English Words of Arabic Ancestry
Collection of etymologies and word histories of English words that came from Arabic words
Date: December 2017
About seventy percent of the words in this collection were transferred from Arabic into the Latinate languages in the Mediterranean region in the medieval era, especially the 12th and 13th centuries, and subsequently were transferred from the Latinate languages into English. The other thirty percent entered European languages from the 16th century onward, sometimes going directly from Arabic into English, more often going through one or more intermediate languages before arriving in English.
Only words in current use in English are included; rare and archaic words are omitted. A list of rare and archaic words is in The Arabic Contributions to the English Language: An Historical Dictionary, by Garland Cannon, year 1994 (ref).
Words connected with the Islamic religion are omitted. For Islamic words, see a glossary of Islam (e.g.).
The main aim is to provide the evidence that the words came from Arabic, taking each word individually. The words have been collected from text-searchable etymology dictionaries.Note When a word is not in the collection, it almost always means that the word's ancestry is not traced to Arabic by any of the dictionaries that were used to collect the words. Although these dictionaries were convenient for collecting the words, they do not have enough evidence that the words came from Arabic. For some words, they claim the word came from Arabic when the claim is demonstrably false.
At the end of the main listing, a separate listing is given for about 30 English words that many dictionaries claim are descended from Arabic words, whereas the evidence for the claim is poor or very poor. These words are unlikely to be from Arabic. So there are two lists, one where evidence of Arabic parentage is good and strong, and the other where evidence is poor. There is additionally a separate list for around 60 botany names that have come from Arabic names, and another list for cuisine names.
Only one-sixth of the upcoming text is in the top-level body of the presentation. The other five-sixths is in the footnotes. To see substantive facts it is necessary to click into the footnotes. This is especially true when a word's derivation from Arabic is complicated.
Loanwords in alphabetical order
admiral, albatross, alchemy, alcohol, alcove, alembic, alfalfa, algebra, algorithm, alidade, alkali, alkanet (plant), amalgam, ambergris, aniline (dye), apricot, arsenal, artichoke, assassin, attar, aubergine, average, azimuth, benzoin, bezoar, borax, camphor, candy, carat, caravan, caraway, carob, check, checkmate, cipher, civet, coffee, cotton, crimson, curcuma, damask, elixir, erg (landform), fennec, garble, gazelle, ghoul, giraffe, harem, hashish, henna, hookah (pipe), hummus (food recipe), ifrit (demon), intarsia (decoration), jar, jasmine, jerboa, jinn, julep, jumper (garment), kermes, khat, kohl (eye makeup), lac & lacquer, lemon, lime (fruit), luffa (plant), lute, macrame, magazine, marcasite (mineral), massicot (mineral), mattress, mohair, monsoon, morocco (leather), mufti (clothing), mummy, muslin, nadir, natron (mineral), orange, popinjay, realgar (mineral), ream (of paper), rook (in chess), sabkha (landform), safari, safflower, saffron, sandalwood, saphena (vein), sash (ribbon), sequin (ornament), serendipity, sheikh, sherbet, sofa, spinach, sugar, sultan, sumac, swahili, syrup, tabla (drum), tahini, talc, talisman, tamarind, tambourine, tanbur (guitar), tangerine, tare (weight), tariff, tarragon, demi-tasse (cup), tincalconite (mineral), typhoon, varan (lizard), zenith, zero. More botanical names and certain other names are given separately after the main listing.
- (1) admiral
- أمير amīr, military leader, emir. Amīr is common in medieval Arabic writings as a commander on land (not sea). It has records in Latin from the 9th century onward as a specifically Muslim leader. A Latin record of a different kind comes from Sicily in 1072, the year the Latins defeated the Arabs in Sicily at the capital city Palermo. In that year, after about 200 years of Arabic rule at Palermo, a new military governing official was assigned as "knight, to be for the Sicilians the amiratus", where -atus is a Latin grammar suffix. This title continued in mainly non-marine use during the next century among the Latins at Palermo, usually spelled am[m]iratus (spelled amiraldus in year 1113, where -aldus is a Latin suffix functioning much the same as -atus; spelled ammiral year 1112 influenced by Latin suffix -alis). In 1178 (and earlier) the person holding the title amiratus at Palermo was put in charge of the navy of the Kingdom of Sicily.Note After that start, the use of the word to mean an Admiral of the Sea was taken up at the seaport of Genoa in 1192 as ammiratus referring to an admiral of Sicily, and at Genoa around 1211 as admiratus referring to an admiral of Pisa; and early 13th century Latin at Genoa also used wordform amiragius (which has Italian suffix -aggio) – ref , ref. Around 1209 a French writer located on the Mediterranean Sea has amiraus meaning Admiral of the Sea (ref). In 13th century Latin Europe the meaning as a specifically Muslim leader continued in independent circulation as well. The one word with two meanings has lots of records in all Latinate languages in the late medieval period. To be clear, the two meanings were (1) a Muslim military leader, practically always on land, and (2) a commander of two or more war-ships, practically always a Western Christian. Medieval Latin wordforms included amiraeus, ammirandus, amiraudus, amirallus, admiralius, amiragius, ammiratus, admiratus, and similar others, with both meanings.Note In late medieval French and English the usual wordforms were amiral and admiral, with both meanings.Note The insertion of the letter 'd' was prompted by allusion to the word admire, a commonplace classical Latin word.
- (2) albatross
- The medieval Arabic sourceword for albatross was probably الغطّاس al-ghattās, which literally meant "the diver", and meant birds who caught fish by diving, and sometimes meant large diving birds of the pelecaniform type including cormorants.Note Late medieval Spanish has alcatraz meaning pelecaniform-type large diving seabird (first record 1386) and this Spanish word is undoubtedly from Arabic.Note The Spanish alcatraz entered English in the later 16th century as alcatras with the same meaning (ref) and it is also in Italian in the later 16th century as alcatrazzi with the same meaning (ref). The albatrosses are a class of large diving seabirds that are only found in the Southern Hemisphere and Pacific Ocean regions. Beginning in the 17th century, every European language adopted "albatros" with a 'b' for these birds, the 'b' having been mobilized from Latinate alba = "white".
- (3) alchemy, alchemical, chemical, chemistry
- الكيمياء al-kīmīāʾ, alchemy, medieval chemistry, and especially "studies about substances through which gold and silver may be artificially produced".Note The Arabic word had its source in a Greek alchemy word that was in use in the early centuries AD in Alexandria in Egypt in Greek.Note The Arabic entered Latin as alchimia in the 12th century and was widely circulating in Latin in the 13th century.Note In late medieval Latin, alchimia was strongly associated with the quest to make gold out of other metals, but the scope of the word also covered the full range of what was then known about chemistry and metallurgy. Late medieval Latin had the word-forms alchimicus = "alchemical" and alchimista = "alchemist". By deletion of al-, those word-forms gave rise to the Latin word-forms chimia, chimicus and chimista beginning in the mid 16th century. The word-forms with and without the al- were synonymous until the end of the 17th century: The meaning of each of them covered both alchemy and chemistry.Note
- (4) alcohol
- الكحل al-kuhl, very finely powdered stibnite (Sb2S3) or galena (PbS) or any similar fine powder.Note The word entered Latin and Spanish records in the 13th century spelled alcohol and meaning exactly the same as the Arabic word. In Latin in the 14th and 15th centuries the sole meaning was an exceedingly fine-grained powder, made of any material.Note In various cases the powder was obtained by crushing, but in various other cases the powder was obtained by calcination, or by sublimation & deposition. In the alchemy and medicine writer Paracelsus (died 1541), the alcohol powders produced by sublimation & deposition were regarded as kinds of distillates; e.g., he regarded the soot deposited in chimneys as a distillate. With that viewpoint, he extended the word's meaning to distillate of wine. "Alcohol of wine" (ethanol) has its first record in Paracelsus.Note The biggest-selling English dictionary of the 18th century (Bailey's) defined alcohol as "a very fine and impalpable powder, or a very pure well rectified spirit" (ref).
- (5) alcove
- القبّة al-qobba, vault, dome, or cupola. That sense for the word is in medieval Arabic dictionaries.Note The same sense is documented for Spanish alcoba around 1275. Alcoba semantically evolved in Spanish during the 14th to 16th centuries.Note Alcoba begot French alcove, earliest known record 1646 Note, and French begot English. (By the way, English "cove" is unrelated).
- (6) alembic (distillation apparatus)
- الأنبيق al-anbīq, distillation apparatus for distilling, and sometimes the meaning was just the upper half of the distillation apparatus. The Arabic word came from Late Ancient Greek ambix with same meaning (ref). The earliest chemical distillations were by Greeks in Alexandria in Egypt about the 3rd century AD. Their ambix became the 9th-century Arabic al-anbīq (e.g. , e.g. , e.g.), which became late-12th-century Latin alembic. In Latin the early records are in Arabic-to-Latin translations (e.g. , e.g.). Alembic arrived in Latin along with some other other Arabic alchemy words.Note
- (7) alfalfa
- الفصفصة al-fisfisa, alfalfa.Note From the Arabic, later-medieval Spanish has alfalfez = "alfalfa".Note In later-medieval Iberia, alfalfa had a reputation as the best fodder for horses. The ancient Romans grew alfalfa but called it an entirely different name.Note The plant is usually called lucerne in today's British and Australian English. It is usually called alfalfa in American English. The American English name started in the far-west USA in the 1850s when alfalfa seeds were imported from Chile to California.
- (8) algebra
- الجبر al-jabr, restoring of broken parts.Note The word's mathematical use has its earliest record in Arabic in the title of the book "al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-jabr wa al-muqābala", translatable as "the compendium on calculation by restoring and balancing", by the 9th-century mathematician Mohammed Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi. This book was well-known in medieval Arabic mathematics. It was translated to Latin twice in the 12th century. In medieval Arabic mathematics, al-jabr and al-muqābala were the names of the two main preparatory steps used to solve an algebraic equation. For the medieval Arabs the phrase "al-jabr and al-muqābala" came to mean "method of equation-solving". The medieval Latins borrowed the method and the names.Note
- (9) algorithm, algorism
- الخوارزمي al-khwārizmī, short name for the mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (died c. 850). The word has no record in medieval Arabic mathematics except as a person's proper name. In Latin in the 12th century a few introductory tutorials for working with the Hindu-Arabic numbers have the word alchorismi or algorizmi in the headline of the text and there is an indication in the body of the text that it represents Al-Khwarizmi's name. In Latin in the 13th century the wordform was algorismus. In Latin and English from the 13th through 19th centuries both algorism and algorithm meant only the elementary methods of the Hindu-Arabic number system.Note
- (10) alidade
- العضادة al-ʿiḍāda (from عضد ʿiḍad, pivoting arm), the rotary dial for angular positioning on the Astrolabe surveying instrument used in astronomy. The word with that meaning was used by the astronomers Al-Khwarizmi (died c. 850) (Ref), Abu al-Wafa Buzjani (died 998) (Ref), Ibn al-Saffar (died 1035) (Ref), and others. The word with the same meaning entered medieval Latin in the context of Astrolabes.Note Crossref word azimuth, which entered medieval Latin on the same pathway.
- (11) alkali
- القلي al-qalī | al-qilī, an alkaline material derived from the ashes of saltwort plants. Saltwort plants grow on salty soils or alkaline desert soils. Saltworts were deliberately collected and burned because their ashes contained a useful chemical. The dictionary of Al-Jauhari (died circa 1003) said "al-qilī is obtained from saltworts".Note In today's terms, the medieval Arabic al-qalī ashes was mainly composed of sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate.Note The Arabs used it as an ingredient in making glass and making soap. In the European languages the word's early records are in Latin alchemy and minerals texts in late 12th or early 13th century, spelled alkali, with the very same meaning as the Arabic.Note In Europe the meaning was broadened to cover other chemicals with similar characteristics during the 16th & 17th centuries.
- (12) amalgam, amalgamate
- الملغم al-malgham, amalgam, especially amalgam of mercury with metal.Note In the European languages this word's earliest records are in late 13th and early 14th century Latin alchemy texts, where it meant an amalgam of mercury with another substance (nearly always a metal) and was spelled amalgama. Arabic alchemy arrived in Latin during the 12th and 13th centuries, and Arabic influence was pervasive in the Latin alchemy of the 13th and 14th centuries. In Arabic, in the records before the 13th century, the word al-malgham | al-mulgham = "amalgam" is uncommon but does exist and was used by a number of different authors.Note
- (13) ambergris, ambrein
- عنبر ʿanbar, meaning ambergris, i.e. a waxy material produced in the stomach of sperm whales and used historically for perfumery. Medieval ambergris was sourced mostly from the Indian Ocean's shores. From Arabic sellers of ambergris, the word passed into early-medieval Latin as ambar | ambra meaning "ambergris". Later in medieval Latin the word ambra took on the additional meaning "amber", from causes not understood. The two meanings for ambra – namely "ambergris" and "amber" – then co-existed for over four centuries in Western Europe. The name ambergris was created to eliminate the ambiguity. The color of ambergris is grey more often than not, and gris is French for grey. "Ambrein" is a modern organic chemical name derived from ambra = "ambergris". The ancestry of ambra = "ambergris" is demonstrably in Arabic. The ancestry of ambra = "amber" is unknown.Note
- (14) anil, aniline, polyaniline
- النيل al-nīl | an-nīl,Note indigo dye. The indigo dye originally came from tropical India. The Arabic word came from Sanskrit nīlī | nīla = "indigo". The medieval Arabs grew indigo plants commercially and they called them nīl.Note The medieval Europeans imported indigo dye from the Arabs, but at the same time the medieval Europeans more often used European-grown Woad dye instead. From medieval Arabic an-nīl, the word anil became the usual for indigo in Spanish & Portuguese.Note From Spanish & Portuguese anil, the word anil entered other European languages via the indigo supplied to Europe from the late 16th century onward by Spanish & Portuguese merchants who brought it from tropical America and India. Anil in English means a natural indigo dye from a tropical American plant. Aniline was created as a technical word in dye chemistry in the early 1840s.
- (15) apricot
- البرقوق al-barqūq, apricot.Note The Arabic word is traceable back to Early Byzantine Greek and thence to Classical Latin praecoqua, literally "precocious", which in Classical Latin was used with the meaning of precociously ripening peaches, i.e. apricots (ref),Note. The medieval Arabic al-barqūq went into late medieval Spanish as albarcoque (ref) and Catalan albercoc (ref) meaning apricot. The early spellings in English included abrecok (year 1551), abrecox (1578), apricock (1593), aprecocke (1597) meaning apricot (ref). The letter 't' in today's English apricot has come from a French wordform. In French the word starts around the 1520s as aubercot and abricot meaning apricot (ref). This French was from the late medieval Spanish & Catalan albercoc.
- (16) arsenal
- دار صناعة dār sināʿa, literally "house of manufacturing" but in practice in medieval Arabic it meant government-run manufacturing, usually for the military, most notably for the navy.Note The Italian maritime republics in the 12th century adopted the word to designate a naval dockyard, a place for building ships and armaments for ships, and repairing armed ships. In late medieval centuries the biggest such arsenal in Europe was the Arsenal of Venice. 12th century Italian-Latin had the spellings darsena, arsena and tarsanatus. 14th-century Italian-Latin and Italian had the spellings darsena, terzana, arzana, arsana, arsenada, arcenatus, tersanaia, terzinaia, all meaning a workyard for ships and in only some cases having navy building activity.Note From the medieval word, modern Greek has tarsanás = "small shipyard" (ταρσανάς). In 16th century French and English, arsenal could mean a naval dockyard or an arsenal, or both (ref , ref). In today's French, arsenal continues to have the same dual meanings as in the 16th century.Note
- (17) artichoke
- الخرشف al-kharshuf | الخرشوف al-kharshūf, artichoke. The word with that meaning is in at least a half a dozen Andalusi and Maghrebi Arabic authors in the 10th to 14th centuries.Note With the same meaning, there is Spanish alcachofa (first record around 1400), Spanish alcarchofa (1423), Spanish carchofa (1423), Catalan carxofa (1490; Catalan letter 'x' is sound /sh/), Italian carciofjo (circa 1525), German Cardchoffil (1539), French carchiophe (1542).Note All of those are phonetically close to the Arabic kharshuf. Similarly close to the Arabic precedent is today's Italian carciofo and today's Spanish alcachofa. Not phonetically close, starting 2nd quarter of 16th century: English archecokk (1531), French artichault (1535), German-Latin articocalus (1542), Italian artichiocco (1544), Italian arcichiocco (1568), Italian artichioffo (1590), Italian arcicioffo (1611), English hortichocke (1555), English artichowe (1599), all meaning "artichoke".Note Etymology commentators near-unanimously say these wordforms have to be mutated from the earlier Iberian and Italian wordforms. This predominant opinion has good support from the general horticultural historical context. There is no competing alternative idea. But the mutation is far outside the bounds of ordinary phonetic change, and the way it happened is poorly understood and not understood.
- (18) assassin
- الحشيشية al-hashīshīya and حشيشين hashīshīn, an Arabic nickname for the Nizari Ismaili Muslim religious sect in the Levant during the Crusades era. This sect carried out assassinations against chiefs of other sects, including Crusading Christians, and the story circulated throughout western Europe in the 13th century and late 12th. Medievally in Latin & Italian & French, this sect was called the Assissini | Assassini.Note Medievally in Arabic texts the wordform is al-hashīshīya Note but by Arabic grammar this can be put in Arabic in the wordform hashīshīn also. Hashīshīn is surely the wordform that the Latin Crusaders borrowed in the Levant. By well-known aspects of medieval Latin & Italian & French phonetics, it is well understood why the wordform got phonetically changed from the Arabic Hashīshīn to the Latinate Assissini.Note The generalization of the sect's nickname to the meaning of any sort of assassin happened in Italian at the start of the 14th century. The word with the generalized meaning was often used in Italian in the 14th and 15th centuries.Note In the mid 16th century the generalized Italian word entered French,Note followed a little later by English.
- (19) attar
- عطر ʿitr, perfume, aroma. The English word came from the Hindi/Urdu-speaking area of northeast India in the late 18th century and its source was the Hindi/Urdu atr | itr = "perfume"Note, which had come from Persian ʿitr = "perfume", and the Persian had come medievally from the Arabic ʿitr, which is an ancient word in Semitic.
- (20) aubergine
- الباذنجان al-bādhinjān, aubergine. The plant's native place of origin was Myanmar and thereabouts. The plant was unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was introduced to the Mediterranean region by the medieval Arabs. The Arabic name entered Iberian Latinate languages late medievally, producing 15th century Spanish alberengena = "aubergine" and 14th century Catalan alberginia = "aubergine". The Catalan name alberginia was the parent of French aubergine, which embodies a change from al- to au- that happened in French. Note
- (21) average
- عوار ʿawār, a defect, or anything defective or damaged, including partially spoiled merchandise; and عواري ʿawārī = "of or relating to ʿawār, a state of partial damage".Note In the European languages the word's history begins in sea-commerce on the Mediterranean in late-12th-century Italy as Latin avaria. In first half of 13th century at seaports Genoa and Marseille, the Latin avaria meant physical damage on gold and silver coins, particularly Arabic coins.Note At seaports Savona and Genoa around 1200, Latin avaria meant damage and non-normal expenses incurred during merchant sea voyages.Note 15th century French avarie had the same meaning, i.e. "damage expenses", and it begot English "averay" (1491) and English "average" (1451, 1502) with the same meaning. However, in some late medieval cases in Italy and elsewhere the meaning is a normal and predictable import-tax expense incurred in a merchant sea voyage.Note Today, Italian avaria, Catalan avaria and French avarie have the primary meaning of "damage". The huge transformation of the meaning in English began with the standard practice in late-medieval and early-modern European merchant-marine law contracts under which if the ship met a bad storm and some of the goods had to be thrown overboard to make the ship lighter and safer, then all merchants whose goods were on the ship were to suffer proportionately (and not only whoever's goods were thrown overboard); and more generally there was to be proportionate distribution of any avaria. From there the word was adopted by British insurers, creditors, and merchants for talking about their losses as being spread across their whole portfolio of assets, and having a mean proportion. Today's "average" developed out of that, and started in the mid 18th century, and started in English.Note
- (22) azimuth
- السموت al-sumūt | as-sumūt,Note the directions, the azimuths. The word was in use in medieval Arabic astronomy, including particularly with the Astrolabe instrument, and it was transferred into Latin as azimut in the context of using Astrolabes, and records in Latin begin in the 1130s or 1140s.Note The earliest in English is in the 1390s in a treatise on using the Astrolabe (ref, ref).
- (23) benzoin, benzene
- لبان جاوي lubān jāwī, benzoin resin, literally "frankincense of Java". Benzoin is a natural resin from an Indonesian tree. Arab sea-merchants shipped it to the Middle East for sale as perfumery and incense in the later-medieval centuries. It first came to Europe in the early 15th century. Its European name benzoin is a great mutation of the Arabic name lubān jāwī. The linguistic factors that caused the mutation are well understood.Note Among European chemists, benzoin resin was the original source for benzoic acid, which became the source for the 19th-century benzene.
- (24) bezoar
- بازهر bāzahr | بادزهر bādzahr, a type of hard ball containing calcium compounds, sometimes formed in the stomachs of goats and some other ruminant animals. Today in English a bezoar is a medical and veterinary word for a ball of indigestible material that collects in the stomach and fails to pass through the intestines. Goat bezoars were recommended by medieval Arabic medical writers for use as antidotes to poisons. That is how the word first entered medieval Latin medical vocabulary.Note
- (25) borax, borate, boron
- بورق būraq, various salts, some used as cleaning agents and some used as fluxes in metalworking.Note Borax, i.e. sodium borate, was used medievally primarily as a fluxing agent in soldering gold, silver and metal ornaments. The ancient Greeks & Latins used fluxing agents in metalworking, but borax was unknown to them. Borax was used among the medieval Arabs before it came into use among the medieval Latins. There was no borax in medieval Europe except as an import from Arabic lands. The medieval Arabs imported at least part of it from India. Possibly all of it arrived from India. In all centuries until two centuries ago, the most important source of borax was at salt lakes in the country of Tibet and it is quite possible that Tibet was the sole source on the planet.Note From Arabic būraq, the Latins adopted the name borax | baurach in the 12th century meaning borax for fluxing metals, and sometimes later more loosely in Latin it meant any kind of salts for fluxing metals.Note ﴾﴿ In medieval Arabic the more usual and more specific name for borax was التنكار al-tinkār. This name was adopted by the medieval Latins starting in the 12th century as tincar | atincar with the same meaning. Today's English tincal or tincalconite is a mineral variant of borax. Its name is descended from the medieval Latin tincar = "borax"Note, post-medievally conjoined with ancient Greek konia | konis = "powder", plus the conventional mineralogy suffix -ite. "Borate" and "boron" are post-medieval and are descended from the medieval "borax".
- (26) camphor
- كافور kāfūr, camphor. The medieval Arabs imported camphor by sea from the East-East Indies for medical uses and aromatic uses. They resold some of it to the Latins. The medieval Arabs in general were fond of aromas and kāfūr = "camphor" was well known to them.Note The medieval Latins were not so fond of aromas, and for them camphor was an item in medicine, in general. In Latin the word has its first record with an assessed date of late 9th or early 10th century, but records are very scarce until two centuries later.Note ﴾﴿ Another imported Indies wood-product that had medical and aromatic uses in medieval Europe and had its name taken from medieval Arabic is sandalwood, from Arabic صندل sandal.Note In Arabic these two names had come from the Indies along with the goods. The two names are in Sanskrit texts. Camphor and sandalwood were in use in Late Ancient India, aromatically and medicinally.
- (27) candy
- قند qand + قندي qandī, sugared, made from cane sugar.Note Cane sugar developed in ancient India. Medieval Persian word qand = "cane sugar" is believed to have probably come from Sanskritic.Note The plant is native to a tropical climate. The medieval Arabs grew the plant with artificial irrigation and exported some of the product to the Latins. The word candi entered all the Western European languages in the later-medieval centuries.Note
- (28) carat (gold purity, also gem weight)
- قيراط qīrāt, a small unit of weight, medievally sometimes defined by reference to a weight of (e.g.) three barley seeds and sometimes defined as one-twentyfourth (1/24) of the weight of a gold dinar coin. Medieval Arabic qīrāt was also in use meaning 1/24th of the money value of a gold dinar coin. In Italy in 12th & 13th centuries, Latin caratus most often meant 1/24th of the money value of Arabic and Greek gold coins. In Italy beginning in the late 13th century the word was adopted for talking about the proportion of gold in a gold alloy, especially in any gold coin, this happening soon after some city-states of Italy started new issues of pure gold coins.Note The word's meaning as a small unit of weight is scarce in Western European languages in 13th century. The smallish number of 13th-century Western authors who use it meaning a weight have clearly had contact with Arabic sources in most cases. The meaning as a weight has growing records in the 14th & 15th centuries in Italy & France.Note
- (29) caravan
- قيروان qaīrawān, convoy of travelers journeying together, which could be a merchant convoy or military convoy. Qaīrawān is in all the main medieval Arabic dictionaries. It is somewhat frequent in medieval Arabic writings, even though it is not nearly as frequent as the synonymous Arabic qāfila.Note Arabic qaīrawān had come from Persian کاروان kārvān with same meaning. Many English dictionaries say the word in the European languages had come directly from Persian without Arabic intermediation. Those dictionaries are mistaken. The word is in Latin in the 12th century. The early records in Latin include caravanis (1161), carvana (1190s), carrvana (1190s), carvane (1190s in French), caravana (1217), caravanna (1219-1225), karavenna (1250), carravana (1262), all meaning an overland convoy, and in a good few of those cases the people of the caravan are Muslims – quotations are at ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref. Besides the overland convoy, the word was used for a convoy of sailing ships in the 13th century in Italian-Latin, Italian, and Crusaders'-French, with wordforms caravan[n]a | carevane | carvane | carabana – ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref. At that time, Western European merchant ships going to foreign ports on the Mediterranean Sea often travelled in convoys for security reasons. Latin caravana = "convoy of ships" is at the port of Genoa in 1213, 1217, 1241, and 1247 – ref. At the port of Genoa in the 14th and 15th centuries the laborers who loaded and unloaded the ships were called laboratores de caravana and they had a Trade Union called the Compagnia dei Caravana. The word has been continuously in use in Europe since the 13th century meaning a convoy, especially in Italy. Late medieval Italian merchants have it in several kinds of applications contexts, spelled carovana | caravana. It was a rarity in late medieval French with the exception that it is common in French writers who were in the Eastern Mediterranean lands – ref, ref. English has a rare instance carvan circa 1497, which is in the context of info about the Holy Land in the Eastern Mediterranean – ref. An Italian-to-English dictionary in year 1598 has Italian caravana translated as English caravan (ref) and the same happens in a French-to-English dictionary in year 1611 (ref). Back in the context of the 12th and 13th century, any Persian word would necessarily have to have had intermediation through some other language in order to arrive in a Western European language, because there was no contact whatsoever between Persian and any Western European language at the time. In practice the intermediary was Arabic. The great majority of the 12th-13th century Latin records of this word involve travellers in Arabic-speaking lands, particularly Latin Crusaders in the Levant and Latin sea-merchants going to Arabic sea-ports, and none are in Iranian-speaking lands.
(29e) van (type of transport vehicle): This arose as a contraction of "caravan". The early records of English "van" as a vehicle are in the 2nd quarter of 19th century meaning one covered wagon for transporting goods. English "caravan" meaning just one wagon has records since the 1670s and it began as one really big covered wagon for transporting people. In its early records as one wagon, the caravan was a bus. One such caravan advertised for sale in 1689 had seats for 18 people. Semantically this was from caravan as a convoy of multiple wagons. This word history is documented in New English Dictionary on Historical Principles under caravan and van #3.
- (30) caraway (seed) , carvone (organic chemical)
- كرويا karawiyā | كراويا karāwiyā, caraway. The word with that meaning has many records in medieval Arabic.Note Medieval Italian-Latin carui with the pronunciation CAR-U-I | CA-RU-I, meaning caraway, had come from Arabic karawiyā with same meaning. Carui was in late-medieval and early-modern French pronounced also CAR-U-I. Late-medieval English had wordforms carewy, carwy, carwey, caraway, and carui. The English had come from medieval Latin & French carui pronounced CAR-U-I in Latin & French.Note Today's English "carvone" is a terpene oil from caraway seeds. Carvone has a stem carv- and a suffix -one. The stem is descended from medieval Italian-Latin carui pronounced CAR-VI in Italian (later pronounced CAR-VI in French also). Medieval Italian and Italian-Latin had a sound /u/ not far from a /w/ but did not use a sound /w/ in any words. The conversion of sound /w/ to sound /v/ in going from karawiyā to carui to carvi has parallels in other Arabic loanwords in medieval Italian-Latin.Note
- (31) carob
- خرّوب kharrūb, carob. Carob pods and carob seeds were consumed in the Mediterranean area in the classical Latin era. They had more than one name in classical Latin. But a name of roughly around carrubia with meaning carob is found in Latin from only the 12th century onward and its source was Arabic.Note The medieval Latinate word is the parent of today's Italian carruba, French caroube, English carob.
- (32) check, checkmate, chess, exchequer, chequered, checkers, unchecked, checkout, checkbox, checkbook...
- شاه shāh or الشاه al-shāh, king in the game of chess. The many uses of "check" in English are all descended from Persian shah = "king" and the use of this word in the game of chess to mean "check the king". Chess was introduced to medieval Europe through Arabs; history of chess. The medieval Arabs pronounced the last h in shāh harder and more forcefully than how shah is pronounced in English or in today's Arabic, apparently.Note The word is in mid-11th-century Catalan-Latin as the grammatical plural escachs = "chess" (ref). It is in Italian-Latin in mid-11th century as the plural scaci | scachi | scacchi = "chess" (ref). Latin in southern Germany in mid-11th century has the plural scachi = "chess" (ref). Citations to more records in 11th century Latin are in Ref. The plural was derived from the singular scac = "check (in the chess game)". Italian in late 12th and 13th century has singular scaco | scaccho = "check (in chess)" and scaco mato | scacco matto = "checkmate" and plural scacchi = "chess" (ref). The 11th-century instances in Italian-Latin and German-Latin cited above are writing down this Italian word. Medieval & modern Italian scaco mato = "checkmate" was sourced from the medieval Arabic chess term شاه مات shāh māt = "king dies", for which examples in medieval Arabic are at شاه مات shāh māt @ AlWaraq.net and Murray's History of Chess.Note Phonetically the mangling of the Arabic shāh into the European scac was done in Italian and/or Catalan. Spanish did not alter words in that way when borrowing from Arabic. Examples of phonetically parallel alterations: Italian-Latin medicinal-botanical cuscuta (late 11th century) was from synonymous Arabic كشوت kushūt ; medicinal-botanical Latin scerbin (late 12th century) was from synonymous Arabic شربين sherbīn | sharbīn ; Catalan-Latin almatrac (year 1134) and Italian-Latin materacum (year 1232) were from synonymous Arabic مطرح matrah ; Italian-Latin alcanna (mid 12th century) and Catalan-Latin alquena (mid 13th century) were from synonymous Arabic الحنّاء al-hinnāʾ. French eschac and Spanish escaque are from Italian or Catalan. 12th-13th century French has grammatical singular eschac | eschec = "check (in chess)" and plural eschas | esches = "chess".Note French eschec begot English "check". French esches begot English "chess". 12th-century French has mat with the same meaning as the 12th-century Italian mato, from the Arabic māt, and it begot the "-mate" in English checkmate.
- (33) cipher, decipher
- صفر sifr, zero, i.e. the zero digit in the Hindu-Arabic number system. The zero digit was a key innovation for the positional notation of the Hindu-Arabic numbers. Outside of the realm of arithmetic, and before the Hindu numbers arrived into medieval Arabic, the Arabic word sifr meant "empty" – ref. The word arrived in Latin Europe with the Hindu-Arabic numbers in the 12th century as Latin cifra, which begot English cipher. For the Latins, cifra originally meant numeral zero as a positionholder, then it was used to mean any positional numeral, then numerically encoded message. The last meaning, and decipher, dates from the 1470s in Italian, 1490s in French,Note and 1520s in English. But in English cipher also continued in use as a word for nought or zero from the late medieval period until the 19th century.Note
- (34) civet (perfume), civet (mammal)
- زباد zabād, civet perfume, a musky perfume excreted from a gland in the قطط الزباد qitat al-zabād = "civet cats". Al-Mas'udi (died 956) said the zabād perfume was taken from a cat-like animal in India. Shams al-Din Al-Dimashqi (died 1327) said the African civet produced better zabād than the Indies' civets.Note In Italian since the 15th century zibetto = "civet" (e.g., e.g., e.g.). Wordform civet__ starts in Catalan 1372 & French 1401Note (phonetically parallelwise, e.g. Arabic al-qobba –> Spanish alcoba –> French alcove; e.g. classical Latin liber –> French livre). Today the civet smell is manufactured synthetically and the chemical is called civetone.
﴾﴿ Incidentally, Arabic حبّ المسك habb el-misk = "musk seed", a seed with a musky perfume, is the source of the Latin botany genus name Abelmoschus and the English name abelmosk.Note
- (35) coffee, café, caffeine
- قهوة qahwa, coffee. Coffee drinking originated in Yemen in the 15th century.Note Arabic qahwa begot Turkish kahve. Turkish speech does not use a /w/ sound. The phonetic change from /w/ to /v/ in going from Arabic qahwa to Turkish kahve can be seen in many other loanwords going from Arabic into Turkish (e.g. Arabic fatwa –> Turkish fetva, Arabic helwa –> Turkish helva). The Turkish kahve begot Italian caffè in the early 17th century. Caffè became the dominant word-form in European languages during the 17th century. European languages in and around the early 17th century also have numerous records where the word-form was being taken directly from the Arabic; e.g. cahoa in 1610, cahue in 1615, cowha in 1619 (French quaoué in 1646).Note
﴾﴿ Incidentally, cafe mocha, a type of coffee, is named after the port city of Mocha, Yemen, which was an early coffee exporter.
- (36) cotton
- قطن qutn | qutun, cotton. This was the usual word for cotton in medieval Arabic.Note The word entered Latinate languages in the mid 12th century,Note British Latin early 13th century (ref), and English 14th century. Cotton fabric was produced in ancient India and was known to the ancient Romans as an import, and the cotton plant was grown as a crop in late antiquity in Greco-Roman Egypt. But cotton fabric and cotton fluff were rare in the Latinate-speaking lands until imports from the Arabic-speaking lands in the later-medieval era at much lower prices.Note
- (37) crimson
- قرمزي qirmizī, color of a class of crimson dyes used in the medieval era for dyeing silk and wool. The dyes were made from the bodies of certain scale-insects. The dyes of this class are sometimes called cochineal dyes in English today. In the early medieval centuries, the Latin name was variously coccinus, vermiculus, and grana. The Arabic name qirmizī | qirmiz enters the records of the Latinate languages about year 1300, starting in Italy. Initially in Italian it referred to only one of the dyes of this class, the one called Armenian cochineal today. Italian from about 1300 onward has carmesi | chermisi | cremesi meaning this cochineal-type dye and its crimson color. From about 1350 onward it is also in Italian and Italian-Latin in the wordforms carmisino | chermisino | cremesinus, where -ino | -inus is a suffix of Italian and Latin. Overwhelmingly this dye's main use was to dye silks. The word in Italian came from Arabic, and the word in all other European languages came from Italian via exports of silk cloths from Italy.Note In English, the word started in the English wordform crimesin (e.g. year 1416) then contracted to crimsin (e.g. year 1436) and then altered to crimson (e.g. year 1565). Crossref English kermes, one of the scale-insect species.
- (38) curcuma (plant genus), curcumin (yellow dye), curcuminoid (chemicals)
- كركم kurkum, medievally meaning turmeric aka Curcuma Longa root, also medievally meaning certain other yellow dyes, and also saffron. Curcuma dye gives a saffron yellow colour. Curcuma plant roots were products of the Indies exclusively. Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248) said kurkum is (among other things) a ginger-like root imported from the Indies and it produces a saffron-like dye.Note In medieval Arabic dictionaries kurkum is (among other things) a yellow root and used as a medicine.Note In Latin Europe the early records of curcuma are in 12th & 13th century medicines books that were translated from Arabic.Note
- (39) damask (textile fabric), damask rose (flower)
- دمشق dimashq, city of Damascus. The city name Damascus is very ancient and not Arabic. The damson plum – earlier called in English damasyn and damascene plum and damaske prune – has a word-history in Latin and Greek that goes back to the era when Damascus was part of the Roman empire and so it is not from Arabic. On the other hand, the damask fabric and the damask rose emerged in the European languages when Damascus was an Arabic-speaking city and at emergence they referred to goods originally made in or sold from Arabic Damascus. In 14th century Europe, the damask fabrics had decoration designs that were borrowed from Middle Eastern design models, and the name damask reflected this, and in practice some large percentage of the damask fabrics were made in Italy. The 14th-century Italian damasco is comparable with the 16th-century Italian arabesco = "arabesque design style done in Italy and elsewhere".Note
- (40) elixir
- الإكسير al-iksīr, alchemical "philosopher's stone", i.e. a pulverized mineral agent by which you could supposedly make gold (also silver) out of copper or tin or other metals. Al-iksīr has lots of records in medieval Arabic in the alchemy sense, for supposedly making gold.Note From Arabic alchemy, it entered Latin as elixir in the 2nd half of 12th centuryNote meaning an elixir for supposedly making gold. It has lots of records in medieval Latin. From the Latin, it entered English in the 14th century meaning an elixir for supposedly making gold (examples). The "elixir of life" magic medication is in late medieval Latin derivatively from the elixir for supposedly making gold. The word elixir is in all European languages today.
- (41) erg (desert landform), (42) hamada (desert landform), (43) sabkha (desert landform), (44) wadi (desert landform)
- In English, erg and hamada are technical words in geomorphology and sedimentology. Their entrypoint was mid-19th-century travel writers in North Africa, followed by late-19th-century studies of the Sahara Desert. Erg means sandy desert landscape, and hamada means rocky desert landscape with very little sand. The words come from Maghrebi Arabic عرق ʿerq = "erg" and Maghrebi Arabic حمادة hamāda = "hamada".Note
سبخة sabkha, salt marsh. This Arabic word is in French and English in the 19th century in geography and geomorphology writers as sebka | sebkha | sabkha. Sabkha with a technical meaning as salt-flat terrain came into general use in sedimentology in the 20th century through numerous studies of the coastal salt flats on the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula.Note
وادي wādī, a river valley or gully. In English, a wadi is a non-small gully that is dry, or dry for most of the year, in the desert. 19th century start in English.
- (45) fennec (desert fox)
- فنك fenek, fennec fox. European naturalists borrowed this name in the late 18th century.Note In older Arabic writings, fenek also meant various other mammals.Note
- (46) garble
- غربل gharbal, to sift. Commonplace in Arabic before year 1000.Note Early records in European languages are at seaports in Italy and Catalonia. They include: Latin garbellare = "to sift" in 1191 sifting mastic resin; Latin garbellus = "a sieve for sifting spices" in 1227; Latin garbellare sifting dyestuffs in 1269; Catalan garbellar = "to sift" is sifting spices and dyestuffs in 1315; Italian gherbellare in 1321 sifts spices, drugs and resins.Note Those begot late medieval English garbele = "to sift spices". In Europe at that time, pepper and cinnamon and other Indies spices were imports from the Arabic-speaking Eastern Mediterranean, and the same goes for many botanical drugs, and a few expensive colorants. The spices, drugs and colorants had variable amounts of natural chaff residuals and occasionally had unnatural added chaff. In England among the merchants of these products in the late medieval and early post-medieval centuries, garbel | garble was a frequent word.Note Sifting was the usual meaning in English until the 19th century, and today's meaning grew out from it (Ref). ﴾﴿ By the way, the medieval Latin garbellare = "to sift" is not understood as being descended from the Late Ancient Latin cribellare = "to sift".Note
- (47) gazelle
- غزال ghazāl, gazelle. Two species of gazelle are native in the Middle East. The word's earliest known record in Latin is in the early 12th century as gazela in a book about the First Crusade. French has a record in the late 12th century as gacele in a book about the Third Crusade, and another early one in French is in the later 13th century as gazel in a book about the Seventh Crusade.Note The change of vowel from ā to e in going from ghazāl to gazel is an example of a medieval Arabic vowel shift behavior called "imala".Note
- (48) ghoul
- غول ghūl, ghoul. Ghouls are a well-known part of Arabic folklore. The word's first appearance in the Western languages is in an Arabic-to-French translation of the 1001 Arabian Nights tales in 1712.Note Its first known appearance in English is in a popular novel, Vathek, an Arabian Tale by William Beckford, in 1786.Note Ghouls appear in English translations of the 1001 Arabian Nights tales in the 19th century.
- (49) giraffe
- زرافة zarāfa, giraffe. The giraffe and its distinctiveness was discussed by medieval Arabic writers including Al-Jahiz (died 868) and Al-Mas'udi (died 956).Note The word's earliest records in European languages are in Italian as giraffa in the second half of the 13th century, a time at which a few giraffes were brought to the Kingdom of Sicily and Naples from a zoo in Cairo, Egypt.Note The animal has a few records in classical Latin under a completely different name.
- (50) harem
- حريم harīm, women's quarters in a large household. The Arabic rootword means "forbidden" and thus the word had a connotation of a place where men were forbidden. (Crossref Persian & Urdu zenana for semantics.) In Arabic today harīm means womenkind in general (ref). 17th-century English entered English from Turkish harem | harīm, where the meaning was closer to what the English is.
- (51) hashish
- حشيش hashīsh, hashish. In Arabic hashīsh has the literal meaning "dry herb", "rough grass" and "weed". It also means hemp grown for textile fiber. Its earliest record as a nickname for cannabis drug is in 13th century Arabic.Note Its earliest in English is in a traveller's report from Egypt in 1598. It is rare in English until the 19th century. The wordform in English today dates from the late 18th century.Note The word entered all the bigger Western European languages in the early to mid 19th century if you don't count scarce mentions in travellers' reports before then.
- (52) henna, alkanet, alkannin, Alkanna
- الحنّاء al-hinnāʾ, henna. Henna is a reddish natural dye made from the leaves of a plant that is native in a climate that has high temperatures all year. Henna dye has been used in the Red Sea region from time immemorial. The English word "henna" dates from about 1600 and came directly from Arabic through English-language travellers' reports from the Middle East.Note Alkanet dye is a reddish natural dye made from the roots of a Mediterranean-region plant, Alkanna tinctoria. The word alkanet is in 14th century English, and 15th century French arquenete = "alkanet", with a Latinate diminutive suffix -et, from medieval Italian-Latin alcanna meaning "henna", which was from Arabic al-hinnāʾ meaning henna.Note
- (53) hookah (water pipe for smoking)
- حقّة huqqa, a pot, jar or round container. The word arrived in English from India in the 2nd half of the 18th century meaning hookah (ref). The word in India was from Persian, and the Persian was from Arabic, but the Arabic source-word did not mean hookah, although the word re-entered Arabic later on meaning hookah.
