Ten English Words that Come from Arabic

It is well known that muslims had reached their golden age at around 1000 far preceeding the rise of europeans. With the domination of muslim sultanates or reigns at that times, the arabic language spreaded across their territory. The scientific achievement of the muslim world were also paving way for the european to build and advance science as of today.

As a results many new terms or words were borrowed from the muslim world to the european. Below are ten words that are still used until today that have their root from arabic.

  • The word cheque comes from the Arabic word saqq, and reflects the sophistication of finance in Arab countries in the early middle ages
  • The word algorithm is derived from the name of Abū Abdallah Muḥammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi whose name (al-Khwarizmi) is, in Latin, Algoritmi
  • Cipher comes from Arabic sifr, meaning “zero, naught, nothing”
  • The word for cotton derives from the Arabic qutn
  • Ghoul is an Arabic word for “a desert demon which can appear in different forms and shapes; an ogre or cannibal”
  • The English magazine is a word borrowed from the Arabic makhzan, meaning “storehouse”
  • Nadir has its origin in Arabic nazir, indicating “opposite, facing, parallel”
  • Tamarind refers to Arabic tamr hindi, literally meaning “Indian date”
  • The word safari has its root in the Arabic word safar, which means “journey”
  • Tariff comes from Arabic ta’rif, which means “notification” or “definition”

(from BBC)

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