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"Misirlou" refer to Muslim Egyptian woman[edit]

I think Greeks of that time when they said "Misirlou" (Μισιρλού), they referred to only the Muslim Egyptian women and they didn't call all the Egyptian women like that. On the other hand, when they referred to a Christian Egyptian woman they called her as "Αιγυπτιώτισσα".Gre regiment (talk) 14:05, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

"Misirlou" related to Judaism?"[edit]

How come the page carries the Project Judaism tag? The song is clearly of Asia Minor/Eastern Mediterranean folk origin. As with most folk songs, it is not possible to trace its author/composer. I consider it misguided to tag it with any specific ethnic tag, be it Judaic, Greek or Turk. The Gnome 05:06, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Removed -- Magioladitis (talk) 21:48, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

The article mentions that it is a popular Jewish (Klezmer) song, sometimes with Yiddish lyrics. It should be mentioned that it is specifically associated as wedding dance music. Occasionally, the tune is also incorporated into Jewish liturgy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

"Misirlou" Turkish?[edit]

So far as I know the word 'Misirlou' is Turkish. In Ottoman Turkish it was Misirlu and now in modern Turkish it is called Misirli. Certainly it does mean 'Egyptian'. It has nothing to do with the Greek tongue.

In fact, it is an Arabic word, مصر (as the article indicates). That's what the Egyptians call themselves. Both the Turkish words and the Greek word derive from that. The Hebrew word for Egypt sounds very similar too, it is not a coincidence.
In any case, even if the song was called Baklava, since it was originally written in the Greek language and had a Greek lyrics, the name should first be spelled in Greek (with pointers to any relevant word derivation if needed).
Regards, Sysin 22:45, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Just one point, the word 'Misr' is an Arabic one, and the Turkish counterpart 'Misir' of course derives from that word. But the word 'Misirlu' or 'Misirli' is a Turkish word made with Turkish suffixes. So it differs from Arabic in this case, i.e. there is no word in Arabic like 'Misirlu'. And the Egyptians call themselves 'Misri' but not 'Misirlu'. I never denied that the origin of the song is Greek, but the word they used to name the song was taken from Turkish. So the right way to write the etymology of the word would be :

Misirlou (Greek: Μισιρλού, "Egyptian Girl"; from Turkish: Misirli, "Egyptian"; from Arabic مصر, Miṣr, "Egypt")

Best Wishes, Burak...

I don't wanna turn it into a tug of war. Only one thing I request from you. Please find me only one language in the world except Turkish that comprises the word 'Misirlu' or 'Misirli' which means 'Egyptian' significantly. Then I will accept that this is only a similarity rather than borrowing.

Regards, Burak...

"Misiri" "Misirlis" (masc.) and "Misirlou" (fem) can all be found in a Greek dictionary, so there are at least two languages that use the word. Even if there was only one possible origin for the word, (which for reasons explained about, there isn't), so what? Take a look at Revolution (song). Does it read "Revolution (from Middle English revolucioun, from Old French revolution, from Late Latin revolti, revoltin-, from Latin revoltus, past participle of revolvere, to turn over)". It doesn't. It is not relevant. This is an article about the song, not a dictionary entry for the word "Misirlou"; we only need a translation from the original language for context. In this case it also help to explain the connection between "Misr" and "Egypt" (since most English-speakers may not be aware of it), but to go into a detailed analysis of the word is off topic. (Regards, Sysin

Of course there is only one possible origin for this word. A linguist who specialized in eastern languages will verify that, you can be sure.

And certainly there are two tongues having these words in their vocabulary. This is the reason of our debate. But I think you missed the point. Only one of them can explain the word significantly.

As for Revolution (song), if you or another friend hadn't given the etymology of 'Misirlu' just like in Revolution (song), I wouldn't even have thought about it. But once you gave the etymology of it and skipped the intermediary language, I felt the necessity of correcting it, that's all...

So, my intention is not to prolong this discussion of no avail. Even though the correction is not satisfactory, I will not persist therein.

