English words of Arabic origin
English and the world
English is a rich language. Its lexicon has a multitude of words from different origins. In fact, English has evolved through centuries open to the influence of other civilizations, other cultures. Now it has become a global language, influencing in its turn other languages with such an amazing speed. Everywhere in the world languages borrow from English words that enrich their lexicon. But English was and I hope, is still, a language that is open to other cultures and civilizations. The following are examples of English words of Arabic origin. They have been introduced to the language through various periods of time.
English words of Arabic origin
الطوب aṭ-ṭūb, the brick.
أميرالبحار amīr al-bihār, “commander [emir] of the seas”, a title in use in Arabic Sicily and continued by the Normans in Sicily as admiralius maris, and adopted successively by Genoese and French. An English form under King Edward III (14th century) was “Amyrel of the Se”. Insertion of the ‘d’ was doubtless influenced by allusion to common Latin “admire”
الخوارزميal-khwārizmī, a short name for the mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī. The appellation al-Khwārizmī means “from Khwārizm”.
al-jabr, completing, or restoring missing parts. The mathematical sense comes from the title of the book al-kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-jabr wa-l-muqābala, “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing” by the 9th century mathematician al-Khwarizmi.
قندي qandi, sugared.
قُطْن qutun = cotton. Entered the Romance languages in the mid-12th century and English a century later.
from French hasard, probably through Spanish from Arabic الزار al-zār, the dice. “The original sense was certainly a game of dice.”
جرة jarrah, earthen vase.
ليمون līmūn, citrus fruit
مخازين makhāzin, storehouses. In the West, the original meaning of storehouse evolved to arsenal, and then receptacle for storing bullets. (Crossref arsenal in this list.) A magazine in the publishing sense of the word started out meaning a storehouse of information about military or navigation subjects
نظير naẓīr, the point of the sky opposite the zenith (crossref zenith in this list). Naẓīr literally means the complement or counterpart.
راحة rāhat, palm of the hand.
from Swahili safari, journey, in turn from Arabic: سفر, safar.
صفة suffah, a sofa, a couch or bench.
سكّر sukkar, sugar
تعريف taʿrīf. Arab root meant a notification.
سمت الرأس samt ar-ra’s, zenith, vertex. Origin in texts of Astronomy in medieval Islam.
More english words of arabic origin can be found in wekipedia
Clash of civilizations?
These words have become part and parcel of English. This shows how civilizations can contribute to the richness of each other. Bridges that at a certain time have been demolished (or some want to be demolished) kept the flow of communication steady which just reminds us that we are human beings that instead of destroying each other in a presumable “clash of civilizations”, should, instead, work for the improvement of ties and bonds of respect and mutual understanding. The differences between cultures and civilizations – that may appear to be a hindrance towards such goals to some – are, to my mind, the essence upon which we can build a better future for our kids.