- (54) hummus (food recipe)
- حمّص himmas, chickpea(s). Chickpeas were consumed in the Mediterranean region in the ancient era. For the medieval Arabs chickpeas were a frequently eaten food item (ref, ref) and were called himmas.Note In the 19th century in Syria & Lebanon & Egypt the word was pronounced HOMMOS.Note This was borrowed into Turkish as humus. The Turkish entered English in the mid-20th century. The Turkish and English hummus means mashed chickpeas mixed with tahini and certain flavourings. In Arabic that is called himmas bil tahina. The hummus recipe in today's most common form seems to have started in Syria & Lebanon in the 2nd half of the 19th century. But in the Middle East in the medieval centuries people ate mashed chickpeas with various flavour enhancers, and in at least one medieval case tahini was mixed in with the chickpeas (ref, ref). See also Addendum for Middle Eastern cuisine words below.
- (55) ifrit or afreet (mythology)
- عفريت ʿifrīt, an ancient demon popularized by the 1001 Arabian Nights tales.
- (56) intarsia (decorative wood inlay work)
- ترصيع tarsīʿa, decorative inlay work. Medieval Arabic has plenty of records of tarsīʿa with this meaning.Note It contains Arabic root verb رصع rasaʿa and Arabic verbal noun prefix تَـ ta. The root verb means "to join together" and hence the noun rootwise means "joinery". Late-medieval and modern Italian has tarsia | tarsie = "decorative wood inlay work". An Italian dictionary in year 1681 defined it as "a sort of mosaic made of wood... of diverse pieces of colored wood" (ref). With same meaning, late-medieval and modern Italian has intarsio, intarsiare, intarsiata, in which an intensifying Italian-Latin in- = "in" has been inlaid in the word. 19th-century English commonly spelled it tarsia (examples).
- (57) jar (food or drink container)
- جرّة jarra, a large earthenware jar, an upright container made of pottery. Among the later-medieval Latins, a jarra was a large jar for the commercial transport of olive oil especially, and of other products to a lesser degree. Commercial documents in Italian-Latin at seaport of Genoa have jarra | iarra in 1223, 1240, 1252, 1279, 1280, 1288 (ref). Records start in Catalan as jarra in 1233, Catalan gerra in 1249 (ref, ref), Sicilian Italian iarra in the 1280s (ref), and coastal Occitan jarra early 14th century (ref, ref). The Arabic jarra is commonplace centuries earlier.Note The word was adopted from Arabic by Italian & Catalan sea-merchants, and then it was transferred from Italian & Catalan into Spanish.Note In England the first records are in 1418 and 1421 as a container of imported olive oil. In its early centuries of use in English a "jar" was most often a container of vegetable oil for use as fuel for oil-lamps, it was earthenware, and it was considerably bigger than the typical jar in English today.Note
- (58) jasmine, jasmone, jasmonate
- ياسمين yāsimīn, jasmine. For the medieval Arabs, jasmine was well-known and they had more than one species. The Arabic word was from Persian.Note Jasmine plants were unknown to the ancient Greeks & Latins. Among the Latins, the word's earliest or near-earliest record is in an Arabic-to-Latin medicine-book translation in mid 13th century in which oil containing extracts of jasmin flowers is mentioned as a medicine.Note The word's records in the vernacular Latinate languages start in the 14th century. The plant was grown in southern Latin Europe in the 14th century, which is the earliest recorded for the plant growing in Latin Europe under any name.Note Jasmone and jasmonate are 20th-century organic chemistry words derived from jasmine.
- (59) jerboa, gerbil, (60) gundi, (61) jird
- These are four classes of rodents that are native in desert or semi-desert environments in North Africa and Asia, and not found natively in Europe. Arabic يربوع yarbūʿa = "jerboa" entered Latin in the 17th century as jerboa | jarboa (example). The pronunciation of jerboa was YERBOA in Latin and in German etc, but not so in French etc. In the 18th century, the wordform jerboa continued in use, and additionally the wordforms jerbo | gerboa | gerbo came into use in books by European naturalists and travellers (ref). In the early 19th century a European naturalist created "gerbil" as a Latin diminutive of gerbo (ref). North African Arabic قندي qundī = "gundi" was 18th century European borrowing. North African Arabic colloquial جرد jird = "jird", being a variant of standard Arabic جرذ jeredh/juradh = "rodent", was 18th-century European borrowing.Note
- (62) jinn (mythology)
- الجنّ al-jinn, the jinn. The roles of jinns and ghouls in Arabic folklore are discussed by e.g. Al-Mas'udi (died 956). The semantically related English "genie" is not strictly derived from jinn, though it has been influenced by it through the 1001 Arabian Nights tales.
- (63) julep (type of drink)
- جلاب julāb, rose waterNote and a syrupy drinkNote, including a sweet base for a drinkable medicine. The Arabic-to-Latin medical translators Constantinus Africanus (died c. 1087) and Gerard of Cremona (died c. 1187) are the early users of the word in Latin. They spelled it iulep in Latin (ref, ref). From the Latin medicines books, it arrived in English meaning a syrupy drink. Like the word syrup, julep's early records in English and Latin are primarily in medicines writers (English examples). Like candy, sugar, and syrup, the word "julep" arrived in medieval European languages in conjunction with imports of cane sugar from Arabic-speaking lands.
- (64) jumper (meaning a pullover sweater or a sleeveless dress)
- جبّة jubba, an outer garment (ref), Note. In medieval Arabic, jubba was a common word for an outer garment. It did not have a narrow definition. In European languages the word is first seen in southern Italy in Latin in 1053 and 1101 as iuppa, meaning an expensive garment and made of silk, not otherwise described, and the same is in northern Italy in 1157. Approximately the first record in French is at about 1180 in a poem in which a Christian princess wears "a purple-ish jupe well-made of Muslim workmanship". Another French poet about 1190 depicts Muslims wearing brocaded jupes. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Latin iuppum | juppum, French jupe, Italian giub(b)a, Spanish aliuba | aljuba, all meant a luxury jacket garment.Note In English there is 14th-century ioupe | joupe, 15th-century iowpe | jowpe, 17th-century jup, juppe, and jump, 18th jupo and jump, 19th jump and jumper, all of them meaning a jacket.Note
- (65) kermes : kermes insects, kermes red dye
- قرمز qirmiz, red dye from the crushed bodies of certain scale-insects. Arabic dictionaries written medievally say al-qirmiz is "Armenian red dye"Note, which means the red dye from the Armenian cochineal scale-insects of today's English, and this is not the same thing as the red dye from the Kermes scale-insects of today's English. The word was in use in the Middle East for centuries before it started to be used in the Western European languages. In the West it started about 1300, initially in Italy, and initially meaning exclusively the Armenian cochineal dye.Note In the Western languages the meaning changed to today's Kermes insect species beginning about 1550.Note The mineral Kermesite was so named simply because of the red color the mineral typically has (ref). Crossref crimson, which descends from the same rootword as Kermes.
- (66) khat (aka qat), Catha (plant)
- قات qāt, the leaves of the plant Catha edulis and the stimulant they contain. English khat came directly from Arabic qāt in the mid 19th century. The technical botany name Catha came from the same Arabic word in the 18th century (the originating botanist was Peter Forskal, who visited Yemen in 1762-63). The organic chemistry names cathinone, methcathinone and cathine are 20th century from Catha.
- (67) kohl (cosmetics)
- كحل kuhl | kohl, finely powdered galena (PbS), stibnite (Sb2S3), and similar sooty-colored powder used for eye-shadow, eye-liner, and mascara. The word with that meaning was in many travellers' reports in English, from travellers in Arabic lands, for centuries before it was adopted natively in English.Note Crossref alcohol which was transferred from the same Arabic word at an earlier time by a different pathway.
- (68) lac, lacquer, lake #2, shellac
- لكّ lakk | lukk | likk, lac.Note Lac is a particular kind of pigmented resin, native in the Indies, used to make a varnish and also used as a red colorant. In the medieval era, lac was valued foremostly as a red colorant. The medieval Arabs imported the lac from India. The medieval Arabic word lakk and Persian lāk came from Sanskritic lākh | lakkha = "lac". Medieval Latin has it as lacca about year 800 (ref), although it is very scarce in Latin before the 12th century. Late medievally it is quite common in Latin. The word is in Spanish, Catalan, Italian and French in the 13th-14th century. Contrary to some reporters, it is not correct that English "lac" came directly from India in the 16th century. The English "lac" has its ancestry in the medieval Latinate lacca, and the same is true for the -lac part of "shellac" and "lacquer" and "lake (a pigment)".Note However, there is a historical question over deriving the early medieval Latin lacca from the Arabic lakk. Early medieval Greek has λαχάς lacha[s] meaning a red colorant, with records likely before the 8th century. The early records in Greek create the possibility that the word arrived in Mediterranean commerce from India without Arabic intermediation. The Latin lacca documented about year 800 possibly arrived in Latin through early medieval sea-commerce in the lac product with no Arabic intermediation involved.Note
﴾﴿ Incidentally, two lesser-seen varnishing resins with Arabic word-descent are sandarac from Arabic سندروس sandarūs Note and elemi from Arabic اللامي al-lāmī Note.
- (69) lemon, limonene
- ليمون līmūn, lemon. The cultivation of lemons, limes, and bitter oranges was introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs in the mid-medieval era. The ancient Greeks & Romans knew the citron, but not the lemon, lime, or orange. In Arabic, a single rootword underlies the names for the two fruits lemon and lime. Human use and cultivation of the lime fruit started in northern India. Less certainly, the same is probably true for the lemon. There is no evidence of human cultivation of lemons anywhere in the world before the medieval era.Note Ibn al-Awwam (died circa 1200) distinguished ten varieties of citrus fruits grown in Andalusia and spelled the lemon as اللامون al-lāmūn and الليمون al-līmūn. Abdallatif al-Baghdadi (died 1231) distinguished almost as many different citrus varieties in Egypt and spelled the lemon as الليمون al-līmūn. The Arabic word came from Persian.Note At least three Latin authors of the 13th century said lemon juice is suitable as a condiment on food and they spelled it limon in Latin (ref, ref, ref). Records in Latinate start in the late 12th but are scarce until the later 14th (illustration)Agriculture book of Petrus de Crescentiis in Italy in Latin circa 1309 has a two-page chapter about the citron tree and its fruit, but it has no mention of lemon, lime or orange (ref). The non-mention of lemon in Petrus de Crescentiis is a symptom and illustration that the lemon tree was uncommon in Italy up to that time. Another illustration is the set of six early records of Italian word limone quoted at the ''Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini'' (TLIO) : approximately none of the six is earlier than 14th century, and three of the six are within travelers' reports from the Middle East. As reported by TLIO, the lemon is in an Italian language version of the medieval Latin text Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum, a text having multiple versions in Latin. Contrary to TLIO, this Salernitan medicines item in Italian is almost surely 14th century, not 13th, because the lemon is absent in the Salernitan medicines writings in Latin in the 13th century. In particular, there is no lemon in the five-volume Salernitan medicine collection Collectio Salernitana. During the course of the 14th century the lemon becomes increasingly mentioned in Italy (in Latin and Italian). In medieval documents in Spanish, there is no lemon until the 14th century and a report to the contrary at CORDE is erroneous -- details omitted. Likewise in Catalan the records start in the 14th century..
- (70) lime (fruit)
- ليم līm, meaning sometimes any citrus fruit, sometimes lemon and lime fruit, and sometimes a lime fruit. Medieval Arabic writers who used līm with the meaning of a lime fruit include Al-Qalqashandi (died 1418) (Ref) and Ibn Batuta (died 1369) (Ref) and Ibn Khaldoun (died 1406) (Ref).Note Arabic wordform līm historically arrived later than Arabic wordform līmūn; see lemon. Arabic līm was a back-formation from Arabic līmūn. Spanish and Italian lima means lime fruit today. In bygone centuries Spanish and Italian lima | lumia meant also lemon-lime varieties distinct from today's lime. Alcalá's Spanish-to-Arabic dictionary year 1505 translated Spanish lima as Arabic lim (Ref). Today in English, "lime" has become a color-name as well as a fruit. The color-name originated by reference to the fruit. It can be noted in passing that all the following English color-names are descended from Arabic words (not necessarily Arabic color-words): apricot (color), aubergine (color), coffee (color), crimson (color), henna (hair color), lemon (color), lime (color), orange (color), saffron (color), spinach green (color), tangerine (color).
- (71) luffa or loofah
- لوف lūf Note, luffa. Luffa is a tropical plant, native in Indochina. It was under cultivation with irrigation in Egypt in the early 17th century. The name was transferred into European botany nomenclature from Egypt in 1638.Note The name has been in English botany books since the mid 18th century as "Luffa". In the later 19th century it re-entered English in non-botanical discourse as "Loofah" referring to the luffa scrubbing sponge.Note
- (72) lute (musical instrument)
- العود al-ʿaūd, the oud, i.e. the lute. Al-ʿaūd was one of the chief musical instruments of the Arabs throughout the medieval era.Note The word lute is in all European languages today. It has its early records in European languages as Spanish alod about 1256 ( ref )An astrology book, "El Libro Conplido en los Iudizios de las Estrellas" is an Arabic-to-Spanish translation dated about 1256. It has text: "E si Mercurio fuere, e Venus e Mars amos le cataren, di que es estrumente de ioglerias, assi como alod o rota o trompas o atamores." The three words rota, trompas, atamores are names of musical instruments. Ref for full text , ref for date. However, this usage in Spanish, in translating an Arabic astrology book, should not be taken to imply the word was in use in Spanish as a musical instrument at the time. To show that the word was actually in use in Spanish you would need to show the presence of the word in other documents. No such documents show up until much later in time and then they use a different wordform., Italian-Latin lauto 1265 (ref), Italian-Latin liuto 1271 (ref), Catalan laut 1274 (ref), French leut about 1285 ( ref )Adenet le Roi, aka Adenes li Rois, is the author of poetry dated 1275-1290 (ref for date). He has: ''harperes... leuteres'' = "harp players... lute players" ‒ ref. He has: ''leuteurs... flauteurs... gigueours'' = "lute players... flute players... fiddle players" ‒ ref. He has also: ''harpes... leus, rubebes et kitaires'' = ''harps... lutes, rababs and guitars'' ‒ ref. Adenet le Roi writes leus as the grammatical plural of leut. Thereby he deletes the letter 't' in the spelling of the plural. Likewise he has "tel torment... grant damage... grans tormens" = "such torment... big damage... big torments"., Spanish alaút 1330-1343 (ref). Laúd has been the usual wordform in Spanish since about 1400. In Portuguese the usual modern wordform for lute is alaúde which is notable for good phonetic fit to al-ʿaūd. Medievally the al-ʿaūd of the Arabs and the lute of the Latins were essentially the same instrument. The indications are good that the Latins borrowed the instrument design from the Arabs, as well as the word.Note The word's earliest unambiguous record in English is in the 2nd half of the 14th century (per Middle English Dictionary).
- (73) macramé
- The textile fabric word "macrame" or "macrama" was not used in Western European languages before the 19th century. Macrame fabric was made by Western Europeans long before they started using the word macrame. The way the word entered 19th century Western Europe is not well reported and specially the way it took on the specific meaning of "macrame" is not well reported. Nevertheless everybody airing an opinion today says the European word was probably or definitely from an Arabic rootword, usually saying it came to Europe through Turkish. Medieval and early modern Arabic مقرمة miqrama was an embroidered covering cloth used as curtaining.Note This word miqrama is rootwise formally related to the Arabic words قرام qirām = "embroidered curtain or veil", مقرم miqram = "tapestry", قرم qaram = "to nibble persistently", and مقرم maqram = "nibbling". Those words got transferred into Turkish. Mesgnien Meninski's dictionary of Turkish in year 1680 has those words as Turkish & Arabic words, and additionally has Turkish مقرمه maqramah = "napkin, handkerchief", which is an additional meaning in Turkish arising out of the Turkish & Arabic مقرمة miqrama = "embroidered covering cloth". Miqrama | Maqrama fits good phonetically for macrame, but a gap in semantics remains unexplained.
- (74) magazine
- مخازن makhāzin, storehouses, storerooms.Note Makhāzin is somewhat frequent in medieval Arabic texts. It is composed of Arabic khazan = "to store" and the Arabic noun prefix ma-. In the European languages the early records are in 13th century Latin as magazenum meaning "storeroom". The locations of writing of the 13th century Latin records are Mediterranean seaports, particularly Marseille, Pisa, Venice, Genoa, Palermo, and Acre. In at least half a dozen of these 13th century records the Latin magazenum is referring to commercial storage at North African seaports, including Tunis and Alexandria.Note The word with meaning "storeroom" is still used today in Italian, Catalan, French, and Russian. Sometimes used with that meaning in English in the 16th to 18th centuries. But more commonly in English in those centuries a magazine was an ammunitions storage place, or a store of gunpowder, and later a receptacle for storing bullets. A magazine in the publishing sense of the word started in the English language and its start was in the 17th century meaning a store of information about military or navigation subjects.Note
- (75) marcasite
- مرقشيثا marqashīthā, iron sulfide.Note Marqashīthā is in a 9th century Arabic minerals book. In the 10th and 11th centuries it is in minerals books by Al-Razi (died circa 930) and Al-Biruni (died circa 1050), and others.Note In European languages the earliest records are Latin marchasita | marcasita | marcacida in Arabic-to-Latin translations of minerals and medicines books dated late 12th & early 13th century in Latin, including the translations ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref. The word is easy to find in later medieval Latin writers who were influenced by Arabic mineralogy (e.g.). From the Latin, it is in English from early 15th century onward. Today's English marcasite is defined scientifically as orthorhombic iron sulfide, but marcasite jewelry is jewelry made from isometric iron sulfide.Note
- (76) massicot
- مسحقونيا masḥaqūniyā | مسحوقونيا masḥūqūniyā, a glazing material applied in the manufacture of pottery. In today's English, massicot is defined as orthorhombic lead monoxide (orthorhombic PbO). In late medieval and early modern Europe, the most common use of lead monoxide (including massicot) was in lead-based pottery glazes. The history of the word massicot in the European languages begins with later-medieval Latin massacumia which was a pottery glazing material in Italy in the late 13th century, sometimes involving lead monoxide and sometimes not, and it came from Arabic masḥaqūniyā (pronounced mas-ha-qun-iya) meaning approximately the same.Note
- (77) mattress, matelasse
- مطرح matrah, a large cushion or rug for lying on.Note In Arabic the sense evolved out of the sense "something thrown down" from Arabic rootword tarah = "to throw", and Arabic noun prefix ma-. Classical Latin matta = "mat" is no relation. The Arabic 'h' in matrah is strongly aspirated in the throat and it is quite different from a Latin 'h'. The word is in Catalan-Latin in the 12th century as almatrac. It is in Italian-Latin in the 13th century as almatracium, materacum, matratium, matarazium, 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", not a mattress in today's most often used sense.Note
- (78) mohair
- مخيّر mukhayyar, high-quality cloth made from fine goat-hair. The word has Arabic root khayar = "choosing, preferring" and Arabic noun prefix mu-. The original mohair was a cloth made from the fine goat-hair of Angora goats in Ankara province in Turkey. This mohair was made in Turkey in the late medieval period, although the name mukhayyar = "mohair" is not seen until the early post-medieval period.Note In the name's early records in Europe, mohair is a cloth imported from Turkey. In Italian commerce documents in the mid 16th century it is in the wordforms mocajari 1542 (where the Italian j is pronounced like English y), moccaiari 1564, and mucaiarri 1570. It is in English in 1570 in wordform "mocayare" naming a trade item in Turkey. The mutation in English to wordform "mohaire" is first seen in 1619.Note Sometimes in making mohair, the cloth was put through a finishing step that gave a shimmering look. A shimmering on a cloth is sometimes nowadays called moiré, where moiré was a French wordform derived from English word mohair.Note
- (79) monsoon, (80) typhoon
- These two words referred to wind and storm events off the coasts of India and China in their earliest usages in European languages and are seen first in Portuguese in the early 16th century. Muslim sea-merchants, Arabs included, were active in the Indies long before the Portuguese arrived – see e.g. history of Islam in the Philippines, and camphor and benzoin in this list. Portuguese sailors adopted the two words from Muslim sailors in the Indies. موسم mawsim, season, used in Arabic for anything that comes round once a year, and used by late medieval Arab sailors for the annual season of favourable sailing winds for going to the Indies (and another sailing season to return from the Indies).Note طوفان tūfān, a very big rainstorm, a deluge, and used in the Koran for Noah's Flood.Note The two Arabic words and the two English words are not a close match in their word-forms, obviously. Their histories are in the two footnotes.
- (81) morocco (type of leather)
- مراكش marākesh, country of Morocco. This Arabic word has not been used in Arabic with the meaning of a leather, it seems. As name of leather, the English wordform "morocco" is a 17th-century refreshed spelling of the 16th-century English wordform maroquin (ref) from 15th-century French maroquin (ref) meaning a type of flexible leather of goat-skin made in the country of Morocco or similar leather made anywhere, with maroquin literally meaning "Moroccan, from Morocco" (ref). Country of Morocco was Marroch in 12th century Catalan-Latin (ref), Mar(r)oc in late medieval French, Marrok in late medieval English (ref). Marroc was a truncation of مراكش Marākesh = "Marrakesh city". Marrakesh city was the capital city of Morocco from its founding as a city in 1070 until 1269. Marākesh was the most-often-used name for the country of Morocco in Arabic in the later-medieval centuries (see a large set of medieval Arabic examples) and remained so in Arabic for many centuries after the city was no longer the capital city. The deletion of the -esh of Marākesh to get Marrok has two steps: The first step is Latinate conversion of "sh" to "s" because the sound /sh/ was not used in Latin and some other Latinate, and the second step is the deletion of the "s" because "Marrakes" would sound like a plural and plural was uncalled for. Retention of the "s" is in Spanish in the 13th & 14th centuries as marruecos = "country of Morocco" (ref). Today, in Spanish Marruecos = "Morocco" and Portuguese Marrocos = "Morocco" and this is grammatical singular in Spanish and Portuguese.
- (82) 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 and 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 army's uniform clothing at the time.
- (83) mummy (semi-preserved corpse)
- موميا mūmiyā, a bituminous substance used in medieval medicine and in embalming, and secondarily sometimes it meant a corpse embalmed with the substance. The medieval Arabic word was transferred into medieval Latin medicine as mumia with the same meaning.Note In the post-medieval centuries, the meaning was extended to a corpse preserved by drying (desiccation).Note
- (84) muslin
- موصلي mūsilī, fine lightweight fabric made in Mosul city in Iraq, usually cotton, sometimes linen.Note The word entered Western Europe with the same meaning in the 16th and 17th century. The fabric was imported to Europe from Aleppo city by Italians at the time. The earliest record in English is muslina in a traveller's report from Aleppo in 1609. The ending -ina was an Italian addition. In Italian, a suffix -ina acts as a diminutive (communicates lightweight).Note
- (85) nadir
- نظير naẓīr, a point in outer space diametrically opposite some other point; or a direction to outer space diametrically opposite some other direction. That meaning for the word was used by, e.g., the astronomer Al-Battani (died 929).Note Naẓīr in medieval Arabic more broadly meant "counterpart".Note The Arabic 'ẓ' here used is the 17th letter of the Arabic alphabet, ظ , one of the alphabet's least-used letters, not the usual z. Its pronunciations in today's Arabic include the sounds of z, d, dh and zh, such as pronouncing Abu Dhabi as "Abu Zabi" or "Abu Dzabi". Nadir's early records in European languages are in 11th and 12th century Latin astronomy texts as nadair, nadahir and nadir, with the same meaning as the Arabic, and the early records are in Arabic-to-Latin translations.Note Crossref zenith, which was transferred on the same pathway from Arabic astronomy to Latin astronomy.
- (86) natron , natrium (Na)
- نطرون natrūn, natron, i.e. naturally-occurring sodium carbonate. The ancient Greeks had the word nitron meaning naturally-occurring sodium carbonate (and similar salts). The medieval Arabs had this spelled natrūn. In the medieval and early modern centuries, Europe's biggest supply of natron came from northern Egypt. Today's European word natron, meaning hydrated sodium carbonate, came from the Arabic word.Note In Europe shortly after sodium was isolated as an element for the first time, in the early 19th century, sodium was given the scientific abbreviation Na from a newly created Latin name, initially natronium, then natrium, which goes back etymologically to the Arabic natrūn.Note Note Also in the early 19th century, elemental potassium was isolated for the first time and was soon afterwards given the scientific abbreviation K representing a newly created Latin name kalium, which was derived from 18th century scientific Latin kali meaning potassium carbonate, which goes back etymologically to medieval Latin alkali, which was from Arabic al-qalī, which for the medieval Arabs was a mixture of mainly potassium carbonate and sodium carbonate (crossref alkali).Note Note
- (87) orange
- نارنج nāranj, orange (a citrus fruit). Arabic came from Sanskritic nāraṅga = "orange" (a citrus fruit). The orange tree came from India and it was introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs in the early 10th century, at which time all oranges were bitter oranges.Note The word is in all the Latin languages and Greek from the later medieval centuries. Today it is nerantzi in Greek meaning "bitter orange". 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', occurring early as Latin arangia (late 12th century Sicily – ref, ref), has been the subject of several speculative explanations.
- (88) popinjay (parrot)
- ببغاء babaghāʾ | babbaghāʾ, parrot bird. The change from medieval Arabic sound /b/ to medieval Latinate sound /p/ also occurs in the loanwords Julep, Jumper, Spinach, and Syrup elsewhere on this page. The French papegai = "parrot" has a late 12th century start dateNote and the English starts a century later. The wordform was affected by the pre-existing (from classical Latin) French gai = Spanish gayo = English "jay" (bird). Parrots were imported to medieval Europe via Arabic speakers.Note
- (89) realgar
- رهج الغار rahj al-ghār, realgar, arsenic sulfide.Note In medieval times, realgar was used as a rodent poison, as a corrosive cleaner, and as a red paint pigment. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew the substance. Other names for it in medieval Arabic writings include "red arsenic" and "rodent poison". Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248) wrote: "Among the people of the Maghreb it is called rahj al-ghār " (literally: "cavern powder"). In European languages the name's earliest records are in 13th-century Italian-Latin medicine spelled realgar (e.g.) also Italian-Latin regalgar anno 1275 (ref) also Spanish rejalgar | reialgar | reyalgar 1275-1295 (ref). Spelled risalgallo in Italian in the 1330s (ref). Some records in English in the 15th century spelled it resalgar (ref). As a factor in answering why the Latins adopted the Arabic word, there was a realgar mine in operation in medieval Andalusia.Note
- (90) ream (quantity of sheets of paper)
- رزمة rizma, a bale, a bundle.Note Note Paper itself was introduced to the Latins via the Arabs in and around the 12th and 13th centuries – the adoption by the Latins went slowly; history of paper. The Arabic word for a bundle spread to most European languages along with paper itself, with the early records in southern Europe. Medieval & modern Italian risma = "ream of paper" (ref, ref). Spanish resma (ref). Catalan raima, first record year 1284 (ref), looks the forerunner of the English word-form. First record in English is 1356 (ref).
- (91) rook (in chess), (92) roc (mythological bird)
- رخّ rukhkh, (1) the rook piece in the game of chess, (2) a mythological bird in the 1001 Arabian Nights tales. The Arabic dictionary Lisan al-Arab completed in 1290 said the chess-piece name rukhkh came from Persian; crossref check. The bird meaning for Arabic rukhkh may have come from Persian too. But not from the same word. All available evidence supports the view that the two meanings of Arabic rukhkh sprang from two independent and different rootwords, while at the same time some uncertainty exists about what the rootwords were (ref). The chess rook is in French from about 1150 onward as roc (ref).
- (93) safari
- سفر safar, journey. Safari entered English in the late 19th century from Swahili language safari = "journey" which is from Arabic safar = "journey".
- (94) safflower
- عصفر ʿusfur, safflower. The flower of this plant was commercially cultivated for use as a dye in the Mediterranean region in medieval times. From the Arabic word plus Arabic al-, medieval Catalan had alasfor = "safflower". Medieval Catalan had also alazflor = "safflower" where Catalan flor = "flower". However, the source of the English word is in medieval Italian. The Arabic word's -fur mutated in Italian to -flore | -fiore which is Italian for "flower". Medieval Italian spellings included asflore, asfiore, asfrole, affiore, zaflore, zafflore, zaffiore, all meaning safflower. In medieval Arabic dictionaries the spelling is ʿusfur, but oral variants ʿasfar and ʿasfur would be unexceptional in Arabic speech and would be a little better fit to the Romance-language wordforms.Note
- (95) saffron
- زعفران zaʿfarān, saffron. Zaʿfarān meaning saffron is commonplace from the outset of writings in Arabic.Note It was common in medieval Arab cookery.Note The ancient Latins used saffron and they called it crocus | crocinum and it has lots of records in ancient Latin texts. The earliest known for the name saffron in European languages is year 1156 Latin safranum = "saffron" at the seaport of Genoa in Italy in a commercial contract.Note The name saffron became predominant in western European languages in the late medieval centuries, in wordforms that led to today's Italian zafferano, Spanish azafrán, French safran, German safran, and the organic chemical safranin. The old name crocus | croco | croceus | croceo has plenty of records in medieval Latin and medieval Italian. It is not clear what drove the Latins to adopt the new name.
- (96) sandalwood
- صندل sandal, sandalwood. A scent-emitting wood imported from India, popular among the medieval Arabs for its scent, often an ingredient in medieval Arabic medicines recipes. It was unknown to the ancient Greeks & Romans. Earliest record in Latin is in the late 11th century in an Arabic-to-Latin translation of a medicine book.Note
- (97) saphenous vein (saphena)
- الصافن al-sāfin, saphena vein, aka saphenous vein. The saphenous vein is in the human leg. It was one of the veins used in medieval medical bloodletting (phlebotomy). Bloodletting was the word's context of use medievally. Medical writers who used the word in Arabic include Al-Razi (died c. 930), Haly Abbas (died c. 990), Albucasis (died c. 1013) and Avicenna (died 1037).Note In Latin the earliest known record is in an Arabic-to-Latin translation by Constantinus Africanus (died c. 1087) translating Haly Abbas. Bloodletting, which was practiced in ancient Greek and Latin medicine, was revamped in medieval Latin medicine under influence from Arabic medicine.Note
- (98) sash (ribbon)
- شاش shāsh, a ribbon of fine cloth wrapped to form a turban and usually made of fine muslin.Note In European languages the word's early records are in travellers' reports from Muslim countries. Among the earliest is this comment from an English traveller in the Middle East in 1615: "All of them wear on their heads white shashes.... Shashes are long towels of Calico wound about their heads." In the later 17th century in English, "shash" still had that original meaning, and additionally it took on the meaning of a ribbon of fine cloth wrapped around the waist. In the early 18th century in English the dominant wordform changed from "shash" to "sash".Note Crossref word muslin which entered European languages from Arabic at around the same time as shash.Note In Arabic today shāsh means gauze or muslin.
- (99) sequin (clothing ornament)
- سكّة sikka, tool for coin minting, and by extension also meaning coined money and money coinage in general.Note Medieval Italian zecca | cecha came directly from the Arabic sikka and meant about the same. Its first known record in Italian is in 1207-1208 in a trade treaty between the republic of Venice and the sultanate of Aleppo (ref). The first known where zecca means the coin mint at Venice is in 1285 (ref). The Venice Italian zecca was the parent of Italian zecchino meaning a gold coin minted by the Republic of Venice. Zecchino was Frenchified as sequin, meaning the Venice gold coin. Production of the Venice sequin gold coin ended in 1797. “The word might well have followed the coin into oblivion, but in the 19th century it managed to get itself applied to the small round shiny pieces of metal applied to clothing.”Note
- (100) serendipity
- سرنديب Serendīb, the island of Sri Lanka. "Serendipity" was created in English in 1754 from "Serendip", an old fairy-tale place. The fairy-tale with the serendipitous happenings was The Three Princes of Serendip. "Serendip" was from the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka.Note Note Serendipity is fortified in English by its resemblance to the etymologically unrelated "serenity".
- (101) sheikh
- شيخ shaīkh, sheikh. It has been in English since the 17th century meaning an Arab sheikh (ref). In English in the 20th century it took on a slangy additional meaning of "strong, romantic man". This is attributed to a hit movie, The Sheik (film), 1921, starring Rudolph Valentino. After the movie was a hit, the book it was based on became a hit, and spawned imitators.
- (102) sofa
- صفّة soffa, a low platform or dais.Note The Arabic word was adopted into Turkish, and from Turkish it entered Italian and French in the 16th century meaning a Middle-Eastern-style dais with rugs and cushions. The European-style meaning —a sofa with legs— started at the end of the 17th century.Note
﴾﴿ Another European word for sofa that entered European languages from Turkish is divan. Turkish word divan descends from a Persian rootword. Divan was probably transferred into Turkish directly from Persian, even though the same word was in circulation in Arabic from the same Persian. A furniture piece sometimes found in conjunction with a sofa is an ottoman, meaning an upholstered footstool or a backless upholstered seat. Originally in Europe, in 18th century French, an ottoman was synonymous with a sofa.Note The conventional etymology for "ottoman" is it came from Arabic عثماني ʿothmānī = "Ottoman Turks", which was from Turkish sultan Osman I (died 1326) and Turkish Osmanlı = "relating to the dynasty founded by Osman I" (ref).
- (103) spinach
- إِسبناخ isbinākh in Andalusian Arabic, and اسفاناخ isfānākh in medieval Arabic more generally, from Persian aspanākh | isfānāj, spinach. The spinach plant was unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was the Arabs who introduced the spinach into Iberia, whence it spread to the rest of Europe, and the same is true of the name as well.Note The first records in English are around year 1400 (ref).
- (104) sugar, sucrose, sucrase
- سكّر sukkar, sugar. The word is ultimately from Sanskritic sharkara = "sugar". Cane sugar was developed in India around 2000 years ago. The medieval Arabs grew the sugarcane plant on irrigated land. They made sugar on a somewhat extensive scale, although sugar was costly throughout the medieval era (very roughly on the order of 6 or 8 times costlier than wheat flour by weight in Arabic countries) (ref, ref). Early records in Latin are at around year 1100 spelled zucharum and zucrum, which came from the Arabic sukkar.Note Early records in England include the following in the account books of an Anglo-Norman abbey in Durham: year 1302 "Zuker Marok", 1309 "succre marrokes", 1310 "Couker de Marrok", 1316 "Zucar de Cypr[us]".Note The Latin wordform sucrum or the French form sucre = "sugar" produced the modern chemistry terms sucrose and sucrase.
- (105) sultan, sultana
- سلطان sultān, authority, ruler. The first ruler to use sultan as a formal title was an Islamic Turkic-speaking ruler in Central Asia, Tughril Beg (died 1063), founder of the Seljuq empire. He got the word from Arabic.Note In Arabic grammar سلطانة sultāna is the feminine of sultān.
﴾﴿ Caliph, emir, qadi, and vizier are other Arabic-sourced words connected with rulers. Their use in English is mostly confined to discussions of Middle Eastern history.
- (106) sumac
- سمّاق summāq, the common sumac bush that grows natively in the Mediterranean region, especially the berries of this bush. Anciently and medievally, different components of the sumac were used in tanning leather, in dyeing, in medicine, and in cuisine. The sumac was a cultivated plant among the medieval Arabs, especially in Levant. They primarily cultivated it for its berries. In Latin the sumac was anciently called rhus (whence taxonomic Modern Latin Rhus Coriaria). Late medievally in Latin and the Latinate languages the usual name became sumac. This Arabic name is found in Iberian-Latin in the 10th century and as such it is one of the earliest loanwords in this collection. Sumac is in Italian-Latin in the 11th century in Arabic-to-Latin medical translations. It entered late medieval English medicines books as sumac = "sumac berries". Note Note Note
- (107) Swahili (a language)
- سواحل sawāhil, coasts (plural of sāhil, coast). Historically Swahili was the language used in commerce along the east coast of Africa, along 2000 kilometers of coast: the Swahili coast. Swahili is grammatically a Bantu language, with about one-third of its vocabulary taken from Arabic.Note The first known record of the word Swahili in English is in year 1814, says NED.
- (108) syrup, (109) sherbet, sorbet
- شراب shirāb | sharāb, a word with two meanings in Arabic, "a drink" and "syrup". Medieval Arabic medical writers used shirāb | sharāb meaning a medicinal syrup. It passed into Latin medicine as siropus | siruppus | syrupus with the same meaning. In Latin the earliest records are in the Arabic-to-Latin medical translations by Constantinus Africanus (died c. 1087). The sound change from /sh/ to /s/ in going from shirāb to siropus reflects that Latin pronunciation did not use the sound /sh/ in any words. The -us of siropus is a carrier of Latin grammar and nothing more. In late medieval Europe a sirup was usually medicinal.Note Separately from syrup, the same Arabic rootword re-entered Western Europe through Turkish in the 16th and 17th centuries. Turkish شربت sherbet | shurbet = "a sweet lemonade drink" (Ref) entered with that meaning directly into English as "sherbet". During the same time, directly from Turkish, the word entered Italian as sorbetto with the same meaning, and this entered English from Italian and/or French (Italian 1581 sorbetto, English 1585 sorbet, English 1603 zerbet). The Turkish was from the Arabic wordform شربة shirba(t) | sharba(t).
- (110) tabla (percussion instrument in music of India)
- طبل tabl, drum. English tabla is from Hindi/Urdu tabla which is from Persian tabla = "small drum" and Persian tabl = "drum" and Arabic tabl. The Persian is from the Arabic. In Arabic, tabl has been the usual word for drum (noun and verb) since the beginning of written records.Note
- (111) tahini
- طحينة tahīna, tahini. Derives from the Arabic verb for "grind" and is related to Arabic tahīn = "flour". The written Arabic tahīna is pronounced "taheeny" in Levantine Arabic speech. The word entered English directly from Levantine Arabic around year 1900, but tahini was very rarely eaten in the English-speaking countries until around year 1970. It is ancient in the Middle East.
- (112) talc
- طلق talq, mica and talc. Common in medieval Arabic. Documented in Latin minerals books from around 1200 onward meaning mica and talc, spelled talc | talk in Latin, with the early records being in Arabic-to-Latin translations. Uncommon in the Latinate languages until the later 16th century. In all European languages today.Note
- (113) talisman
- طلسم tilsam | tilasm, talisman. Medievally in Syriac and Arabic this word was sometimes used with the meaning "incantation" and "magic spell". In Arabic medievally it was mainly used with the meaning of an astrology-based inscribed amulet. That is, an inscription of characters and images, created through the guidance of astrology, was supposed to forfend against a specific bad fortune or vitalize a good fortune. A classic Arabic text using the word with this meaning is Ghāyat al-Hakīm, a 400-page book about occult magic, astrology and talismans, dated 10th or 11th century. In Europe the word entered astrology with this meaning in the early 17th century, begining in French. The word's early users in French were able to read Arabic and they said the word with this meaning came from Arabic.Note
- (114) tamarind
- تمر هندي tamr hindī (literally: "date fruit of India"), tamarind. Tamarinds were in use in ancient India. They were not known to the ancient Greeks & Latins. They entered medieval Latin medical practice from Arabic. The Arabic-to-Latin translator Constantinus Africanus (died circa 1087) was probably the first writer to use this word in Latin. He spelled it tamarindi. Tamarind's medieval medical uses were various.Note In the English language the records start late medievally in translations of Latin medical books (ref).
- (115) tambourine (music percussion instrument), tambour (drum)
- طبول tabūl, drums. 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 northern French tabor | tabur = "military drum used by Arab armies" (12th century), which is from Arabic 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. War-drums were in normal use in Arab armies from the 10th century onward, during actual battles and when marching. The Arabic tabūl | taboul has been the usual word for "drums" in Arabic since the beginning of written records of Arabic. 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.Note
- (116) tanbur, tanbour, tambur, tanpura, tamboura, tambouras, tamburica, tembûr, dombyra
- These are all long-necked guitar-tye plucked-string musical instruments. The word occurs early and often in medieval Arabic as طنبور tunbūr | tanbūr meaning a long-necked guitar-type plucked-string instrument. The word is also documented in late-ancient and early-medieval Aramaic & Persian (pre-Islam). The name in English is modern and comes from all the languages of the Middle East.Note Meanwhile, the English tambourine, a percussive instrument, is without any documentary evidence that would etymologically relate it to the string instrument name. Likewise, the Western European tambour = "drum" is not related to tambour = "string instrument", or else the relation is both very poorly understood and very improbable.Note
- (117) tangerine
- 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.Note The English word "tangerine" arose in the UK from shipments of tangerine oranges from the port of Tangier in the early 19th century. "Tangerine" means "of Tangier", but the word formation also had allusion to pre-existing English "tang"/"tangy". Word formation was in the UK.Note The Arabic name for a tangerine is unrelated. The city existed in pre-Arabic times named "Tingi".
- (118) tare (weight)
- طرح tarh | tirh and طرحة tarha, a discard, something discarded (from Arabic root tarah, to throw).Note The Arabic tarh | tarha was also used meaning "a deduction, a subtraction" (ref). In today's English the tare weight is defined 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. Italian-Latin commerce records have tara = "tare" starting in the late 13th century.Note The word is in England as tare starting late 14th century.Note There is one record in Spanish in early 15th century where the wordform is atara, which helps to affirm Arabic ancestry because the leading 'a' in atara represents the Arabic definite article.Note Note Note It is spelled tara in today's Italian, Catalan, Spanish, German, and Russian.
- (119) tariff
- تعريف taʿrīf, notification, specification (from Arabic عرّف ʿarraf, to notify). In medieval Arabic the word was widely used and meant any kind of notification or specification.Note Among the Latins the word starts in Italian merchants in the 2nd half of 14th century in sea-commerce on the Mediterranean meaning a tabular statement, such as an enumeration of products with selling prices; and the word is also in late medieval Italian meaning a single stated fee.Note The Italian word was transferred into German, French and English in the 16th century meaning a tabular statement.Note From the meaning of a tabular statement of different import tax liabilities on different goods, the meaning of an import tax grew out by metonymy.
- (120) 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. Tarkhūn comes up in medicine contexts in Al-Razi (died c. 930). It is mentioned in a culinary context in Ibn al-Awwam (died c. 1200). It is in a number of other medieval Arabic writers.Note In later-medieval Latin, late 12th century onward, it comes up in medicine contexts spelled tarcon | tarchon and was acknowledged at the time to be from Arabic.Note Up until then in Latin there is no record of the plant under any name, or at least no clear record. The 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.Note
- (121) tazza, demi-tasse
- طسّ tass | طسّة tassa | طاسة tāsa, round shallow cup or bowl, which was made of metal, and was typically made of brass.Note The word was common in Arabic for many centuries before it shows up in the Latinate languages.Note In the Latinate lanuages it starts in the 13th century.Note It has loads of 14th-century records in Italy, Iberia, and France. The medieval Latinate tasse | taza | taça (ç = z) | tacia | tacea | tassia | tassa was in the luxury category and it was very often made of silver – ref, ref, ref, ref, ref. English had the word 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.