Tschüss, Burak

You don't need a linguist. Mısırlı is a blatantly Turkish word [1]. It's formed in Turkish by combining the Arabic word Mısır (Egypt) with the very widely used Turkish -lı suffix, which makes it "Egyptian." You combine for example Amerika with -lı, and Amerikalı means American [2], Istanbul with -lu, and Istanbullu means Istanbuller, Londra with -lı and Londralı means Londoner, and so on. There is no such -lı, (or -li, -lu, -lü, depending on Turkish vowel harmony) suffix in Greek, Arabic, or any other language. If similar words are in Greek (I couldn't find them in any online Greek dictionary!), they are nothing but Greek "proper names" (people's first or last names) derived from the actual Turkish word Mısırlı, not actual Greek words. This said, the composer of Misirlou, Theodotos ("Tetos") DEMETRIADES was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and raised there [3]. So, he's obviously ethnically Greek but his original nationality was Turkey (Ottoman Empire back then), and he was fluent in Turkish. Not that it matters but I just wanted to keep the records straight. Unfortunately even such simple and obvious facts easily get distorted in the Internet and especially on Wikipedia. Esirgen (talk) 06:21, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Not a folk song[edit]

Sorry, this is not a Moroccan, Egyptian, Armenian (typo, bnd), Lebanese or Persian folk son (I've heard that all). Its a melody so haunting and so familiar that it is hard to believe that it wasn't composed before the beginning of time. But it wasn't. Sysin 12:24, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Dear anonymous, please respond here before making further edits.

1) Μισιρλού literally means "Egyptian female", girl or woman ("man"=Μισιρλής; "from Egypt"=απ'το Μισίρι). It can be translated as "Woman from Egypt" if one wants to be too verbose, but to state that "girl" or "woman" is implied is just plain wrong. Replacing the correct translation with an incorrect one twice in a row, is not a sign of good intent.

2) When was the first Armenian recording of this "folk" song? 1930? 1940? 1950? What were the original lyrics? What documents do you have that record them? The song was a major hit by Patrinos in the late 1920s and again by Tsitsanis in the 1930s, and there are plenty of recordings and score sheets to document that. If this was a popular Armenian song from the 1600s, wouldn't there be some recordings predating Patrinos? Sysin 17:04, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

Hi again,

The word 'Misirlis' is certainly a loan word from Turkish just like the words 'Karamanlis' or 'Daglis' are. Sorry, but the Greeks gained thousands of Turkish words all through those hundreds of years under Tourkokratia. And this is fair normal..

Furthermore, I thought that we came to a compromise on the last description of the etymology. But now I see that you changed it back to its original, i.e. you removed the part "similar to Turkish Misirli" again. Even though I did not agree to this kind of explanation I did not make any changes at all just to show my good intent. And I think it's my right to want you to revert it to the one I mentioned.

Best wishes, Burak 22:16, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

When it was vandalized (changed with patently incorrect info, namely the "From egypt" translation), I restored it to an older text. I'll put back the Turkish language reference since you insist, even though I continue to believe that it is irrelevant. Sysin 18:20, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, I checked history and saw the previous versions for the moment. Anyhow, thank you for the change Sysin...

Regards, Burak 20:15, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

I really wish to know if anybody has the Persian(Farsi) version of this song or at least has the link to it! I'm searching hard but I can't still find it. Thanks, Hooman Sepehri 22:44, 7 January 2008

Nuftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia[edit]

Good find, I heard the recording, it is in fact Misirlu, closer to the Rubanis melody than to Patrinos' or Dale's. Can anyone translate the lyrics? Any more information about the origin/year?

Regards, m

The lyrics he sang to this tune are a traditional poem about the prophet Elijah which can be found in many Jewish prayer books among the hymns for Saturday night. An early version is found in the 12th-century Mahzor Vitry; its current form is no later than the 18th century. You can hear various tunes to it here. -- Zsero (talk) 16:45, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Stoma / Mouth[edit]

Sometimes, literal translation is not the best - Greeks say "φιλί στο στόμα" meaning a kiss on the lips, but when the english speakers say "kiss on the mouth" they mean a French kiss, which does not seem the right translation for this song.

This reminds me of the e-joke that's going around with expressions such as "He does the duck", "I made them sea" and "To say the figs figs and the tub tub". Sysin 14:16, 20 January 2006 (UTC)


Yeah, I guess you're right. I'm just too pedantic... so I fixed up the accents on your Greek :) It's just not Greek without them haha.

