they are writing after tobaco had already been established in Spanish in the New World – NED. In the opinion of Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico (year 1983), the Spanish tabaco is a word of Arabic ancestry; and this opinion has since been endorsed by (2007) and Diccionario RAE (2014). A medieval Arabic plantname طبّاق tubbāq is well documented in medieval Arabic; e.g. in Ibn al-Baitar c. 1245 and medieval Arabic dictionaries. But connecting this or any Arabic word to the Spanish tabaco = "tobacco" is poorly documented in Spanish.
  33. ^ "Traffic" in NED (1926).
  34. ^ a b To show that German zirkon came from Italian zargone | giargone and French jargon, several pages of 18th century quotations are assembled at REF. The matter is beset by the presence of more than one small but noticeable phonetic irregularity in going from zargone | jargon to zirkon. For the phonetic reason, some etymology writers have taken the position that the source of the German zirkon is undetermined; e.g. Mettmann year 1962. But lots of later-18th-century documentation supports the position that its source was zargone. Zargone meaning zircon and zircon-like gemstones is in Italian books about gemstones; e.g. year 1682, year 1730, year 1785, year 1791. The German zirkon in its earliest known records, in the early 1780s, was identically synonymous with zargone | jargon; e.g. year 1780 in German. In the mid and late 1780s in German mineralogy literature, zirkon was narrowed and redefined to a specific species of zargone | jargon that came from Ceylon; e.g. year 1787, year 1789.
  35. ^ a b For the jargonce gemstone in medieval French (also jagonce) see Dictionnaire Étymologique de l'Ancien Français and Les Lapidaires Français du Moyen Age. For the same gemstone in medieval Spanish see iargonça | jargonça | girgonça | jagonça | jagonza in Corpus Diacrónico del Español. For the same gemstone in medieval Italian see giarconsia | giarconese | giagonzo in Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini. Late medieval French jargonce became post-medieval French jargons. A French-to-English translation in year 1699 mentions the jargon gemstone 14 times but always in the grammatical plural, "jargons" – Ref. In the famous French encyclopedia of Diderot and d'Alembert, dated 1765, the name for the jargon gemstone is Jargons (not Jargon) – Ref, alt link.
  36. ^ Article on the etymology of the medieval French jagonce gemstone-name: "Altfranz. jagonce", by Hugo Schuchardt, year 1904 in journal Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie volume 28, pages 146-156. The medieval Syriac yaqūndā gemstone has a set of citations in Payne-Smith's Thesaurus Syriacus, year 1879 page 1622.
  37. ^ Constantinus Africanus has a 4-page chapter on the composition of the membranes situated on the interior of the skull. It is in Latin at Ref, and a variant Latin edition is at Ref. This was the place of birth of the term dura mater in Latin anatomy. Constantinus was fluent in Arabic and most of his overall content was taken from Arabic sources. For his material on dura mater, Constantinus's source was Ali Ibn Al-Abbas Al-Majusi, aka Haly Abbas (died c. 990). Details about how dura mater arose as an Arabic loan-translation are on pages 95-96 (including footnote #27) of the article "Constantine's pseudo-Classical terminology and its survival", by Gotthard Strohmaier in the book Constantine the African and ʻAlī Ibn Al-ʻAbbās Al-Maǧūsī: The Pantegni and Related Texts, year 1994. Constantinus's chapter with the term dura mater also contains the first known use of the term pia mater, which for Constantinus had the same meaning as it has today (i.e. a certain membrane lying between the brain and the skull), and this too was a loan-translation from Arabic – the term was al-umm al-raqīqa = "thin mother" in Ali Ibn Al-Abbas. Cf pia mater @ NED , pia mater @ Early adopters of the names dura mater and pia mater include William of Conches (died c. 1154) and Roger Frugard (died c. 1195), both of whom took much material from Constantinus. As noted by Strohmaier (1994), the Greek medical writer Galen (died c. 200 AD) was acquainted with the dura mater and the pia mater, which he called in Greek sklera meninx (literally "hard membrane") and lepte meninx (literally "thin membrane"), also spelled μῆνιγξ. For the medieval Arabic writers on medicine including Ali Ibn Al-Abbas, the writings of Galen were the most quoted and requoted antecedent source for their knowledge of anatomy. For the early medieval Latins, the writings of Galen were mostly unknown and not in circulation – although a smallish subset was in circulation. The later-medieval Latins were introduced to more Galen from Arabic sources. Subsequently the Latins found more Galen in Late Byzantine sources.
  38. ^ (2010), sinus#2 @, and many others. The medieval Arabic جيب jayb in Lane's Arabic Lexicon page 492 can be compared for meaning against the classical Latin sinus in Lewis and Short's Dictionary of Classical Latin.

General references[edit]