- (80) typhoon (duplicate of #80 above)
- طوفان tūfān, a very big rainstorm, a deluge, a natural calamity, and used in the Koran for Noah's Flood. Like the word monsoon, typhoon in the European languages first occurs in Portuguese in the East Indies in the early 16th century. The Portuguese borrowed it from Arab and other Muslim sailors in the Indies. The word's history is in note #105.Note
- (122) varan (type of lizard), varanoid (family of lizard types)
- ورل waral and locally in North Africa ورن waran, varan lizard, especially the two species native in North Africa, namely Varanus griseus and Varanus niloticus. In Europe in the 16th to 18th centuries it was usually spelled with a letter L, e.g. "oûaral" (1725 French writer in Egypt – ref), "warral" (1738 English writer in Algeria – ref), "worral" (1828 English dictionary – ref). But certain influential European naturalists in the early 19th century adopted the North African wordform with the letter N – ref. The V in place of W reflects Latinization. In Medieval Latin there was no letter W and no sound /W/, with some exceptions for some foreign names. The general non-use of W was continued in Modern Latin.
- (123) zenith
- سمت samt, direction; سمت الرأس samt al-raʾs, direction highest upwards, zenithal direction, literally the "top direction". Samt al-raʾs is in the astronomy books of, among others, Al-Battani (died 929) and Al-Farghani (died c. 870), both of which were translated to Latin in the 12th century. From use in astronomy in Arabic, the term entered astronomy in Latin in the 12th century. The first record of the word zenith in European languages is in the Arabic-to-Latin translation of Al-Battani's book where the translation's Latin zenith meant "direction" (not "zenith") and the translation's Latin zenith capitis translated the Arabic phrase samt al-raʾs meaning the zenithal direction.Note Details on how the Arabic wordform samt got mangled to the Latin wordform zenith are in note 148.Note
- (124) zero
- صفر sifr, zero. The use of zero as an elementary digit was a key innovation in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. The word's path into English was: medieval Arabic sifr (two 9th-10th century examples) ➜ medieval Italian-Latin zephirum = "zero" (used in 1202 by Leonardo Pisano, who was an early adopter of the Hindu-Arabic numbers in Latin) ➜ medieval Italian zefiro = "zero" (e.g., zefiro was used by mathematician Piero Borgi in the 1480s) ➜ contracted to zero in Italian in late 14th & early 15th centuryNote ➜ French zéro starts 1485Note ➜ English zero 1604; rare in English before 1800.Note Crossref cipher.
Addendum for Botanical Names
The following plant names entered medieval Latin texts from Arabic. Today, in descent from the medieval Latin, they are international systematic classification names, commonly known as "Latin" names: Berberis, Cakile, Carthamus, Cuscuta, Doronicum, Musa, Nuphar, Senna, Taraxacum, Usnea, Physalis alkekengi, Melia azedarach + Azadirachta, Centaurea behen, Terminalia bellirica, Terminalia chebula, Cheiranthus cheiri, Piper cubeba, Phyllanthus emblica, Alpinia galanga + Kaempferia galanga, Peganum harmala, Salsola kali, Prunus mahaleb, Datura metel, Daphne mezereum, Rheum ribes (and derivatively Ribes), Jasminum sambac, Cordia sebestena, Operculina turpethum, Curcuma zedoaria, Alpinia zerumbet + Zingiber zerumbet. The Arabic parent names and further details for each of those names are in note 150.Note In addition, already discussed earlier individually: Alkanna (alkanet), Curcuma (curcumin), Jasminum (jasmine), Spinacia (spinach), Santalum (sandalwood), Tamarindus (tamarind), Cinnamomum camphora (camphor), Carum carvi (caraway). Altogether that is 38+ botany names that descend from medieval Arabic via medieval Latin and are in active use today. The list is incomplete, but not by much.
Over ninety percent of those botanical names were introduced to medieval Latin in a herbal medicine context. About a third of them are names of medicinal plants from Tropical Asia for which there had been no classical Latin nor ancient Greek name. Those names include azedarach, bellirica, camphora, curcuma, cubeba, emblica, galanga, metel, tamarindus, turpethum, zedoaria, and zerumbet. Another portion are ultimately from Iranian names of Iranian plants used in Iranian medicine, including at a minimum alkekengi, behen, doronicum, jasminum, mezereum, ribes, sebestena, taraxacum, and usnea, some of which were known as plants under other names in classical Latin and Greek. A substantial portion of the names were introduced into Latin by the Arabic-to-Latin medical translator Constantinus Africanus (died late 11th century). Another substantial portion were introduced by the Arabic-to-Latin translator Gerard of Cremona (died late 12th century). The medical translations of those two translators were widely circulated books in Latin medical circles late medievally. They were key for establishing most of the Arabic plant names in Latin.Note A 13th-century Arabic-to-Latin translation of a book about medicating agents by Serapion the Younger had hundreds of Arabic botanical names in the Latin translation and was a widely circulated book among apothecaries in late medieval Europe.Note
Medieval Arabic botany was primarily concerned with the use of plants for medicines. In a modern etymology assessment of one medieval Arabic list of medicines, the Arabic names of the medicines —being primarily plant names— were assessed to be 31% from ancient Mesopotamian names, 23% from Greek names, 18% Persian, 13% Indian (often via Persian), 5% uniquely Arabic, and 3% Coptic (Egyptian), with the remaining 7% of unassessable origin.Note
In the 1580s the Latin botanist Prospero Alpini stayed in Egypt for several years. He introduced to Latin botany from Arabic the names Abrus, Abelmoschus, Lablab, Melochia, naming plants that were unknown to Latin botanists before Alpini, plants native to Tropical Asia that were grown with artificial irrigation in Egypt at the time.Note
In the early 1760s Peter Forsskål systematically cataloged plants and fishes in the Red Sea region. For genera and species that did not already have Latin names, Forsskål adopted the local Arabic names as the technical Latin taxonomic names. This became the international standard for most of what he cataloged. Forsskål's Latinized Arabic plant genus names include Aerva, Arnebia, Cadaba, Ceruana, Maerua, Maesa, Oncoba, Themeda, and others.Note
Additional miscellaneous botanical names with Arabic ancestry include azarolus + acerola and Retama Note; argel and seyal Note; Alchemilla Note; Abutilon, Alhagi, Argania, Averrhoa, Avicennia, bonduc, fagara, lebbeck Note; Mesua. List incomplete.
Addendum for Names of Stars in Night Sky
The top 100 brightest stars are relatively well known among sky watchers. These stars have traditional names in English. The majority of the names are descended from medieval Arabic. They arrived in Latin in the later-medieval period. An example is the 5th brightest star in the night sky, Vega, from Arabic wāqaʿ. More fully this star's name was النسر الواقع al-nasr al-wāqaʿ in medieval Arabic (the full name is in medieval Latin at least once spelled annaceralwaka – ref). The 7th brightest star, Rigel, is from Arabic rijl and more fully this star's Arabic name was رجل الجوزاء rijl al-jawzāʾ. Fomalhaut, the 18th brightest star, is from Arabic فم الحوت fom al-hūt. During recent centuries in English many of the traditional star names have been getting slowly displaced by a more systematic naming convention involving other names. But this has really not been happening for the top 30 or so best-known, brightest stars. For example, Vega is now also known as Alpha Lyrae, Rigel is also known as Beta Orionis, and Fomalhaut is also known as α PsA, but Vega, Rigel and Fomalhaut remain by far the most commonly used names for these three stars.
Aldebaran, Deneb, Altair, Betelgeuse and Achernar are others among the top 20 brightest stars. Their name ancestry path is: medieval Arabic star names ➜ medieval Latin star names ➜ English star names. For a full list see ref or similar lists at ref and ref. Related info can be gleaned from descriptions of the sky's brightest stars at ref and ref. Further history on star-names can be gleaned from ref and ref.
In Arabic The Book of Fixed Stars of Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (died c. 986) has descriptions and drawings of the positions of the stars and quantifies their brightnesses. This book was well-circulated among astronomers in the medieval Arabic world. It seems it was the number one most widely circulated book of its kind. It was translated to Latin in the 12th or 13th century (ref). It is one of the best sources for the star-names in medieval Arabic. It was published in Arabic-to-French translation in 1874 and this publication gives all of al-Sufi's star-names in Arabic and also gives some selected other portions in Arabic; downloadable.
Addendum for Middle Eastern Cuisine Words
Part of the vocabulary of Middle Eastern cuisine is from Turkish, not Arabic. The following words are from Arabic, although some of them have entered the Western European languages via Turkish. Baba ghanoush, Couscous, Falafel, Fattoush, Halva, Hummus, Kibbeh, Kebab, MoussakaNote, Shawarma, Tabouli | Tabbouleh, Tahini, Za'atar ... and some cuisine words of lesser circulation include Ful medames, Kabsa, Kushari, Labneh, Lahmacun, Mahlab, Mulukhiyah, Ma'amoul, Mansaf, Shanklish, Tepsi Baytinijan.... Middle Eastern cuisine words were uncommon and rare in English before 1970, being confined for the most part to travellers' reports. The same was true in all Western European languages, except for a longstanding Spanish alcuzcuz = "couscous" and 19th century French couscous. In the early 1970s the usage increased rapidly for some of the words.
Addendum for Arabic Music Words
Some words used in English in talking about Arabic music: Ataba, Baladi, Dabke, Darbouka, Khaleeji, Maqam (cf Azeri Mugham), Mawal, Mizmar, Oud, Qanun, Raï, Raqs sharqi, Takht, Taqsim.
Addendum for Textile Words
The textile industry was the largest manufacturing industry in the Arabic-speaking lands in the medieval and early modern centuries. The list above included the six fabric names Cotton, Damask, Macrame, Mohair, Morocco, and Muslin, and the three textile dye names Anil, Crimson/Kermes, and Safflower, and the two garment names Jumper and Sash. The following are two near-obsolete textile fabric names not listed earlier.
- camlet : Records among the Latins begin about year 1200 as cameloto. The word has lots of records in 13th century Latin. Its commonest wordform was camelot__. The meaning in western Europe in the 13th century was a luxury cloth imported from the Eastern Mediterranean. Further definition is not available. Maybe it was a half-silk with plush texture. The camlet cloths were not made in Europe for the first 150+ years of records in Europe. Late medievally in Europe, in some records, it is made of fine goat-hair from goats in central Turkey, and in other records it is made of silk or half-silk. Late medievally it was "watered" aka "moiréd" and had plush texture, at least sometimes. As there is complexity and lack of clarity about the medieval fabric definition, there is uncertainty about the rootword. But very likely this western European word came from the Arabic of the Eastern Mediterranean. The leading Arabic candidate is خميلة khamīla (a grammatical singular) and خملات khamlāt (a plural), meaning cloths with plushy texture.Note.
- tabby : from Arabic عتّابي ʿattābī meaning a species of silk cloth. Al-Istakhri (died c. 957) in his description of the uplands of Iran said ʿattābī silk garments were imported into there (ref). Al-Idrisi (died c. 1165) in his description of Andalusia said ʿattābī is one of the finer cloths made there (ref). Ibn Jubayr (died 1217) said ʿattābīya is cloth of silk and cotton [interweaved] in contrasting colors, and he said the name originated in Baghdad (ref). Whence a species of silk cloth in Italian-Latin attabi, anno 1295 , attabi 1436 , atabi 1456, whence French atabis in 1375 & 1387, Anglo-Norman attaby in 1397, English attaby in 1401. In Italy the word attabi begot late medieval Italian tabi 1489 & 1492 and tabi 1493. Whence French tabi (examples: 1587, 1618). Whence 17th century English tabby (examples). Defined in 17th century French & English as a species of "watered" silk cloth.
In addition to the above, several now fully obsolete textile names were transferred during the medieval centuries from Arabic into Latinate and then into English -- details omitted. The following are seven English textile names still in use today, whose ancestries are not established and not adequately in evidence, except it is established that six of the seven have medieval start dates in the Western European languages and the seventh started in the 16th century. An Arabic source may be one of the possibilities for each: buckram, chiffon, gaberdine, gauze, satin, taffeta, wadding. English color-name scarlet descends from medieval Latin scarlata meaning a high-quality woolen cloth (the cloth was usually dyed red or reddish). For the origin of medieval Latin scarlata, an Arabic source has been sometimes asserted, but in fact an Arabic source is practically impossible.Note English cordovan is a type of leather. Contrary to some reports, the word cordovan did not come from Arabic.Note.
A dye used on textiles in bygone centuries is carthamin dye, whose name came from medieval Latin botanical medicine name carthamus, which came from medieval Arabic قرطم qartam with the same meaning.Note The dye fustic is a textile dye whose word-history in European languages begins in Languedoc and Catalonia in the 13th century. It is often asserted that it came from an Arabic word, but the assertion is surely wrong.Note A dye word that conceivably might have come from Arabic is alizarin, a foreign-looking word whose rootword is uncertain and whose first appearance in European languages is in the late 18th century.Note.
Words some people claim are from Arabic, but the evidence is deficient and defective
almanac, antimony, azure, bazaar, borage, caliber, carafe, carrack (ship), cork, drub, fanfare, garbage, gauze, genetta, guitar, hazard, lilac, macabre, mask, massage, mizzen, racquet, risk, scarlet, soda, tartar, tobacco, traffic, zircon/zirconium, tuna (fish), albacore (fish), bonito (fish).
Probably a few of the 31 words in this section are of Arabic ancestry. Most of them are probably not, or definitely not. More than a few are clearly not from Arabic. For most of them, a convincing root in a European language was missing, and so researchers turned to the possibility of an Arabic source for the word. And a specific Arabic source was proposed for the word. And this Arabic-source proposal is nowadays reported by many English dictionaries with a greater or lesser degree of confidence. But the evidence for the Arabic source is poor, defective and unconvincing. The 31 words also include cases where, in addition to lousy evidence from Arabic, a good non-Arabic-source proposal exists -- including the cases borage, caliber, cork, guitar, lilac, scarlet, tartar, and zircon (for good non-Arabic propositions for those words, see the footnotes for the words).
- (1) almanac
- This word's earliest securely dated record in Europe is in Latin in 1267. A tiny number of possibly a little earlier records exist but come with insecure dates. In its early records in Latin it was spelled almanac and it meant a set of tables detailing movements of astronomical bodies. Namely the movements of the five then-known planets and the Moon and the Sun. A lot of medieval Arabic writings on astronomy exist, and they don't use a word that can be matched to the Latin almanac. (In medieval Arabic the astronomical tables were called al-zīj | al-taqwīm | al-jadāwil). The 19th-century Arabic-word-origin experts Engelmann & Dozy said about almanac: "To have the right to argue that it is of Arabic origin, one must first find a candidate word in Arabic" and they found none.Note There is a medieval Arabic المناخ al-munākh, which would be a good fit phonetically, but it has no semantic connection to the Latin almanac. The origin of the Latin remains obscure.Note
- (2) antimony
- This word occurs earliest in Constantinus Africanus (died circa 1087), who was a widely circulated Latin medical author and Arabic-to-Latin translator of medical books. His spelling was antimonium.Note The Constantinus-influenced Matthaeus Platearius (died c. 1160) spelled it antimonium as well (ref). The meaning in medieval Latin was antimony sulfide and closely similar rocks (such as lead sulfide). Antimony sulfide was well-known to the medieval Arabs under the names إثمد ithmid and كحل kohl and it was well-known to the ancient & medieval Latins under the names stibium | stibi | stimmi. The Arabic-to-Latin translator Gerard of Cremona (died c. 1187) used the Latin antimonium to translate the Arabic ithmid (ref, ref, ref). The medieval Latin name antimonium is of obscure origin. In the western European languages other than Latin, in the late medieval period, antimony is a "bookish" name arriving from the medieval Latin. It is found primarily in medicines books. Secondarily it is found in minerals books. Conceivably the Latin might have come from something in Arabic, but no precedent in Arabic has been found.Note
- (3) azure (color), lazurite (mineral), azurite (mineral), lazulite (mineral)
- These names are ultimately from an Iranian name connected to a large deposit of azure-blue rock in northeastern Afghanistan, "Lazhward/Lajaward". Northeastern Afghanistan was the chief and maybe the only source-place for the most-desired type of azure-blue rock in the medieval era — the type called Lazurite today. However, in the medieval Mediterranean region, the name was also used for other azure-blue rocks that were less expensive and were less remotely sourced — especially the type called Azurite today. Medievally the rocks were most often crushed to a powder for use as a blue colorant in paints and inks, and less often used as a polished stone. From the powdered rocks used as paint colorants, "lazure | azure" was a color-name in many languages in the late medieval centuries. From the Iranian name, medieval Arabic had لازورد lāzward | lāzūard meaning particularly Lazurite and sometimes meaning other rocks with a similar azure color.Note Late-ancient and early-medieval Greek had the synonymous lazourion. This has a handful of records in Greek in the 4th-7th centuries AD.Note The records in Latin start in the early 9th century as Latin lazurin, lazuri and lazur.Note Later medieval Latin had wordforms lazurium, azurium, azurum, etc, synonymous with the Greek and Arabic. The period 4th-7th centuries was before the spread of the Arabic language with the onset of Islam. The territory of the Byzantine Empire in the 4th-7th centuries included the bulk of today's Turkey. There are good grounds to take it as true and correct that the 4th-7th centuries Greek word lazourion | lazour_, meaning Lazurite, went into Greek by an overland route from the Persian empire to the Greek empire, and did not go into Greek overland through Arabic-speaking territory. If the Lazurite product also arrived in Mediterranean Europe by transport across the Indian Ocean and up the Red Sea in the 4th-7th centuries, this route would not necessarily involve Arabic intermediation either. The numerous attestations of the Greek lazour_ in the 4th-9th centuries demonstrate that Lazurite was an item in Mediterranean commerce in the 4th-9th centuries. There are good grounds for judging that the Greek lazourion | lazour_ was the parent of the 9th-century Latin lazurin | lazuri | lazur. It is not likely that the Latin word came directly or indirectly from the Arabic lāzward.Note
- (4) bazaar
- This word is in nearly all European languages today. In Europe before 1800 it was mostly confined to traveller's reports from various Eastern lands and it was taken afresh from various Eastern languages at various times. It is ultimately from Persian bāzār = "bazaar". It is in late medieval Italian and Italian-Latin as bazarium | bazale | bazar | bazarra | bazaro | bazzarro = "bazaar", and relatedly medieval Genoa Italian-Latin bazarioto | bazariotus = "person who works in a bazaar", and also there is at least two instances in late medieval French for basar | bathzar = "bazaar". Those medieval records involve the Eastern Mediterranean lands, and do not involve contact with Iranian-speaking lands excepting two Italian travellers in Iran in the 1470s which are later than the other records. The word is in medieval Arabic as بازار bāzār = "bazaar" although not with high frequency. Medieval Arabic examples and more examples. In French in the 16th & 17th centuries the word is in various travelers talking about bazaars in overseas cities, being Arabic-speaking cities more often than not – ref: Arveiller. The word is in Italian in 16th-century travel narratives including circa 1513, before 1525, before 1587. A German traveler in Syria & Iraq in 1573-1575 has more than 24 instances in German for the word Batzar = "bazaar" and one of his instances is that in Aleppo city "they have a great shoping center called Batzar by the inhabitants" – ref-1, ref-2. A decent argument can be made that today's European word was borrowed late medievally from Arabic, starting in Italian, and that, despite later borrowings afresh, today's European word is in unbroken continuity with the late medieval start.
- (5) borage (plant), Boraginaceae (botanical family)
- Borage is a native plant in the Mediterranean area. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans under another name. The name borage starts in medieval Latin as bor(r)ago | bor(r)agine and it is first seen in Constantinus Africanus, who was an 11th-century Latin medical writer and translator who grew up in Africa (Tunisia), he was fluent in Arabic, and all his writings were derived or translated from Arabic medical sources. Many of today's etymology dictionaries suppose the name to be from Arabic and report the proposition that Constantinus took it from أبو عرق abū ʿaraq = "sweat inducer", pronounced like "buʿaraq | buʿarag" in oral Arabic. But in medieval Arabic no such name is on record for borage, and Constantinus makes no mention of sweat in connection with borage, and moreover a good and convincing non-Arabic origin proposition exists for borrago.Note
- (6) caliber, calipers
- Excluding an isolated and semantically unclear record in northern France in 1478, the early records are in French in the early and mid 16th century spelled calibre and equally often spelled qualibre, with two concurrent meanings: (1) "the interior diameter of a gun-barrel" and (2) "the quality, character, or degree of anything". A popular old idea is that the French word was borrowed from Arabic قالب qālib = "physical model, mold, template". But that idea comes with no evidence and it has no background historical context to support it. It is far more likely that the word was formed in French from medieval Latin qua libra = "what balance, what weight".Note
- (7) carafe
- It is acceptable enough to say that the records for the word carafe in the European languages begin in the 14th century in Sicily -- in texts in Latin and Sicilian Italian -- spelled carraba, meaning a glass carafe, a glass vase for holding wine. Carrafa = "carafe" is in Naples in the late 15th century, which is earlier than the start of the records of caraffa = "carafe" in north Italy in the early 16th century.Note Mid 16th century Spanish garrafa = "carafe" was from the Italian word.Note The 16th century carafe was usually made of glass. The most popular source hypothesis for the Italian word is based upon the medieval Arabic rootword غرف gharaf = "to scoop water", which produced medieval Arabic غرفة gharfa = "large spoon or ladle to scoop up water" and medieval Arabic غروف gharūf | غريفة gharīfa = "large bucket for water". Those are a little off-target semantically and phonetically, and are without a specifically supporting historical context. Another speculation is Arabic قربة qirba = "large bottle made of leather", well documented in medieval Arabic, which conceivably might have had an oral variant قربة qaraba, but is semantically off-target. Another angle on the question is that Sicilian and mainland Italian in the 14th, 15th & 16th centuries had garraffu | garraffo | caraffo meaning "a racing body of water to turn the wheel of a water mill" and "racing gushing water" (ref). Medieval Arabic dictionaries have غرّاف gharrāf defined as "a large volume of running water" (ref), which is very good as a match for the Sicilian racing-water word. Probably the historical context for the racing-water word was that it was transferred in Arabic-ruled Sicily (10th & 11th century) and used as a word in agricultural irrigation at the time of transfer. The carafe word potentially could have started from Arabic in 11th century Sicily too, and may contain the rootword غرف ghar(a)f = "to scoop water", with its semantics thereafter having evolved in Latin Sicily. Some of today's Arabic dictionaries have غرّافة gharrāfa = "carafe", but this is only found in relatively recent Arabic, so it is a borrowing from Europe.Note
- (8) carrack
- Carrack is an old type of large sailing ship. It was always a cargo transport ship. It normally had armaments to defend itself against hostile foreigners at sea but was not a warship in the strict sense. Its earliest European records are in the century from 1150 to 1250 at Genoa & Liguria in Latin spelled carraca | caraca (examples in years 1157, 1213, 1225, 1238). Genoa & Liguria was one of the Mediterranean's biggest ship-building places in that century and the following century (ref). The Genoa & Liguria word went into Spanish in the late 13th century as carraca (ref , ref). In England, where the start is late 14th century in Latin and English, the carracks in numerous early records are big merchant ships that sail to English ports from the Mediterranean Sea and are under the management of Genoese merchants (ref, ref, ref). There is a good possibility that the Italian-Latin word was derived from early medieval Latin carricare | car(r)igare = "to carry, to transport", which came from classical Latin carrus = "a cart" plus the Latin verb ending -icare which incorporates the Latin suffix -ic_. Classical and medieval Latin had also carruca = "4-wheeled carriage". Classical and early medieval Latin was clearly and uncontestedly the parent of medieval Italian carrica | carica | carico = "a cargo, a load"; nave di carico = "cargo ship"; nave caricata = "cargo ship"; car(r)icare = "to load a vehicle, to place a burden on anything"; carrata = "cargo"; carratura = "carting"; carroccio | carroz(z)a | carriaggio | carreggio (having suffix -aggio) = "carriage". Native words for cargo and cargo-bearing can plausibly generate a word for cargo ship. The 2nd letter 'a' in carraca = "cargo ship" is slightly irregular if derived from the above native Italian and Latin. Only slightly. The following Italian wordforms are in late medieval Italian and are standard in modern Italian: Italian tonaca = classical Latin tunica = English "tunic"; Italian cronaca = classical Latin chronica = English "chronicle"; Italian indaco = classical Latin Indicum dye = English "indigo"; Italian sindaco = late classical Latin syndicus = English "syndic" (whence "syndicate"). Thus it is phonetically okay to take the Italian car(r)aca from the Italian noun car(r)ica and the Italian verb car(r)icare. However, the more popular belief is car(r)aca was somehow taken from Arabic. The most popular speculation is car(r)aca came from Arabic قراقير qarāqīr which was the grammatical plural of Arabic القرقور qurqūr = "cargo ship". An alternative speculation is car(r)aca was from Arabic حرّاقة harrāqa = "kind of warship", but the evidence for it is very poor (ref, alt-link). I have found nobody with an evidentiary basis or good historical reason for preferring any Arabic source whatsoever here, except for the merely negative reason that carraca does not have a definite source in the native Italian and Italian-Latin words cited above. By the way, a type of old sailing ship with possible Arabic word-origin is Xebec, another is Felucca, and another is Dhow, but the histories of those words has no bearing on the historical context surrounding carraca.
- (9) cork
- The earliest known records in England are 1303 as "cork" and 1342 as "cork", each meaning bulk cork bark imported from Iberia – ref. The ancient Romans used cork and called it, among other names, cortex (literally: "bark"). From that Latin, medieval and modern Spanish has corcho = "cork". Corcho definitely did not come from Arabic.Note Corcho is the most likely source for the English word.Note Many English dictionaries claim on the contrary that the English word came from Spanish alcorques = "slipper shoes made of cork" and they claim the Spanish alcorques is surely from Arabic because of its "al-". But this Spanish "al-" word cannot be found in writing in any medieval Arabic author with a clear and reliable meaning of "cork shoes" or "cork". Evidence in Spanish supports the contrary argument that the "al-" in alcorques was solely Spanish, and that the corque part of the Spanish word descended from classical Latin without Arabic intermediation.Note
- (10) drub
- Drub is not in European languages other than English. There is good likelihood that English "drub" came from Arabic noun & verb ضرب ḍurb | ḍarb = "whack, hit with a cudgel". Arabic has noun plurals ضروب ḍurūb | أضرب aḍrub | aḍrab = "hits", which are plurals of ḍurb | ḍarb. A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles says about English drub: “Appears first after 1600; all the early instances, before 1663, are from travellers in the Orient [i.e. the Middle East], and refer to the bastinado. Hence, in the absence of any other tenable suggestion, it may be conjectured to represent Arabic ضرب ḍaraba (also pronounced ḍuruba), to beat, to bastinado, and the verbal noun ḍarb (also pronounced ḍurb).” You can see at Early English Books Online that in the 17th century the English drubbed & drubbing(s) was primarily in travel writers in the Middle East. In the earliest case where the writer was not in the Middle East, the writer says the American Indians in New England are so able to tolerate pain that "a Turkish drubbing would not much molest them" (year 1634). An English dictionary in 1706 has the defintion: “DRUB, to beat the Soles of the Feet with a Stick, a Punishment used in Turkey : Also simply, to cudgel or bang one soundly.” – ref. From the Arabic ḍarb, 16th & 17th century Turkish has noun and verb ضرب ḍarb | zarb – e.g.. In today's Turkish it is darbe = "hit, whack".
- (11) fanfare, fanfaronade
- English fanfare is from French fanfare. Earliest known in French is year 1542. Around then in the Western European languages the word for "trumpeting" carried the meaning "boastful" as well as meaning "playing the musical trumpet wind instrument". One of the first records in French is year 1548 "the roaring of a bull would serve in lieu of a trumpet for incanting the fanfare of his victory" (ref). Another early French instance is 1557 un fanfare hautain = "a haughty fanfare". The French fanfare was almost certainly from Spanish fanfarrón (earliest known in Spanish 1517), meaning bluster, a person grandstanding, a talker who is full of bravado. Spanish fanfarrón and its plural fanfarrones (earliest known 1532) has many records in 16th century Spanish, and it is also in 16th century Spanish in the lesser-used wordform panfarrón (earliest known 1514) – ref: CORDE. Spanish fanfarria (earliest known 1577 – ref) was "ostentation" & "boastfulness" & "fanfare" in its early records, and its records are plentiful in the period from 1577 to 1650 – ref, ref. 16th & 17th century Spanish farfante (earliest year 1545 at CORDE) was semantically near fanfarrón and probably came out of the same rootword. Meanwhile, the French fanfaron (earliest known 1609 – ref) was certainly from Spanish fanfarrón. Cotgrave's French dictionary in year 1611 defined French fanfare and French fanfaronnade as synonymous (ref). The rootword of the Spanish word is undetermined and inconclusive. A source in the Arabic of medieval Iberia is one possibility. One Arabic candidate is فرفار farfār | فرفرة farfara which is in the medieval Arabic dictionaries with meanings including "talkative", "shouting", "frivolity".Note
- (12) garbage
- This English word is not found in bygone centuries in French or other languages. The early meaning in English was poultry entrails and earliest known in English is 1422.Note Some nouns formed by suffixing '-age' to verbs in late medieval English and not found in French: cartage (1305), leakage (1444 lecage), steerage (1399 sterage), stoppage (1465), towage (1327).Note Garbage is arguably from English garble = "to sift". Earliest known for garble in England is 1393.Note Garble came to English through the Romance languages from Arabic gharbal = "to sift".Note The wordforms "garbellage" and "garblage" meaning the garbage or inferior material removed by sifting, are recorded spottily in English from the 14th through 18th centuries and those are clearly from garble. The proposed idea is that garbage, meaning poultry entrails, was formed from garble meaning "to sift". The idea has phonetic and semantic shortcomings. It gets an airing because there is not a better idea available for garbage.Note
- (13) gauze
- English "gauze" is from French gaze, pronounced ga:z | gazz in French. The earliest known French is 1461 as a man's robe made of gaze. French dictionaries in 1573, 1607 and 1611 defined gaze as transparent fabric used as a foundation for making embroidery pieces. The dictionary in 1611 also said gaze also means transparent silk fabric. 13th century Latin has two instances of gasu | gazzatum meaning some sort of luxury garment fabric, a rare word in medieval Latin, probably some sort of silk. It is possible that the 15th century French word is fully independent of the 13th century Latin word. The source of the French word is obscure. Arabic words for silks are popularly speculated as the source for the French word. More than one Arabic candidate has been proposed without adequate evidence. All propositions suffer from thin documentation in French for the first 100+ years of the word's use in French, and secondly they suffer from not having a close fit to the particular semantics of the French word.Note
- (14) genet | genetta (nocturnal mammal)
- Genet pelts were used medievally to make an edge-band of fur on woolen coats, and less often to make complete fur coats. The word is in 13th-century Catalan (ref, ref), 13th-century French (ref) and 13th-century English (ref). There is no known generator word in Latin. Hence Arabic is a possibility, but there is no known generator word in medieval Arabic writings either.Note An oral dialectical Maghrebi Arabic source for the European word has been suggested: جرنيط jarnait = "genet" is attested in the 19th century in Maghrebi dialect (ref). But the absence of attestation in Arabic in any earlier century must make Arabic ancestry doubtful. (And Maghrebi jarnait has not been connected to a meaningful root-word in Arabic or Berber, so it is liable to be from the European word).
- (15) guitar
- Guitar is ultimately from ancient Greek kithara, which was a plectrum-plucked string musical instrument, described in ancient Greek as akin to a large lyre. Directly from the ancient Greek, there was cithara in classical Latin. Guitar-type instruments are viewable on ancient Roman artworks (photo examples). The classical Latin cithara meant a plucked instrument, including guitar-type instrument (ref, ref, ref According to one ancient Greek text, a cithara was akin to a lyre (lyra) but bigger, and more difficult to play than a lyre, and the people who played it had more practice. Learning to use the fingerboard on a guitar takes longer than learning to use a lyre. The text saying the cithara demanded more practice than the lyre may have been talking about a guitar-type instrument. There is a lack of detailed description of the cithara in ancient texts. Some interpretation is necessary, and multiple instrument designs are probable. Ancient Latin cithara has been interpreted by numerous people as “an instrument somewhat like a guitar”. One of the grounds for agreeing with them is that we can see guitar-type instruments depicted in ancient Latin artworks and we cannot see another candidate name for these instruments in ancient Latin texts. In the Latin texts, the cithara occurs frequently enough that probably it did not mean guitar-type exclusively; it probably encompassed all instruments that were plucked with a plectrum and were more elaborate than the lyre.). Directly from the classical Latin, cithara was in medieval Latin and Latinate languages meaning a guitar, and also meaning any plucked string instrument. As a specific example, a 9th-century Latin manuscript has colorful paintings of guitars on ten different pages and it has the word cythara in the adjacent text on eight of the pages (Stuttgart Psalter pages 108r, 125r, 83r, 112r, 163v-164r, 55r, 69r, 161r). A 10th-century Latin manuscript has one painting in which 14 people are playing guitars and the word citharas is written at the center of the painting (Morgan Beatus 174v). Medieval Latin cithara | cythara was pronounced SITARA. The word guitar starts as French quitarre (first record circa 1275), French guiterne (circa 1280), French kitaire (circa 1285), Italian chitarre (circa 1300; pronounced KI-TAR-RE), Italian chitarra (circa 1305), and Spanish guitarra (1330-1343),Note each meaning a guitar-type instrument, where "guitar-type" is not defined with high resolution. The wordforms whose spellings begin qui- | ki- | chi- | gui- are treatable as one word, because a change from sound /k/ to sound /g/ happened easily and often in medieval Latinate languages. But change from beginning ci- to any of qui- | ki- | chi- | gui- has very few or no parallels within the Latinate languages around that time; i.e., a change from sound /s/ to sound /k/ or /g/ would be irregular and abnormal at the begining of a word. Therefore in likelihood, the wordform with the /k/ or /g/ that arrives in the Latinate records in the late 13th century was introduced from an external source, and unlikely to have evolved out of the pre-existing Latinate cithara. A minority of dictionaries say, and they are probably correct, there was an external source and it was the medieval Greek kithára = "plucked string musical instrument", which is a very common word in medieval Greek records. A majority of dictionaries say the source was an Arabic قيتارة qītāra | كيثرة kaīthara = "plucked string musical instrument". An Arabic word of around the form qītāra | kaīthār is extremely rare in medieval Arabic records, which is one of the things that undermines the idea that Arabic was the source.Note
- (16) hazard
- Medieval French hasart | hasard had the primary meaning of a game of dice and especially a game of dice where money was gambled. It was also used meaning one throw of the dice. The early records in European languages are in Norman French and northern French. The early wordform is hasart. The first is about year 1150,Note another is in 1155 (ref), and the next is in the 1170s (ref). Hasart is in well more than a dozen texts in French in the period 1180-1230, which you can see from citations collected in Tobler-Lommatzsch (year 1958), informed by Semrau (year 1910). Norman French hasart is in England before 1216 (ref). Occitan azar is in southern France with the same meaning about 1200-1215 (ref). Medieval High German has hasehart | hashart = "hazard dice game" with starting date about 1230 (ref). With the same meaning, Italian açar | azar has its first record about roughly 1240 in poetry showing influence from Occitan (ref). Latin in Italy has azardum | açardum | azar(r)um in the 1260s and 1280s (ref, ref). Spanish azar starts about 1250 (ref). As quoted in the Anglo-Norman Dictionary, Norman French in England before 1216 has hasardur = "person who plays the hasard dice game" and circa 1240 has hasardrie = "hazardry, gambling, hazarding money in the dice game called hazard", which underscores that the root-word was well-established in Norman French before the records start to show up in Italian or Spanish. There is no candidate in Latin to be the French word's parent. Everyone agrees it did not descend from Latin. According to its etymology summary in some of today's dictionaries, the French word was descended through Spanish from an unattested Arabic oral dialectical az-zār | az-zahr = "the dice". But that proposition is extremely improbable because that word has no record in Arabic with that meaning until the early 19th century.Note An alternative proposition, having the advantage of attestation in medieval Arabic, is to derive the French word from medieval Arabic يسر yasar = "playing at dice". Conceivably this might have entered French through the Crusader States of the Levant, but zero evidence is on offer for this, and phonetically it is mismatching the French hasart.Note It is conceivable with far better likelihood that French sourced hasart from something in Germanic.Note The French word is of undetermined origin. Notwithstanding that the source of the French is undetermined, the chronology of records cited above makes it practically assured that the word in Italy and Iberia came from northern France.
- (17) lilac
- It is well documented that the common lilac plant was originally brought to Western Europe directly from Istanbul in the early 1560s. The earliest records in the Western European languages include botany books in Latin in 1565 and 1576 which explicitly state that the lilac plant and the name "Lilac " was recently brought to Western Europe from the Turks and from Istanbul.Note Lilac is in a botanist writing in the English language in 1596 and 1597, a date which ranks among the first for lilac in any vernacular Western European language.Note The early Western European word meant exclusively today's Common Lilac plant. The plant's native place of origin was the Balkans, where it blooms in the wild with abundant flowers in late springtime. The Balkans is definitely where the Turks in Istanbul got the plant from. The Turks probably got the plant's name from the Balkans too, from a language of the southern Balkans, particularly Bulgarian. Alternatively and less likely, the Turkish name leylak might have existed in Turkish as something before the Turks attached it to the lilac. In any case, there is no basis for a derivation of the word from Arabic.Note
- (18) macabre
- Records begin in late medieval French, first known year 1376. All the early records involve “the very specific phrase danse macabre, which denoted a dance in which a figure representing death enticed people to dance with him until they dropped down dead.”Note Non-Arabic candidates for the origin of the French word exist, but they have weaknesses (ref, ref). The meaning can be fitted to the Arabic مقابر maqābir = "graves" (plural of maqbara = "grave", from qabar = "to bury"). Maqābir is frequent in medieval Arabic meaning a cemetery, as can be seen in the collection of texts at AlWaraq.net. Medieval Portuguese almocavar = "cemetery for Muslims or Jews" is certainly from Arabic al-maqābir.Note But there is no known historical context for a transfer of the Arabic (via any pathway) into the French danse macabre. That is a major weakness.
- (19) mask, masquerade, mascara, masque
- In European languages the early records are in 14th century Italian as maschera = "mask put upon a person's face". Italian ch is pronounced /k/. The Italian is the source for the French, English and Spanish set of words.Note The source for the Italian is undetermined. A weak speculative proposition for it is the medieval Latin precedent masca = "witch". Another weak speculative proposition is the medieval Arabic precedent مسخرة maskhara = "buffoon, jester".
- (20) massage
- The English comes from French. The French is first recorded in 1779 as a verb masser = "to massage" which then produced the noun massage starting in 1808. The origin of the French has not been well explained. Most of the early records in French are in narratives of travels in the Middle East.Note The practice of massage was common in the Middle East for centuries before it became common in West Europe in the mid-to-late 19th century; see Turkish bath. Consequently there has been a proposal that the French word be from Arabic مسّ mass = "to touch". But the Arabic word for massaging was a different word, namely tamsīd | dallak | tadlīk. The fact that the early records in French did not use an Arabic word for massaging seems to preclude the hypothesis that the word they did use was borrowed from Arabic. Another proposal is the Portuguese amassar = "to knead" and the Spanish amasar | masar = "to knead", which are descended from classical Latin massa meaning "mass", "lump of material" and "kneaded dough", and are longstanding commonplace verbs in Spanish and Portuguese for kneading of bread dough.
- (21) mizzen | mizzen-mast
- Mizzen, or mizen, is a type of sail or a position of a sail-mast on a ship. The English word is traceable to 14th-century Italian mez(z)ana = "mizzen". The mizzen-mast is and was a smaller sail-pole situated to the rear of the main sail-pole. The medieval mizzen sail's primary purpose was to improve steering. Most dictionaries say the Italian was derived from a native Italian and classical Latin word meaning "median". The English words "mezzo-soprano" and "mezzanine" are from Italian mezzo and mezzano meaning "middle", "halfway", and in Italian they are of classical Latin descent without a doubt. But the mizzen sail does not have semantic concordance with "middle". The alternative is: “It is possible that the Italian word is really adopted from Arabic ميزان mīzān = "balance". The mizen is, even now, a sail that 'balances', and the reef in a mizen is still called the 'balance'-reef.”Note
- (22) racquet or racket (tennis)
- Racquet with today's meaning has a late-medieval start date in Europe. French raquette (synonymous with Italian racchetta and English racquet) is widely reported as derived from a medieval Latin medical anatomy word rascete. This Latin rascete meant the carpus bones of the wrist and the tarsus bones of the foot. Rascete was a highly technical anatomy word in medieval Latin. The Latin rascete had its beginnings in Constantinus Africanus (died c. 1087) who took the bulk of his content from Arabic medical sources and he did indeed take the anatomy word from Arabic.Note But there is no evidence to connect this anatomy word with the game word racquet. It would be a big leap in semantics to re-use the bones word as a word for a racquet. To warrant belief that this leap occurred, evidence would be necessary. Because no evidence is present, the idea has no merit. A smaller point is that raquette from rascete would be phonetically irregular and abnormal, because it calls for mutation to sound /k/ from sound /s/. Other etymology ideas try to connect racquet with other pre-existing words in late medieval Europe.Note
- (23) risk
- This word is nowadays in use with high frequency in almost every European language. It has been a business word in the Latin Mediterranean since the medieval era. It is seen earliest in the mid 12th century at the seaport of Genoa as Latin "ad resicum" = "at risk". It is at the seaports of Pisa and Marseille at the end of the 12th century. The great bulk of its surviving early records are in notarized commercial contracts and loan agreements, with most of them involving financing for sea-merchant ventures. The contracts say who is at risk for the loss from possible adverse events. The contracts are in Latin. The word's wordforms in 13th-century Latin include resegum | resigum | risigum | risicum | rischium | rischum. The word's origin is undetermined and all proposals that have been aired about it are unsatisfactory. A proposal that it came from Arabic is at REF, in French, year 2004. The Arabic proposal is رزق rizq, which is a frequent word in medieval Arabic, but its meaning is too remote from "risk".Note
- (24) scarlet
- In European languages the records begin around year 1100 in Northwestern Europe in Latin spelled scarlata. The meaning was an expensive type of cloth made of wool. The cloth could be any color, including gray (e.g.), black (e.g. , e.g.), white (e.g. , e.g.), dark purple (e.g.), violet (e.g. , e.g.), brown (e.g. , e.g.), green (e.g.). But red was the most popular color by far. Scarlata with the meaning "red color" is found in the later 13th century and increasingly in the 14th and 15th centuries, concurrently with the continued meaning as "dense and smooth woolen cloth". The meaning as a type of cloth continued into the 16th century. For the medieval word origin, no candidate parent-word in Latin is known of. An Arabic candidate is mentioned briefly in some dictionaries, but the evidence to support it is very poor. From the contexts where the word's early records are found, a Germanic source is much more likely, and a good specific Germanic candidate exists.Note
- (25) soda, sodium
- Earliest-known reliably-dated records for the name soda in European languages are in late 14th century Italian as soda meaning "soda ash". (Two potentially early 14th century records are unreliably dated). Catalan and Spanish have the name as sosa = "soda ash" reliably dated mid 13th century. The "soda ash" product was made by burning plants that carry relatively high levels of sodium. When these plants are burned their ashes have relatively high levels of sodium carbonate, a useful chemical.Note These ashes were called "soda" and "soda ash" in Italy. In 15th-century Italy the name soda also occurs meaning the saltwort plants that were collected and burned to make the soda ash. The Italian and Italian-Latin name soda is without a convincing derivation from earlier Italian-Latin or Greek. Soda is often claimed to be from an oral Arabic suwad or suwayda, a word which is found in oral Arabic begining in the 18th century meaning saltwort species whose ashes yielded soda ash. But that claim suffers from an absence of documentary evidence in Arabic before the 18th century. Also the Catalan and Spanish wordform sosa was well established in Catalan and Spanish for a century before the Italian wordform soda. A judgement that sosa and soda are "of unknown origin" remains defensible today. But soda is probably from sosa, and sosa is probably from a native Catalan rootword.Note "Sodium" starts in early 19th century as a derivative from "soda".