Here are two of my favourite direct translations:

  • Θα σου αλλάξω τα φώτα == I'll change your lights
  • Θα φας ξύλο == You'll eat wood

By the way are you Greek or just know the language? User:Maggas 3:30am, 21/1/06

Busted link?[edit]

I've been trying to follow the link at the bottom to the usaf band recording of the song for a few days now, and it seems to be consistantly broken. Perhaps it should be removed? or is this just me? 07:46, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

The site is down. This is presumably a temporary error (unless they've gone out of business, which I doubt). Let's wait a few days. sys < in 08:54, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

You find USAF Band version of Miserlou from this page: The Official Web Site of The United States Air Force Band

You can download the track from this url: (they are encouraging for downloading)

4th of May 2013 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:59, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Sysin's latest edit[edit]

Sysin: I totally agree with you about Αραπιά (though maybe we even want to translate it as "Arabia" or "Araby"). As for κλέψω, while "I'll steal you..." doesn't quite work, "I'll steal you away" probably would, and would better reflect the meaning of the Greek verb. What do you think? --Iustinus 17:05, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

In the context of a relationship, 'κλέβω' can best be translated as "elope with" (for the male; the female 'κλέβεται' - an old-fashioned assumption of gender-roles I guess). There is consent implied. There is no such connotation in English for 'steal' - it is more synonymous to abduction than to elopement. Regarding Αραπιά, I think Greeks (particularly of that era) understood it to encompass all of Northern Africa, whereas a reader used to modern terminology may understand "Arabia" to be limited to the Arabian Peninsula. "Arab Land" is a more literal and somewhat more poetic translation. Cheers, sys < in 07:58, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, to me "I'll steal you away..." can still be used in that context.
As for "Arabia", you definitely have a point: the thought had occured to me that many might take that to mean the Arab Peninsula, which doesn't fit here. But "Araby" just might work, and it's definitely poetic. Eh, I suppose "Arab land" is clearer. --Iustinus 08:05, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Heh, I don't speak Greek but I agree that "to steal away" can have the same meaning as "elope" if you are talking to someone familiar. Dan Carkner 13:42, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Misirlou / Misirli[edit]

Dear anonymous, as before: The two words are related (from the same Arabic root) but they are not the same, nor do they mean the same. Misirli is a gender-neutral word that could refer to any person or object from Egypt. Misirlou refers specifically to a Egyptian female person, and even more specifically to a member of the country's predominant Arab/Muslim population (members of the large Greek/Christian community at the time would never be referred to as 'Misirlides' but as 'Egyptiotes') sys < in 12:43, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Either its masculine or feminine form, it won't make any difference. The word stems from Turkish. But debating here won't give any results. Instead I will get a Greek etymological dictionary and end the problem permanently. This seems the best solution.
-- 13:15, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Latest translation change[edit]

Dear anonymous, thanks for the updates in the translation, they were a great improvement. I did make two reverts: Crazy->wild (crazy could be taken to mean 'insane'); plus I deleted 'inside' which, although used in Greek, sounds redundant in English.sys < in 19:55, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't even know why some keep questioning the origin of the song, its title gives its origin away and puts to rest any supposed 'its been around since the stone aged in folk lore and sung by every JewishGreekTurkishArabicAremnianPersianEgyptianEskimo from China to the ME and Brazil' theory. For one all versions of this song use the term "Misirlou" from the Greek version which speaks specifically of an Egyptian girl which in itself is derived from the Turkish Misirli/u which means Egyptian(male or female) which in itself is derived from the Arabic Miṣr, which means Egypt. In Greek when someone sings about Misirlou they knew they were talking about an Egyptian female. Some later versions such as the Yiddish by Miriam Kressyn turn Misirlou into a name: I once knew a girl. Her name is Miserlou; Everyone there knows her well. Since I'm to lazy I'm going to post Ireney from the WordReference Forums(Greek; Misirlou 31st March 2007):

Start Turk. Mısırlı, “Egyptian” is made up by Mısır, “Egypt” + the suffix –lI (with fourfold vowel harmony), adapted to Greek as mal. Μισιρλής, fem. Μισιρλού. The -ού suffix is indigenously Greek, and is used to make feminine forms of adjectives ending in a) –ης and b) –άς:

a) Suff. –ης, fem. -ού μαυρομάτης – μαυροματού, “with black eyes” σγουρομάλλης – σγουρομαλλού, “with curly hair”

b) Suff. –άς, fem. -ού κοιλαράς – κοιλαρού, “with a big belly” φωνακλάς – φωνακλού, “who bawls”

- the b) category being more common than the a) as the feminine forms μαυρομάτα and σγουρομάλλα would probably be more frequent.

