ENGLISH words with ARABIC origin: List 3


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I have never been so amazed at how many words comes from Arabic origin. Let’s look at a few right here. (Taken directly from Wikipedia I’m afraid)

lime (fruit)

ليم līm, meaning sometimes any citrus fruit,[9] sometimes lemon and lime fruit, and sometimes a lime fruit.[11] In Arabic līm was a back-formation from līmūn; seelemon. Medieval writers who used līm with the meaning of a lime fruit include Al-Qalqashandi (died 1414), Ibn Batuta (died 1369), and Ibn Khaldoun (died 1406).[11][12] In Spanish and Italian today lima means lime fruit. In bygone centuries in Spanish and Italian lima meant also lime-lemon varieties distinct from today’s lime. Pedro de Alcala’s Spanish-Arabic dictionary year 1505 translated the Spanish lima as Arabic lim.[12] Today in English “lime” has become a color-name as well as a fruit.


مخازن makhāzin, storehouses, storerooms. Contains the Arabic root khazan = “to store” and the Arabic noun prefix m-. Used in Latin meaning “storeroom” in 1228 in Marseille, which is the earliest known record in a Western language.[20] Still used that way today in Arabic, French, Italian, Catalan, and Russian. Sometimes used that way in English in the 16th to 18th centuries, but more commonly in English a magazine was an arsenal, a gunpowder store, and later a receptacle for storing bullets. A magazine in the publishing sense of the word started out in English in the 17th century meaning a store of information about military or navigation subjects.[21


مطرح matrah, a large cushion or rug for lying on. In Arabic the sense evolved out of the sense “something thrown down” from Arabic root tarah = “to throw”. Classical Latin matta = “mat” is no relation. The word is in Catalan-Latin in the 12th century as almatrac. It is in Italian-Latin in the 13th century as matratiumalmatracium, and similar. It spread into French and English in the 14th century. The mattress word at that time in Europe usually meant a padded under-blanket, “a quilt to lie upon”.[27] [16][17]

mufti (clothing style) 

مفتي muftī , mufti (an expert in Islamic law). The phrase ‘mufti day’ is sometimes used instead of ‘own clothes day’ in some English speaking schools to mean a day when students and teachers can wear casual clothes or clothes in their own style rather than the institution’s uniform or semi-uniform clothes. The term originated in the British Army in the early 19th century. It seems the term originated just because the clothing style of a mufti was much different from the style of the army’s uniform clothing at the time.


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, at which time all oranges were bitter oranges.[8] The word is in all the Mediterranean Latin languages from the later medieval centuries. Today it is naranja in Spanish. Today it is arancia in Italian, and orange in French, and this wordform with the loss of the leading ‘n’ occurs early as Latin arangia (late 12th century[9])

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