- (26) tartar (a chemical), tartaric acid, tartrates (in chemistry)
- Medieval Latin chemical name tartarum meant wine-dregs. Wine-dregs in today's terms are mainly composed of tartrates. The medieval name also meant the substance made by cremating the wine-dregs. The ancient Greeks & Romans made the same thing in the same way but did not use the name tartar. The Latin chemical name tartarum has a record securely dated 9th century. Other early records are 12th century Latin. An Arabic source for the Latin name was speculatively suggested in the 19th century but it has no support in Arabic nor in Latin. An Arabic source is certain to be wrong because of the 9th-century start date of the Latin and because of the absence of a corresponding word in medieval Arabic texts.Note
- (27) tobacco
- The English word came from 16th-century Spanish tabaco. Many dictionaries say the Spanish word was derived from a word in the Amerindian language of Haiti in the Caribbean. But some Spanish dictionaries say the Spanish word was probably derived from a late medieval Spanish plantname that came from a medieval Arabic plantname.Note
- (28) traffic
- This word, which is in the great majority of European languages today, is seen earliest in Italian language about year 1300. It has loads of records in the Tuscany area of Italy in the 14th century as the verb trafficare and the noun traffico. The verb occurs at least as early as the noun. The early meanings are "any business dealings", "to interact with, usually commercially", "commerce, including long-distance commerce", "bringing and transferring merchandise", "negotiate with" and also "negotiate with intent to deceive".Note For the Italian word's origin, propositions have been aired for various Latinate and Arabic sources, but none convincingly. The following are English words of Arabic ancestry that got established in later-medieval Latinate commerce on the Mediterranean Sea with start dates in Italy earlier than in Spanish or Portuguese: arsenal, average, carat, caravan, garble, jar, 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 one possibility. But the early contexts where this word occurs in Italy give no sign that its source was in Mediterranean sea-commerce, with or without Arabs. The early Italian contexts do not have signs that the word could have been introduced into Italian through any kind of communications with Arabs; and meanwhile the medieval Arabic texts do not have a word that matches to "traffic" in phonetics and sematics.Note
- (29) tuna
- The English fish-name "tuna" reportedly has an Arabic phase in its line of descent. In today's English dictionaries the popular report of descent for "tuna" is the pathway: Ancient Greek thunnos = "tunafish" –> ancient Latin thunnus|thynnus –> medieval Arabic التنّ al-tunn = "tunafish" –> later-medieval Spanish atún = "tunafish" –> colloquial California Spanish tuna = "tunafish" –> late 19th century California English tuna –> international English tuna. This pathway is unsupported by the known history: It stands in reliance on unknown history and it is probably wrong. Note: The word was common in ancient Greek and Latin; and common in late medieval Spanish; but very rare in medieval Arabic, and is not listed in medieval Arabic dictionaries. In English from the 16th to the 20th century the word was in the wordform tunny, which was in descent from the ancient Latin thunnus without an Arabic intermediary. Modern Italian tonno, Occitan ton, French thon, each meaning tuna, are descended from the ancient Latin thunnus without an Arabic intermediary. Note: The California wordform "tuna" is not clearly or necessarily descended from the Spanish atún. There is no substantiation that California tuna came from Spanish atún. Moreover the medieval Spanish atún did not clearly or necessarily come from Arabic.Note
(30) Moving to a related subject, the albacore is a species of tuna fish. The history of this name is validly traced back as far as 16th century Portuguese & Spanish albacora meaning tuna species in the Tropical High Seas. Albacora, because of its al-, conceivably might have come from an Arabic word. But there is no precedent word in medieval Arabic with meaning of fish, and there is no history in any language to support a speculation that albacora came from any Arabic word.Note In the tuna family the bonito is another commercial fish species whose name in English came from Portuguese & Spanish reports about the Tropical High Seas. The name "bonito" arrived in English in the late 16th century at the same time that "albacore" arrived in English. Bonito is in late medieval Catalan as bonitol, it is of obscure origin, and an Arabic source has been sometimes speculated for it.Note
- (31) zircon, zirconium
- English and French zircon are from German zirkon. It starts in German in mineralogists and chemists about 1780 meaning zircon gemstone. In the period 1780s-1820s many mineralogy writers across western Europe said the corresponding name in French is jargon or "jargon from Ceylon". The French jargon and the synonymous Italian zargone | giargone in the 17th and 18th centuries meant zircon gemstones, and gemstones that are visually very similar to zircons, in various colors. The late 18th century German zirkon was a scientifically defined species of jargon | zargone | giargone. The newly arrived late 18th century German name zirkon came from the pre-existing French & Italian name jargon | zargone | giargone and the long Note #193 below is mostly about showing the truth of that. The French & Italian jargon | zargone | giargone gemstone came from medieval French jargonce, medieval Italian giarconsia, medieval Spanish iargonça | jargonça | girgonça, medievally meaning zircon gemstones, and gemstones that are visually very similar to zircons, in various colors. This medieval Latinate name was descended ultimately from an ancient Mediterranean-wide name for a class of gemstones. There is no basis for deriving it from Arabic.Note
The above 31 words were collected by searching English etymology dictionaries for the word 'Arabic'. The 31 words are summarily reported as of probable Arabic ancestry in at least some English dictionaries and usually in most. All of the dictionaries are mainly following tradition in their etymologies, even though any one of them occasionally steps away from tradition. It is not unusual for the dictionaries as a group to contain the same unsubstantiated traditional assertion. An uncounted number of words in English dictionaries possibly might descend from Arabic while the tradition in the English dictionaries is to report something else for them. Those words are not in the above list, because the list is merely words that the English dictionaries suggest Arabic ancestry for.
Notes about this collection of the English words of Arabic etymological ancestry
Obsolete words and rarely used non-technical words are not included in the collection, 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. Most English-speaking people have never heard of an "alidade", but the device's name is part of the vocabulary of English-speaking surveyors and civil engineers, and today's instrument uses modern technology, and is included in the collection.
About half of the words have their earliest record in a Western European language in the 12th or 13th century. About two-thirds have a medieval starting date in the West.
The translations of the medical translator Constantinus Africanus in the late 11th century have the earliest records of a good few of the Latin botany names that came from Arabic. If Constantinus's new words are excluded, then eleven or twelve words in the collection have a record in Latin before the 12th century. There is no word in the collection where the transfer into Latin occurred before the 9th century. The words that were transferred into Latin in the 9th century are restricted to the names of four exotic goods that the Arabs imported from across the Indian Ocean.Note In the centuries before the 9th, some Semitic words were transferred into Latin —via Greek intermediation— including some that later propagated into English. For these Semitic-origin words, 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. (As an exception, the word "Arabic" was used by the ancient Greeks & Romans and surely came from Arabic عربي ʿarabī = "Arab".)
A small number of the words arrived in English by the pathway: ancient Greek ➜ medieval Arabic ➜ later-medieval or 16th century Latinate ➜ English. When word is on record in ancient Greek, and it is found later in Latinate, the assumption is made that it transferred from Greek into Latinate without Arabic intermediation, but this assumption is overturned if the word's history has features that clearly mark it as transferred through Arabic intermediation.
An additional unquantified number of words or terms were brought into the European languages in and around the 12th and 13th centuries by Arabic-to-Latin translators who used loan-translations in preference to loan-words. The collection has been restricted to loan-words: It excludes loan-translations. The following is an example of a loan-translation. In Arabic, the words for father, mother and son were often used to denote relative properties of physical 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. The medieval Latin anatomy term dura mater [cerebri ], literally "hard mother [of the brain]" is a loan-translation of Arabic الأمّ الجافية [الدماغ] al-umm al-jāfīa [al-dimāgh], literally "dry-husk mother [of the brain]" (a dry husk is a hard bark), and the translator in this case was Constantinus Africanus.Note As another well-known example of a loan-translation, the mathematics word "sine" —as in sine, cosine and tangent— has its first record with that meaning in an Arabic-to-Latin translation in the 12th century, translating Arabic جيب 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 pre-existing Latin sinus, in preference to borrowing the foreign word jayb, and the translator was probably Gerard of Cremona.Note
- ^ The etymology dictionaries used to collect the words were primarily these: Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales – Etymologies ; Arabismen im Deutschen: lexikalische Transferenzen vom Arabischen ins Deutsche, by Raja Tazi, year 1998; An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English, by Ernest Weekley, year 1921; The Arabic Contributions to the English Language: An Historical Dictionary, by Garland Cannon, year 1994; Dictionary.com; and Dictionnaire Étymologique Des Mots Français D'Origine Orientale, by L. Marcel Devic, year 1876. Arabic cusine and music words were collected from elsewhere. A tiny number of other words came from elsewhere. While the above sources were used to collect the words, other sources were used to collect the evidence about the words, for the most part. The evidence sources are in the footnotes for the individual words. The final collection is in two classes: Words for which the evidence of Arabic ancestry is (1) satisfactory and (2) unsatisfactory.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x A number of large dictionaries were written in Arabic during the medieval era. Searchable copies of most of the main medieval Arabic dictionaries are online at Baheth.info and ArabicLexicon.Hawramani.com and AlWaraq.net. The website AlWaraq.net also has word-searchable copies of a large number of medieval Arabic texts on various subjects. AlWaraq's text collection is big enough that it can deliver a good indication of the commonness or scarcity of a word in medieval texts in general (but not for a technical word or technical meaning in some subject areas such as astronomy and mathematics), after you have experience with searching it and you have learned what the collection contains. Not everything in AlWaraq's collection is medieval. Of the medieval dictionaries, one of the most esteemed is Ismail ibn Hammad al-Jauhari's Al-Sihāh which is dated very shortly after year 1000. The biggest dictionary is Ibn Manzur's Lisan Al-Arab which was completed in year 1290 but the bulk of its contents came from a variety of earlier sources, including 9th- and 10th-century sources. Often Ibn Manzur names his source then quotes from it. A list giving the year of death of a number of the people who Ibn Manzur quotes from is in Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon volume 1 page xxx. Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, in eight volumes, has much of the main contents of the medieval Arabic dictionaries in English translation, with omissions of several classes of words, as explained here. The eight volumes of Lane's Lexicon are downloadable here or alternatively here. The abbreviations used by Lane's Lexicon are defined here. The site Al-Mostafa.com has medieval Arabic texts on various subjects in PDF format, some word-searchable and some not; you search its catalog by author or title.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Information sourced from the French etymology resource at CNRTL.fr Etymologie, which has citations on its own behalf for the information. Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales (CNRTL) is funded by the French government.
- ^ a b c d e f g Glossaire des mots espagnols et portugais dérivés de l'arabe by R. Dozy and W.H. Engelmann. 430 pages. Published in 1869.
- ^ a b c Arabic al- = "the". In Arabic, sumūt = "directions" and al-sumūt = "the directions". Universally in Arabic the written al-sumūt is always pronounced AS-SUMŪT; and the written al-nīl ("the indigo") is always pronounced AN-NĪL; and the written al-tarh ("the discard") is always pronounced AT-TARH. This pronunciation applies to al- in front of about half of the Arabic consonants. In front of the other half, the al- is pronounced AL-. The difference is known as Sun and Moon letters of Arabic.
- ^ admiral An in-depth treatment of the origin and early history of the European word "admiral" is in the book Amiratus-Aμηρας: L'Emirat et les Origines de l'Amirauté, XIe-XIIIe Siècles, by Léon Robert Ménager, year 1960, including the chapter headed "La naissance du terme “amiral”". A 1963 book review of Ménager's book has some info about the subject of the book in English – ref. The article "Le point sur l'origine du mot amiral", by Omar Bencheikh, 5 pages, year 2003, online, has the finding that the Arabic amīr = "commander" is unattested as a sea-commander in Arabic around the period when the Latins started using the word as a sea-commander in the later 12th century. This is consistent with Ménager's finding that the Latin meaning sea-commander evolved out of a title of governance in Norman Sicily from an original meaning of a commander on land in Norman Sicily. More about the 12th century amiratus in Norman Sicily is in the book The Administration of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. Quotations for the word in use in Latin Sicily in the 12th-13th centuries are in the book Arabismi Medievali di Sicilia and in the book Urkunden... zur... Königreichs Sicilien in den Jahren 1198 bis 1273 in Latin wordforms ammirat_ | amirat_. More notes on the word's early history are in Arabismen im Deutschen on pages 184-186.
- ^ admiral Usage examples of medieval Latin amiræus, ammiratus, ammirandus, amirallus, amiraldus, admiralius, admiratus, amiragius, amiraudus, etc, are in Mittellateinisches WörterbuchMittellateinisches Wörterbuch, year 1967, is an unfinished dictionary of medieval Latin. It covers texts to the end of the 13th century. Its coverage of words that begin with the letters A or B or C has been put online cost-free via the sponsorship of University of Trier. If the following website asks for a password, click the CANCEL button on the dialog, and proceed: Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch @ Woerterbuchnetz.de. Alternatively: amiraldus @ Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch @ Books.Google.com. and Du Cange. In medieval Latin the meaning as a specifically Muslim commander starts earlier than the meaning as a naval commander. The same is true in medieval French. The earliest in French is in a well-known long ballad about war-battles between Christians and Muslims, the Chanson de Roland, dated about 1100, which has about three dozen instances of amirail or amiralz (plural) meaning exclusively a Muslim military leader on land – ref. A Crusader narrative in French in the 1190s has the word around twenty times meaning Muslim military leader on land and this medieval text has it spelled both amira__ and admira__ – ref. The meaning "Admiral of the Sea" in French has its first record about year 1209 in the chronicler Geoffrey de Villehardouin, whose spelling is amiraus and the admiral he is talking about is in the Byzantine navy – ref. Later in medieval French it is commonly spelled both amiral and admiral, with both spellings having both meanings – ref: DMF. The French with meaning "Admiral of the Sea" had come from Italian. The word is in Italian-Latin at the seaports Palermo and Genoa in late 12th century meaning "Admiral of the Sea". Between 1191 and 1246 at seaport of Genoa it has wordforms ammiratus | admiratus | amiragius | amiraudus – ref, ref Book in Latin, Annali genovesi di Caffaro e de' suoi continuatori, Volume Two, year 1901, publishes annals of Genoa concerning events of late 12th and early 13th century, annals written nearly at the year of each event. On page 39-40 for an event in 1191 there is in Latin ''Margaritus of Brindisi the admiral [ammiratus] of King Tancred of Sicily''. On page 113-114 for an event in 1210: ''they detained from these galleys of Pisa the better men, including one very high nobility Pisan who was the admiral [admiratus] of these galleys, Tegrimum by name''. On page 119 for an event in 1211: ''the ship called Gorgie which had been armamented by the admiral [amiragius] Willielmus Porcus''.. Late medievally in Italian the commonest wordform was am(m)iraglio – ref: TLIO. Meanwhile in medieval Italian the usual word for "to admire" was ammirare (TLIO) which was from classical Latin admirare with deletion of 'd'. Because the Italians did not use the letter 'd' in their pronouncing and spelling of admire and admirable, the absence of the 'd' in the Italian-Latin ammiratus = "admiral" cannot be taken as strong evidence of the Arabic origin of ammiratus, although it does in fact reflect the Arabic origin. From the Italian-Latin wordform amiragius, the kingdom of Castille in Spanish around year 1252 created an official title "almirage de la mar " = "Admiral of the Sea" – ref: CORDE.
- ^ admiral A set of late medieval English examples of amiral | admiral, with both meanings, is in the Middle English Dictionary. The English with both meanings had come from French; French examples at Ref.
- ^ albatross Several bird-names in Spanish are established as having entered Spanish from Arabic during the medieval era. They include today's Spanish alcaraván = "curlew-type bird" from medieval Arabic كروان al-karawān = "curlew-type bird" and today's Spanish zorzal = "thrush and similar bird" from medieval Arabic زرزور zurzūr = "starling bird". Late medieval Spanish alcatraz meant "seafish-catching large bird", such as cormorant, pelican and gannet bird. Alcatraz is presumed by everybody to be from an Arabic word. But it is not very clear what the Arabic word was. On looking at candidate words, the leading candidate is the medieval Arabic الغطّاس al-ghattās = "the diver", from the verb غطس ghatas = "to dive in water". The verb is in many medieval Arabic dictionaries, and the noun is easy enough to find in medieval Arabic sources in a generic sense of diver, but is scarce in the specific sense of the Spanish word. As one of the scarce instances, Ahmad al-Qalqashandi (died 1418), in a chapter on kinds of birds, wrote: "الغطاس al-ghatās, also called الغواص al-ghawās, is a black bird approaching near [the size of [?]] the goose, it dives in the water to catch fish to eat." – ref, alt-link. Which is interpretable as cormorant. Yaqut al-Hamawi (died 1229) and Zakariya al-Qazwini (died 1283) include الغطاسة al-ghatāsa in their lists of birds, but do not provide descriptions, except that al-Qazwini says it is a seabird – ref, ref, ref, alt-ref. In today's Arabic, al-ghattās is a grebe (a diving waterbird of a different class). It also means a human skin-diver. Al-ghattās is the candidate word favored today in a majority of dictionaries. It has the weakness that the phonetic alterations involved in moving from al-ghattās to alcatraz are irregular and unusual: In Iberian Romance loanwords from Arabic, a conversion of gh- to c- is very rare, and insertion of -r- is uncommon. The candidate favored by older dictionaries, including Devic year 1876, is Arabic قادوس al-qādūs = "bucket of a water wheel (hopper)", which certainly became Portuguese alcatruz well-documented with the same meaning, which in turn, it is speculatively proposed, became Portuguese and Spanish alcatraz = "a pelican with a bucket-like beak". The problem with this idea is that alcatraz's early records in Spanish and Portuguese do not have any highlighting of a bucket-like beak, whereas one thing they do have is some large diving seabirds that have no bucket-like beak (these records are acknowledged by Devic (1876) and his followers). The earliest known record, which is in Spanish in year 1386, says "birds that maintain themselves on fish such as sea-eagles and alcatraces and other birds of the sea". In Spanish around year 1440 a certain few small islands in the Mediterranean Sea are described as breeding grounds for a multitude of birds including alcatrazes – ref. The diary of the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492 mentions several times that alcatraz | alcatraçes birds were sighted when the ship was far out on the ocean, far from any land – ref. In a 19th-century translation of Christopher Columbus's diary into English, the Spanish alcatraz was translated as English "booby | boobies" (ref) where "boobies" are a class of diving seabirds related to gannets.
¶ Al-qādūs (the waterwheel bucket) is certainly the parent of alcatruz (the waterwheel bucket). This lends phonetic support to the view that al-ghattās (the diving seabird) is the parent of alcatraz (the diving seabird).
- ^ alchemy Medieval Arabic al-kīmīāʾ most often meant the effort to make gold out of non-gold metals. Using the word in this sense, some well-known medieval Arabic authors said al-kīmīāʾ is futile, occult, and spurious. In medieval Arabic the word can be found less often in the sense of other and more practical chemical and physical alterations of minerals, and any methods for doing so. A large number of medieval usage examples are available by searching for الكيمياء and كيمياء and الكيميا in the texts at AlWaraq.net. However, AlWaraq.net's medieval authors do not have hands-on experience in the subject; they only know its reputation.
- ^ alchemy ^ alembic During the early centuries AD, the Greeks in Egypt developed new alchemical and distillation methods. These were not acquired by the Latins of Late Antiquity and they were unknown to the early-medieval Latins. The later-medieval Latins acquired the methods in the 12th century from the Arabs. The Arabs had acquired them in the early centuries after the onset of Islam (up to the 10th century) from ultimately Greek sources. The parent word of the Arabic al-kīmīāʾ was a Late Ancient Greek word chumeia | chemeia (χημεία) = "art of alloying metals, alchemy", which was used in Greek in Alexandria in Egypt in the writings of the alchemist Zosimos (4th century AD) and the Zosimos commentator Olympiodoros (5th or 6th century AD) – ref: Liddell-Scott-Jones. Zosimos's alchemy was translated to Arabic during the early centuries of Arabic literature – ref: Sezgin, volume IV (pages 73-76). Distillation was the most important of the chemical techniques that were known to Late Ancient Greeks and medieval Arabs and unknown to early medieval Latins. A Short History of the Art of Distillation, by RJ Forbes, year 1948, "Chapter II: The Alexandrian chemists", "Chapter III: The Arabs", and "Chapter IV: The [Latin] Middle Ages".
¶ One medieval Arabic text that is a pretty good short introduction to alchemy is the chapter on alchemy in the book Mafātīḥ al-ʿulūm by Ibn Ahmad Ibn Yusuf Al-Khuwarizmi (lived about 980). It has definitions for most of the main alchemy words. It has five instances of الأنبيق al-anbīq = "alembic (distillation apparatus)". Text in Arabic, alt-link.
- ^ alchemy Notwithstanding that some medieval Latin documents have insecurities surrounding their dates, it is uncontested and longstandingly well-established that (1) the Arabic al-kīmīāʾ entered Latin in the 12th century and (2) a slew of Arabic texts in the domain of alchemy were translated to Latin in the late 12th and early 13th century. Note #11 above gives the main item of the background historical context. One informative angle for a more detailed history is Les sources alchimiques de Vincent de Beauvais. Vincent de Beauvais (died 1264) compiled a general-purpose encyclopedia about all subjects. His encyclopedia has many instances of Latin alchimia | alchimista | alchimie | alchimiste | alchymia – Ref. For his encyclopedia he copied alchemy material from several Arabic texts that were available to him in Latin translation. One of the translations Vincent copied from has the not-often-found feature that the text in Arabic is available and securely dated 1020s and its Latin translation is available and securely dated about 1190s. This Arabic text has اصحاب الكيمياء āsḥāb al-kīmīāʾ = "alchemy professionals" and the Latin translation has alkimie | alkimia = "alchemy" and alkimiste = "alchemist". The Arabic and Latin texts, and the info on how they are dated, are at Ref, alt-link.
- ^ alchemy Regarding the formation of the word chemical from the word alchemical, the influential mineralogist Georg Agricola (died 1555) seems to be the earliest to have dropped the Arabic definite article al-, doing so in 1530. Agricola in his Latin works from 1530 onward wrote chymia (and chymista = "chemist"). Agricola had been instilled in the spirit of Renaissance Humanism and he wished to purify word-forms and return them to their supposed classical roots. He had no intent to make a semantic distinction between alchymia and chymia. Conrad Gesner (died 1565) used the word in Latin without the al- in the title of his popular medical book De remediis secretis: Liber physicus, medicus, et partim etiam chymicus, and this book was later also published in vernacular European translations without the al-. The semantic distinction between a rational and practical science of chimia and an occult alchimia did not begin until more than a century later, in the last quarter of the 17th century. Until about 1700, the word, as alchimia and chimia, covered the full range of what was then known about chemistry and metallurgy, even though at the same time the word was prominently attached to the effort to transmute cheaper metals into precious metals – Ref-1, Ref-2. For instance, Italian dictionaries published in 1612 and 1681 defined alchimia as "the art of refining and mixing metals" – Ref-1, Ref-2. An English dictionary in 1658 defined alchimy as "the art of dissolving metals, to separate the pure from the impure" – Ref. An English dictionary in 1656 defined Chymistry as "see Alchymy" and defined Alchymy as the art of purifying substances – Ref page 129 & page 16. In English in the 16th to early 18th centuries, the spellings, both with and without al-, were usually with an i|y as in chimic | chymic | alchimic | alchymic. In English during the later 18th century the spelling with the letter e as in chemic took over. Today in French, Italian, Spanish and Russian the spelling continues to be with an i (e.g. today's Italian chimica = "chemistry"). In English after the spelling shifted from chimical to chemical, there was corresponding shift from alchimical to alchemical, which occurred in the early 19th century. Examples from English over the centuries are at NED--1 and NED--2. Chemistry is from chemist like masonry from mason, poetry from poet, and sophistry from sophist.
- ^ alcohol A dozen texts in Spanish in the 13th century have alcohol or alcofol meaning a fine powder. The most informative of them is the minerals book Lapidario de Alfonso X (3rd quarter of 13th). Generally the alcohol powders were made from sulfide minerals; generally lead sulfide and antimony sulfide. Lead sulfide and antimony sulfide are sooty-colored rocks whose powders were used by women as eye-makeup. The Lapidario de Alfonso X, besides using the word as a noun, sometimes uses the word as a verb meaning "to apply a fine powder", as seen in the following two cases: "Si alcoholare con el fregamiento desta piedra los oios.... Las mugeres se alcofolaren con ella " = "They alcohol the eyes with the powder of this stone [as eye makeup].... The women alcofol themselves with it [as eye makeup]." The 13th century Spanish texts are online and searchable at Corpus Diacrónico del Español. The mutation from letter H to letter F in wordform alcofol got its start in Spanish & Portuguese – ref. An alchemy book translated from Arabic to Latin, translation dated around 1200, has Latin "Plumbum de alchofol, et Plumbum de litargiro" = "lead sulfide (PbS) and lead monoxide (PbO)" – Liber de Septuaginta. Another Arabic-to-Latin alchemy translation done in Iberia in early 13th century has many instances of alcofol, including "plumbum alcofolis" = "lead sulfide" – De Anima in Arte Alchimiae. A Latin alchemy compilation in early 13th century incorporates an Arabic-to-Latin translation in which the word is spelled in Latin alkool and alchool – Liber Sacerdotum. Approximately the first occurrence of the word in a European language is in an Arabic-to-Latin translation of a medicine book translated late 12th century; this translation has three dozen instances of Latin alcohol and its meaning is a mineral powder – Liber ad Almansorem. A medicines book translated Arabic-to-Latin in late 13th century has Latin cohol on about 30 different pages, always meaning "an eyewash or a powder for an eyewash", involving powders of a variety of materials – De Simplicibus Medicinis by Serapion the Younger. A Latin medicines dictionary in Italy in the 1290s defined alcohol solely as "a powder for an eyewash" – Synonyma Medicinae by Simon of Genoa. The main medical use of such alcohol | alcofol powders was in eye cleaning treatments for eye complaints; see collyrium. The Latin word alcohol is defined solely as an exceedingly fine powder in the year 1543 In Antidotarium Mesuae, censura, a book which says on its front page that it intends to explain the meanings of ambiguous and difficult medicinal terms in Latin.
- ^ alcohol One of Paracelsus's followers was Martin Rulandus (died 1602). Martin Rulandus wrote a dictionary of Latin alchemy words in which he explained Paracelsus's viewpoint about the semantics of alcohol. Rulandus says: (1) alcohol is an exceedingly fine-grained powder; (2) alcohol vini is distilled wine; (3) it is an error to think of the fine powder as having been obtained by mechanical grinding; (4) Paracelsus's alcool powders, synonymous with alcohol powders, which are powders obtained from various mineral rocks by Paracelsus, are prepared by first mechanically breaking up the mineral and then heating the mineral until it sublimates to a vapor, with "the sublimation performed by a carefully tempered fire, so that the powder of the mineral may be liquefied as little as possible, but at the same time may ascend until the flos [or essence] of the powder is seen sticking to the walls of the enclosure" [like soot does]; and (5) the alcool | alcohol, whether a powder or a liquid, is a purified body [and in other words it is a distillate] – ref: Martin Ruland in Latin and in English. Reference also RJ Forbes's A Short History of the Art of Distillation on page 107 regarding Paracelsus and on numerous pages regarding fine powders made medievally by sublimations and distillations. The same is covered by EJ Holmyard's Makers of Chemistry on page 111 regarding Paracelsus and on pages 58-59 regarding fine powders made medievally by sublimations and calcinations. Today's English dictionaries have other words or word-meanings that originate in the writings of Paracelsus, though none are nearly so well-known as alcohol. They include alkahest, gnome, laudanum, nostoc, synovial. Paracelsus was also instrumental in increasing the circulation of some words that are rarely found before he used them – an example is zinc. The year 1584 Dictionarium Theophrasti Paracelsi has Paracelsian words briefly defined.
- ^ alcove Alcoba @ Iberoromanische Arabismen im Bereich Urbanismus und Wohnkultur, by Y. Kiegel-Keicher, year 2005, on pages 314-319. See also alcoba @ Corpus Diacrónico del Español.
- ^ alfalfa The agriculture writer Ibn Al-Awwam (died c. 1200) talks about how to cultivate alfalfa and one of his names for alfalfa is الفصفصة al-fisfisa – ref, alt-ref. The 13th-century Arabic dictionary Lisan al-Arab says الفصفصة al-fisfisa is cultivated as an animal feed and consumed in both fresh and dried form. The plural of al-fisfisa was الفصافص al-fasāfis. In medieval Arabic another name for alfalfa was al-qatt (قتت @ Baheth.info), but the more frequently used name was al-fisfisa. فصفصة @ Baheth.info , فص @ Lane's Arabic Lexicon. ¶ In Spanish, a few late medieval records have Spanish alfalfez meaning alfalfa. A good example in Spanish in the 1380s is in the next paragraph below (note #18). In another example, a veterinary book in 15th century Spanish has alfalfez as an animal fodder and presumably it means alfalfa – Diccionari del castellà del segle XV a la Corona d'Aragó. The phonetic change from the Arabic al-fisfisa to the Spanish alfalfez is irregular (i.e., the 2nd letter L in alfalfez is abnormally different when you derive alfalfez from al-fisfisa), although it might be attributable to phonetic dissimilation.
- ^ alfalfa The ancient Greek and Latin name for alfalfa was medica. The name medica was derived from the name of a country in ancient northwest Iran, Media, homeland of the Medes people. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed, probably correctly, Media was the place of origin of cultivation of the plant. Ancient Latin writers on agriculture who have something to say about the medica fodder crop include Varro (died 27 BC), Columella (died 70 AD), Pliny (died 79 AD), and Palladius (lived about 400 AD). Historically the major reason for growing alfalfa was that it was noticeably better than grass as food for working horses. Horses had more working energy, mainly because they were intaking more calories. The ancient Roman medica was alfalfa (and not some other fodder crop), because the encyclopedia of Pliny says the leaves are trifoliate like clover (true of alfalfa) and the agriculture book by Palladius says it causes serious bloating in cattle until the cattle become adjusted to it (true of alfalfa) and Paladius says one sow-down lasts for ten years (true of alfalfa). Palladius's agriculture book was translated to Spanish with date 1385-1390. In that translation, Paladius's medica was written down in Spanish as alfalfez – ref: Palladius in medieval Spanish , in classical Latin , in modern English.
- ^ algebra A late-medieval Arabic copy of Al-Khwarizmi's algebra book is reproduced in The Algebra of Mohammed ben Musa [al-Khwarizmi], year 1831. The earliest Latin translation of Al-Khwarizmi's algebra treatise was by Robert of Chester and the year was 1145. Centuries later, some Latin manuscripts of this particular translation carried the Latin title Liber Algebrae et Almucabola. But the translation of 1145 did not carry that title originally, nor did it use the word algebrae in the body of the text. Instead it used the Latin word "restoration" as a translation of al-jabr, and the title it used was Liber Restaurationis et Oppositionis. It is published in Latin (plus English translation of the Latin) in Robert of Chester's Latin Translation of the Algebra of Al-Khowarizmi, curated by LC Karpinski, year 1915; downloadable. Another 12th-century Latin translation of the same treatise, attributed to the translator Gerard of Cremona, has three instances of Latin word algebra | algebre, always in the phrase "computatione in algebra et almuchabala", but it fails to define algebra or almuchabala, and it chooses more often to use the Latin word restaura_ = "restore" – Ref, alt-link. A different mathematics treatise, translated Arabic-to-Latin by Gerard of Cremona (died c. 1187), contains three dozen instances of Latin aliabra | aliebre where the Latin 'i' is representing Arabic letter 'j' – Ref. In year 1202 in Latin the mathematician Leonardo Pisano wrote a chapter section involving the Latin title Algebre et Almuchabale – Ref. Leonardo Pisano had been influenced by an algebra book of essentially same title in Arabic by Abu Kamil Shujaʿ ibn Aslam (died c. 930), this influence demonstrated by Leonardo's use of specific concrete numerical examples that Abu Kamil uses – Ref. The first known user of the phrase الجبر والمقابلة al-jabr wa al-muqābala is Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi (died c. 850). Al-Khwarizmi is also the first known within Arabic mathematics to use the mathematical method that the phrase meant, although Al-Khwarizmi gives signs that he did not originate it himself – Ref (pages viii - x). An algebra treatise by Omar Al-Khayyam (died 1131) has the phrase "al-jabr wa al-muqābala" in the title of the treatise, and it is downloadable in Arabic (plus French translation) (also in print in more than one English translation). An algebra treatise by Al-Karkhi (aka Al-Karaji) (died c. 1029) uses the phrase, and defines the two mathematical terms الجبر al-jabr and المقابلة al-muqābala; his definitions are online in French translation. The algebra in Al-Karkhi, Abu Kamil and Omar al-Khayyam was built upon the foundation in Al-Khwarizmi. Al-Khwarizmi's algebraic method was the same as the method of Diophantus of Alexandria, who wrote in the 3rd century AD in Greek. Diophantus's algebra book was in circulation in Arabic from the later 10th century onward, and was quoted from by Al-Karkhi (died c. 1029), but was not known to Al-Khwarizmi (refs below). At the time when the Latins started learning mathematics from Arabic sources in the 12th century, the Latins had no knowledge of the mathematics of Diophantus nor of any similar Late Ancient Greek mathematics. Refs: Diophantus's Arithmetica in English with notes on its dissemination history by Thomas Heath, year 1910; and "Algebra in the [Medieval] Arab World", by Karen Parshall, year 1988; and "Simplifying equations in [Medieval] Arabic algebra", by Oaks & Alkhateeb, year 2007; and "The Influence of Arabic Mathematics in the Medieval West", by André Allard, year 1996; and Karpinski's book on pages 7, 19, 24, 33, 42, 65-66, 67, 159.
¶ In medieval Latin, and then derivatively in some other late medieval European languages, the word "algebra" also had a medical sense, "restoration of broken body parts especially broken bones" – example , examples. This medical sense was entirely independent of the mathematical sense. It came from the same Arabic word by a different route. Al-jabr in the medical sense is in medieval Arabic medical writers Ibn Sina (died 1037), Al-Razi (died c. 930) and others – ref, ref – whose medical books were translated to Latin in the late 12th and the 13th century, in translations done by Gerard of Cremona and others.
- ^ algorithm The medieval Latin introductions to calculating with the Hindu-Arabic numerals usually had the word algorismus in their title. The introduction with the most medieval distribution was the one by Johannes de Sacrobosco, dated about 1230, about 20 pages long, which was also titled De Arte Numerandi = "On the Craft of Arithmetic". Its opening paragraph says algorismus is the craft of arithmetic – ref, alt-ref. In 1534 the spelling algorithm(us) occurs in the title of a book on arithmetic methods, Algorithmus Demonstratus, published that year, written originally in the 13th or 14th century by an uncertain author. But in general, until the late 17th century and later, the spelling was algorism(us). The spelling algorithm(us) was effectively a new spelling in the mid 17th century, under the influence of the model of the word Logarithm, with the arithm taken from ancient Greek arithmos = "arithmetic" and the algor descended from medieval Latin algorismus = "Hindu-Arabic numeral system". Algorism and algorithm were synonymous and meant only the basic methods of the decimal number system until the late 19th century, at which point the word was almost obsolete – an English dictionary in year 1921 flagged the word as "archaic" (ref) – but starting in the late 19th century algorithm was saved from oblivion by an expansion of the meaning to cover any systematic codified procedure in mathematics. The next paragraph is about how the word began in medieval Latin.
¶ In the introductions to the algorismus arithmetic in the late medieval Western European languages, including the late-medieval English and Latin introductory texts at Ref at pages 3 and 33 and 72, and the year 1296 Latin at Ref, it can be seen that people in late-medieval Europe generally assumed the name algorismus had somehow come from an Arabic or Indian or other foreign source, but they did not know what source. They did not connect it with al-Khwarizmi's name. Likewise, centuries later, the year 1828 Webster's English dictionary said algorism is "an Arabic term" (ref), which was a false statement in the sense it was intended, because algorism was not a term in Arabic. The connection with al-Khwarizmi's name was made by historians in the mid 19th century (e.g., e.g.). The evidence that al-Khwarizmi's name was the source of the medieval Latin word algorismus is in certain Latin tutorials which have been date-assessed as 12th century, and which had only low distribution in Latin, and which gave introductions to the Hindu-Arabic arithmetic in a similar way to one another. These several texts, and the relationships among them, are discussed in "Early [ Latin ] Texts on Hindu-Arabic Calculation", by Menso Folkerts, year 2001, 24 pages – Ref, alt-link. Additional details are in "The Arabic Origins and Development of Latin Algorisms in the Twelfth Century", by André Allard, year 1991, 50 pages – Ref. The earliest Latin text is theoretically date-hypothesized as mid 12th century. The location where the Latin was written was Christian-ruled Iberia. The Latin has to have come from some kind of Arabic source in Iberia somehow, but nothing matching has survived from the Arabic side. Other introductions in Latin evolved out of it, without input from other Arabic introductions. Four versions were produced by unknown or uncertain Latin authors having dates assessed as late 12th and early 13th century. One of these carries the title liber alchorismi and in medieval Latin the writing of a proper name with the initial letter lowercase was sometimes done, and thus alchorismi could be eligible for translation as Al-Khwarizmi (died c. 850). But in this particular version the stated author is magister iohanne = "master John" – Ref. For that reason, and for additional reasons seen in the body of that version, the alchorismi in the title is better translated as "algorism". Another version begins "Dixit alchoarizmi..." where Latin dixit = "said (grammatically 3rd person singular)" – photo of the 1st page of manuscript, alt-photo. And this version also survives in a closely corresponding variant manuscript that begins "Dixit algorizmi..." – manuscript page photo. A muchly different version begins "Intencio algarismi est in hoc opere..." which at least one translating historian has translated as "The intention of Al-Khwarizmi in this work is..." (ref) but that translation is debatable. A related variant text of late 12th and more probably early 13th century (ref for date) begins "Intendit algorismus in hoc opere..." which is translatable as "The craft of arithmetic intended in this work...". These early tutorials begot the name algorismus. The thing that most strongly indicates that the Latin algorismus was initially referring to Al-Khwarizmi (died c. 850) is that the versions begining "Dixit alchoarizmi..." and "Dixit algorizmi...", in the 2nd half of their first page, mention the title of a well-known algebra book by Al-Khwarizmi : "Et iam patefeci in libro algebre et almucabalah, idest restaurationis et oppositionisRobert of Chester's mid-12th-century Arabic-to-Latin translation of the algebra book of al-Khwarizmi was originally called Liber Restaurationis et Oppositionis and its first and last sentences have this phrase – ref: first sentence , last sentence. This phrase "restaurationis et oppositionis" used in the Dixit alchoarizmi tutorial is necessarily copied from Robert of Chester's Latin.
Robert of Chester's Latin was done in year 1145. In Robert of Chester's translation, the name of Mohammed Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi (died c. 850) is written in Latin as "Mahumed filius moysi algaurizim" and is also in wordforms algaurizm etc in medieval copies. Arabic ibn = Latin filius = "son of".
There is a separate and later 12th century Latin translation of the algebra book of Al-Khwarizmi. Its title in medieval Latin is "Liber Maumeti filii Moysi alchoarismi de algebra et almuchabala" – ref, alt-ref.
The Latin words algebra and almuchabala are not found in Latin until late-12th-century Arabic-to-Latin translation. The numerals tutorial Dixit alchoarizmi contains the phrase "in libro algebre et almucabalah" meaning the algebra book of al-Khwarizmi. This particular phrase in the Dixit alchoarizmi is almost surely copied from the Latin algebra book that was translated to Latin in the late 12th century., quod uniuersus numerus sit..." = "And already I have revealed in the book of algebra and almucabala, i.e., restoration and opposition, that every number is..." – ref: Dixit algorizmi in English translation; for the Dixit algorizmi in Latin see the photos linked above and supplementarily Ref. The Dixit algorizmi tutorial has the word "Indian" at least 8 times and it says that what it is describing is an "Indian" system of numbering. A history book in Arabic by Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī (died 1070) states that Mohammed Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi authored an explanation of how to calculate with the Indian numerals – Ref. It is not clear that Al-Khwarizmi was the true original author, because: (#1) Al-Khwarizmi's algebra book – link-1, link-2 – does not use zero or positional notation, the key innovation of the Hindu-Arabic numerals (a late-medieval copy has the Hindu-Arabic numerals in labels on drawings), and (#2) no copy nor fragment of an Al-Khwarizmi algorism text survives in Arabic, and (#3) the earliest use of zero and positional notation that survives from any mathematics writer in Arabic is dated a century after Al-Khwarizmi died (cf ref), despite a good few surviving antecedent Arabic works on mathematics and math-intensive astronomy, and (#4) Al-Khwarizmi was medievally famous as a mathematician and pseudepigraphy was common in the era, and (#5) the founding text of the Latin text-family does not survive in Latin, and in other words the Latin texts are all "reworkings" and "hybrids", and in other words the presumed Arabic tutorial is unavailable in a faithful Latin translation.
- ^ alidade An Arabic-to-Latin translation of a tutorial about using astrolabe instruments, the Latin dated around year 1000 (location: Catalonia), has Latin hahidada and alhidade translating Arabic العضادة al-ʿiḍāda = "alidade" – Ref, alt-link. In Latin in the mid 12th century at least one Arabic-derived book about astrolabes has alhaidada = "alidade" – Ref. An example in Latin in the mid 13th century is allidada in an astrolabe book at Ref. In the Spanish language in the 1270s the word alhidada = "alidade" occurs about 250 times in astronomy books that were commissioned by the king Alfonso X (died 1284), these books translated from Arabic for the most part – Ref, alt-link. In year 1523 in Germany an introduction to astrolabes says in Latin: "Alhidada, an Arabic word, is a dial which turns and moves on the surface of an [astrolabe] instrument." – Ref. For background context, see history articles on medieval astrolabes (e.g., e.g.). In the 18th century in English, Bailey's English Dictionary defined "alidada" as "the ruler or label that moves on the center of an astrolabe, quadrant, etc., and carries the sight." – Ref.