But there is a category of words in which the feminine suffix –ού is compulsory, and that is precisely the Mισιρλής type.

c) Suff. –λής, fem. –λού This is an interesting extension of the –ού suffix in that it always has an –λ-, and the reason is of course that Greek has adopted – en bloc – words containing the Turkish suffix –lI, and, secondarily, even made it productive.

mal. Μισιρλής – fem. Μισιρλού (see above) μερακλής – μερακλού, cf. Turk. meraklı, “curious” (i.e. having merak, “curiosity; fancy”, Gr. μεράκι) παραλής – παραλού, cf. Turk. paralı, “rich” (i.e. having para, “money”, Gr. παράς)

As a productive suffix:

κατουρλής – κατουρλού, “who wets his/her pants; afraid”, but also Kosename for a child, cf. the verb κατουρώ, “to urinate”. One of the most brilliant Greek poets, Κώστας Βάρναλης, was born in Varna (Bulgaria). This suffix is rare without an accent in masc., but a woman from Varna would invariably be Βαρναλού, cf. c) – to the extent that this word would be found in written Greek. End

Aside from that I came across these additional versions of the song on line: Tetos Dimitriadis Manolis Aggelopoulos 1950s bouzouki1 Manolis Aggelopoulos 1950s bouzouki2 Yarali Gonul Turkish Biebie 12 May 2007

Why bother to translate into English when you leave in completely untranslated words, like 'habibi'. Hello! That's not English. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Boyd Rice?[edit]

Does anyone have any documentation on this thing about Dick Dale's version being included in Pulp Fiction on Boyd Rice's suggestion? The only thing I've been able to find is from the faq on Rice's site, the entirety of which is every bit as self-aggrandizing as everything else the man says (example: "Q: Is it true that RE/Search Publications haven't paid Boyd Rice any royalties in over fifteen years, for his work on Incredibly Strange Films? A: Yes."). Is there, for instance, any word from Tarantino about it? MrBook 15:02, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Feedback about external link "2-hour radio show"[edit]

This is about the link pointing to the KGNU site with the March 2nd, 2007 show which aired almost 15 versions of Misirlou. I visited the link. There is no longer an option to listen to that broadcast ( I guess they take all broadcasts off), but there is a program listing which has good information about all the renditions aired in that broadcast. I think that link might be a valuable resource for someone trying to collect all renditions of this song (like myself)

Link to Program Listing from the main page of this broadcast

--Kapsio 04:27, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

About Dick Dale's version[edit]

Can someone confirm this sentence, "The song was rearranged as a solo instrumental rock guitar piece by Dick Dale in 1962?" The reason I ask is that I was listening to the version from "Pulp Fiction" and it doesn't sound like it's just guitar. I'm pretty sure I hear cymbals in the beginning and a piano toward the end. I suppose it could have been rearranged for the movie, but I looked online and couldn't find anything to confirm or deny that. I think the point of the song is for it to sound like it's not just a guitar, but I would be really amazed if it really is just one guitar solo. (talk) 19:25, 24 August 2014 (UTC) What was the source used to affirm that Dick Dale's Misirlou version found in Guitar Hero II is the same heard in the soundtrack of Riding Giants? Actually, where can this version be heard? I've been dying to hear it, but all I can get are repetitions of the version heard in Pulp Fiction. Can anyone please help? 20:12, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

I can't confirm that it's from Riding Giants, but if you have Limewire or something, searching "Misirlou Guitar Hero 2" will be sufficient to be able to hear it. Make sure the album is listed as "Guitar Hero 2" and not "Pulp Fiction." The two versions themselves sound totally different; the only similar thing I hear is the repeating E F G# A B C D# C B or whatever riff. (talk) 00:40, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
At best, it's a cover of this "Riding Giants" version, as evidenced by the "as made famous by Dick Dale" tag in the game (Guitar Hero's euphemism for "cover"). Poiuyt Man talk 03:06, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Found a good sample at Amazon MP3, off Dale's Greatest Hits album released in 1992. The GH2 version is definitely a cover. Poiuyt Man talk 05:30, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Uncanny resemblence to Bizet's Carmen Habanera[edit]

Misirlou song sounds very much like the Habanera Aria. I would think that Bizet incorporated the already existing melody in his opera. unsigned by anonymous

Interesting theory - although I fail to hear the resemblance. There is a similarity in structure, but its' a very common one. In any case, when comparing Marilyn Horne's performance to Michalis Patrinos' all similarities are lost. All the versions of Misirlou that are common today derive from Rubanis' version. Rubanis was a well-trained music instructor living in New York, and must have had access to to the musical knowledge such a situation would imply; he was trying to set ethnic music to a modern (jazz) style; so it would not be surprising if he was influenced by Bizet or Dvorak, who had previously set ethnic music to a classical style. The fact that all the so-called "middle eastern folk" versions of Misirlu clearly derive from Rubanis' work, further proves Patrinos' originality. sys < in 09:09, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Arabic Lyrics[edit]