- ^alkali ^kalium ^soda The medieval Arabic القلي al-qalī was obtained from succulent flowering plants that grow where water has relatively high levels of sodium. The plants have relatively high levels of sodium. When the plants are burned, much of the sodium ends up as sodium carbonate in the ashes. Another major component in the ashes is potassium carbonate. The ashes also have calcium compounds and other compounds. Medievally these saltwort plants were collected at tidal marshes and other saline soils, including saline desert soils, and the plants were burned for their ashes, and this kind of ashes was called al-qalī in Arabic. The desert-dwelling saltwort species, such as Anabasis, were burned in greater volume and were of greater commercial importance than the marsh-dwelling saltworts. Making glass and making soap were the main things the ashes were used for. Non-salty-plant ashes were usable for making glass, and indeed were used, but the results were not as good. The chemical composition of ancient glass from the Mediterranean region suggests that the ashes of saltwort plants (rich in sodium carbonate) may have been sometimes used as an ingredient in making glass thousands of years ago – ref. On the other hand, however, no synonym for al-qalī or saltwort ashes occurs in ancient Greek or Latin writings.
¶ “Al-qalī salt is made from al-qalī,” says an Arabic dictionary dated about year 980 – ref. Arabic milḥ = "salt". Medieval Arabic ملح القلى milḥ al-qalā | ملح القلي milḥ al-qalī = "alkali salt" was a product refined from al-qalī = "alkali ashes". Al-Razi (died c. 930) has a description of the refining procedure – ref ( alt-link ), ref-2, ref-3. The procedure was: The al-qalī ashes are mixed with about seven times as much hot water, some components of the ashes dissolve in the water, then the non-dissolved components are gotten rid of by passing the water through a sieve, then the water is gotten rid of by evaporation, and then what is left is the dissolved components as solids. Sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate are extremely soluble in water. They were the main components of the al-qalī salts. The procedure removed much of the other components of the al-qalī ashes.
¶ In Europe until the late 18th century, al-qalī ash and al-qalī salt were made only in the way they had been made for the previous thousand years. These ashes and salts (rich in sodium carbonate) in the 17th-18th centuries were called "soda" and "soda ash" and "barilla" in most Western European languages – e.g. year 1798 multilingual dictionary for merchandise. In year 1791 a chemical process was invented that produced near-pure sodium carbonate on a large scale for the first time (the Leblanc process). In Western Europe in the 19th century this near-pure sodium carbonate was most often called "soda" and "soda ash".
- ^ alkali One of the earliest records of the word "alkali" among the Latins is in the Liber de Aluminibus et Salibus (English: Book on Alums and Salts), which is an Arabic-to-Latin translation with translation date about year 1200. Its text is in medieval Arabic and medieval Latin at Ref, where it can be seen that the Arabic al-qalī was translated as Latin alkali. Another Arabic-to-Latin translation of the early 13th century is De Anima in Arte Alchemiae, and it has dozens of instances of the word alcali – Ref. Another 13th-century Latin text about salts and minerals is Liber Dedali aka Liber Luminis Luminum, which is much influenced by an unknown Arabic source, and it has more than a dozen instances of alkali | alcali – Ref (appendix III), Ref (other versions); ref for date. The above three 13th-century Latin texts speak of sal alkali (Latin sal = "salt") meaning the very same as Arabic milḥ al-qalī defined in note #22 above. Sal alkali is easy to find in 14th & 15th century Latin alchemy – some examples. Also spelled alchali in medieval Latin.
¶ 14th century Italian has sale alkali (sale = "salt") – ref: TLIO. "Alkali" is in the English language from the later 14th century on – MED. The earliest known in French is 1509. There is a book by Guy de Chauliac using word alkali in France in year 1363, but that was in Latin, and the translation of Chauliac's book into French did not use the Latin word – ref: DMF, ref: French Chauliac. The word's earliest known in Spanish is dated around year 1500. Around that year, three new books have alcali | alkali in Spanish: All three are medical books, two of them are Latin-to-Spanish translations of books written in Latin in Italy, and the third is a translation of Chauliac's book into Spanish – ref, ref. Medieval Spanish has plenty of records of the alkali ashes product under a completely different name.
¶ Alkali ashes were regularly imported from Arabic lands into Italy by the glass-making industry of late medieval Italy. That is the main subject in the article "Levantine Alkali Ashes and European Industries", by E. Ashtor and G. Cevidalli, in Journal of European Economic History, year 1983. The Levantine alkali ashes, which were produced in semi-desert places in Syria, were the fluxing material of first choice in glass-making at Venice especially. Late medieval Italian writers connected with the glass-making industry most often used names other than alcali for the alkali ashes, but you can see two of them using the name alcali quoted in TLIO, link above.
- ^ amalgam Evidence that late 13th century Latin amalgama came from Arabic al-malgham with same meaning:
¶ It is stated in the dictionary of Ibn Sīda (died 1066): وكل جَوهر ذؤَّاب. كالذَّهب ونحوه خُلط بالزَّاوُوق: مُلْغَمٌ = "And any melting substance such as gold, etc, mixed with mercury is called مُلْغَمٌ mulgham" – ref: لغم @ Ibn Sīda's dictionary @ AlWaraq.net. Ibn Sīda's statement was copied into the dictionary of Ibn Manẓūr (died 1312) and placed under the rootword لغم L-Gh-M – لغم @ Lisan al-Arab. Essentially the same statement about ملغم mulgham | malgham is in the dictionary of Abū ʿAlī al-Qālī (died 967), whose dictionary is titled al-Bāriʿ fī al-Lugha – Ref , Ref (page 279).
¶ An Arabic alchemy text date-assessed about late 9th century has Lead (Pb) mixed with pyrite and copper, and it says "into this it is appropriate to mix mercury until it becomes a ملغماً malghamā". This text was compiled from Late Ancient Greek alchemy authors (who are named in the text). The Arabic compiler is named "Al-Ḥabīb" and the text is titled Kitāb al-Ḥabīb. Kitāb al-Ḥabīb text in Arabic ; ref-1 for date, ref-2 for date. Kitab al-Habib has been published in French translation under title Le Livre d'El-Habib.
¶ The Book on Precious Stones by Al-Bīrūnī (died c. 1050), in its chapter about mercury, has grammatical plural ملاغم الذهب... ملاغم الفضة malāghim al-dhahab... malāghim al-fida = "gold amalgams... silver amalgams". Elsewhere in the same book Al-Bīrūnī has كالملغمة kal-malghama meaning a paste consisting of cow-dung and salt, where Arabic prefix kal- means English suffix "-like" = "sort of". Al-Biruni's book in Arabic, alt-link.
¶ Several Arabic alchemy texts of the Jabirean School have grammatical plural الملاغم al-malāghim | al-mulāghim = "amalgams" in the titles of the texts. These Jabirean School texts have not been published and have not had the benefit of clear confirmations of their dates. But at least some of them are judged medieval, about 10th century. One of them is titled Tafsīr al-Malāghim = "Explication of Amalgams", pseudepigraphically attributed to Jabir Ibn Hayyan (died c. 820), and another is Kitāb al-Malāghim al-Awal = "The First Book on Amalgams", attributed pseudoepigraphically to Jabir Ibn Hayyan, and another is Kitāb al-Malāghim al-Saghīr = "Short Book on Amalgams", and there are others. Some info about some of these Jabirean School manuscripts is at the USA National Library of Medicine at ref , ref , ref ; and you can see some of them classifed as pre-12th century texts in Fuat Sezgin's Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, Volume IV, on page 234 and page 269. The Rutbat al-Hakīm is an Arabic alchemy text dated mid 10th century (ref for date), it is influenced by the Jabirean School, and it has mention of a book title Kitāb al-Mulāgham = "Book of Amalgams" – Ref (page 51 note #43).
¶ Kitāb al-Asrār wa Sirr al-Asrār by Zakariya Al-Razi (died c. 930) is mainly about minerals and medieval chemistry. It has التلغيم al-talghīm meaning amalgamation with a metal, including various named metals each being amalgamated with mercury. It has al-talghīm repeatedly over many pages, and also has تلغم talgham – Ref-1 (pages ٣٤, ٣٥, ٣٨, ٤٢, ٤٨, etc) , alt-link , Ref-2 (page 65). Anyone who knows a little Arabic grammar can see that, formally speaking, talghīm involves a notional rootword لغم L-Gh-M with the Arabic grammar prefix 't-', while malgham involves the same rootword with the Arabic grammar prefix 'm-'.
¶ Late-10th-century Arabic book titled Mafātīḥ al-ʿulūm = "Keywords of the Sciences", by Ibn Ahmad Ibn Yusuf Al-Khuwarizmi, is a technical dictionary for various subjects. It has a chapter on keywords in alchemy and metallurgy. It defines الإلغام al-ʾilghām | الألغام al-ʾalghām as "a body pulverized then mixed with mercury" – Ref; refs for the date. The same wordform is in an Arabic alchemy text dated roughly 10th century, by a pseudonymous author, where الالغام al-alghām means an amalgamation with mercury – Ref: Julius Ruska year 1924. The wordform al-ʾalghām is a bit odd-looking and contributes to the assessment that the notional rootword لغم L-Gh-M is only notional, only a retrofit, and not the real root. More about the rootword is later below.
¶ The book Shams al-maʻārif al-kubrā has been printed several times with attribution to author Ahmad al-Buni (died 1225), but the authorship of it is a complexity, and some parts of it have a substantially later date of composition, around 16th century – ref , ref. It has a chapter about alchemy. The alchemy chapter has الملغمة al-malghama meaning an amalgam – Ref (page ٣٧٨ on lines 10, 14 & 25) , alt-ref (page 902).
¶ The researcher Manfred Ullmann, reading unpublished old Arabic alchemy manuscripts, has found a very small number of other texts with (ة)الملغم al-malgham(a) meaning "amalgam, especially amalgam of mercury with metal". His findings are in his Wörterbuch der klassischen arabischen Sprache, year 1991, under letter L on page 901 & page 902; and in his book Katalog der arabischen alchemistischen Handschriften der Chester Beatty Library, two volumes, years 1974-1976.
¶ Next, medieval Syriac has at least two records of ܡܠܓܡܐ malagma with meaning "amalgam". One is in the Syriac-to-Arabic dictionary of Bar Bahlul, dated 3rd quarter of 10th century. Bar Bahlul says in Syriac that a ܡܠܓܡܐ malagma of mercury with silver is called الملغمة al-malghama in Arabic. Ref: ܐܦܪܘܣܠܝܢܘܢ @ Bar Bahlul column 267, line 25; ref also "Notices Alchimiques Tirées du Lexique Syriaque de Bar Bahloul", item lexical #66, by Rubens Duval, anno 1893. The other record of Syriac ܡܠܓܡܐ malagma = "amalgam" is in an early medieval Syriac alchemy text – ref: Supplement to Payne-Smith's Syriac Dictionary, anno 1927, which is citing the following medieval Syriac alchemy text: ܡܠܓܡܐ @ page 12, line 19 (in Syriac).
¶ In medieval Syriac records, the far more common meaning for ܡܠܓܡܐ malagma is a medicinal ointment for a skin inflammation, a poultice, a bandage dressing – ref (1st line) , ref , ref , ref. This meaning was also in use for the Arabic al-malgham prior to the 20th century in Arabic. The Arabic-to-English dictionaries by Richardson year 1810, Johnson year 1852, and Steingass year 1884, translate ملغم malgham as "an emollient poultice or unguent" or "softening ointment" and they do not translate it as an amalgam – ref , ref , ref. Similarly, Barretto's year 1804 dictionary for Persian & Arabic has ملغم melghem translated as an ointment for skin sores and not as an amalgam – ref. Golius's Arabic-to-Latin dictionary, year 1653, translates لغم lagham as "an unguent or odoriferous liniment" (i.e. a medicinal ointment), and does not translate it as an amalgam – ref, alt-ref. This lagham is an only-notional root لغم L-Gh-M getting extracted from malgham by reading the initial 'm' as the grammar prefix 'm' and removing it. The true root is a foreign import. That is, Arabic malgham = "medicinal skin dressing" came from the Syriac malagma with same meaning. The Syriac word has records in early medieval Syriac, and it came from ancient Greek malagma with same meaning, a word used by Greek medical writers including Galen (died c. 200 AD) and Aetius Amida (lived early 6th century). In the medieval Arabic medical writers, medicinal malgham is clearly a rare word, and hard to find. Meanwhile in the medieval Arabic alchemy writers, numerous words have no native root in Arabic and arrived in Arabic alchemy on a specifically alchemical pathway from Greek alchemy. It follows that the alchemical Arabic malgham = "amalgam" may be from Greek alchemy specifically.
¶ To repeat, Arabic malgham and Syriac malagma are each on record meaning both "amalgam" and "medicinal skin dressing". Medievally and continuing almost until the invention of modern antibiotics, amalgams containing pure mercury were used in medicinal ointments and bandage dressings to treat skin sores and skin infections, because they were effective. (Mercury's effectiveness is in 19th century British medicine texts such as ref and ref). Other effective and commonly used amalgams for skin infections involved lead metal (Pb) or lead monoxide (PbO). In the 19th century in Britain, an officially approved and commonly used dressing for infected skin was an amalgam of (#1) lead monoxide, plus (#2) pure mercury, plus (#3) sulfurated olive oil – ref. Essentially the same and very similar recipes, using mercury for the same purpose, are in medieval Arabic in a medicines book by Ibn al-Jazzar (died c. 980), though he does not use the word malgham – ref, ref. Two dozen formulas involving lead-based amalgams for medicinal skin dressings, and a few involving mercury, are in Arabic in Ibn Sina (died 1037) and Najm al-Din Mahmoud (died 1330), although they do not use the word malgham – ref , ref , ref. Similar skin dressings are described in ancient Greek and Roman medicine writings; e.g. the Latin writer Cornelius Celsus (died c. 50 AD) has a skin dressing that is an amalgam of lead monoxide, melted resin, and olive oil – ref.
¶ The re-location of the vowel that occurs in going from malagma to malgham is something that frequently and characteristically occurred in medieval Arabic words coming from Greek. As a good example, the medieval and modern Arabic for "phlegm | phlegmatic" is بلغم belgham from ancient Greek phlegma. Vowel re-location does not occur in Latin borrowings from Greek, nor in Latin words within Latin. Malagma = "medicinal skin dressing" is a pretty common word in classical Latin and medieval Latin. Any idea that this Latin malagma could be the parent of the Latin amalgama = "amalgam" would be an impossible idea linguistically because of the relocated vowel in the middle and because of the extra 'a' at the front. The newly arrived 13th century Latin amalgama does not have a plausible word-origin in terms of any other Latin or Greek precedent word either. Meanwhile, the loss of the first letter 'L' in going from the Arabic al-malgham(a) = "amalgam" to the Latin amalgama = "amalgam" is called phonetic dissimilation and it is something that often happens in the context of borrowing foreign words. Phonetically the Arabic al-malgham is unimpeachable as a match for the Latin amalgama. The overall historical context —profusely documented in 13th century Latin— is that the Latins were actively adopting alchemy material from Arabic sources in the 13th century.
¶ However, numerous etymology dictionaries are still unconvinced that the Latin amalgama came from Arabic al-malgham. The basis for their doubt is their information that the Arabic word is very poorly attested in medieval Arabic texts. This information was prevalent among late 19th century etymology books. For example the entry for amalgam in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles in year 1888 said: "An Arabic adaption of Greek malagma with prefix al- [is a suggestion we have heard].... But no instance of the use of these as chemical terms is cited from Arabic writers" (ref). Henri Lammens in year 1890 said correctly about amalgam: "Until we have collected examples... in the literature of Arabic alchemy, the proposed etymologies remain in a state of conjecture" (ref). Henri Lammens and Reinhart Dozy and certain other 19th century etymology writers had read lots of literature in Arabic, but very little in the domain of alchemy. They had not come across an Arabic malgham meaning amalgam. Amalgams were called by words derived from the rootword خلط khalt = "to mix" in Arabic literature in most cases, medievally and post-medievally. 19th-century Arabic does not have any record of malgham meaning amalgam, it seems; and more exactly it is not in any of the dictionaries and if it occurs elsewhere it must be very rare. 20th century Arabic dictionaries have malgham with the same meaning as the European word amalgam, no more and no less, and it looks clearly borrowed from the European word.
¶ The situation about amalgam's word-origin is that the quantity of medieval Arabic alchemy texts available in published form is still truly small, and the ones in manuscript form generally pose challenges about dating them (the physical manuscripts usually have dates from the 15th through 18th centuries). The quantity of medieval Arabic material published from the domain of medicine is a lot more plentiful than from alchemy, but as I already said the medieval Arabic medicine books speak of amalgams and bandage dressings through the use of words other than malgham. Likewise in medieval Latin, the records of amalgama are in the alchemy books and are not in the medicine books. Latin alchemy books with amalgama include the "Pseudo-Geber corpus" titles Liber Fornacum and De Inventione Perfectionis (both of which are in English translation at Ref), and Testamentum Gebri. Some of the "Pseudo-Geber corpus" is late 13th century (ref), but the titles just named were more likely written in the early 14th century – ref. To my knowledge, the word's potential instances in Latin prior to the early 14th century are very few in number and are beset by serious insecurities about their dates. Instances are plentiful in the 14th and 15th centuries in Latin, some more examples of which are in Ref and Ref. The origin of Latin amalgama is less understood than the other medieval Latin alchemy words in this page's collection -- Alchemy, Alcohol, Alembic, Alkali, Borax, Elixir, Marcasite, Talc, Tincalconite, each of which is securely dated in Latin in several Arabic-to-Latin translations of alchemy material of late 12th and early 13th century Latin. Amalgama does not occur in those translations. To more solidly support the judgement that amalgama came from Arabic al-malgham, it remains desirable to collect more instances in medieval Arabic alchemy texts. But the Arabic instances given above -- the unpublished ones found by Manfred Ullmann included -- are effectively enough. The transfer channel into Latin remains foggy. Transfer date seems to be very late in the 13th century.
- ^ ambergris Medieval Arabic dictionary definitions and medieval Arabic texts that talk about عنبر ʿanbar = "ambergris" are at عنبر @ Lane's Lexicon , عنبر @ Baheth.info , عنبر @ Al-Mas'udi (died 956) volume 1 , and العنبر @ AlWaraq.net + عنبر @ AlWaraq.net. The word is frequent in medieval Arabic texts, as you can see at AlWaraq.net.
¶ For a majority of Arabic speakers today, any written letter pair -nb- is pronounced -MB-. In the medieval era for at least some Arabic speakers the written ʿanbar was pronounced ʿAMBAR. ʿAnbar was pronounced ʿAMBAR in Damascus in the early 16th century – ref.
¶ The letter ʿayn sound in the Arabic عنبر ʿanbar is a good sign that the Arabic word was not sourced from Europe.
¶ Ambergris is unrecorded among the ancient Greeks & Latins under any name (not counting one nugget in ancient Greek that has very doubtful interpretation). In medieval Latin, ambar commences in three 9th-10th century sources located in northern France, northern Italy and Switzerland, wherein ambar is a vivaciously aromatic substance, and assuredly it is ambergris – ref Quote dated late 9th or early 10th century: ''Revulsoque sarcophagi operculo, mirificae virtutis AMBARE suaviter redolentis viri [scilicet Sebastiani] faciem demonstrant.'' Written by a monk Odilo at the abbey of Saint-Medard in northern France. It occurs in Odilo's narrative of the relocation of the bones of Saint Sebastian from Rome to Saint-Medard. Odilo is saying in the above sentence that when the lid was lifted up off the coffin-tomb of Saint Sebastian, there appeared a wonderfully virtuous AMBAR smell pleasantly emitting from the bones of the saint. Saint Sebastian died in 286 AD. His relics were relocated in 826. Odilo of Saint-Medard died about 925. Odilo's narrative is titled Translatio Sebastiani and has been published more than once. The sentence is quoted under ambar in Du Cange's glossary of medieval Latin at Ref. , ref A Latin poem, dated probably 9th century, location northern Italy, says: ''nardei qui sedulo et ambaris odorem ore spirabas, dogmata philosophorum '' = ''intense nard-oil [odour] and AMBAR odour you were exhaling from the mouth, the doctrines of the philosophers''. The poem is published in Rhythmi aevi Merovingici et Carolini, volume IV parts 2 & 3, anno 1923. This item for ambar is cited in the unfinished Latin dictionary Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch. , ref Latin medicinal recipes text Antidotarium Sangallense has late 9th or early 10th century estimated date. In text title, Antidotarium means "compendium of antidotes" and Sangallense means the big medieval monastery at Saint Gallen in Switzerland. The text is online. The text has one recipe headlined Confectio timiame, where Latin timiame is from Greek θυμιαμα = ''incense''. This recipe has a list of ingredients with the Latin names: cozumbrio... storace... thus... mirra... mastice... spica [read: spica nard]... croco... aloen... cafora... musco... ambar. All of them are strongly odoriferous. The position of the word ambar at the end of the list adjacent to Latin musco (English ''musk'') implies it is likely that the ambar means ambergris, not amber. This recipe is also the location of the earliest record in Latin for the word camphor, here spelled cafora. Greek in the 10th century has kafora | kafoura meaning camphor. Medieval Arabic kāfūr meant camphor. The word kāfūr went into Greek & Latin from Arabic medicine. The Latin cafora in the above list of ingredients is additional support for reading the above ambar as meaning ambergris (not amber), because the cafora is an indicator that the ambar was from the Arabic ʿanbar = "ambergris". The Arabic ʿanbar never meant amber in medieval Arabic.. Next in medieval Latin, ambra is in the Arabic-to-Latin medical translations of Constantinus Africanus (died late 11th century), where Latin ambra is translating Arabic ʿanbar = "ambergris". Constantinus says correctly "ambra comes from the belly of a certain beast of the sea" – ref. Constantinus says there is little difference between ambra and musk in their medicinal actions – ref, alt-ref. Subsequently ambra is in 12th & 13th century Latin medicines writers in Italy influenced by Constantinus's translations – examples. Late-12th-century Arabic-to-Latin medicine translator Gerard of Cremona translated Arabic ʿanbar as Latin ambra, meaning "ambergris" – ref, ref. Away from medicine, 13th century Italy has several poets who sing the praises of the scents of ambra and musk in Italian, and their ambra clearly means "ambergris" – TLIO.
¶ In Greek in the late 11th century, medicines writer Symeon Seth has ἄμπαρ ampar clearly meaning "ambergris". He says it is a grey-colored coagulation, fatty, collected from fish, found in India and Yemen – ref (page 26), ref (page 72). The Greek medicines writer Aetius of Amida lived in 6th century, but the handed-down and received version of his text is infiltrated by later additions of approx 11th century. The problem with the Aetius of Amida text is discussed elsewhere on this page at Note #26; the problem is that the Aetius text has multiple composition dates. Assuredly part of the additions around 11th century, the Aetius text has ἄμβαρ ambar, which the text does not define but it uses it medicinally alongside musk (Ref), which implies it more likely means ambergris not amber. Furthermore the Aetius text uses the word ηλεκτρον elektron for amber (Ref), which again implies the text's ambar means ambergris. More early records in medieval Greek are cited at ἄμπαρ ampar | ἄμβαρ ambar @ LBG, year 2014, a lexicon of medieval Greek up to the end of the 13th century. Greek has three different securely-dated records for ampar | ambar in the 10th century. The LBG lexicon, linked above, assigns the meaning "amber" to these records. But LBG's interpretation "amber" in each one of those records is very insecure and is disputed, and a number of people, myself included, say the right interpretation in medieval Greek is always "ambergris" not "amber"
– details Book of the Eparch, also known as Book of the Prefect, is a set of Byzantine trade regulations issued in the 10th century in Constantinople. It includes ἄμβαρ ambar in a list of exotic foreign imports and the English translation of the list is as follows: “pepper, spikenard, cinnamon, aloeswood [aka agarwood], ἄμβαρ AMBAR, musk, frankincense, myrrh, balsam, indigo, lac [a red dye from India, was secondarily used as a lacquer], lapis lazuli, golden wood [suggested interpretation: yellow sandalwood, an aromatic wood from India]” – text in Greek. The Book of Ceremonies of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII (died 959) includes ἄμπαρ ampar in a list as follows. The Emperor's cabinets should include “ointments, various incenses, fumigations, mastic, frankincense, sugar, saffron, musk, ἄμπαρ AMPAR, aloeswood wet and dry, true cinnamon of first and second grades, cassia cinnamon, and other aromatics” – text in Greek. The Appendix to the "B Recension" of Hippiatrica is Greek with a composition date of mid 10th century (ref for date). It has a list that begins: “ἄμβαρος AMBAROS, musk, aloeswood, cinnamon, cloves, spikenard, white pepper,...” – text in Greek (page 446 line 17). And two pages later it has: “aromatics... musk and aloeswood and ἄμβαρ AMBAR and cinnamon and cloves and pepper...” – text in Greek (page 448 line 7). In each of the above three books the ambar/ampar occurs immediately beside the word "musk", which implies its meaning is much more likely to be "ambergris" not "amber". And in each of the three books the ambar/ampar is also immediately beside aloeswood, an aromatic wood imported from the Indies. The primary feature of aloeswood is that it has a strong and pleasant smell. The earliest record in Greek where ambar/ampar's meaning is presented clearly and unmistakeably is in the book on foods and medicines by Symeon Seth (died c. 1110), where the meaning is "ambergris". About year 1300 in Greek a text includes the list: "musk, νίται Nitai aromatics and ἄμβαρα AMBARA, camphor and cassia-cinnamon" – text in Greek. Which again is a list of odoriferous substances, implying the ambara is "ambergris". Another medieval Greek text from roughly the same timeframe has ἄμπαρ ampar grouped with the odoriferous substances musk, camphor, sandalwood, aloeswood, saffron, cloves & rosewater – text in Greek – implying its ampar is "ambergris". One recent historian and translator of medieval Greek says (with emphasis added by me): "[Medieval] Greek ambar... always means ambergris" – Ref: on page 41.. It is secure that Greek ampar | ambar was a foreign loanword in medieval Greek, because in the 10th century it is put in the lists of exotic foreign imports, and it is not documented until the 10th century, and there is no obvious parent-word in Greek, and the concurrent use of the two wordforms (ἄμπαρ | ἄμβαρ) is another sign of its foreignness.
¶ The earliest I know of where Latin ambra means "amber" is mid-13th century. Thomas de Cantimpré's Liber De Natura Rerum was completed in year 1244 and was written in northern France and it uses the word succinus for amber but it says succinus is also called lambra – ref. In 1257 or 1258 at Marseille, "buttons of ambra" and household objects made of silver are given as collateral for a loan of money – ref. That item means amber, not ambergris, as affirmed by the following four quotations from a little later in time. 1277 or 1278 at Marseille: "five gilded ambre buttons, value 90 denarius coins... twelve plain silver buttons, value 14 denarius coins" – ref. 1278 at Venice: "gold metal threads (for ornamenting clothes) and silk and buttons of ambro.... gold rings and small-pear-shaped pieces of ambro " – ref. Year 1300 at Venice: "one new overcoat garment of scarlata cloth with decorations of pearls and with 8 buttons of anbro" – ref. Latin by an author from Genoa in Cyprus year 1300: "gamera una de blavo claro cum botonis septem de ambray " = "one light-blue overcoat with seven buttons of amber" – ref. In 1320 a well-known poem by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri has: "come in vetro, in ambra o in cristallo / raggio resplende sì " = "like in glass, in amber, or in crystal / a ray is resplendent". In the 1330s in Italian, Pegolotti's manual for international trading mentions the product ambra a dozen times and it clearly means "amber" sometimes (and sometimes it is not clear) – ref.
¶ The great majority of medieval ambergris was sourced on the shores of the Indian Ocean. That includes the east coast of Africa (the Swahili coast), the west coast of India, and the Maldives islands. The coast of Iberia was also a source. Info about ambergris's medieval sources is in Al-Mas'udi (died 956) linked above, and ambre @ W. Heyd (year 1886 in French), and ambergris @ Garcia da Orta (died 1568). The Indian Ocean ambergris was brought to the Mediterranean region by Arab traders, who called it ʿanbar and that is the parent word of the medieval Latin & medieval Greek ambra | ambrum | ambar | ampar with the same meaning. The word did not mean "amber" at any time in medieval Arabic. Meanwhile in the medieval Mediterranean region, amber mostly came from the Baltic Sea region of northern Europe. One can imagine in the abstract that a word of the form ambra meaning amber could be brought to southern Europe by traders from the Baltic region. But no supporting evidence is found in the northern European languages for that. The records in Latin only show that the Latin word began with one meaning (ambergris) and later had two meanings (ambergris and amber). In medieval Greek the word probably never meant amber, i.e. it probably always meant ambergris, and anyway nothing in Greek shows where the meaning "amber" came from. When the meaning is "amber", where the word came from is undetermined and obscure.
¶ Possibly the word meaning "amber" came from the north shore of the Black Sea, because one of the medieval trade routes for Baltic amber was down the Dnieper River from Belarus to the Black Sea ("trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks"). Italian sea merchants started commercial colonies at Caffa and other places on the north shore of the Black Sea in the 13th century, which is when the word ambra meaning "amber" has its records starting in Italian-Latin. The lands on the Black Sea's north side at that time were predominantly populated by Turkic speakers (Cuman language). Unworked bulk amber was sold out of boxes and sacks at Constantinople in the 1330s, reported by Pegolotti, link above. Getting the word meaning "amber" from an Arabic source is highly improbable because the Arabic word ʿanbar did not mean amber and the Arabs did not supply amber to Mediterranean markets. Many English dictionaries have endorsed the speculative idea that somehow the European word meaning "amber" was derived from the European word meaning "ambergris". But this idea makes no sense semantically. And the proponents of it do not offer medieval documentation to support it. Rather, the medieval documentation shows that people did not regard the two products as being in the same category. The ancient and early-medieval Latins used amber and they named it suc(c)inum and electrum and glaesum. In any hypothetical scenario where the later-medieval Latins ignored those names and adopted the name ambra = "amber" as a derivative from their ambra = "ambergris", there would have to be a driver that drove them to do that. There is no trace of any such driver in medieval writers.
¶ Although the two products were not in the same category, when a writer uses the word ambra in Europe in and around the 14th century, it is not clear in numerous cases whether the intended meaning is "ambergris" or "amber". Most raw amber is opaque and mottled and thereby is not esteemed for making into ornaments. Grinded-up amber was used as a medicine by the medieval Latins. Ambergris too was used as a medicine by the medieval Latins. Ambergris was primarily a perfume. Medieval medicine held perfumes in high value. Amber can be used as an aromatically burning incense, though this was not often done; amber was expensive and weak as incense. The two incompatible meanings of ambra are presented in two sets of quotations from 13th-14th century Italian at ambra @ TLIO, and two sets from 14th-15th century French at ambre @ DMF, and two sets from 14th-15th century English at ambre | aumbre @ MED, also late medieval English laumbre | lambur (solely meaning amber) @ MED. Extra note about semantics: Medieval pomme d'ambre | pomo d'ambra was a pomander, which has nothing to do with amber (a pomander was a scent-emitting basket, ball-shaped, ornamented, usually made from metal).
¶ As far as I can see the European word meaning "amber" did not start in Iberia. But a Spanish minerals book dated 1250-1278 has alambre clearly meaning "amber" – ref. It seems an isolated record. Medieval Spanish alambre | arambre normally meant "copper" and came from a rootword that seems unrelated to "amber". Medieval Spanish vocabulary is well done at search @ Corpus Diacrónico del Español (CORDE). Spanish ambra = "ambergris" has numerous records in the 13th & 14th centuries at CORDE. But ambra | ambar | ambre = "amber" is absent in Spanish until the 15th century at CORDE. CORDE is not all-encompassing, but it encompasses a body of texts so big that the absent word must be very rare in Spanish until the 15th. Adding more confusion to the picture, Portuguese dictionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries said the Portuguese word for amber is alambre – ref, ref Portuguese alambre = Latin succinum = Latin electrum (English "amber") is in Jerónimo Cardoso's Portuguese-to-Latin and Latin-to-Portuguese dictionary in editions printed in 1562 and 1694 available at REF. The same is in the Portuguese-to-Latin and Latin-to-Portuguese dictionary of Bento Pereira, edition years 1647 and 1697 at REF. The same is in ''Vocabulario portuguez e latino'', by Rafael Bluteau, year 1712 at REF..
¶ In summary, ambra = "amber" is a difficult and unsolved problem and many people have jumped to ill-founded conclusions about it. Ambra = "ambergris" is a solved problem.
- Problems with Aetius of Amida Aetius of Amida was the producer of an encyclopedia of medicine, 700+ pages, in Greek. Its date is standardly put at early 6th century AD and thereabouts. The bulk of the Aetius of Amida encyclopedia looks genuinely about that date. As handed down and received and propagated, the Aetius text has certain medicines names that are not found elsewhere in Greek until the 10th century. These particular names were in widespread use in medieval Arabic medicine and the particular medicines are aromatics that came from across the Indian Ocean. As reported by the Greek lexicons LSJ or LBG, the propagated Aetius text has the following words and spellings: ἄμβαρ ambar = "ambergris", καφουρά kafoura = "camphor", γάλαγγα galanga = "galangal", ζαδώρ zador = "zedoary (an edible aromatic root from Indies)", σάνδανον sandanon = "interpretation: sandalwood". Each of those five words is in Greek in the Appendices to the Hippiatrica, which are medicines recipes reliably dated mid 10th century, and in which the spellings are the same except sandalwood is spelled σανδαλον sandalon and zedoary is ζαδώριον zadorion. A minority of the five are also in other 10th century Greek sources (LBG). Also, those five words have starting dates in the Latin language in the late 9th or the 10th century except that sandalwood starts late 11th century in Latin. There is no σανταλον santalon in Greek anciently or medievally pre-10th-century with meaning "sandalwood", and a report to the contrary is an error which is discussed elsewhere on this page under the heading of sandalwood. In Greek, in the timeframe from Aetius in the 6th to Appendices to Hippiatrica in the 10th, there is a significant number of documents mentioning aromatic imports from the Indies, and the mentions are mainly in medicinal contexts. In other words, the surviving records for pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, etc, are mainly in medicines contexts, and the quantity of the records in the timeframe is not too small to draw conclusions from, in Greek. The records in Latin can be added to the Greek to increase the quantity of records. To say it again repetitiously, we have a body of late-ancient and early-medieval medicines documents with lots of aromatics and they do not have the above five aromatic products we see in Aetius. Aetius's encyclopedia has a big number of medicinal treatment recipes. Nearly every recipe calls for numerous substances. The ingredients that were genuinely in use in 6th century medicine – including pepper, ginger and cinnamon – occur very repeatedly in the Aetius recipes, whereas the five anomalous words named above are only in a very small number of the recipes, and are in recipes only – Ref. In Aetius's encyclopedia, the first 100 pages (i.e. all of Bib-1 §1 and a subset of Bib-1 §2) is a dictionary of medicinal substances. This dictionary gives the names and main medicinal attributes of the elementary medicines, handled individually. It does not have the five anomalous medicines named above. If the five had been genuinely in use in Aetius's time, then it would have been senseless to have omitted them in this part of the encyclopedia. According to the manuscript cataloging site Pinakes: Textes et manuscrits grecs, no physical manuscript of the Aetius text is dated before 11th century, excluding one small fragment dated 10th century, and what is dated 11th century is less than the complete encyclopedia. Pinakes has a list of 177 Greek manuscripts that have a portion or all of the encyclopedia (includes manuscripts that have only small fragments). The manuscripts are at substantial variance and conflict with each other in the subsections of the Aetius encyclopedia that deal with medicinal treatment recipes. When historians look at the multiplicity of recipe variants across the different Aetius manuscripts, it is clear there is a multiplicity of composition dates, and the problem is, in general, there is no way to know the composition dates and no way to know what variants are older. An introduction and overview of the situation is ''Problèmes relatifs à l'édition des livres IV-XVI du Tétrabiblon d'Aétios d'Amida'', by Antonio Garzya, year 1984, 12 pages. Aetius's recipes are the scene of serious damage from medieval enhancements and alterations; the problems are more than the five words named above. But on the other hand, Aetius's encyclopedia is fundamentally okay and tractable in the sections dealing with physiology and everything except the treatment recipes. It is practically impossible that the five words be in medicine treatments in Aetius genuinely in the 6th century and be undocumented before it and after it until the 10th century; and instead what is practically certain is that the five words are part of enhancement insertions done about 11th century. The five histories of the five words are handled individually in the book you are now reading. The five of them entered Greek from Arabic in the 10th century. Efforts at getting hold of a reasonably authentic Aetius text have been the subject of research reports during the last 30 years – Ref : on page 2.
- ^ aniline In medieval Arabic the word for indigo dye had the word-forms al-nīl and al-nīlaj. Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248) freely intermixed both word-forms – ref (on page 866). The geography writer Al-Muqaddasi (died c. 995) said نيل nīl produces an azure blue color and is commerically cultivated as a plant in southwest Yemen (ref) and in Palestine (ref, ref, ref). Ibn al-Awwam (died c. 1200) said the al-nīl plant is used for dyeing clothes – ref, ref. Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (died 1231) in his description of Egypt said "النيل al-nīl is abundant [in cultivation in Egypt] but inferior in quality to that of India" – ref (alt-ref-1, alt-ref-2). In medieval India the indigo dye came from the plant species Indigofera Tinctoria. The Indigofera genus has some other species usable as indigo dyes. The medieval Arabs grew more than one Indigofera species (see Ibn al-Awwam). The species Indigofera Argentea grows natively in southern Egypt. Indigofera Argentea was the predominant commercial species of indigo grown in Egypt in the 19th century – ref, ref. More history can be gleaned from the book Indigo in the Arab World. In late medieval Spanish the corresponding word is uncommon. It has late medieval Spanish records as anil (c. 1295), annil (after 1250+ ; 1482), annir (1250; 1300; 1501) – ref, ref. The word and wordform añil started to become common in Spanish in the 2nd half of the 16th century. In Portuguese in the early 16th century at least three commerce writers in India have anil | anill = "indigo dye". Supplementary history info for al-nīl or anil is in ref, ref, ref, ref. The word "anilin" | "aniline" was created by a chemist in Germany in year 1840 and contains the chemical suffix -in | -ine.
- ^ apricot Arabic البرقوق al-barqūq means plum nowadays. The botanist Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248) grew up in the Maghreb and later lived in Syria. He wrote that the word means apricot in the Maghreb and a species of plum in Syria – ref (on page 106). Ibn al-Awwam (died circa 1200) lived in the Maghreb and wrote a book on agriculture. His book has a section on how to propagate apricot trees, and he says al-barqūq means apricot – ref. The Arabic dictionary of Fairuzabadi (died 1414) says al-burqūq is an apricot – ref. Fairuzabadi lived in the eastern countries including Syria, but in the preface to his dictionary Fairuzabadi acknowledges that he has copied a lot from the dictionary of Ibn Sida (died 1066), who lived in the Maghreb.
- ^ arsenal Medieval Arabic دار صناعة dār ṣināʿa was a manufacturing operation of the ruler of the State, and could mean working the gold and silver of the ruler, or making weapons for the military, or constructing and equipping war-ships (ref). Al-Mas'udi (died 956) wrote: "Rhodes is currently a dār ṣināʿa where the Byzantine Greeks build their war-ships" – Al-Mas'udi's 10th century Arabic. Ibn Batuta (died 1369) said that soon after Gibraltar had been retaken by Muslims from Christians in 1333 a " dār ṣinaʿa " was established at Gibraltar as a part of military strengthening there – Ibn Batuta's 14th century Arabic. The historian Ibn Khaldoun (died 1406) quotes a recommendation of the caliph Abd al-Malik (died 705) to build at Tunis a " dār ṣināʿa " for the construction of everything necessary for the equipment and armament of seagoing vessels – Arsenal @ Engelmann & Dozy year 1869. In the following example the wordform is slightly different. The geographer Al-Ya'qubi (died 897-898) wrote: "Ṣūr [in Lebanon] is a coastal city, and it has a دار الصناعة dār al-ṣināʿa, and from here go out the ships of the sultan for the war expeditions against the Byzantines, and it is greatly fortified." – Al-Ya'qubi's 9th century Arabic. During most of the centuries of Arabic rule in southern Iberia, a naval shipyard was in operation at Algeciras harbour in southern Iberia. The naval shipyard at Algeciras is called a dār al-ṣināʿa or dār ṣināʿa in a history book by Abd Allah ibn Buluggin (died soon after 1090), and in a geography book by Al-Idrisi (died 1165), and in a history book by Ibn `Idhari (died after 1312) – ref, ref, ref, ref.
- ^ arsenal The word arsenal has early records in European languages in the Latin wordform darsena meaning dockyard at Genoa in 1147, Pisa in 1162, and Sicily in 1209 – ref: Caracausi, year 1983. With meaning dockyard, the port of Amalfi in southern Italy in the 12th century has the Latin wordforms arsena and arsina, while the port of Venice has Latin arsana in 1206 and arsenatus in 1272 – same ref. With same meaning, the Latin wordform tarsanatus is at the port of Messina in Sicily in 1147, while the ports of Palermo & Messina in the 1280s & 1290s have the wordform tarsianatu in Latin documents – same ref. In continuation from the above Latin early wordforms, Italian documents in the 14th century have arsenà = "naval dockyard" and also 14th century darsenà | terzanà = "small dockyard" – ref: Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini (TLIO). In contrast to those wordforms, at the port of Pisa are Italian wordforms tersanaia (date 1313-1323), tersanaja (1343) (where Italian j is pronounced y), tersonaia (1375), terzinaia (later 14th century), meaning dockyard – TLIO , CNRTL. Those 14th century wordforms from the port of Pisa look independently influenced by direct contact with the Arabic dār sināʿa; and in other words they do not look evolved out of the prior Italian-Latin tarsanatus | darsena | arsana. In medieval Catalan and Catalan-Latin, with meaning dockyard, and naval dockyard, with starting year 1230, there are wordforms daraçana (ç = z), daraçanale, darassana, darasanal, etc – Ref , Ref , Ref , Ref. Those Catalan wordforms display contact with an Arabic form having a definite article, i.e. Arabic dār as-sināʿa. Spanish had taraçana in the 14th & 15th centuries, with same meaning as the Catalan and Italian word – Ref. The year 1495 Spanish-to-Latin dictionary of Antonio de Nebrija uses a Spanish wordform ataraçana and translates it to Latin as Latin navale, which is English "dockyard for ships" – Ref. Ataraçana with its vowel before 't' and its vowel before 'z' apparently reflects two Arabic definite articles. The Spanish wordform (a)taraçana is not found in Italian sources, and it is understood as influenced by Arabic semi-independently of the Italian sources, even though the Spanish is fundamentally from Italian. The point of mentioning all those wordform variants is that they help affirm that the 12th century Italian-Latin darsena | arsena had come from the Arabic dār sināʿa.
- ^ artichoke Three medieval Andalusian Arabic authors with khurshuf | kharshūf meaning "artichoke, cardoon" are cited in Federico Corriente's A Dictionary of Andalusi Arabic, year 1997 on page 153 + pages xiii-xvii -- the three authors are Abu Bakr al-Zubaydi (died 989), Ibn Hisham al-Lakhmi (died c. 1181), Ibn Zamrak (died 1393). An Andalusian Arab Ibn Baklarish (died early 12th century) spelled it kharshuf in his book Mustaʿīnī, as reported by Reinhart Dozy year 1869. Health benefits of eating الخرشوف al-kharshūf are mentioned in a book on foods and medicines by Ibn Khalṣūn, who lived 13th century in Maghreb. Ibn Khalṣūn's book is online at Ref. An Andalusian Arab Ibn al-Khatīb (died 1374) spelled it خُرشُف khurshuf and he talks about preparation ways for eating it, and he is quoted at Ref. The above six Arabic authors, or at least the last three named above, really do not describe the plant nor the foodstuff. But the things that they do convey have nothing contradicting the meaning "artichoke, cardoon". All the known medieval Arabic authors who used this word were located in the Far Western part of the Arabic-speaking world. The rest of the Arabic-speaking world used other words, but one of the other words was حرشف harshaf = "artichoke, cardoon", which was obviously the parent of the Far Western kharshuf, as was noted by Reinhart Dozy year 1869 and Marcel Devic year 1876. Ḥarshaf was also in use in the Arabic Far West (e.g.).
- ^ artichoke Spanish alcachofa | alcarchofa | carchofa = "artichoke, cardoon" starts in the 1st quarter of 15th century. Earliest records in Spanish are quoted at Ref (pages 218-219). Numerous instances in 15th & 16th century Spanish in spellings alcarchofa and alcachofa are obtainable at CORDE. Catalan carxofa has its first record at around 1490 – Ref, Ref. In the French language the early records include year 1535 artichault, 1542 carchiophe, and 1544 charchiophe, all meaning "artichoke" – Arveiller's Addenda au FEW XIX. Italian has artichioc(c)o in years 1544, 1547, 1552, 1576, Italian has arcichiocco in years 1568, 1573, Italian has artichioffo in year 1590 and arcicioffo in year 1611, all meaning "artichoke". Further Italian variants are cited at Ref. Botany authors in German in 1539 and 1543 have Cardchoffil = "artichoke" – Ref, Ref. In Germany in Latin in 1542 a botany author mentions a slew of "corrupt" names that some people "nowadays" use for artichoke, including arcocum, articoca, alcocalum – Ref. Early records in English are cited in NED.
¶ The ancient Greeks & Latins ate artichokes, as discussed at Ref: on pages 201-203. The ancient Greek medical writer Galen (died c. 200 AD) wrote a book titled The Properties of Foodstuffs. In it, Galen says: “The thorny plants are moderately good for the stomach. Among these plants are the golden and spindle thistles... and the over-valued artichoke [Greek: kinara].... It [the kinara] is unwholesome food, especially when already rather hard.... So it is preferable to boil it down and eat it in this way [i.e. boiled], adding coriander if one is taking it with oil and fish sauce, but without coriander if one prepares it in a pan or fries it. Many people also eat the heads [Greek: kefalàs], which they call ‘whorls’.” The English translator adds that his English ‘whorls’ is translating Galen's Greek sphondyloi and he comments: “sphondyloi are the circular weights that are used in spinning. These are the flower heads of the artichoke, which is the item we consume today. It is clear that what Galen has been referring to up to this point is the thistle-like artichoke plant.” – ref: Galen in English translation , Galen in ancient Greek. It is clear too that people in Galen's time were also consuming a part of the plant other than the heads. Namely, they were also consuming the stalks of the leaves (see cardoons and a photo). You can see in other ancient texts that Galen's opinion that the artichoke is "over-valued" and "unwholesome" is not representative of the generality of ancient opinion. Further review and discussion of what is said about artichokes & cardoons in ancient Greek & ancient Latin texts is at Ref: on pages 212-221.
¶ It is thought today, but more evidence is desirable, an improved artichoke cultivar arrived late in the medieval era, and was the impetus for the spread of the new name in Europe in the 15th and early 16th centuries.
- ^ assassin "Genesis of the word Assassin" is §610 of the book History of the Ismailis, by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin, year 1998. The book has the history of the Nizari Ismaili religious sect in the medieval Levant. This sect was pejoratively nicknamed the Ḥashīshīya by other Muslims in the 12th and 13th centuries. The book says: "The earliest reported application of the term Hashishiyya to the Ismailis occurs in the anti-Ismaili polemical epistle issued in 517 [Hijri] / 1123 [A.D.] by the then Fatimid regime in Cairo on behalf of the caliph." The book quotes five medieval Arabic texts using the nickname الحشيشية al-hashīshīya for the Nizari Ismaili sect. A dozen more such texts are available at AlWaraq.net. A history book by Abū Shāma al-Maqdisī (died 1267-1268; lived in Syria) has الحشيشية al-hashīshīya about two dozen times meaning Nizari Ismailis – ref. The nickname hashīshīya | hashīshīn has been sometimes interpreted as implying that the medieval Nizari Ismailis consumed hashish, but this interpretation is without good evidence and it is very liable to be mistaken – ref. Evidence is very good that the 12th century Nizari Ismailis assassinated political opponents on many occasions.
¶ Referring to the same religious sect, the Crusader historian William of Tyre (died c. 1190) has it in Latin as Assissini – ref. William of Tyre says "we do not know where the name is taken from" (ref), which implies he knows the name is a nickname. Crusader historian Jacobus de Vitriaco (died 1240) has it in Latin as Assasini – ref (Vitriaco's account of the sect has been translated to English). In England, in Latin, a chronicle by Roger Hovenden (died c. 1202) has it as Assassi and Accini while a chronicle by Roger of Wendover (died 1236) has it as Assisinos, referring to the same sect – ref, ref. Independently, a German diplomat who visited Egypt in 1175 spelled it in Latin Heyssessini and this was copied into a chronicle in Latin by Arnold of Lübeck (died c. 1212) – ref. Referring to the same sect, the word is in at least a half dozen authors in the 13th century in the Italian language, most of them spelling it assessini – TLIO. The broadening or conversion of the word's meaning into any assassin or any murderer is seen in Italian from about 1300 onward; and 14th century Italian has assassino, assassinare, assassinato, assassinàtico, assassinatore, assassinerìa, assassinagione, as documented in Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini (TLIO).
¶ Latin spelling and pronunciation did not use the /sh/ sound in any words. When medieval Latin and Italian borrowed words from outside the Latinate languages, the foreign sound /sh/ was converted to /s/ or to "sc". Here are some examples of that, gathered from elsewhere on this page, involving other Arabic loanwords in medieval Latin and Italian: Arabic مرقشيثا marqashīthā ➜ Latin marcasita ➜ English marcasite (a mineral); Arabic كشوت kushūt ➜ Latin cuscuta ➜ English cuscuta (a plant); Arabic أشنة ushna ➜ Latin usnea ➜ English usnea (a plant); Arabic شراب shirāb ➜ Latin sirop(us) ➜ English syrup; Arabic شاه shāh ➜ Latin scac(us) ---> English check (in chess); Arabic خرشف kharshuf ➜ 16th century Italian carciofo = English "artichoke". Likewise, Arabic حشيشية Ḥashīshīya + حشيشين Ḥashīshīn had its sound /sh/ converted to /s/ in the medieval Latin and Italian Assissini | Assassini. Separately from that, the loss of the leading 'h' sound in going from Ḥashīshīn to Assissini is explained by the fact that any leading /h/ was usually not pronounced in Italian and French and Latin in medieval Italy and France. In Italian spelling, as well as in Italian pronunciation, words received with a leading /h/ usually have the h deleted. E.g.: classical Latin habitus ➜ Italian abito (English "habit"); classical Latin herba ➜ Italian erba (English "herb"); early medieval High German harpfe ➜ Italian arpa (English "harp").
- ^ attar The word attar is not used in European languages other than English. An early record in English, 1792: "Roses are a great article for the famous otter, all of which is commonly supposed to come from Bengal" in northeast India – ref: NED. To the knowledge of the NED the earliest use of the wordform "attar" is in 1798 in the book The view of Hindoostan: Volume 2: Eastern Hindoostan, wherein the attar is "attar of roses" and it is stated that the rose flowers for the attar are grown near Lucknow city in the Hindi/Urdu-speaking area of north India and the attar is extracted by distillation. In Urdu, عطر ʿatr | ʿitr = "perfume" and also عطار ʿatār = "perfume" – عطر @ Platts' Urdu-English Dictionary year 1884. The spelling in Hindi is इत्र ittr | itr | itra = "perfume" – Ref. The word is not in the Bengali language – Digital Dictionaries of South Asia. Among the English speakers in India in the 19th century it was "Otto of Roses, or by imperfect purists Attar of Roses, an essential oil obtained in India from the petals of the flower, a manufacture of which the chief seat is at Ghazipur", a city in the Hindi/Urdu-speaking area of north India – Ref. Fanny Parks was a native of England who lived in India from 1822 to 1838 and was based at Allahabad city in the Hindi/Urdu-speaking area of north India for most of that time. She wrote about India: "The Muhammadans, both male and female, are extremely fond of perfumes of every sort and description ; and the quantity of atr of roses, atr of jasmine, atr of khas-khās, etc., that the ladies in a zenāna put upon their garments is quite over powering." – Ref.
- ^ aubergine The book on agriculture by Ibn Al-Awwam in the late 12th century has a 3-page chapter on how to grow the aubergine, and this book also has dozens of other mentions of the aubergine. Ibn al-Awwam's spelling is البادنجان al-bādinjān = "aubergine" – ref: Volume 2, Volume 1. The most common spelling in medieval Arabic is الباذنجان al-bādhinjān = "aubergine". The word is in loads of medieval Arabic writers – search @ AlWaraq.net. The plantnames dictionary by Abu Hanifa Al-Dinawari (died c. 895) has the comment that the name bādhinjān came to Arabic from Persian – ref. Nobody disagrees with that comment today. It is widely believed that the Persian name came from India, as the plant itself did.
¶ For aubergine in European languages, an early example is Catalan alberginia in year 1383 at Ref. The earliest in Catalan is in 1328, says Diccionari.cat. 15th century Spanish has instances of all of the spellings berengena | alberengena | bereniena | berenjena | verengena | alverengena | verenjena | verengenal, all meaning "aubergine", all in 15th century Spanish texts available at Hispanic Seminary and CORDE. Despite plentiful instances in the 15th, the word is a rarity before the 15th in Spanish or Catalan.
¶ The change in the vowels in going from the Arabic الباذنجان al-bādhinjān to the Spanish (al)berengena is well understood: it is the medieval Arabic imala vowel shift. Medieval Arabic texts have also a lesser-used wordform باذنجانة bādhinjāna (Ref), which has a terminal vowel in correspondence with the terminal vowel in the Spanish word. However, the change from the sound /dh/ to the sound /r/ in going from the Arabic al-bādhinjān(a) to the Spanish (al)berengena is poorly understood and not understood. It is a highly irregular and abnormal phonetic change, which demands a second look over the correctness of the whole etymology. On second look, everything about the historical context and the semantics, and everything except one thing about phonetics, affirms the etymology is okay.
¶ The aubergine was in provincial French two centuries ago under the name albergine – ref, ref. The French albergine had come from late medieval Catalan albergínia. In the French language, a phonetic shift from -al- to -au- is a common occurrence on condition that the L is not followed by a vowel. French words showing the shift from -al- to -au- that have later been transferred into English include auburn, faux, mauve, sauce, and chowder, as well as aubergine.
- ^ average In medieval Arabic, عور ʿawr meant "blind in one eye" and عوار ʿawār meant "any defect, or anything defective or damaged". Some medieval Arabic dictionaries are at Baheth.info and some translation to English of what's in the medieval Arabic dictionaries is at Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, pages 2193 and 2195. The medieval Arabic dictionaries do not list the word-form عوارية ʿawārīa. ʿAwārīa can be naturally formed in Arabic to refer to things that have ʿawār. But in practice in medieval Arabic texts ʿawārīa is a rarity or wholly non-existent, while the word-forms عواري ʿawārī and عوار ʿawār or عوارة ʿawāra are frequently used when referring to things that have ʿawār or damage. This can be seen in the large searchable collection of medieval texts at AlWaraq.net (where book links are clickable on righthand side). To repeat, AlWaraq's medieval texts show that ʿawār | ʿawārī | ʿawāra was a frequently used word in medieval Arabic meaning defective and damaged. Reinhart Dozy (year 1881) cites an instance of Arabic ʿawārīa meaning "merchandise damaged by seawater" but the date is post-medieval. The fact that Dozy, an expert, did not cite a medieval source is another good indication that the wordform ʿawārīa is hard to find in medieval sources.
- ^ average At the port of Genoa in years 1200-1210, the word, as Latin avariis (ablative plural of avaria), is in numerous notarized commercial contracts where it is referring to physical damage on gold and silver coins. The main cause of damage was deliberate coin clipping, i.e. a slender piece of the gold or silver has been cut off at the outer edge of the coin. Intentional damage on gold and silver coins was commonplace in the medieval era. As a result, precision weighing of the coins was commonplace, especially for gold coins. At Genoa in 1200-1210 avariis is in contracts where there is a promise of a future payment of a stated number of gold and silver coins, and the promise has the stipulation that the payment amount shall be "clear/clean/pure/neat/net and with just weight for all avariis", apparently meaning that damaged coins shall be acceptable but would be precisely weighed and would require top-ups to satisfy the value of the agreed number of perfect coins. One contract at Genoa dated 15 September 1200 says that 26 bezant gold coins promised shall be "mundos silicet ab omnibus avariis ad iustum pondus de Tripoli " which I translate as "clear, that is, from all physical damage to a just weight using the precision weighting procedure of Tripoli in Crusader-controlled Levant". It is the case that most of these contracts at Genoa involve sea-commerce with explicitly-named Arabic-speaking places and involve Arabic coins – Ref, Ref, Ref (alternative links: alt, alt, alt). The contracts at Genoa in years 1200-1202 have coins named bisantios Sulie, where Sulie = Surie = Syria = Levant. The bisantios Sulie were either the gold coins issued by the Islamic government in Levant or else the very similar gold coins issued by the Christian Crusader government in Levant. ¶ The commerce vocabulary at seaport of Marseille in the 13th century was under the influence of the bigger seaport at Genoa. At Marseille during the first half of 13th century, avariis is in numerous notarized commercial contracts and loan agreements where it is referring to physical damage on gold and silver coins. In the Marseille contracts, the coins are, or will be, transferred to another person. As part of the notarization in some cases, it is stated that the coins are "justly weighted... and free from all avariis excepting known exceptions left unitemized" – e.g. Latin in year 1235: "bizanciis auri sarracenatis Alexandrie [i.e. Egyptian gold coins], rectis et justi ponderis, mundis... omnibus avariis, renuncians in his expressim atque scienter exceptioni non numerate pecunie." About half of the Marseille contracts involve sea-commerce trips from Marseille to named Arabic-speaking places and involve the gold coins that the contracts call bisanti | bisanci, which in general were coins issued by Arabic governments. Coins under that name conceivably could have been issued by the Byzantine government, but in context it is a practical certainty they were not Byzantine-issued, and the contracts in many cases explicitly say the coins are "Saracen bezants". The early-13th-century Marseille commercial contracts are in Latin at Ref. ¶ The following is in Latin written at the seaport of Savona near Genoa in northwest Italy in 1203 or 1204. It refers to the seaport Buzea/Buzee = Bugia = بجاية Bejaia in Algeria: "At Bugia there were expenses [Latin exspendit] for food and drink and all things for the ship's crew of 42 bezants [local Arabic gold coins] and 9 miliarenses [local Arabic silver coins].... At Bugia there were expenses for the ship's sails and the ship's rudder and all avariis of the said ship, which came into being at any and all locations, amounting to 11 bezants." – Ref (page 186-187), alt-link. The same author in Latin a few pages later has a ship at the seaport Septa = سبتة Sebta = Ceuta in Morocco, where "there were expenses for the food storehouse of the ship and for local servants of the ship and for avariis of the ship" (page 190). Those usages of avariis carry the meaning of wear-and-tear damage to the ship, as I read them. The same author at Savona about a year later writes of a deputy ship-captain who "paid 13 solidos coins of Barcelona, happening in that part of the world,... in avariis rerum recuperatarum" (page 335), which I think is translatable as "for recuperating things from damage", more literally "for damages of recuperated things", even though if taken in isolation it can be translatable as "for expenses of recuperated things", and in the context it is implicit that the damage and recuperation was to the ship. ¶ The word's very earliest records in Latin that I know of (excluding one certain case whose date is questionable) are in four notarized contracts written at Genoa in 1190. One of these created a partnership to finance a sea-merchant to visit Syria to buy and sell. The contract says: "Nullum dispendium debeo facere super hanc societatem, nisi in avariis eiusdem" = "No expense is to be made owing upon this partnership, except for avariis." In that sentence avariis is a specific kind of expense. A closely similar sentence is in three other partnership contracts written by the same contract writer in year 1190 – Ref, alt-link. He does not define avariis. As I read him, the intended meaning is exclusively physical damage expense; i.e. the financing partners bear the risks of unexpected damage and they owe the operating partner reimbursement in the event of damage expenses. ¶ A different kind of example in year 1214At Savona in 1214, William and Bernard declare in writing that they have received in safekeeping from Raymond ten sacks of steel. They promise to give the steel to Girard. Then William and Bernard declare: "Predicta tibi [Raymond] attendere promittimus et si quid expenderimus pro ipso açario in avariis debet nobis dare dictus Girardus" = "It is Raymond's imperative intent that we promise and if we would have to pay out anything for this steel in avariis we must give [read: pay] to the said Girard" – Ref, alt-link. Which I read as saying that if the steel is damaged or lost during safekeeping then the keepers must pay compensation to Girard..
- ^ average The Arabic origin of Italian avaria was first reported by Reinhart Dozy in the 19th century. His summary is in his 1869 book Glossaire. The seaport of Genoa is the location of the word's earliest records in Latin, late 12th century. More than a hundred instances of medieval Latin avariis | avarias at Genoa are in documents published at the website StoriaPatriaGenova.it – ref, ref. The Latin lexicon Vocabolario Ligure by Sergio Aprosio, year 2001, has a collection of medieval Latin examples from Genoa on pages 115-116. You can see in Aprosio's collection that the word's meaning had a multiplicity of facets. In many contexts it is hard to see what facet of the meaning was intended by the medieval writer. In Catalan and Catalan-Latin in and around 14th century, averies | aueries meant expenses of damage to ship or cargo at sea or some other expenses of a merchant sea venture – examples at ref, ref, ref, ref. Summary info about early records in French is at avarie @ CNRTL.fr. The synonymous Netherlands avarye | avarie | avarij | averij | haverij has its first record in the mid 16th century; examples from Netherlands in the 16th-18th centuries are quoted at averij @ WNT @ INL. For the English word, see firstly the definition of "average" in the English dictionaries published in the early 18th century, i.e., in the time period just before the huge transformation of the meaning in English: Kersey-Phillips' dictionary year 1706 , Blount's dictionary 1707 , Hatton's dictionary 1712 , Bailey's dictionary 1726 , E. Chambers' Cyclopaedia dictionary 1741. Ephraim Chambers' encyclopaedic dictionary in 1741 says English "average" means: The unforeseen damage to a ship or to merchant goods loaded in the ship, and also the expense of this damage, and furthermore additionally “average is more particularly used for the quota or proportion which each merchant or proprietor in the ship or loading is adjudged, upon a reasonable estimation, to contribute to a common average [where AVERAGE means DAMAGE EXPENSE]. Such sum shall be divided among the several claimers by way of average [i.e. damage expense] in proportion to their respective interests and demands.” Some complexities surrounding the English word's history are discussed in Hensleigh Wedgwood year 1882 page 11 , Walter Skeat year 1888 page 781 , Manley Hopkins year 1859 page 1 and NED, year 1888.
¶ Today there is consensus that the following five points are correct: (#1) today's English "average" descends from medieval Italian avaria; and (#2) among the Latins the word avaria started in the 12th century and it started as a word of Mediterranean sea-commerce and its early records are in Italian seaport locales writing in Latin, especially at Genoa; and (#3) there is no rootword for avaria to be found in Latin; and (#4) a significant number of Arabic words entered Italian-Latin and Italian in the later 12th and the 13th century starting as terms of Mediterranean sea-commerce (see elsewhere on this page the word histories for caravan, carat, garble, jar, magazine, tare, and 14th century tariff); and (#5) the medieval Arabic عوار ʿawār | عواري ʿawārī – for which Note 36 above links to a large set of medieval Arabic records – is phonetically a good match for Italian-Latin avaria, because conversion of Arabic 'w' to Italian-Latin 'v' was regular (happens elsewhere on this page in medieval Italian-Latin words caravana, carvi, Vega, dovana; and note medieval Italian-Latin & Italian did not use a sound /w/ in any words), and -ia was a suffix in medieval Italian-Latin & Italian (-ìa in today's Italian). A majority of commentators agree that (#6) the medieval Arabic عوار ʿawār | عواري ʿawārī = "damage | relating to damage" is semantically a good match for the Italian-Latin avaria = "damage or damage expenses". A minority of commentators have been dubious about #6 for the reason that early records of avaria have, in some cases, a meaning of "an expense" in a more general sense – Aprosio (Italian-Latin) and TLIO (in Italian). My Note 37 above has a set of the word's earliest records in Latin, with attention to the meaning. The view of the majority of commentators, and my own view, is that the meaning of "an expense" was an expansion from "damage and damage expense", and the chronological order of the meanings supports this view, and the broad meaning "an expense" was not the most commonly used meaning. On the basis of the above points, the inferential step is made that the Latinate word came from the Arabic word.
- ^ azimuth In medieval Arabic astronomy the usual word for a direction or an azimuth was السمت al-samt and the grammatical plural of this was al-sumūt. Normally the medieval Arabic texts on astronomy use the word in the grammatical singular. The astronomy book of Al-Battani (died 929) has سمت samt 189 times in the singular and only once in the plural – Ref. The Book of Optics of Ibn al-Haytham (died 1040) is not an astronomy book but it is notable for having about 90 instances of the plural سموت sumūt = "directions" – Ref. The astronomer Maslama al-Majriti (died 1007) divides the circle of the horizon into divisions that he calls السموت al-sumūt – Ref. With same meaning, السموت al-sumūt is in the astronomer Ibn al-Saffar (died 1035; was a student of Maslama al-Majriti) (Ibn al-Saffar more often uses the singular al-samt) – Ref (pages ٦٥ and ٦٩). Al-sumūt was always pronounced AS-SUMŪT in Arabic (ref). AS-SUMŪT was the source of the medieval Latin azimut | azimuth. Numerous Arabic astronomy texts were translated to Latin in the 12th and early 13th centuries – Ref. Most of the translations do not use the word azimuth in Latin. The ones that do are talking about Astrolabes. Surviving in Latin from the 11th and 12th centuries are a handful of Arabic-to-Latin translations on making and using Astrolabes – Ref. But azimuth is not found in the 11th century Astrolabe texts in Latin. It starts in Latin in Astrolabe texts dated mid 12th century (years 1133-1153). It is possible that the only fountainheads of the word azimuth in Latin are one or two Arabic-to-Latin translations done in the mid 12th century. One of these is a 25-page tutorial on working with the Astrolabe written by Ibn al-Saffar in the Latin translation done by Johannes – it is in medieval Latin at Ref (pages 261-284) and in medieval Arabic at Ref (pages ٤٧ to ٧٦). The early history of Arabic loanwords in Latin in the domain of Astrolabes, including the word azimuth, is given an indepth treatment in a 100-page article by Paul Kunitzsch, "Glossar der arabischen Fachausdrücke in der mittelalterlichen europäischen Astrolabliteratur", year 1982/1983, not available online in 2015. Available online in English from the same author is an introductory overview of the historical context – Ref.
- ^ azure One medieval Arabic introduction to اللازورد al-lāzward = "the azure stone" is in the Book of Precious Stones of Al-Biruni (died c. 1050). Al-Biruni emphasizes al-lāzward is crushed to a powder to be used as a blue colorant – ref. The 9th century Arabic Stones Book of Aristotle (so-called; pseudonymously authored) says powdered lāzward is used as eye makeup – ref. An 11th-century Arabic recipe book for making colored inks uses powdered lāzward as a blue ink colorant – ref. Lāzward was also used as a polished stone uncrushed, but the powdered form had greater use. Al-Biruni says the name for lāzward among the Byzantine Greeks is armīnāqūn, his spelling of Greek armeniakon = "of Armenia". Relatedly, the ancient Greeks & Latins had the azure-blue powdered-stone colorant they called armenion | armenium = "Armenian stone". The ancient azure-blue mineral they called armenium was usually azurite which is different from lazurite. Another distinct azure-colored stone that was probably used by the ancient Romans is lazulite, but the Romans did not use that name. Pliny (died 79 AD) discusses blue stones he calls armenium, cyanos, and sapphiros (Pliny's sapphiros was not similar to today's sapphire). Ibn Sina (died 1037) and al-Ghāfiqī (died c. 1165) say the blue colorant stone called in Arabic hajar al-armenī (literally: Armenian stone) (interpret: azurite) is inferior to the lāzward stone (interpret: lazurite) – ref (page 755 and page 225). Azurite occurs in various degrees of quality. If the azurite is good quality, the visible difference between it and lazurite is very small, though the two are chemically much different.
- ^ azure Five instances in Late Ancient Greek in the 4th-7th centuries for lazourion | lazour_ = "azure-colored stone" are cited in the history article "The Colour Term ‘Azure’... up to the 13th Century", year 2016 – online; and the same info was earlier published in year 2015 at ref (on page 272). Some of those five Greek instances and a few additional instances in Greek with dates probably earlier than 9th century are cited in λαζούριον lazourion @ LBG and/or λαζουρός lazouros @ LBG. One of the additional instances is lazouron in a text attributed to the Christianity writer John Chrysostom (died 407) which has been assessed as "probably genuinely by Chrysostom" – ref λαζουρόν on page 355 on line 39. Cyranides, Book 1, is a Greek text with composition date put in the 4th century AD. Cyranides Book 1 has talk about amulets and magical stones and it has the stone-name lazourin. The handed-down and received version of Cyranides Book 1 possibly has enhancements added after the 4th century, and so the 4th-century date for its stone-name lazourin is insecure. But there are enough documents in Greek, including a variety of kinds of documents, to make it secure that the lazurite product and its name lazour__ was in circulation in the Byzantine Empire and Mediterranean sea-commerce before the spread of the Arabic language to the Mediterranean coasts. The natural way for the Iranian word to enter Greek in the 4th-7th centuries was for it to travel overland from the Persian empire to the Byzantine empire without passing through any Arabic-speaking territory. Therefore, the Greek word did not come from Arabic. The Greek came from Iranian without Arabic intermediation.
¶ In Latin the word has records securely dated the 9th century. The 9th century Latin wordforms are lazurin + lazuri (about year 800) , lazur (before year 847) , lazurin (about year 900), and later Latin had lazurium, azurium, açurino, azurum etc (12th & 13th century examples), all of which are wordform-wise closer to the Greek lazourion than to the Arabic lāzward. The culture of the Latins of the 8th and 9th centuries, and what we know about their overall contacts with Greek and other Mediterranean languages at that time, supports the judgement that the Latin word came from the Greek word.
¶ Late medieval English had the wordform lazurium from Latin. Late medieval English had also the wordform azure from French & Latin. The two wordforms had the same meaning. The deletion of the L of Latinate lazur to get Latinate azur has a parallel in the medieval & modern Italian lonça | lonza = medieval French lonce = medieval & modern French once (#2) = medieval Catalan onça (#2) = "snow leopard, big lynx". In modern Catalan & Spanish onça | onza = "any leopard", modern Portuguese onça = "American panther". The snow leopards are native in the mountains of Central Asia. Their fur pelts were brought to medieval Mediterranean markets through the territory of the Byzantine Empire, to be sold as luxury furs. Their fur pelts look similar to the Eurasian lynx, featuring leopard spots. Snow Leopard photos , Eurasian Lynx photos. It was standard in medieval Italian that the Latin sound /ks/ was converted to Italian sound /s/. This means that medieval Italian lince = "lynx" was straightforwardly formed in medieval Italian from the classical & medieval Latin lynx = "lynx". To get the medieval Italian lonza from the Latin lynx would be phonetically abnormal because of the change in the first vowel. Consequently the Italian lonza is assessed as derived from the Byzantine Greek λυγξ lungx = "Eurasian lynx". Lonza begot synonymous onza in medieval Latinate. The deletion of letter L in onza and azure is not understood at all. The overwhelming majority of the Latinate words begining with the letter L did not undergo this deletion.
- ^ benzoin Jāwā refers to the island Java in today's Arabic. But it referred to the adjacent island Sumatra in the medieval travel writer Ibn Batuta (died 1369), who wrote: "The island al-Jāwa gives its name to the incense al-jāwīyī." Ibn Batuta wrote اللبان الجاويي al-lubān al-jāwīyī, where لبان lubān = "frankincense". Elsewhere he wrote "perfumes... such as agarwood, ambergris and al-jāwīyī." – ref-1, ref-2, alt-ref.
¶ The explanation for how the Arabic lubān jāwīyī or lubān jāwī got mutated to the English "benzoin" is as follows and it involves four different causative factors. The word is in Catalan in the mid-15th century spelled benguy and benjuí and benjuhí (ref), and in Catalan the definite article was lo. The word is in French in 1479 spelled benjuyn (ref), and in French the definite article was la | le. In French the letter j is pronounced not far from the neighborhood of zh (as in "soup du zhour") and that is similar to the Arabic letter ج j. But in Latin and Italian, the letter j is pronounced as y (as in "Yuventus"). Therefore writing z instead of j would be somewhat more phonetic in Italian. Benzoin is in Italian at Venice in 1461 spelled benzoi (ref, alt-ref). Phonetically similarly in Italian in 1510 an Italian traveller in the Arabian peninsula wrote "Zida" for Jeddah city (ref). Similarly around the same time in Italian, Venice dialect zara | zarra = widespread Italian giara | giarra = Arabic jarra = English "jar". Venice Italian zardìn = widepread Italian giardino = French jardin = English "garden". Florence Italian had benzoin in the wordforms bengiui and bengioino in the 16th century (ref). In the Italian of Venice, 'z' was most often pronounced near the 'zh' in "soup du zhour", and this differs from the widespread Italian 'z'. Another phonetic aspect in going from Arabic lubān jāwī to European benjuí | benzoi | bengiui is the apparent change in the vowel going from Arabic bān to European ben. In medieval Arabic, the spelled lubān was generally pronounced LUBEN and they call that behavior the medieval Arabic imala vowel shift. Another phonetic aspect is the appended letter 'n' in French benjoin and Italian benzoino. This 'n' is a Latinate suffix descended from classical Latin -inus. Parallelwise: medieval Italian verzi –> medieval Italian verzino; medieval Italian aranci –> medieval Italian arancino; medieval Italian cremisi –> medieval Italian cremisino; medieval Italian cilestra –> medieval Italian cilestrina.
¶ The principal Indonesian tree that produces the benzoin resin is called the Styrax benzoin tree in today's English botany books. It is related to a native Eastern Mediterranean tree, the Styrax officinalis, which has a somewhat similar aromatic resin, which was in use in the Mediterranean region in antiquity and medievally. The Mediterranean Styrax resin was called in medieval Arabic لبنى lubnā, ميعة mayʿa, and أصطرك asturak, and it is easy to find in medieval Arabic writings. In contrast, the Indonesian Styrax resin is hard to find in medieval Arabic writings and it does not seem to have arrived until late in the medieval era and the same is true of the name لبان جاوي lubān jāwī.
- ^ bezoar To see the word bezoar in medieval Arabic, search at AlWaraq.net for البادزهر and البازهر and بازهر and بادزهر . In medieval Latin, bezoar is bezahar in the late-12th-century Arabic-to-Latin translations of the medical books of Ibn Sina (died 1037) and Al-Razi (died c. 930), at Ref and Ref. It is lapis bezaar | lapis bezahar in the late-13th-century Arabic-to-Latin translation of the medicines book of Serapion the Younger at Ref. It is bezard in the late-13th-century Latin medicines dictionary of Simon of Genoa at Ref and Simon of Genoa says the word is Arabic. In Western Europe the 17th century was the high tide of the reputation of the bezoar stone as antidote medicine. Historically the original bezoar of Central Asia was expensive and the trade volume in it was very low. Historically sometimes other concretions were recommended for use as antidotes and were called bezoars in the looser sense of the word.
- ^ borax and tincal Medieval Arabic بورق būraq encompassed multiple salts. The salts included naturally-occurring sodium carbonate (aka natron), sodium borate (aka borax), and maybe sometimes potassium nitrate (aka niter). Medieval Arabic būraq meant sodium carbonate in most cases. It would be an error to interpret the medieval būraq as meaning borax without specific info in the context. In some medieval contexts, the word būraq has a qualifier attached to it to give more specificity to it. On the other hand, medieval Arabic التنكار al-tinkār was specifically borax. An early minerals book in Arabic, dated 9th century, titled The Stone Book of Aristotle, pseudonymously authored, says: (1) būraq is a class of salts and the class includes al-natrūn (i.e. natron) and al-tinkār; and (2) al-tinkār exists on the shores of salt-marshes and is used in shapening and soldering of gold – ref (pages 118 & 123). Al-Razi (died c. 930) named six types of būraq salts. Of Al-Razi's named types, one was tinkār, another one was "goldsmith's būraq" (denoting some other mineral salt in customary use by goldsmiths for soldering metals), and another two or three of the named types consisted of sodium carbonate from different geographical places with different impurities admixed – ref, ref. The author Al-Hamdani (died c. 951), in a book about production of precious metals, has al-tinkār and al-būraq as two distinct but similar substances for fluxing a precious metal – ref. Some medieval Arabic dictionaries say būraq is used as a rising agent for bread dough, causing bread to inflate during baking, and it is evident that this kind of būraq consisted mainly of sodium carbonate – ref. Another widely used medieval application for sodium carbonate was as a cleaning agent; i.e. sodium carbonate was an ingredient in soaps and clothes' washing powders. Ibn Sina (died 1037) says būraq salts are of multiple types, and he says būraq salts have uses as cleaning agents – ref-1, ref-2. In the same book, Ibn Sina says tinkār is a fluxing agent for gold, and he says tinkār is useful against tooth decay – ref, alt-link. Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248) in his medicines book says firstly that tinkār is used by goldsmiths and jewellers more than by anyone else and they use it as a fluxing agent in soldering metals – ref (page 167; also page 772). Al-Biruni (died c. 1050), in a book about precious stones, used vinegar with small quantities of each of "tinkār" and "būraq" (two distinct substances) as a gentle cleaner to improve the luster of white pearls – ref, alt-link – and surely his būraq meant sodium carbonate and his tinkār meant sodium borate.
¶ Medieval Arabic has reports of البورق al-būraq collected at salt lakes in Iran & Iraq & Syria – ref , ref. Today none of the salt lakes in Iran & Iraq & Syria has borates dissolved in it (not counting miniscule quantity). Sodium carbonate occurs in significant quantity in some salt lakes in that region. Therefore, the al-būraq salt in those medieval reports was not borax. There is no evidence that borax was sourced from anywhere in Iran in all history until the 19th century. You can find a contrary assertion in some historians. The burden is on them to show their evidence is for real. They fail.
¶ The foremost supply source for borax in the medieval era, and 16th-18th centuries also, was evaporites on the perimeters of lakes located on plateaus in the Himalay Mountains. It is believed nowadays by numerous historians that the Arabs and Persians were introduced to tinkār from India and that the name تنكار tinkār (tankār in Persian) originated from the medieval Sanskritic word ṭaṅkaṇa meaning borax from Tibet & Kashmir. Digital Corpus of Sanskrit has hundreds of medieval instances of ṭaṅkaṇa | ṭaṅkana | ṭaṅkaṇaka | ṭaṅkaṇakṣāra meaning borax; and additionally medieval Sanskrit has other words that are translated as borax – Digital Corpus of Sanskrit , Apte's Sanskrit-to-English dictionary. It is clear that borax was well known in medieval India. During the 16th to 18th centuries, the high north of India – more exactly Tibet – was the principal source of borax in international trade worldwide. It may be that Tibet was the only source on planet Earth during all centuries until the 19th century. This is discernable from info in two later paragraphs below. Borax and similar borate minerals can occur as surface evaporite deposits when a land's surface is intermittently flooded by water containing dissolved borax or borate. But, except in Tibet, the percentage borates in these deposits is small and minor, and there is no evidence these deposits were ever used commercially.
¶ The Latins of the ancient and early-medieval eras used metalworking fluxing agents. Latin name: chrysocolla. But borax was unknown to them. One of the first records in Latin for the substance borax, and for either of the names borax or tinkar, is in a late-12th-century enlargement of the Latin text Mappae Clavicula, in a section headlined "Composition of niello with gold", where the borax is used as a fluxing agent: "detempera atincar, i.e., burrago, cum aqua; et cum hoc distempera nigello" = "blend tinkar, i.e. borax, with water; and coat (distemper) the niello with this" – ref. Slightly earlier, in mid-12th century, a Latin medical writer in southern Italy said "borax" is an import from the far side of the sea (meaning the Arab lands), and he said it is in the form of a white powder, and he mistakenly said it was derived from a tree gum – ref. Other early records of borax in Latin are in Arabic-to-Latin translations of alchemy texts dated about year 1200 in Latin – they include the texts ref-1 , ref-2 , ref-3 , ref-4. Medieval Latin spellings included baurax | baurac | baurach | bauracia | borax | boracia | borace – e.g. , e.g. , e.g.. The medieval Latin meaning was sometimes the same broad meaning as in Arabic – e.g. , e.g.. But normally in medieval Latin the meaning was a substance used as a metals fluxing agent – e.g. , e.g. , e.g. , e.g.. The late medieval Latin borax fluxing agent usually meant what we call borax today, but sometimes it meant any fluxing agent. The same was true for the medieval Latin tincar | atincar | attincar | tinkar | atinkar | attinkar | tinchar | athincar, i.e. it was a fluxing agent, and it was usually borax, and it was not always borax. Likewise, chrysocolla in later-medieval Latin literature could mean either one certain specific material with fluxing uses or else any fluxing material. Examples of the medieval Latin tincar | atincar | attincar | tinkar | atinkar | attinkar | tinchar | athincar include ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref.
¶ From the Latin, late medieval English has borax | boras and attincar.
¶ In Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, borax was an import from the Indies (often still transported via Egypt and Venice), trade volume was small, the price was expensive, and its main use was as a fluxing agent in gold and silver metalworking. In the European metallurgy literature of the 16th and 17th centuries, borax was commonly called "tincar" | "atincar" and it was also called "Arabian borax", and "borax". Martin Ruland's year 1612 Lexicon Alchemiae has the definitions of that time period for atincar, tinckar, borax, boras, baurac, and chrysocolla.
¶ A year 2005 historical review of borax | tincar | tincal imported to and in use in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries is "Borax, Boric acid, and Boron – From exotic to commodity" and a thing I take from the review is: No evidence of extraction of borax, or boric acid or any borate, anywhere in the world outside of Tibet until year 1818. The same finding is in the book A History of Borax, which includes a sub-point on page 24 A History of Borax by NJ Travis & EJ Cocks, year 1984, says on page 24 concerning travel writers in Iran or Persia: “John Mandelso [died 1644; aka Johan de Mandelslo] and Jean Chardin [died 1713], who both paid particular attention to minerals in Persia, saw nothing of borax there.” Says on page 24 concerning Iran or Persia: “There have been no reports of sodium borate being found in any lake deposits there.”. In one sentence, a summary of the evidence is: “There are more than 57 borate-containing Tibetan lakes... and very likely all of the world's borax from antiquity to 1818 came from these deposits.” (ref). The way that the borax was extracted in Tibet is in
reports in English from India in the 1780sRobert Saunders, a resident of Bengal, visited Tibet and Bhutan in 1783. In an article published in 1789 he says: “Tincal, the nature and production of which we have only hitherto been able to guess at, is now well known, and Thibet, from whence we are supplied, contains it in inexhaustible quantities. It is a fossil brought to market in the state it is dug out of the lake, and afterwards refined into Borax.... Although tincal has been collected from this lake for a great length of time, the quantity is not perceptibly diminished ; and as the cavities made by digging it soon wear out or fill up, it is an opinion with the people, that the formation of fresh tincal is going on. They have never yet met with it in dry ground or high situations but it is found in the shallowest depths and the borders of the lake, which deepening gradually from the edges towards the center contains too much water to admit of their searching for the tincal conveniently.” – REF. Today it is known the borates in the Tibetan plateau's lakes are being replenished by thermal water springs coming up from far underground.
In the 1780s William Blane resided at Lucknow city in the lowland plains of northern India. He never visited Tibet. He got info about borax from a resident of Nepal who visited Lucknow. Blane wrote in 1786: “I am assured, by many of the natives, that all the borax in India comes only from the mountains of Tibbet.... That it is really brought from the Tibbet mountains is certain, as I have myself often had occasion to see large quantities of it brought down, and have purchased from the Tartar mountaineers, who brought it to market.... I have never heard of its being either produced or brought into this country [i.e. India, particularly north India] from any other quarter.” William Blane's informant from Nepal has largely accurate info about how the borax was dug as natural evaporites in Tibet, which Blane retells at REF -- although a couple of bits of his depiction are not representative of the generality of the borax-infused lakes in Tibet.
Giuseppe (aka Joseph) da Rovato resided at Patna city in the northern India lowlands in the 1780s. He never visited Tibet. By specific arrangement and appointment, he interviewed a native of Tibet who was acquainted with harvesting borax. Rovato's report, dated 1786, is at REF. He says: “Twenty-eight days journey to the north of Nepal, and twenty-five to the West of Lassa [Lhasa], the capital of Thibet, there is a vale... the inhabitants of which are wholly employed in digging the borax... the soil being so barren as to produce nothing but a few rushes.... There is a pool of a moderate size, and some smaller ones, where the ground is hollow, in which the rain-water collects. In these pools, after the water has been some time detained in them, the borax is formed naturally.”