As Amrstation points out, the Arabic verse in the song is badly mispronounced. This is probably because (a) Patrinos and his audience did not speak Arabic and/or (b) "Yahaleli" needs to have exactly 5 syllables to fit the rhythm. The same sentence is very frequently used in Greek rembetiko songs (orientalism is a frequent theme) and is more frequently rendered "yaleleli". Regards sys < in 08:04, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

"Misirlou" in "Back to the Beach"?[edit]

The article states: The 1987 comedy film "Back to the Beach" features a surf-rock performance of Misirlou in front of wind machines by Dick Dale and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Dick Dale and Stevie Ray Vaughan play the very different song "Pipeline" in that movie, but I don't think they play "Miserlou." It's not listed on the soundtrack in IMDB. If they did play "Miserlou," I would very much like to hear it! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Misterlevel (talkcontribs) 14:13, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

This song is a perfect example of western culture!!![edit]

I don't understand the whole orientation of the argumentation of the article. Actually it doesn't make any sense. Greece is a European country located in the western part of the world. Greek culture is the foundation (or at least an important part) of all of the western culture. Then some Greek dude decides to write a song about an Egyptian girl, in a style that may or not resemble some middle-eastern style and he is automatically called middle-eastern, Moroccan, Arab, Jew, etc. ...? Does this mean that when Bizet wrote Carmen he automatically became Spanish? Or that when Homer composed his Iliad, he became a Trojan? There is more to it, in Egypt the girl wouldn't be referred to as Misirlou, she would simply be "the girl". And probably wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary.

This song is a perfect example of western culture. I strongly suggest a review of the whole argument orientation of the article.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Ancient Greek culture is very different than the Greek culture for the last 1000 years. I would call it more Ottoman culture rather than western culture because of its multicultural roots in Greece, Balkans, Middle East, and Turkey. As Ottomans were not only Turkish but they were all Greek, Arab, and Balkanic.

Use as theme song for HBO series?[edit]

This needs verification but I believe MISIRLOU is used as the theme song for HBO's series ROME (and if it's not actually MISIRLOU, the theme is heavily inspired by MISIRLOU).Bigmaestro (talk) 17:34, 16 October 2008 (UTC)bigmaestro

I thought the same thing. Not while Rome was on the air, but when a similar sounding song was played during an episode of Mad Men this past week. I thought it sounded like the Rome theme, then learned that it was Misirlou. I had no idea the song (known by many today as the Pulp Fiction theme) had such a history. But I can't find any confirmation whether the Rome theme is the same song. Vorenus (talk) 02:12, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Re: Use as theme song for HBO series?[edit]

I agree with the previous comment, this song is eerily similar to (if not the same as) the theme song for HBO'S ROME. And as was also stated in the previous comment, the main article should mention that this song was used in episode 2x11 of AMC's MAD MEN (episode title "The Jet Set") (talk) 03:05, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

"the Arab land" ??? (translation issue)[edit]

Φιλαράκοι, ἀρκαδασλάρ μου, «ἡ Ἀραπία» σημαίνει «Arabia» ἢ «the Orient» σ’τὰ αγγλικά... No really, even if you think of the word “Ἀραπιά” as being reminiscent of a plural neuter (which it is not), it would still only render *“the Arabias” in English (in the same style as people used to refer in the past to “the Indies”). However, “Ἀραπιά” is NOT a plural, it is a feminine singular and it means the same thing as “Ἀραβία”, namely, “Arabia”. And to make things clear the English word “Arabia” does not refer to a specific country, but to the whole Middle Eastern region (except for Turkey, Cyprus and Iran), and that includes Egypt and Northern Africa to which the word seems to sometimes allude. If you don’t like “Arabia” you could also alternatively use “the Orient” which would more faithfully translate the feeling and intent of “Ἀραπιά” as opposed to “Ἀραβία”. However, arkadaşlar, “the Arab lands” makes no sense in any language and it looks terribly stilted. -- 27 April 2010

2nd sentence incorrect - not from Greek refugees[edit]

"(a style that originated with the Greek refugees from Turkey)" Clearly Rebetika was performed in Izmir/Smyrna, prior to their being any refugees - see rebetiko and is still performed today there.

User: seanblanton

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

to help your brainstorming on the origin of word "misirlou" please listen to the song concerned on the discs bellow

1. Misirlou (Vogue, 1952): Misirlou - sang by Leo Fuld in Jiddish, 2. Balkans en folie / Crazy balkans : POZA (Air Mail Music, 2003): Жёпа небритая (Shopa nebritaja = Unshaved Arse) - sang by Alik Kopit in Russian (talk) 19:23, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

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