The above 1780s reports leave the impression that the source of borax was in only one valley, whereas in fact a very big and wide area in Tibet has borax-infused lakes. The year 1906 book Tibet and the Tibetans, by Graham Sandberg, has a section headlined ''The Salt Lake District''. It says: “The thick far-reaching margins of saline crust encircling these lakes is evidence of an evaporation.... The salt soda and borax are principally collected from the thick deposits fringing such lakes and, being filled into 20-pound bags, the bags are placed in couples on the backs of sheep. Flocks of seven hundred sheep thus loaded are to be encountered patiently bearing these products either west into Ladak, or south to the markets of Nepal. Borax seems to occur most profusely on the plains of Majin, a district N.-E. of Ngari Khorsum [westernmost part of Tibet]. It lies there near the surface in vast tracts, and any amount may be had for the digging.... Borax sufficient to supply the potteries of all Europe is here lying unused.... In the Tibetan fields, however, great slackness of demand now prevails ; nevertheless, in one borax field in the plains bordering on the eastern-most sources of the Indus, one survey explorer noted 100 men at work.”
More reading is in the science book An Introduction to Saline Lakes on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, by Zheng Mianping, year 1997..
Year 1766 was before those reports published in English in the 1780s about how the Tibetan borax was being obtained. In 1766 an encyclopedic dictionary of chemistry by a well-informed French chemist said about borax: "We are even ignorant of its origin.... Borax is not found in Europe. It is brought from the East-Indies in a state which only requires a slight purification.... But it is not yet known whether this matter be a natural or an artificial substance, nor whence, nor how it is obtained." – ref, alt-ref. The 9th century Arabic Stone Book of Aristotle said al-tinkār exists on the shores of salt-marshes (ref: يكون على سواحل السبخة). That statement in the so-called Stone Book of Aristotle is interpretable as probably the evaporites of the Tibetan lakes and nowhere else, because nobody anywhere before the late 18th century delivers information that would support another interpretation.
¶ Nathan Bailey's English Dictionary in the early 18th century defined tinkar as synonymous with borax and defined borax as "a mineral used by goldsmiths in melting and soldering of gold" – ref. Samuel Johnson's English dictionary, mid 18th century, defined tincal as "a mineral.... What our borax is made of" – ref. As reflected by Nathan Bailey's tinkar versus Samuel Johnson's tincal, there was a change in wordform from tincar to tincal. The wordform tincal became predominant in Europe in the 18th century. Practically all of the borax in 18th-century Europe was being shipped from northern India by sea by Europeans. Contrary to some reporters, it is not correct that the wordform tincal came to Europe from a native language of the Indies. This wordform came from the Indies from the Portuguese tincal, which came from the medieval European tincar, which came from the medieval Arabic tinkār. The wordform tincal has its earliest known records in the early 16th century in Portuguese in India. To appreciate the substantial overall influence that Portuguese had on English vocabulary in the Indies, see the book A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words including the pages xviii - xix. As one piece of the evidence for the Portuguese and European origin of the wordform tincal, with date between 1512 and 1515 the Portuguese writer Tomé Pires has tincall, and at about the same date the Portuguese writer Duarte Barbosa has tincal, with both writers assuming the word needs no explanation to a Portuguese reader. Both of those writers wrote their books in the Indies. Both of them list tincal as a market commodity at Cambay in Gujarat province in northwestern India, a commodity that Portuguese merchant shipping at Cambay might carry to Europe. Neither of them mentions tincal in their discussions of commodities further south in India, nor elsewhere in the Indies, because the source of tincal was in the mountains of the far north of India. Ref, Ref, Ref. Another piece of the evidence for the European and Portuguese origin of the wordform tincal comes from Garcia da Orta writing in Portuguese in India in 1563. His name for borax was tincal (he also referred to it as crisocola). He said the tincal on sale at the trading centers of the west coast of India was brought there from the northern interior of India and came to the coast through Cambay and Ahmedabad city in Gujarat, and he said the name for it in the Gujarati language is the same as the name it has in Arabic, namely (he said) tincar – ref: Garcia da Orta in Portuguese and in English translation. Ref also tincal @ Glossário Luso-Asiático (year 1919). Ref also tincal @ CNRTL.fr. As cited in one of the previous paragraphs above, Latin atincar starts in the late 12th century and it has plenty of records in medieval Latin, mostly in alchemy writers. The Latin atincar begot late medieval Spanish atincar = "borax or fluxing agent" (example circa 1422). Synonymously the wordform atincal is in 16th-century Portuguese. A Portuguese-to-Latin dictionary in year 1562 has: "[Portuguese] Atincal = [Latin] Chrissocola " – ref. It is easy to see in an etymology dictionary of Portuguese: English "azure" = Portuguese azul from medieval Latin azurium; English "carat" = Portuguese quilate from medieval Arabic qīrāt; English "paper" = Portuguese papel from medieval Catalan paper and ultimately from classical Latin papyrus; English "azarole" = Portuguese azarola from medieval Arabic al-zaʿrūr; Portuguese atafal = Spanish atafarra from medieval Arabic الثفر al-thafar. The quantity of writings in Portuguese before 1500 is smallish overall, and is small in the categories of writings that might likely mention tincal or borax. So you can put very little weight on the fact that the Portuguese tincal is undocumented until the Portuguese went to the Indies.
- ^ camphor Camphor is unrecorded among the ancient Greeks and Latins under any name. A medicinal kafora occurs in a Greek medicines text dated mid 10th century, namely the Appendix to HippiatricaA certain appendix to the Greek Hippiatrica texts is dated mid 10th century. The information basis for this appendix's date is in the book The Sources, Compilation, and Transmission of the Hippiatrica, by Anne McCabe, year 2007, on pages 277-279 and other pages. The appendix text in Greek is at Ref: on page 193 on lines 2 & 3 & 5 having καφόρα kafora and σανδαλον sandalon meaning camphor and sandalwood. There are different versions of Hippiatrica, and they have different appendixes. The above-linked appendix is part of a version called Hippiatrica Cantabrigiensia, which Anne McCabe calls C for short. The other notable version is called Hippiatrica Berolinensia, which Anne McCabe calls B. The appendix of the B version is dated mid 10th century also.. That is the word's earliest reliably dated in Greek. In the late 11th century, camphor is in Greek as kafoura in a writer influenced by Arabic medicine, Symeon Seth – ref, ref. Symeon Seth says kafoura is a gum of a tree that grows in India. That statement by Symeon Seth is the earliest in Greek that delivers a description of the kafora | kafoura | kamfora. More citations for camphor in medieval Greek are at καμφορα KAMFORA @ LBG.
A record much earlier in Greek in Aetius of Amida is reported by some reporters, but the dating is afflicted with serious problems and it is surely wrong. The problems with Aetius of Amida are discussed at Note #26 above.
¶ In Latin, the earliest known record for camphor is in the wordform cafora in a list of aromatics in a medicines recipes text, Antidotarium Sangallense, for which the estimated date is late 9th or early 10th century. In Latin the insertion of the letter 'm' in wordform camphora is first seen in the Arabic-to-Latin medical translator Constantinus Africanus (died c. 1087). The wordform with 'm' is in a manuscript of a Constantinus Africanus text dated as a physical manuscript 3rd quarter of 12th century – ref: camphora & camphara in Codex EÖ.II.14. The Book of Simple Medicines of Matthaeus Platearius (died c. 1160; was influenced by Constantinus's translations) has it as Latin camphera | camphora in a physical manuscript dated perhaps about 1200 – ref. The word in any wordform is a rarity in Latin before Constantinus. Constantinus's translations have four dozen instances of this word as an ingredient in medicines recipes – ref. Reflecting the popularity of camphor in medieval Arabic medicine, the word camphor_ occurs more than 200 times in the Arabic-to-Latin medical translations of Gerard of Cremona in late 12th century Latin – ref (140 times) , ref (70 times).
¶ By the way, late medieval Spanish alcanfor, as well as Catalan camfora, came from the Italian-Latin camphora = "camphor". In particular, the Spanish alcanfor did not come from Arabic. This is demonstrable from the several medieval Spanish wordforms and their dates at CORDE. The word was in Spanish as camfora and canfora for 150 years before the first record of the wordform alcanfor in Spanish. The Spanish wordform alcanfor does not start until about 1400, which is fully 300 years after the start of the Latin camphora. If Spanish had gotten it from the Arabic كافور kāfūr = "camphor", then the wordform in Spanish would have been alcafor. Medieval Spanish had no alcafor | cafor | cafora, and Arabic had no kānfūr. The Spanish alcanfor was from the Spanish canfora, which was the most-used wordform in Spanish medievally and was from the Latin camphora. Spanish has a small but significant number of words where Spanish speakers prefixed al- to the word when the word in Spanish did not come from Arabic. This behaviour by Spanish speakers is in several places elsewhere on this page. You can find it by searching for aduana, alambre, albérchigo, alcaparra, alcorque, almadreña, almastica, almirage, atún, azufre on this page. The al- or a- on those words is not enough evidence that the word entered Spanish from Arabic. When I look into the histories of those particular words I find there is enough evidence to believe they did not enter Spanish from Arabic.
- ^ sandalwood English "sandalwood" descends from medieval Latin sandalus | sandalum. The medieval Latin is ultimately from ancient Sanskrit candana = "sandalwood", and Sanskritic vernacular languages chandan, Urdu spelling چندن tchandan. In the medieval Mediterranean region, sandalwood was exclusively an Indies product, imported as wood. It arrived in Mediterranean markets through Arabic-speakers, mostly through Egypt. It was called ṣandal in medieval Arabic. Ṣandal wood was commonly used and well-known among the medieval Arabs, as demonstrated by the large number of instances in medieval Arabic authors at AlWaraq.net: صندل and الصندل. A History of the Materia Medica by John Hill in year 1751 said the following about sandalwood and I quote it because it is mainly correct: “There are some who suppose the Ancients [meaning ancient Greeks and Latins] were acquainted with these [yellow, white and red sandalwoods].... But as Dioscorides and Galen are both wholly silent about them, it is very probable they were not known at all in their Time ; at least it is very evident that they were not known in Medicine. The Arabians [meaning the Arabians in Latin translations read by John Hill] are the earliest Authors we find making any certain Mention of them; they call them Sandal, and the modern Greeks speak of them as they do.” – ref. Kosmas Indikopleustes was a Greek sea-merchant who personally visited India in the 6th century AD. One 21st-century historian says correctly: For sandalwood under any name, “the first mention in surviving texts from the Mediterranean world comes in the Christian Topography of Kosmas Indikopleustes. He calls it tzandana, which is an accurate Greek transcription of the name that would have been used in the Indian ports” – ref. Kosmas Indikopleustes mentions the word only once, and only as a trade item at seaports in Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean, and he does not have it as a trade item going to the Mediterranean region – ref – and so he gives no indication the Mediterranean people had a use for it. Sandalwood was in extensive trade among the Indies people in Kosmas's time, as shown by many hundreds of mentions of candana in ancient and early medieval Sanskrit texts – ref (notably candana is mentioned 106 times in the Suśrutasaṃhitā, an ancient medical compendium in Sanskrit – same ref). Kosmas Indikopleustes's wordform tzandana (τζανδάναν) is not found anywhere else in Greek and it looks like something Kosmas wrote down phonetically for a trade product he had encountered ONLY in the Indies. According to some modern reporters, sandalwood is documented in Greek in Late Antiquity in wordforms santal__ | sandan__ in more than one author. But those modern reporters are not correct, because the offered documentation is not valid when critically examined. In the centuries before and after the instance in Kosmas in the 6th century, in Greek, in any wordform, there is not a correctly dated instance with the correct meaning until the mid 10th century, and it is very scarce until the 12th century –
ref-1 , ref-2 , ref-3 Periplus of the Erythraean Sea is a well-known Greek text dated 1st century AD. Periplus in paragraph 36 has ξυλων σαγαλινων (alt-link) which some Early Modern readers interpreted as sandalwood. The interpretation is an error. It is discussed in a 3-page article "Periplus Maris Erythraei 36: Teak, Not Sandalwood", by Lionel Casson, year 1982., ref-4 In medieval Greek, most early records for sandalwood are in the same texts that have the early records for camphor. Surrounding these texts are good and bad assignment of dates. Elsewhere on this page, the date assignment issues for the Aetius of Amida text are addressed at Note #26: Problems with Aetius of Amida. The date of the Hippiatrica Appendix is addressed at Note #45: Camphor elsewhere on this page.,
ref-5 A Greek papyrus text date-estimated around year 300 AD consists of formulas for doing magical things and the text contains the statement: λαβὼν πίτυρα πρῶτα καὶ σανδαλον [sic] καὶ ὄξος ὅτι δριμύτατον καὶ ἀναδεύσας μάζια – ref, alt-link, alt-ref. A published translation in English is: "Take bran of first quality and sandalwood and vinegar of the sharpest sort and mold a cake...". That English translation has been published in more than a half dozen outlets including ref, ref, ref, ref. It is in error. A first iteration for another translation is: "Take premier bran and SANDALON and very bitter vinegar and mix them together [or soak them together]". With the limited context you get to see above, you cannot tell what the SANDALON is supposed to be. There is no historical basis for supposing SANDALON could be sandalwood in the context.
An expert on Greek papyri, David Jordan year 2001, on page 191, mentions that SANDALON has ancient Greek records where it means an edible seafish like the sole fishes. SANDALON is translated as English "a flat fish" in LSJ lexicon of ancient Greek, year 1925. Also mentioned by David Jordan: The above Greek papyrus text has been put in Spanish translation (online) where the relevant instance of SANDALON | SANTALON is left untranslated and is footnoted as "word of dubious sense".
I believe the SANDALON in the context means a sandal shoe. It is necessary to go into context details for this. First needed is acquaintance with the ancient Greek goddess Hecate, aka Hekate, a goddess of magic, mostly a goddess of protective magic and sometimes a goddess of bitter, wicked witchcraft. In the well-known Greek drama Medea by Euripides (died c. 406 BC), a husband abandons his wife to marry another woman, and the abandoned wife says: "By the goddess I worship most of all, my chosen helper Hecate.... bitter will I make their marriage for them" – ref. One of the symbols of Hekate was a sandal shoe, and predominantly this was in grammatical singular, one sandal shoe. A common word for sandal shoe in ancient Greek was σανδαλον SANDALON. In the Greek papyri of late antiquity, the sandal shoe of Hekate is numerous times said to be brass or bronze or golden, and in other words there are numerous records of χάλκεον τὸ σάνδαλον and χρύσεον τὸ σάνδαλον and χρυσοσάνδαλον, etc, in relation to Hekate. In Greek late antiquity, sometimes the myths and traditions attached to Hekate were blended with those attached to the goddess Ereshkigal. In the papyrus in question, Hekate Ereshkigal is named as a single entity. The papyrus in question is only one sheet of paper and has only a half page of text. The following is most of it:
Charm of Hecate Ereschigal against fear of punishment (in the underworld): If he (a punishment daimon) comes forth, say to him: “I am Ereschigal, the one holding her thumbs, and not even one evil can befall her.” If however he comes close to you, take hold of your right heel and recite the following: “Ereschigal, virgin, bitch, serpent, wreath, key, herald's wand, golden sandal [Greek: σάνδαλον] of the Lady of Tartaros [i.e. the golden sandal shoe of Hecate].” And you will avert him.... “PHORBA PHORBA BRIMO AZZIEBYA.” Take bran of first quality and one sandal shoe [Greek σανδαλον [sic]] and very bitter vinegar and soak them together. And write the name of so-and-so upon it, and inscribe it in such a way that you speak over it into the light the name of Hecate, and this: “Take away his sleep from such-and-such a person”, and he will be sleepless and worried.. In Latin, the earliest for sandalwood is in the late 11th century in the Arabic-to-Latin translations of Constantinus Africanus, where Latin sandalum translated Arabic sandal. There is no record in Latin prior to Constantinus. The Works of Constantinus Africanus, Volume One consists of Arabic-to-Latin translations of medical books and it contains this word about 130 times – ref (requires full download) – a number that reflects the substantial role that sandalwood had in Arabic medicine. As offspring from Constantinus's translations, the word is frequent in the Salernitan School of Latin medicine writings of the 12th and 13th centuries – e.g., e.g., e.g.. Powder of sandalwood was put as an additive in medicines. The aroma was a key feature, but the Arabs believed it had medicinal virtues beyond the aroma, and their beliefs were adopted by the Latins. Many records are in Latin in the later-medieval centuries. Reflecting the late medieval popularity of sandalwood, the word is in late medieval Italian, Catalan, Spanish, French, and English, all spelling it with a 'd' as in sandal, all taking it initially from the Latin. The vast majority of sandalwood's medieval Latin & Latinate records are in medicine contexts, and the specific medicine usages were copied from Arabic medicine practices. (The Arabs for their part had copied from the medicine practices of the Indians for sandalwood). Modern dictionaries who have endorsed the conclusion that the medieval Latin name was from the medieval Arabic name include ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref.
Today's scientific or New Latin name for the sandalwood tree genus is "Santalum", with a letter 't', a wordform not found in Latin Europe until the 16th century. This is a Renaissance-era refashioning modelled after a Greek wordform santal__. The wordform with 't' was adopted by 16th-century Classicizing Latin Humanists. Those Classicizing Humanists include Jacobus Sylvius (died 1555) in his Latin medicines texts T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, and Leonhart Fuchs (died 1566) in his Latin medicines texts T1, T2, and some other mid-16th-century Latin medicines writers. Their classicizing agenda meant it would have been proper for them to spell it with 't' if it had been in use with 't' in antiquity. Thus, apparently, their motive for adopting 't' was they believed it was in Greek in late antiquity. The wordform santal__ with 't' with meaning sandalwood is not found in Greek until 12th or 13th century – see earlier in this paragraph the refs labelled ref-1, ref-2, & ref-5. Greek of the 12th century was too late for 't' to be proper for the classicizing Latin agenda.
- ^ candy Many medieval Arabic dictionaries – including Al-Jauhari's Al-Sihāh dated about 1003 – have قند qand defined firstly as the juice or honey of sugar cane. Secondly they define qand as this juice solidified. By Arabic grammar, qandī = "from qand, or of qand ". In medieval Arabic texts qand is a somewhat frequent word. But qandī is very hard to find; qandī does not show up in the text collections available via note #2 above. Although qandī is very rare and possibly completely non-existent in texts, qandī is usually preferred to qand as the parent of the European "candy" for phonetic and syntactic reasons. Candy's earliest reported dates in the European languages: British Latin candi = 1253; French candi = 1256; Italian-Latin çucari canti (sugar candy) = 1259; Italian candi = 1310, Italian zucchero candi = 1330s; Spanish cande = 1325-1326, Spanish açucar candi = circa 1400; Netherlands Dutch candijt and candi = 2nd half of 14th century, Netherlands suckercandy = circa 1380; German kandith = circa 1400, German sucker candigen (sugar candy) = 1445; English candy = circa 1420. An English-to-Latin dictionary about 1440 has English sukyr candy translated as Latin sucura de candia. A medicine book in English in 1543 defined "suger candy of a syrupe" as a substance congealed and solidified from a syrup. The word was rare in English until the later 16th century. Refs: Baheth.info, DMLBS, MED, DÉAF, TLIO, Aprosio, CORDE, Egymologiebank.nl, Raja Tazi, Geschichte des Zuckers, NED, Promptorium parvulorum, Traheron's glossary. See also an introduction to the history of sugar in the medieval period.
- ^ candy An ancient Sanskrit text called Arthashastra (around 3rd century AD) has word khaṇḍa meaning cane sugar made in a certain way – ref: The Sugar Cane Industry: An Historical Geography from its Origins to 1914, by J.H. Galloway, year 1989, on page 20. Sanskrit khaṇḍa had other meanings also (ref). Speculatively, it has some potential to have been the parent of the Persian qand = "cane sugar". In subtle contrast, the medieval Arabic qand more often meant "the juice or honey of sugar cane" – قند @ Baheth.info. The Arabic qand was probably from the Persian qand, in view of the historical diffusion evidence that sugar cultivation spread from India into Iran and then went from Iran into the Arabic-speaking countries. The historical diffusion evidence is in the chapter "The Origin and Expansion of Sugar Production in the Islamic World" in the book Sugar in the Social Life of Medieval Islam, by Tsugitaka Sato, year 2014. Diffusion is summarized likewise in J.H. Galloway's book on page 24.
- ^ carat In the early records of the word carat in English, carat referred to the purity of gold, most often of gold coins, and it is only later on that it is seen additionally as a unit of weight. In English the earliest known for carat as purity of gold is 1469 – ref: MED. The earliest known in English where the word was used as a weight is 1555 – ref: NED, ref: EEBO. The English with both meanings is traceable to Italian (via French). In the following paragraphs, most of the attention is put on the word's use in Italy in and around the 13th century. The aim is to affirm that the word in 13th century Italy had come from Arabic. 13th century records in Italy are mostly in Latin.
¶ In medieval Arabic, قيراط qīrāt was frequent with the meaning of a unit of weight (lots of instances at AlWaraq.net). It had more than one definition as a unit of weight. The definition by reference to the weight of a gold dinar coin was common in the early centuries of Islam (e.g.). But during the middle- and later-medieval centuries the weight of the gold dinar coin varied across different Arabic government issuers. In and around the 13th century, gold dinars of different weights and sizes were in circulation at the same time, although the gold purity was almost always very high (23+ carats) – ref. Qīrāt in medieval Arabic was also a pricing term meaning 1/24th of the value of a gold dinar or a 1/24th part of anything – ref, ref.
¶ Arabic qīrāt was descended from ancient Greek keration, which anciently meant a small unit of weight. In medieval Greek, keration (plural: keratia) also meant 1/24th of the value of the Byzantine Greek gold coin and this meaning was in medieval Greek over many centuries including the 10th and 13th centuries – ref.
¶ For the medieval Latins, the word "bezant" (in medieval Latin in wordforms bisancius etc) meant any Arabic or Greek gold coin. It also meant a gold coin issued in the Crusader-controlled Levant in substitution for the Arabic gold coin. In Italian-Latin in Italy, and in Italian-Latin in the Crusader-controlled Levant in commerce documents, the word caratus | karatus | caractum has the meaning 1/24th of the money value of a bezant gold coin in years 1164, 1191, 1203, 1204, 1206, 1210, 1216, 1219, 1225, 1243, 1244, 1249, 1261 and later, and in about a third of these cases the bezant coin was issued by an Arabic government, about a third were issued by the Levant Crusader government, and a third were issued by the Byzantine government – ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref , ref (kar. = karat). In 1266, Italian carrate was used in a way that maybe means purity of gold but maybe not – ref. With clear meaning as the gold purity of gold coins, in Latin there is 20½ caratis circa 1260 and 20 karattis in 1311 and 24 quaratis in 1327, and in Italian 21 carrati in 1324-1328 – ref , ref , ref , ref , ref. Among the Latins, the above two distinct meanings for carat both started in Italian commerce.
¶ At seaport of Marseille in the mid 13th century the Latin wordform cairat__ was in use. Marseille documents include year 1238 "cxi bisanciis et xvi cairatis sarracenatis Acconis" (ref) meaning 111 bezants and 16 carats (carat = 1/24th of one bezant) of the bezant coins issued at Acre city (Acconis) in the Crusader-controlled Levant. Marseille-Latin wordform cairat__ and Catalan-Latin wordform quirat are closer to Arabic qīrāt in the wordform, compared to Italian-Latin wordform carat__. Catalan quirat has first known record in 1315 – ref. 14th century Catalan quirat examples: year 1315, years 1338, 1356, 1362, 1370, and 1381. On the basis of the chronological order and the frequency of records, the word in Catalan was sourced from the word in Italian, notwithstanding that the Catalan wordform quirat shows independent contact with Arabs. In some of the above-linked Catalan examples, the meaning of quirat is gold purity degree, a meaning which was not in use in medieval Arabic; it went into Catalan from Italian. In Catalan in 1315 the meaning of quirat is a tax in Muslim jurisdictions, which is classifiable as being not the same word. The word that Catalan took from Italian is a word still in use in Catalan today, while the word that Catalan took directly from Arabic is dead in Catalan -- except that it affected the Catalan wordform. The next paragraph is about the historical context surrounding the word's adoption in Italy, including especially the adoption of the gold-purity semantics in late 13th century Italy.
¶ For five centuries before 1250, the States and kingdoms of Western Christendom did not issue gold coins, except for a few short-lived and minor issuances in Christian Iberia and Sicily-Naples (for details on the exceptions see ref) (another minor exception is that gold bezants were intermittently issued in the Crusader-controlled Levant at Acre, 1140s-1250s). Silver was the metal of choice for money in the West in those centuries. Starting in 1252 in Republic of Genoa, 1252 in Republic of Florence, and 1284 in Republic of Venice, the northern Italian city-states started issuing 24-carat gold coins. These were well received, and then some other States followed their example, including France in 1290 and England in 1344. During the five centuries prior to 1252, gold coins were almost continually issued by the Arabs and the Greeks. The Arabic and Greek gold coins were well-known in the commercial Latin Mediterranean, because they were accepted as payments in international trade. The Arabic gold coins had multiple independent State issuers, and varied in their gold purity in time and place. But in the 13th century in Egypt and Syria they were generally 23- to 24-carat gold under the Ayyoubids (ref, ref) and this was continued under the early Mamluks (ref), and the generality of the coins of the 13th century Maghreb were of this purity as well (ref). The two main sources of new gold for the Arab and Mediterranean trading regions in the 13th century were in Africa: The Niger-Mali area (carried north to the Maghreb) and the southern Sudan area (ref, ref). The gold coins issued by the Byzantine Greeks were 24-carat up until the middle of the 11th century, and their purity was reduced from then onward. Byzantine purity in the period 1220 to 1280 was 15-carat to 17-carat gold (ref). Minting and circulation of Byzantine gold coins much declined during the 13th century and completely ceased at mid 14th century (ref, ref). 13th-century Italian merchants on the whole did more commerce with Arabs than with Byzantines. But Italian trade with Byzantines was still substantial in the 13th century (ref). As repetition, the Arabic qīrāt was 1/24th of an Arabic gold coin and the Greek keration was 1/24th of a Greek gold coin, and in 12th & 13th century Italy the word "bezant" meant both Arabic and Greek gold coins, and the Italian-Latin word carato in its early use meant 1/24th of the money value of both Arabic and Greek gold coins. Because the parent word of the Italian carato was longstandingly established in both Arabic and Greek, the Italian carato could have come from Arabic and Greek at the same time. When the meaning is "purity of gold", carato is better assigned more predominantly to Arabic (not Greek) because the 13th century Arabic coins generally were 23- to 24-carat gold while the Greek coin was not.
¶ The Arabic-to-Latin translation of the Canon of Medicine of Ibn Sina (died 1037) by translator Gerard of Cremona (died c. 1187) was influential in Latin medical circles. In the translation, Ibn Sina's Arabic qīrāt is always translated as Latin kirat, its meaning is a weight unit, the word is used about 40 times in recipes for medicines, and Ibn Sina says: كل قيراط أربع شعيرات = omnis kirat est iiii grana hordei = "all carats are four barley seeds". In 13th century Latin, the medicine vocabulary of Serapion the Younger was influenced by Cremona's Latin Ibn Sina. Serapion's medicines recipes have kirat as a weight unit – ref. The Latin medicine writers Taddeo Alderotti (died 1295) and Dino di Garbo (died 1327) wrote commentaries on Ibn Sina's Canon of Medicine. Separately from that, Taddeo Alderotti has his own medicines recipes where some weights are in units he calls karates in Latin – ref. Dino di Garbo wrote a 3-page article to reduce confusion concerning the definitions of weights in medicines recipes. Dino invokes Ibn Sina's Canon as his first authority for the definitions. Dino gives Latin spellings karat, kirat, karatos – ref, alt-ref. It is okay to suppose that Taddeo Alderotti and Dino di Garbo have wordform karat__ instead of wordform kirat because phonetically karat__ was standard with the 13th century Italian merchants.
¶ Late 14th & early 15th century French had the grammatical plural wordform karas | karaz | caras | caraz | quaras | quarais | quaraiz | quarraz = "carats" and this was in use meaning both gold purity degree and a small weight unit – ref, ref, ref. Records in French or French-Latin are overall much later than in Italian-Latin except that one or maybe two isolated records are in French in late 13th century, both of which are in texts that show contact with Arabic sources – DÉAF. The two exceptionally older French texts are GhatrifGhatrif was translated from Arabic to Latin in Italy about year 1240. The Latin was afterwards translated to French. The standardly reported date for the French is about 20 years after the Latin. A summary of the basis for the standard date is at Ref (in French). There is reason to be suspicious that the true date of the French could be 14th century: The French Ghatrif has lots of words that are not found elsewhere in French until 14th century and the earliest manuscript in French is 14th century. The complete French Ghatrif is online at Ref. and SydrachThe book of Sidrach aka Sidrac aka Sydrac aka Sydrach is a book influenced by Arabic sources. Its first French version is dated around 1300. Later French versions have enlargement. The book survives in many 14th-15th century manuscripts in French. It has carat or quarat depending on the manuscript. and they have the word as a weight unit.
- ^ caraway + carvi Arabic الكرويا al-karawiyā or الكراويا al-karāwiyā = "caraway seed" is in medieval Arabic general-purpose dictionaries. It comes up as a spice in dozens of recipes in the 10th-century cookery book of Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq (ref), and in dozens of recipes in an anonymous Andalusian cookery book of the 13th century (ref , ref). The way to grow the plant is discussed in the 10th-century Arabic Book of Nabataean Agriculture (ref) and in the 12th-century agriculture book of Ibn al-Awwam (ref). The seeds are used as a medicine in the medicine books of Al-Razi (died c. 930) (ref), Ibn Sina (died 1037) (ref) and Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248) (ref). The word is in other medieval Arabic books (some examples).
¶ It is assessed by today's botanists that the caraway plant is native in Northern Europe, and native in the Armenian Highlands, and NOT native in most Arabic-speaking areas. The medieval Latins adopted numerous culinary spices from the medieval Arabs, and adopted the Arabic names for them in numerous cases. A majority of these spices were from the Indies. A few were from plants native in the Mediterranean area. The better-known spice-names adopted as names by the medieval Latins from the medieval Arabs are: cubeb, curcuma, galangal, lemon, orange (medieval oranges were all bitter), saffron, sumac, tamarind, tarragon -- each discussed elsewhere on this page. The two spices saffron and sumac were commonly consumed by the ancient Greeks & Romans, but it is demonstrable that the two names saffron and sumac were adopted by the medieval Latins from medieval Arabic. The medieval Latin carui = "caraway" was taken from medieval Arabic as well, as argued in the following paragraphs.
¶ From Arabic al-karawiyā, 14th and 15th century Spanish had alcarauea | alcarauia | alcarahueya | alcarahuya | alcarabea = "caraway". 14th and 15th century Catalan alcarahuya | carahuia | alcarahuye + alcarauya = "caraway". The writing system in the medieval Latinate languages used one and the same letter for the two sounds /u/ and /v/. The word in today's Spanish is alcaravea. You can see the Spanish wordform alcarabea in the 15th century linked above. It signals that the wordform alcarauea was pronounced ALCARAVEA at least sometimes. But you can also see the 15th century wordforms like alcarahuya, which are signalling a different pronunciation. Medieval Sicilian Italian has caruya | caruye = "caraway" with date before 1312 – ref. Its pronunciation was maybe KAR-U-I-A or KAR-VI-A. Its wordform on its face -- caruya, caruye -- is foreign-looking and says it came from the Arabic karawiyā.
¶ Latin carui = "caraway" occurs dozens of times in the works of the Arabic-to-Latin medical translator Constantinus Africanus (died c. 1087) – ref , ref Book, Omnia Opera Ysaac, published at Lyon in year 1515. Nearly all of this book is output of Constantinus Africanus, and nearly all of Constantinus's output was translated from Arabic authors. The book's publisher attributed the original authorship of all of it to an Arabic author Isaac (Isaac Israeli, aka Isḥaq al-Isra’ili, died c. 932). Hence the Ysaac or Isaac in the book's title. The publisher was much mistaken about that. However, a more serious problem with this publication is it propagates some text insertions done in Latin by anonymous undated people sometime later than Constantinus Africanus. The insertions are mainly in the ''Practica'' chapters towards the end of the book. The edition at Basel in the late 1530s is generally preferable to the edition at Lyon in 1515.. The Latin word and wordform carui meaning "caraway" is easy to find from the 12th century onward. It is apparently entirely absent in Latin before Constantinus Africanus -- but there is a hurdle or complication involved in saying this. Ancient Greek karo | karon | karos, and ancient & early medieval Latin careum meant one or more aromatic edible seeds and the name may have meant the caraway. In the ancient and early medieval records, the name is uncommon and the species it names is never clear. Dioscorides in Greek in the 1st century AD said "Karo[s] is a... little seed.... It has much the same nature as anise. The boiled root is edible as a vegetable." – ref. Many aromatic seeds (including caraway) can be fitted to that statement within the botanical family Apiaceae. The Latin encyclopedia of Isidore of Seville (died 636) has no mention of caraway, though it has a chapter on cultivated aromatic edibles in which it mentions cumin, anise, corriander, fennel, dill, parsley, chervil, and lovage, all of which are plants in the Apiaceae family and have edible aromatic seeds, and the roots of around half of them are edible after boiling them for a while – ref, ref. The medicinal-botany book of Macer Floridus in Latin in France in the 11th century has no mention of caraway, though it mentions cumin, coriander, fennel, dill, chervil, lovage, celery seeds, fenugreek seeds, and others – ref. The Latin agriculture book of Palladius (lived circa 400 AD) does not mention caraway, though it mentions cumin 7 times, coriander 8 times, and has fenugreek seeds, anise, fennel, dill, and some other Apiaceaes – ref. The early medieval Greek agriculture book of Cassianus Bassus has numerous mentions for each of cumin, anise, fennel, dill, ammi (ἄμμι) seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek, and others, and no mention of any karo akin to what Dioscorides mentioned – ref, ref. The medicines encyclopedia of Alexander of Tralles, 6th century Greek, has no karo or caraway, though it has numerous mentions for cumin, coriander, fennel, lovage, ammi, nigella, etc – ref. Symeon Seth is the author of a book on foods and medicines in Greek in the late 11th century. Symeon Seth's book has no karo, though it has talk about the Apiaceaes anise, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley, and the non-Apiaceaes nigella, mint, etc – ref, ref. Symeon Seth and some other medieval Greek texts have καρναβαδιον karnabadion meaning caraway seed – ref, ref (on line 12), ref. Karnabadion was a foreign name in medieval Greek and it corresponds to medieval Arabic قرنباد qarnabād | qaranbād meaning caraway, which is documented in medieval Arabic with low frequency meaning caraway – medieval Arabic examples include e.g., e.g., e.g. (the word went into Arabic from Persian qaranbād). Hortulus by Walafrid Strabo (lived in southern Germany, died 849) is a short commentary on the virtues of miscellaneous ancillary garden plants, it mentions chervil, dill, celery seeds, mint, and some others, and does not mention caraway – ref. Herbarium of Apuleius, roughly 5th-6th century, does not mention caraway – ref. From these non-mentions we can say that the caraway was not in widespread use in Latin or Greek before the time of Constantinus Africanus. The Latin agriculture book of Columella (died 70 AD) has one mention of a thing careum: "Dry flavorings... such as careum, cumin, fennel seeds, Egyptian anise". This word in Columella has been read as meaning caraway by some translators (e.g.) and not by others (e.g.). Pliny (died 79 AD) wrote: "Careum is an exotic plant, which derives its name from the country in which it was first grown, Caria [in southwest Turkey]; it is principally employed for culinary purposes." – ref. The caraway plant does not grow natively in southwest Turkey. Pliny's "exotic" careum is liable to be something other than caraway because the Apiaceae family has hundreds of edible aromatic species and the few mentions of the careum in ancient texts do not give specificity. The Latin cookery book of Apicius, roughly dated 4th century AD, has recipes involving an undescribed flavouring called in Latin careum and carei, and it is often read as meaning "caraway" – ref, ref. Latin text Capitulare de Villis in France about year 800 has a list of useful garden plants to be grown, the list includes "cumin, rosemary, careium, chickpea..." and the careium is often read as meaning "caraway" – ref, alt-ref. Reading careum | carei | careium as meaning "caraway" was controversial back in the 16th century (e.g.) and 19th century (e.g.) and 20th century (e.g.). The information basis for reading it as caraway is very slim, vague, and questionable, though it may be correct. If it were correct, it would not imply that it was the parent of the medieval Latin carui. From the phonetic point of view it would be an irregularity to produce the Latin carui out of the Latin careum | carei | careium. The first record of Latin carui is in Constantinus Africanus and this is one sign that it arrived from the Arabic.
¶ Constantinus Africanus's translations were influential among the Salernitan School of medicine writers of the 12th & 13th centuries. One of those was Matthaeus Platearius (died c. 1160). Platearius lived in southern Italy. He wrote: "Carui herba est et semen . in transmarinis partibus et sicilia reperitur copiose" = "Carui is a herb and seed. In overseas places and Sicily it is obtained abundantly." – ref, alt-link. His book's word "overseas" always means the Arabic-speaking lands. His book was translated to French in the 13th century. The 13th century French translation says: "Carui.... c'est la semence d'un[e] herbe qui creist outre mer" = "Carui is the seed of a herb that grows overseas" – ref. Which is discordant with the idea that this name was in continuance from the careium grown in France in the Capitulare de Villis.
¶ Constantinus Africanus lived in Italy and so did most of the writers of the 12th-13th century Latin records of carui. Italian medievally has it spelled carui = "caraway". Several points in this paragraph and the next paragraph below show that carui must be read aloud as CARUI and CARVI, both. Today's Italian has it always carvi. Today's Italian cavolo = "cabbage" is in medieval Italian as cauolo, caulo, kaolo, colo (ref), from Classical Latin caulis | colis = "cabbage". The medieval Italian-Latin carui was from the medieval Arabic karawiyā in the opinion of today's Italian etymology dictionaries, those dictionaries including Treccani, TLIO, GDLI, Sapere, Pellegrini, Pianigiani, and LEI vol xi. Medieval Italian and Italian-Latin did not use a sound /w/ in any words; it did have /u/ near /w/. Phonetically changing an Arabic /w/ to a medieval Italian-Latin sound /v/ has parallel examples elsewhere on this page in the three English words "average", "caravan" and "Vega" – all three of which have records in the 12th-13th centuries in Italian-Latin. Another example of going from Arabic /w/ to Italian /v/ is medieval Italian-Latin and Italian dovana. Some documents with dovana: anno 1256, 1260, 1265, 1330, 1346, 1353, 1397. Dovana is synonymous with Italian duana | doana | dugana | dogana, whose earliest records in European languages are in Latin at seaports in Italy in 2nd half of 12th century as duana (ref , ref), and this came from Arabic ديوان dīwān. ﴾ The Italian duana | doana was the parent of the synonymous Spanish aduana | adoana – ref Spanish records start in 1270s as doana and adoana and all early instances in Spanish are referring to duanas at Mediterranean seaports including especially the seaport at Seville. The Spanish speakers did not possess any Mediterranean seaport in Iberia until their military victories in the 2nd quarter of 13th century. The word has records at the following seaports in Italy with the following start dates in Italian-Latin: Pisa 1154, Savona 1162, Palermo 1170, Salerno 1174, Messina 1185, Genoa 1203, Venice 1207, Marseille 1210 (Marseille was under influence of Genoa). The early Italian-Latin word was a word of marine commerce in Italy. Spanish borrowed many words from Italy in the domain of Mediterranean marine commerce in the years 1250-1350, which is the years just after the Spanish speakers got possession of some seaports on the Mediterranean coast. The Latinate syllable du- | do- for the Arabic dīw- is phonetically distinctive and it was a creation done in Italy and was transferred from Italian into Spanish. In a hypothetical scenario where ديوان dīwān had been borrowed by Spanish, a notional normal Spanish wordform would have had the syllable di- | de- not du- | do-. ﴿. Another example is 12th century Italian-Latin bedevini = 13th century Italian beddovini = modern English "bedouins", spelled Bedewini by a Crusader chronicler from England in the Levant in the 1190s writing in Latin (he being from England, he had no problem with using the letter w), spelled most often in medieval Latin beduini (probable pronunciation: BED-U-INI), from Arabic بدوي bedawī(īn) | بداوي bedāwī(īn). Modern Italian ovatta = "wadding" (starts 1667/1674 – ref) came from French ouate = "wadding" (starts 1493 – ref), which is the same word as German watte = "wadding" (starts 1682 – ref).
¶ Medieval French had carui meaning caraway. The majority of its records are in medicine books influenced by Constantinus Africanus. That includes all of its French records before 1360 that I have seen. The word is uncommon overall in medieval French. One book with carui in French about year 1300 cites "Constantin" by name a half dozen times – ref. That book has also in French berberis, borage, cuscute, sene, which are botanical names that have their earliest records in European languages in Constantinus Africanus (each of them discussed elsewhere on this page). Writers and printers used one and the same letter for the two sounds /u/ and /v/ in all words until the later 17th century. Some 16th-17th century French books have the explicitly printed caruï, which signals that the medieval and early post-medieval French carui was pronounced caruï (KARU-I) at least sometimes. Examples of the printed French caruï meaning caraway: anno 1555, 1605. After printers began distinguishing u from v in the late 17th century, a book printed in 1682 in French has "avec la ſemence de carui" (ref); similarly a book in 1683 in French has "suivi... carui... genevre... carui... l'orvietan... carui... guaïac... carui... convient... carui " (ref); and similarly in books in 1699 and 1717. This shows the word being pronounced KARU-I. The medicines book Regime du Corps by Aldebrandin is a 13th-century French compilation and translation from 12th-century Latin books. Aldebrandin has the word spelled caroi in French (ref), which again shows that the medieval carui was pronounced KARU-I at least sometimes; i.e., caroi shows that carui was not pronounced KARVI. Today in French it is carvi, which came from the Italian carvi.
¶ English "caraway" came from the medieval Latin & French carui pronounced in Latin & French as caruï (KARU-I). Late medieval English has it spelled carewy | carwy | carwey | carewey | caraway – ref. Additionally late medieval English has it spelled carui in medicines books – ref. (Late medieval Netherlands Dutch has carui | carvi – ref). The English "caraway" does not show classical Latin breeding: The letter 'w' was created in medieval northern Europe to represent a sound that did not occur in medieval Latin (excepting Germanic names in medieval Latin), and the words of the English language with letter 'w' are rarely of Latin descent.
¶ Today's international Latin botany name for the caraway plant is Carum Carvi. The carvi component of Carum Carvi is judged to be from medieval Arabic karawiyā intermediated by medieval Latin carui and late medieval Italian carvi. The modern Latin botany name carvi was used in creating the names of the organic chemicals "carvone", "carveol", and "carvacrol" (-acr- = "acrid"). The carum component of Carum Carvi was lifted by post-medieval taxonomists from carum in a year 1516 Greek-to-Latin translation of Dioscorides's Materia Medica by translator Ruellius, where the translation had put Dioscorides's Greek karo[s] as Latin carum.
- ^ carob The medieval Arabic kharrūb = "carob" has forerunning documentation in the 3rd to 5th centuries AD in Syriac & Aramaic as ḥarrūbā = "carob" – Dictionary of Aramaic and Syriac. The medieval Arabic dictionaries have two or three Arabic wordforms: خرّوب kharrūb | خرنوب kharnūb | khurnūb – Dictionary of Plants by Abu Hanifa al-Dinawari (died c. 895) , Lane's Lexicon page 716-717 , الخروب @ Baheth.info. The geography book by Al-Muqaddasi (died c. 995) lists the carob as a product that is rarely produced outside the Levant – ref, ref. The carob is associated specifically with the Levant in various other medieval Arabic authors – ref الخرنوب الشامي @ AlWaraq.net , الخروب الشامي @ AlWaraq.net.
¶ No documentation of the word carob in Latin having a date before the 12th century has been found by me and I say reporters finding the contrary are in error about their documentation -- details omitted. A very early record in Latin is "arboribus de quarubiis" = "carob trees" in a Latin Crusader in the Levant believed correctly dated 1116-1137 – ref. French quarobles = "carobs" is in a Crusader in the Levant in the 1190s – ref. Year 1263 in Sicily in Latin: "land on which are trees of carruba, almond, and fig" – ref. Year 1273 Occitan at seaport of Narbonne: "garrovas e prunas secas" = "dried carob pods and dried plums" – ref. A Latin medicines book in Italy in 1317 listed the Latin spellings karnub, carnub, karubia, carrubia, currubia and said it is synonymous with Latin xiliqua | siliqua – ref. The encyclopedia of Vincent de Beauvais (died 1264) uses only the name siliqua for carob and it has two short chapters about carob pods & carob trees – ref-1 , ref-2. Siliqua was an old Latin name for carob pods and carob seeds (although Latin siliqua also meant the pod of any legume). Carob has a small but significant number of records in classical Latin under this old name. The propagation of the carob tree is in the ancient Latin agriculture books of Columella (died 70 AD) and Palladius (lived c 400 AD) – ref. The ancient Romans consumed the carob pods in several preparation ways, as described by Pliny (died 79 AD). Carbonized remains of carob pods have been reported at an archeological site of ancient southern Italy – ref. Because the Latins already had the name siliqua for carob, the Latin adoption of the Arabic name kharrūb seems unmotivated. I presume and believe there was a driver that drove the Latins to adopt the Arabic name, but I fail to see what it was. In late-medieval sea-commerce by Italians, the carob pods were called car(r)ube | carobbe | carroba, they were transported in large sacks, and there are enough surviving records to show that the overall volume of trade in them was not very small – ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref.
- ^ check When borrowing a word from Persian whose last letter was ـه h , medieval Arabic changed the last letter to q or j in some cases. A few examples are given in Lammens, year 1890 page 103 footnote 1. Another example is medieval Arabic نيلج nīlaj = "indigo dye" from Persian نیله nīlah with same meaning (ref). Another example is medieval Arabic بورق būraq = "sodium carbonate and similar salts" from Persian بوره būrah with same meaning (ref). Those changed spellings are evidence that Persian terminal ـه h was pronounced ‘hard’ in medieval Arabic.
- ^ check French eschas | esches meaning "chess" has lots of records in French in the 12th & 13th centuries, which are cited at DÉAF.
- ^ cipher ^ zero Based on the number of medieval manuscript copies that survive today, the most-often-read introduction to the Hindu-Arabic numbers in Europe in the medieval era was the one by Johannes de Sacrobosco written in Latin about 1230, about 20 pages long. Another popular one was by Alexander de Villa Dei, written in Latin about 1220, about 10 pages long. Both of them use cifra | cyfra for "zero" and they have it more than two dozen times each – ref, ref. In the English language from the late medieval period until the 2nd half of the 19th century, the name for zero was usually either "nought" or "cifre | cipher | cypher" – ref 1a , ref 1b , ref 2a , ref 2b , ref 3. Nathan Bailey's English Dictionary in 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. Meanwhile, the use of "cipher" & "decipher" to mean "encrypt" & "decrypt" started in English in the 16th century, borrowed from French – cipher @ NED , decipher @ NED , chiffre @ DMF , déchiffrer @ DMF.
- ^ civet The statements of Al-Mas'udi and Shams al-Din al-Dimashqi about زباد zabād = "civet" were noted by Henri Lammens, year 1890. Al-Mas'udi's 10th century geography book is in Arabic with al-zabād at Ref. Shams al-Din al-Dimashqi's 14th century geography book is in Arabic with al-zabād at Ref. Zabād is closely related in form to the Arabic زبد zabad = "foam" but is not necessarily derived from it.
- ^ abelmosk The "abelmosk" plant or "musk seed" plant (called Abelmoschus moschatus in today's botanical Latin) is a native of Tropical East Asia. It requires a 9-month-long growing season (ref). In Egypt it was in irrigated cultivation in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and that was when European botanists got specimens of it from Egypt and adopted the name from Egypt. The Italian-Latin botanist Prospero Alpini (died 1617) visited Egypt in the 1580s. He called the plant in Latin "Abelmosch", "Aegyptii Mosch", and "Bammia Muschata", where بامية bāmiya is Arabic for okra, a.k.a. Abelmoschus Esculentus, mosch is Latin for musk, Aegypti is Latin for Egypt, and Abel is an Italian-Latin representation of Arabic habb el- = "seed". Ref: De Plantis Exoticis by Prospero Alpini. The botanist Johann Veslingius visited Egypt around 1630. He wrote the name in Latin as "hab el mosch" in De Plantis Aegyptiis Observationes et Notae ad Prosperum Alpinum, by Johann Veslingius, year 1638. The plant was called "Ketmia Aegyptiaca" by some other European botanists of the 17th-18th centuries. The abelmosk seed is small and the odor is mainly in the shell. In 17th-18th century Europe, the whole seeds were used as a room odorant and some people carried whole seeds in clothing. The odoriferous essence was extractable by steam distillation, a method well-known to perfume makers. Consistent with the assessment that abelmosk was unknown in Europe until the end of the 16th, abelmosk is not present under any name in the year 1560 book in Italian, "Notable Secrets of the Art of Perfumery" – Notandissimi secreti de l'arte profumatoria. Arabic حبّ المسك habb el-misk, literally "musk seed", meaning the aromatic seed of the abelmosk plant, has no reported record in medieval Arabic with this meaning. In the big collection of medieval Arabic texts at AlWaraq.net, the phrase or a variant of it occurs a few times, but the meaning is not this seed in the contexts. And this seed is apparently not present under any other name in any of the better-known medieval Arabic texts that have lots of content about aromatic botanicals – more about this point is at Note #153 below. Today's Spanish dictionaries have abelmosco = "abelmosk". No record of this word is known in Spanish until sometime long after the word was brought to Europe from Egypt by Prospero Alpini (e.g. Spanish year 1785). Therefore, Spanish abelmosco is from the modern Latin abelmoschus of Alpini and his followers.
- ^ coffee Book All About Coffee, by William H. Ukers, year 1922, chapter 1 "Dealing with the Etymology of Coffee" and chapter 3 "Early History of Coffee Drinking". This book reports: Coffee-drinking as we know it has its earliest reliable record in mid-15th-century Yemen; it arrived in Cairo in the early 16th; it became widespread in the Ottoman Empire during the 16th; and it arrived in Western Europe in the early 17th. All the coffee of the 16th and 17th centuries came from Yemen. Most of it arrived in Mediterranean markets through Egypt. The earliest importers into Western Europe were Venetians who used the word caffè (1615), from the Turkish kahve. Venetian sea-merchants at that time had predominance in all kinds of seaborne trade between the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Europe. This pushed their wordform caffè to prevalance in Western Europe. Derivatives from it are seen in today's German kaffee, Spanish café, etc. Regarding the English wordform coffee and Dutch koffie, some of today's dictionaries derive coffee from the Venetian caffè while some others say it came independently from the Turkish kahve.
- ^ cotton Book: The Italian Cotton Industry in the Later Middle Ages, by Maureen Fennell Mazzaoui, year 1981, "Chapter I: Cotton cultivation in the ancient and medieval world" and "Chapter II: The Mediterranean cotton trade 1100–1600".
- ^ crimson ^ kermes In the late medieval centuries in English, French, Italian, Catalan, Spanish, and Latin, the Kermes red dye was usually called grain, grana | granum. At the same time, late medievally, there was Italian word chermisi | carmesi, Italian cremisino, French cramoisi | cremesy, French cremosyn, Spanish carmesi | carmesy, Spanish cremesin | carmisin, English "cremesyn" | "crimsin", all referring to red color from cochineal-type cloth dye. 14th & 15th century Latin had the same word as cremesinus | carmesinus, which contains the Latin suffix -inus = "arising out of". Parallelwise: medieval Italian verzi ➜ medieval Italian verzino; medieval Italian aranci ➜ medieval Italian arancino; medieval Italian celest(r)e ➜ medieval Italian celest(r)ino.
¶ The Italian carmesi | carmisi is in Italian since around year 1300 (earliest at TLIO is circa 1310). That is a century earlier than the first for carmesí | carmesy in Spanish (earliest at CORDE is c. 1430). The Italian carmesi came from the Arabic qirmizī in the Eastern Mediterranean exclusively. Details about the Arabic and Italian records are coming up in the paragraphs below. Also below is an intent to show that the word in Spanish & Catalan came from Italian. Longstandingly everybody has agreed, correctly, the European word came from the Arabic qirmiz(ī). But there have been misconceptions and fogginess about the way it came from Arabic, which the following 18 paragraphs intend to clear up.
¶ A number of distinct scale-insect species yield similar but distinct red dyes. The distinctions are going to be relevant. All of them are cochineal insects and cochineal dyes in my terminology (another terminology uses the word cochineal more narrowly than I will be using it). Kermes cochineal in English today is one of them. The Kermes insect is native in the Mediterranean region. It was used as a red dye by the Greeks and Romans of antiquity. In classical Latin the Kermes insect was called coccum, and by extension coccum | coccin(e)us meant rich red color – ref, ref. As shown in the next paragraph below, the medieval Arabic qirmiz meant most often the insect which in today's English is called Armenian cochineal, being of the insect genus Porphyrophora, and not the genus Kermes. The Porphyrophora cochineal insects are not native in the Mediterranean region, and were not propagated alive there, and the question of how often they were imported as a dye into Latin Europe is surrounded with difficulties and lacks a good answer. The Porphyrophora cochineal insects come in two species, called Armenian cochineal and Polish cochineal. The Armenian one lives in Armenia and Iranian Azerbaijan. The Polish one lives in Poland and Ukraine. The Polish and Armenian cochineals have the same active dye chemical (carminic acid). The Kermes cochineal has a similar but distinct dye chemical (kermesic acid). Another similar but distinct cochineal is Lac cochineal, from insects native in India (having dye chemical laccaic acid). Mexican cochineal became the dominant cochineal in Europe before 1600 for two economic reasons: the Mexican insects contain ten times higher concentration of dye chemical (namely, carminic acid) and the insects were propagated and harvested with relative ease in Mexico and Peru. The cornerstone of the similar but distinct dye chemicals is anthraquinone (C14H8O2). The shade of an anthraquinone red can be changed towards orange or towards purple by mixing it with an acid (for orange) or an alkali (for purple) or a sulfate salt (examples).
¶ The dictionary of Al-Sahib Ibn ʿAbbad (died c. 995; lived in Iran and Iraq) states: "قِرْمِزُ qirmiz is Armenian red dye" – Ref. The dictionary of Ibn Sida (died 1066; lived in southern Iberia) states: "Al-Qirmiz is Armenian red dye. The dye is said to come from juice of worms living in scrublands. The word is Arabicized Persian." – Ref. Ibn Sida's statement was copied into the dictionaries of Ibn Manzur (died 1312) and Fairuzabadi (died 1414) – قرمز @ Baheth.info. The geography book of Al-Istakhri (died c. 957; lived in Iran) gives information about the exports and commercial activities of many regions. It says al-qirmiz dye is an export from the territory of what is now Republic of Armenia and adjacent Azerbaijan (medieval territory's capital town دبيل Dabīl = Dvin). Al-Istakhri's book does not mention qirmiz produced anywhere else. It says the qirmiz comes from worms and is used for dyeing wool – Ref. Al-Istakhri's info was copied into the geography book of Ibn Hawqal (died c. 988) – Ref. The geography book of Al-Muqaddasi (died circa 995; lived in Palestine, visited Iraq and Iran) has a chapter about the region of Azerbaijan & Armenia. Al-Muqaddasi in this chapter says that a special feature of this region is "its wonderful qirmiz worms" – Ref, alt-link. He says Armenia & Azerbaijan "is without rival for... their qirmiz and their fabric patterns and their colors" – Ref. Al-Muqaddasi says "al-qirmiz is a worm that comes out of the soil" and it is gathered in the vicinity of Dabīl town in Armenia – Ref, alt-link. The Armenian cochineal insect larvas feed underground on the roots of certain herbaceous plants. When the larvas change into adults they come to the surface to mate, and die soon afterwards. The cochineal-rich female adults were collected at the surface in the mating season in Armenia. (But in Poland it was necessary to dig up the soil to collect the Polish cochineal insects). A certain short text is attributed to Al-Jahiz (died c. 869; lived in Iraq), and the attribution to Al-Jahiz is maybe a false one, but anyway it is quotable as a medieval text by somebody: "Al-qirmiz of Armenia.... It is said about al-qirmiz that a herbaceous plant in its roots brings on the growth of a red worm." – Ref, alt-link. In contrast to all the above authors, Ibn Al-Baitar (died 1248; lived near Mediterranean Sea coast) has a description of qirmiz and "qirmiz worms" that clearly means the Kermes cochineal and cannot mean the Armenian cochineal – Ref (page 664). Ibn al-Baitar is in a minority among medieval Arabic authors in using the word with this meaning. Most of the medieval Arabic records of qirmiz are in authors located in Iraq and Iran. Medieval Iraq and Iran has numerous records of qirmiz, but whenever this qirmiz is described it means the Porphyrophora cochineal from Armenia & Azerbaijan. In other words there is no description from medieval Iraq or Iran of qirmiz meaning Kermes insect or Kermes dye. The Kermes insects feed pretty much exclusively on the sap of the young branches of two species of small Quercus trees that are native and commonplace in the Mediterranean rim region. Primarily the Quercus Coccifera, and secondarily the Quercus Ilex. But these two Quercus species do not grow natively in Iraq or Iran as adjudged by today's botanists (ref, ref, ref, ref) and they have not been introduced there in non-tiny numbers. Therefore the Kermes cochineal was not gathered in Iraq or Iran. As a point of Arabic grammar, "relating to qirmiz " = "qirmizī ". Al-Razi (died c. 930; lived in Iran), in a book about medicine, has a bandage dressing with صوف قرمزي souf qirmizī = "wool dyed with qirmiz " – Ref. Al-Biruni (died c. 1050; lived in Iran), in a book about precious stones, says: "The color of the ruby stone is red.... It comes in various quality grades.... The most desirable is the pomegranate grade.... As an analogy, if you drop qirmizī blood [دم قرمزي] onto a polished silver plate you get the ruby color of the pomegranate ruby." – Ref (on page 20). Other examples of Arabic writers who mention qirmiz and whose books are at AlWaraq.net include: Al-Ya'qubi (died 897-898; born in Iraq, lived in Armenia and Iran, later lived in Egypt) (Ref), Ibn Duraid (died c. 933; lived in Iraq) (Ref), Ibn Abd Rabbih (died 940; copied from Iraqi sources) (Ref).
¶ Medieval records in the Armenian language show the name of the Armenian cochineal dye in the Armenian language was vortan garmir | vordan karmir, where garmir | karmir = "red" and vortan | vordan = "of worms" – Ref, alt-link. Armenian writer Ghazar Parpetsi lived in the late 5th century AD and he wrote: "The valley of Ararat grows a sort of grass on which breed insects from which vortan is produced, used for profit and for gorgeous dyeing" – same ref; and alt-ref. The Arabic geographer Ibn Hawqal (died c. 988) said about Azerbaijan and adjacent Armenia: "Throughout this country the Persian and Arabian languages are understood. The inhabitants also use the Armenian tongue and other tongues." – Ref – and essentially the same statement is in the geography book by Al-Istakhri (died c. 957) – Ref.
¶ An Italian merchant report titled Zibaldone da Canal dated probably about 1310 (ref for date) has one of the word's earliest records in European languages and it occurs in the statement "Seda carmesì se pesa a Laiaça " (ref: TLIO) which is translateable as "Crimson silk in the unit measurements of the seaport town of Laiaça in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia", today's town Yumurtalık on the southeast coast of Turkey. Laiaça was also written Laiazo | Lajazzo by the medieval Italians. At this seaport with date of 1305-1307 a list of goods on a Venice merchant ship includes a jacket made from çendato carmesi (Ref), where Venice-Latin çendato meant "cendal silk".
¶ In the 1330s in Italian the international merchant reporter Francesco Pegolotti has frequent mentions of trade in the grana dye at a wide variety of places in Europe. Pegolotti makes it clear that the dye he calls grana | grana da tignere was the Kermes dye. When Pegolotti writes seta chermisi | seta chermusi, where seta = "silk", he is talking about something different from grana, but he has no description. But once again it is notable Pegolotti's only mention of chermisi is in the context of trading at the seaport he calls "Laiazo in Armenia", and his only mention of chermusi is in trading at the nearby seaport of Famagusta on the island of Cyprus. Commonly in Pegolotti's time, internationally tradeable goods in Armenian Cilicia were brought to the market at Famagusta for re-export elsewhere (r1, r2, r3). Pegolotti's book is at Ref.
¶ The manuscript known as the Codex Cumanicus is a dictionary for its first 108 pages. The 108-page dictionary is dated about 1330 as a physical manuscript and its original composition date is perhaps a few years earlier or perhaps a few decades earlier – Ref. The Codex Cumanicus dictionary was written by an Italian author on the northern shores of the Black Sea. It consists of three columns of words, the first column being words in Italian-Latin, the second column being the corresponding words in Persian, and the third column the corresponding words in the Turkic language of the Cuman people, a people who lived on the northern shores of the Black Sea. A subsection of the word-list is headlined in Latin "merchandise pertinent to merchants". It contains the Italian-Latin word cremixi. Italian spelling cremixi was pronounced approx KREMISI; medieval Italian letter 'x' was sound /s/ (compare with today's Italian tassa = "tax", today's Italian lessico = "lexicon", today's Italian esame = "exam", etc, each from classical Latin with 'x'). Lots of later documents in Italian have cremex as a certain type of crimson dye, and Italian cremixi = cremexi = cremixino = cremexile = "dyed with this crimson dye"; e.g. dozens of instances of Italian cremex(i) from 2nd half of 15th century are in Ref. The Codex Cumanicus translated the Italian-Latin cremixi as Persian cremixi, which represented Persian qirmizi. On the line immediately above cremixi, the Codex Cumanicus has Latin virmilium (English vermilion) translated as Persian surg, which is Persian سرخ surkh = "red". Codex Cumanicus is online.
¶ Italian glossary article CREMISI @ TLIO gives five early instances of the word in northern Italy between 1310 and 1350 and the use context is dyeing silk cloth in all five instances. In Sicily in Latin with dates between 1350 and 1393, luxury goods inventories have two dozen instances of carmisino | carmixino | carmixina | charmisino and in all instances the word is an adjective attached to silk cloth – ref: Bresc-Bautier. The adjective meant "dyed with a certain kind of red dye".
¶ Italian merchant Giacomo Badoer (died 1445) was a trader in Constantinople in the late 1430s and he kept account books. He bought cremexe dye in Constantinople for resale in Italy. He also bought seda cremexi meaning silk dyed with this crimson dye. He wrote that cremexe dye and cremexi silk arrived at Constantinople from across the Black Sea from Trabexonda (aka Trebizond aka Trabzon, the largest seaport on the southeast shore of the Black Sea) – Ref, Ref. Which effectively means the dye came from Armenia.
¶ A mid-15th-century treatise about the silk industry in Florence, by an anonymous Florentine author, includes prices for dyed silk cloths. The silk cloths dyed with chermisi are more expensive than the silk cloths dyed with grana – Ref (pages 100-102). This 15th century treatise uses the word grana about 30 or 40 times. It makes it clear on page 109 that grana means the Kermes cochineal. It uses the word chermisi about 90 or 100 times. Despite that frequency of use, you have to read between the lines to deduce that its chermisi means the Porphyrophora cochineal. It says chermisi minuto dye is twice the price (per unit weight) compared to chermisi grosso dye; and it says chermisi minuto yields twice as much color by unit weight than chermisi grosso does – Ref (pages 32 and 109). Consistent with that, a Florence merchant Giovanni da Uzzano conveys the following three points in a merchandise book dated 1442: (1) five weight units of the chermisi minuto is equivalent to ten weight units of the chermisi grosso for the same dyeing power, and (2) when the chermisi dye is on the silk there is no distinction between minuto and grosso, and (3) there is a distinction between chermisi dye and grana dye upon finished silks, and the silks dyed with chermisi sell for substantially more money than the silks dyed with grana – ref: page 116-117, page 171, page 107. The cochineal was sold as dried insects, the Polish Porphyrophora insect is much smaller than the Armenian Porphyrophora insect, the Polish has a higher concentration of dye chemical per unit weight, the main dye chemical is identical in the Polish and Armenian insects, Italian minuto = "small, fine, minute", grosso = "big". Therefore today's readers interpret the qualifier minuto as Polish cochineal and grosso as Armenian cochineal. In reinforcement of this reading, an Italian merchant in Azerbaijan dated 1510-1514 has cremesi grosso at an Armenian-speaking town "Alangiachana", a place he says is two days journey [north] from Tabriz city. He says: "In this town there is a great quantity of cremesi grosso" – Ref. A trade document at Florence Italy in year 1441 has four barrels of "cremisi minuto" imported from Germany for use in silk clothmaking at Florence – Ref. A book about dyeing written at Venice in 1548 has the phrase "cremesino menuto & todesco" = "crimson of the small & German kind" – Ref, alt-link. The same book in 1548 also says that "grana or Kermes" comes in three grades, of which "the best is collected on the ground" (i.e. not collected on trees nor shrubs; i.e. the best grade is the Porphyrophora), and it says the other grades are "collected on small trees" (i.e. they are Kermes scale-insects on Quercus trees), and it says "the grana of Armenia" is the best grade – Ref. The qualifiers minuto and grosso are only scarcely in other records. One of the scarce other records is that a trader from Venice bought cremisi grosso at Aleppo at the end of the 14th century, as reported at Ref. It is reasonably inferable that the cremisi grosso at the Aleppo market was transported there from Armenia.
¶ A decree of the Senate of the city of Venice in 1457 restricted the silk industry in Venice to using only four different dyes for dyeing silks red, and the four were: cremisi, grana, lacca, and verzino, where cremisi meant Porphyrophora cochineal, grana meant Kermes cochineal, lacca meant Lac cochineal, and verzino meant Asian brazilwood – Ref. Local guild regulations of the silk industry in numerous towns in 15th century Italy show that the Porphyrophora dye was frequently used to dye silks in 15th century Italy; the silk industry used Kermes frequently too, but Porphyrophora was preferred to Kermes for dyeing silks in 15th century Italy – Ref. Cochineal dyes in general were used on silks and woolens, not on linens nor cottons. But the woolen industry of 15th century Italy almost never used the Porphyrophora cochineal, and some woolens guilds prohibited it – same ref. The Kermes cochineal was preferred for wool. Notice that in all of the above Italian sources, the chermisi/cremisi dye is used on silk and only silk.
¶ An Italian merchant book published in 1503 has cremese dye distinct from grana dye. It has cremese listed as merchandise that is regularly bought in Constantinople by traders who resell it in Italy. In particular they bring it from Constantinople to named towns in Italy having a silk cloth industry – Ref. The word cremese occurs about 12 times in this book, while the word grana meaning Kermes dye occurs about 70 times. In some cases grana and cremese are in the same sentence, including: "From Venice to Milan is brought... silk, wool, grana, pulverized grana, cremese, indigo.... From Constantinople to Bologna is brought... cremese, grana of Romania, wax, camlet cloth." The book also has cremesini. While the word cremese means dye merchandise, the word cremesini is an adjective on cloth merchandise, and the cloths are silks.
¶ Spanish in the late 15th century had the following wordforms meaning cloths dyed crimson, in the usual case, and in a few other cases meaning crimson paint color: cremesí, cremesyn, cremesin, cremesina, carmesi, carmesí, carmisi, carmisyn, carmisin, carmesino, carmesines, carmesín. All of those have the letter 's'. Not included in that list is Spanish carmin, carmín, carmini which will be discussed separately in a later paragraph because its history is much different. All the wordforms with the letter 's' are very rare in Spanish before the 15th century, probably fully non-existant before year 1400, and are uncommon before the late 15th. The Spanish Corpus Diacrónico del Español (CORDE) has no example of it before 1400. CORDE's early records in Spanish are in the form cremesin | cremesyn circa 1400, a wordform that on its face is qualified to be straight from the Italian cremesina | cremisino. French has cremesin | cremasin in 1342 (ref), which is 60 years earlier than the first known Spanish cremesin. French cremesy or cramoisy is recorded in 1352 (ref, ref), which is 80 years earlier than the first known Spanish carmesí and 150 years earlier than the first known Spanish cremesí. Sicilian-Latin has year 1350 carmisino and 1355 carmixino (ref), which are 100 years earlier than the earliest known Spanish carmisin | carmesino. I have already mentioned that Italian carmesi by a Venice author in 1307 and another Venice author about 1310 are 120 years earlier than the first known Spanish carmesi. The earliest reported for Catalan carmesí | carmesina is 1398-1399 (ref). In England, draps de cremosyn is in Anglo-Norman French in 1402 (ref). Cremesyn | crymesyn starts in English in 1416 (ref), which is about the same starting date as in Iberia.
¶ The driver of the word into France, Sicily, Catalonia, Spain and England was silk cloths made and dyed in Italy. The silk cloth industry greatly expanded in northern Italy in the 14th century and continued expanding in the 15th. Very little silk cloth was made in Iberia or in France in the period 1300-1450, and the very little that was made was of lower quality than the silk cloth exports of Italy – Ref, Ref. The late medieval European word was closely associated with silks to such a degree that draps de cremosyn (1402 England, link above) is definitely translatable as "crimson silks" (not crimson cloths) and velvette cremesyn (1420 England) is definitely translatable as "crimson silk velvet". The large market share of the Italian producers of silks in 14th-15th century western Europe, considered together with the chronological order of all the word's records, and the various wordforms, and the word's medieval semantics (including in Italian the differentiation from grana dye), imply that it is exclusively the Italian carmesi | chermisi | cremisi that came from the Arabic qirmiz(ī). The word in all the other European languages descended from Italian. In saying this, I am excluding the wordforms lacking the letter 's', i.e., excluding carmine | carmín | carmini, which descended from a different rootword and will be discussed in a later paragraph.
¶ Latin and Italian 'ch' was pronounced /k/. In Italy in year 1543 a medicines book by monks Angelus Palea & Bartholomaeus says the following in Latin: “Chermes or Kermes, or charmes etc, designates grana dye, and that much is expounded by everybody. However, a multiplicity of types of grana are used by dyers and fullers. But there are two principal types of grana, one of which is absolutely just called grana dye and this one is alternatively called coccus.... The other grana is called grana chermes or simply chermes, and not called absolutely just grana.... The grana with the cognomen chermes is found on the roots of certain herbaceous plants.” – Ref. I mentioned the feeding habits of the Porphyrophora and Kermes insects in two earlier paragraphs. In the ancient Greek medicinal botanist Dioscorides, cochineal was called coccus and coccus baphica where Greek baphe = "dye" – Ref. In year 1540 Antonio Musa Brasavola wrote in Latin: “Other people believe the coccus in Dioscorides is our chermes.... But I dissent from such opinion, because Dioscorides says it grows on woody shrubs, whereas it is herbaceous plants from which our chermes arises.” – Ref. In that statement, Brasavola is saying chermes means Porphyrophora and does not mean Kermes. Brasavola on the same page says the coccus in Dioscorides “is the grana dye, not chermes”. In 1541 Jacobus Sylvius said: “Chermes is dug up commonly in Poland from the root of a herb similar to Saxifraga; it [i.e. chermes] is different from coccus baphica” – Ref. In that statement, chermes means Porphyrophora while coccus means Kermes. In the late 1540s botanist Pierre Belon was talking about Kermes cochineal when he said about the Greek island of Crete: “The revenue from the scarlet grana named Coccus baphica is very great in Crete.... Small trees of Coccus, from which the inhabitants collect the scarlet grana” – Ref. In the early 1550s botanist Pietro Mattioli was talking about Porphyrophora cochineal when he said: “True Chermesinum is gathered from the roots of certain herbaceous plants” – Ref, alt-link. However, Pietro Mattioli at the same time proposed that the name Chermes would be validly usable to designate the Mediterranean coccus dye insect, meaning today's Kermes. He had a deliberate technical reason for this. More exactly, he had a technical reason for rejecting the established Latin name coccus. The details involve the fact that Mattioli and practically all 16th century botany/taxonomy experts wanted Dioscorides's names to be the foundation for standardized terminology, and the fact that Dioscorides said the best "coccus" came from Armenia and Galatia in the uplands of Turkey. Dioscorides also said some coccus looked like lentils while others looked like little snails. Dioscorides's coccus was glaringly ambiguous in Mattioli's reading of it, and therefore Mattioli took the position that the Latin name coccus was too ambiguous to be a technical name for Kermes. Mattioli put forth an erroneous rationale for why Chermes would be an acceptable replacement name for Coccus – Ref, alt-link. This semantics by Mattioli for chermes was new. It caused some confusion (e.g.), yet it was quickly accepted by many taxonomy and botany scholars. The botanist Johann Bauhin (died 1613) did not like it, and aired an argument against it across several pages (pages 108 and 113), although in the end he did not reject it. The international Latin botany community of that era wished for standardized meanings for their plantnames and insectnames. They got part of their wish into reality by not only standardizing on Dioscorides but by standardizing on Matthioli's interpretations of Dioscorides. Matthioli's unnatural definition of Chermes is the only fountainhead for this definition for Chermes in the nature books, I believe.
¶ In conclusion and review of all the foregoing, the Italian carmesi | chermisi | cremesi at its onset meant specifically and exclusively the Armenian cochineal, in light of the following summary points: (#1) Armenian cochineal is what the Arabic qirmiz(ī) referred to most often in medieval Arabic texts; and (#2) Armenian cochineal in Italy was necessarily an import from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and involved contact with easterners who used the word qirmiz(ī); and (#3) Italian traders expanded their overall activity in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea in the 13th & early 14th century (details omitted) and this included expansion in their trading with the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, and we have three independent records of Italian merchants importing silk cloths dyed with carmisi | chermisi from Armenian Cilicia in the early 14th and these are among the very earliest records of the word in a European language, and another of the earliest records comes from an Italian on the farther shores of the Black Sea; and (#4) the Porphyrophora dye is chemically behaviorally different from the Kermes dye, and hence medieval Italian traders and dyers had a motive to have distinct names for these two dyes; and (#5) the Polish Porphyrophora was called "chermisi minuto" and this was appropriate because chemically as a dye it is practically the same thing as the Armenian Porphyrophora; and (#6) the Kermes cochineal in Italy generally did not come from Arabic-speaking places, rather it generally came from places on the north side of the Mediterranean Rim, including Greece and Languedoc (e.g. Pegolotti circa 1340, link above, has a list of major source-places for grana dye and at the top of the list are the Greek islands and the southeast side of Adriatic Sea, and Pegolotti has also southeast France in his list, and the anonymous 15th century Italian treatise about the silk industry in Florence, link above, says grana dye comes from near Lisbon in Portugal and from Spain, northwest Africa, southeast France, and "many other places", and the Italian merchant Uzzano in 1440-1442, link above, names grana dye sourced from Corinth in Greece and from Provence in southeast France, etc) and moreover the Kermes cochineal was collected on the Mediterranean rim from time immemorial and it had longstanding names in Italian, and there was no motive for Italians to adopt a foreign name for Kermes in the 14th century; and (#7) in Italian the name grana continued to be the most frequently used name for Kermes cochineal for three centuries after the arrival of the name chermisi into Italian, and during these centuries the two names continued to be semantically distinct in authors who were aware of the distinction between Kermes and Porphyrophora; and (#8) post-medievally, in breach of vernacular usages, mid 16th century bookish scholars followed Matthiolus in rejecting the name coccus and adopting the name chermes to designate Kermes.
¶ In late medieval Latin there was a medicinal drink called "Alchermes confection". It was a drink containing cochineal crimson dye plus varying other ingredients. Its early records in European languages are in Italian-Latin medicines books influenced by Arabic medicine. The drink named alchermes | alkermes is frequent in Europe-wide Latin medicines books of the 16th century. These books frequently state that the originator of it was "Mesue". The Latin name "Mesue" is pronounced ME-SU-Eh. It literally referred to the medical writer Ibn Māsawayh (died c. 857; lived in Iraq). But some books of a much later composition date circulated in Latin with this author's name as a pseudepigraph. The Latin "Mesue" books were among the most widely read medical books in Latin in the century starting in 1471, as evidenced by how frequently they were reprinted by printing-press. The most widely read of the Latin "Mesue" books is a pharmacy book with the Latin title Grabadin, commonly alternatively titled Antidotarium. It has the Latin phrase "confectio alchermes" and has a recipe for the confection ( ref ). The composition date of the Latin Grabadin is put in the late 13th century. A handful of pages of its text are in two physical manuscript fragments date-assessed late 13th (ref , ref ). Five dozen manuscripts of it survive from the 14th and 15th centuries (ref, alt-link). It was first printed in 1471. The following is a mid-16th-century edition of the Grabadin / Antidotarium where extra paragraphs of annotations about alchermes have been added by commentators on Mesue: Opera Mesue. The Latin Grabadin was done in Italy, everyone agrees, though complexity, controversy and uncertainty exists about other aspects of the authorship. The title word Grabadin was a word sourced from Arabic, and so was the word alchermes.
¶ Corresponding to the Italian-Latin alchermes confection, the Spanish language had the synonymous confection alquermes. Earliest known in Spanish is 1493 (ref). It has been used in Spanish only spottily since then. The word is in Spanish in 1554 in the Italian-Latin wordform "confection Alchermes" (ref). By reason of the late 15th & 16th century historical context of its emergence in Spanish, it is impossible that alquermes could have entered Spanish from Arabic. The number of words that Spanish borrowed from Arabic in the 15th-16th century is almost nil and Spanish had no practical basis for borrowing this word from Arabic in the 15th-16th century -- no known basis in contact with Arabic medicine, or in borrowing a new use for kermes from Arabs. Spanish medicine of the 15th-16th century borrowed many words from Italian-Latin medicine (including the word alcali : note #23 above). Spanish also borrowed words from vernacular Italian. The database of medieval and early post-medieval Spanish texts at CORDE is not all-encompassing, but it is big enough to be roughly representative. Anyone who looks at CORDE can see that today's Spanish etymology dictionaries are without a basis in Spanish for their claim that the Spanish alquermes came from the Arabic of Iberia. It came from the Italian-Latin of "Mesue" and his followers.
¶ This paragraph is about the origin of the medieval Spanish word carmin, which is the parent of the post-medieval English word carmine. In the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, the market for cochineal dyes was heavily dominated by the imports of cochineal from southern Mexico and Peru (ref). The Mexican cochineal insect is an Americas native. Chemically the dye it produces is the exact same as in the Armenian cochineal. The chemical is called carminic acid. The English "carmine" commences as a dye-name and color-name in English in the late 17th century ( ref )The "carmine" dye is mentioned as a painter's colorant in year 1685 in an English book about the practices of colouring, the book titled Polygraphice by William Salmon, enlarged edition 1685, online at http://Books.Google.com. Carmine is mentioned as a dye in an English medical book in 1692 and the same William Salmon is the author, and is online at Early English Books Online (ref). In New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (year 1893) the earliest quotation for English carmine is year 1712 in a book that was a French-to-English translation (book published in French in 1694 with spelling carmin – ref) (ref). This English start date for the dye and color "carmine" is about 300 years later than the start for "crimson" in English.. In 18th century English it meant cochineal imported from the Spanish-speaking Americas, nearly always mordanted, and the use of the mordant was usually part of the practical meaning of carmine. With same meaning, carmín was frequent in 17th century Spanish – ref: CORDE. Carmín was well established in Spanish before it shows up in modern French. In medieval French there was a rare charmin, on record about 1165 and about 1200 – ref – and the medieval meaning of this was a red colorant used to emblazon shields and escutcheons, and, as discussed below, it was a mineral-rock, and it was not any kind of cochineal. Medieval Italian had a rare carmen | charmen material, having an instance in 1361, inscrutable in its context in 1361 – ref. But that word disappeared from French and Italian and was absent from those languages for centuries until it re-appeared in the modern era borrowed from the Spanish carmín in the late 17th century meaning the Mexican cochineal. But the word was not rare in medieval Latin. A Latin dictionary dated 13th century (approx) says: "carminium, synopide idem" = "carminium is the same as sinopia" – ref: 13th century Salernitan Alphita dictionary. Sinopia was a reddish pigment from a composite mineral whose reddish color comes from iron oxide. Sinopia was a red ochre. The red ochres and sinopia were unearthed in a range of shades of red. Intro to sinopia. Sinopia was commonly used as a red colorant in medieval Europe. In medieval Italian, sinopia was also spelled sinobia (e.g.). A Latin text about paints and coloring dated approx early 12th century says: "carminium, i.e. cinobrium" = "carminium, it is cinnabar" – ref: De Coloribus et Artibus Romanorum by Eraclius (refs for dating it: ref). Cinnabar was a red mineral that was grinded and used as a red colorant in paint. The same Latin text in a surviving variant manuscript uses the spelling sinobium (not cinobrium) (ref) which suggests that sinopia (not cinnabar) was intended by the author. The same Latin text by Eraclius later says: "carminium fit de albo et ocro" = "carminium is made from white and ochre" – ref. Which more explicitly indicates sinopia (not cinnabar) was what was intended. The white colorant in that quotation is best understood as lime – details The 12th century text by Eraclius says: ''The species of white [colorants] are White Lead, Lime, and Alumen.'' When Eraclius uses the word white, it can mean any of those three. Red ochre, aka sinopia, has good compatibility with lime. Red ochre mixed with lime is still in use today for coloring exterior walls. A text in Italian dated roughly around 1400-1410 says: ''A red colour called light CINABRESE.... is made from the finest and lightest sinopia; it is mixed and ground with... a white made of very white and pure lime.'' – ref. The name "lime" here means either and both calcium carbonate and calcium oxide.. The same text by Eraclius elsewhere recommends carminium paintwork to be trimmed (i.e. edged, edge-highlighted) with White Lead – ref. Another Latin text about making colorants and colored materials dated 12th century has carmin & carminum & carmineus meaning a red colorant for paints, and a red color, and it does not mean cochineal because the text describes the carminum as made by mixing a red mineral-rock colorant with a white mineral-rock colorant, the red being cinnabar (details: hover)The 12th century Latin text says: ''In vermiculo si misceas album fiet carminum'' = ''If you mix white into vermilion it will make carminum''. Vermiculo in that quotation cannot mean a cochineal because elsewhere in the text the vermiculo colorant is prepared for use as a paint by washing and grinding it in water and then discarding the water, implying the colorant is not soluble in water. Cochineals are soluble in water -- their solubility increases when the pH of the water is non-neutral. The 12th century text uses the word vermicul__ 18 times. By looking at the 18 usages it is clear vermicul__ means the mineral vermilion, aka cinnabar, aka mercury sulfide, aka HgS, which is not soluble in water. When cinnabar is grinded very fine and rinsed with water, its rich red color is improved. The grinding of cinnabar in water was medievally recommended for preparing cinnabar for use as a paint colorant. Cennino Cennini (died c. 1427) says about preparing cinnabar as a painting artist's colorant: ''Grind cinnabar with clean water as much as you can -- if you were to grind it for twenty years, it would be the better and more perfect'' – Ref. The 12th century Latin text elsewhere says that in general you get white paint colorant from either White Lead (aka lead carbonate) or Lime (aka calcium carbonate). However, with respect to making paints, "cinnabar is incompatible with lime.... Cinnabar is inimical to lime" (Merrifield year 1846). Hence, the album = "white" in the above-quoted Latin sentence is readable as album plumbum = "White Lead". So the quoted sentence ''In vermiculo si misceas album fiet carminum'' means ''carminum is made by mixing white lead into cinnabar''. – ref: Addenda to Theophilus Presbyter's De Diversis Artibus. The Addenda to Theophilus Presbyter's De Diversis Artibus says in Latin on another page: "if you mix some sinopia with white it will be carmineus color" – ref. Another Latin text about colorants, with date probably 11th century, date certainly no later than 12th century, says the following about the outer edge or trim on a paint job: "Rose-color [or pink color] is trimmed with carum minium and White Lead; it is trimmed [or bordered or edged] darker with carum minium, and trimmed lighter with White Lead." – ref: De Coloribus et Mixtionibus (in Mappae Clavicula). The same text also says that carum minium is trimmed lighter by rubeum minium, where the rubeum minium, literally "red Minium", can only be just Minium, aka Red Lead, aka Pb3O4, a red mineral powder that was used as a colorant in paints. Next, there is a 14th century Latin compilation text which is mostly derived from the earlier Latin texts quoted above, and it says the same things that they say, except it repeatedly spells it carominium and carominum (instead of carminum or carum minium). It spells it carominus when it says in Latin: "If you mix white with sinopia, it will be carominus" – ref: Liber de Coloribus Illuminatorum sive Pictorum , corrigenda , alt-link. Another 14th-century compilation text about artist's paint materials says in Latin: "If you wish to make carminium, mix white with cinaprio [i.e. cinnabar] and you will have it" – ref: Liber Diversarum Arcium (this text in its next paragraph has the kermes cochineal under the name grana). A glossary of painter's color terms done in year 1431 was compiled and derived from the above-quoted texts. It says in Latin: "Carminium is a red color, an alternative name for cinnabar or sinopis; others say it is made from white colorant and ochre mixed together.... Sinopis is a red which can be obtained in different ways" – ref in Latin: Table of Colorant Synonyms of Jehan Le Begue. In the above texts, carmin | charmin | carminum | carmineus | carminium | carum minium | caromin(i)um | carominus are wordform variants of one word. It is in use for approximately two centuries before the earliest record of carmisi(n) in any European language. Spanish has an instance of the word as carmin in 1326 where it is a colorant used in paint and it is not necessarily a cochineal-type colorant; and on further investigation it is not a cochineal. None of the 12th to 15th century instances of the word are using the substance to dye cloths. They are using it as a red paint colorant. They mention the carmin(-) in the same sentence as the coloring minerals Azurite, Ceruse, Minium, and Tutty, as well as cinnabar and sinopia. Its red color comes from cinnabar or sinopia, not cochineal. The source-word for it cannot be the Arabic qirmiz because, firstly, the phonetics are wrong. One cannot derive CARMIN from QARMIZ phonetically. Secondly, the semantics are wrong. Thirdly, the contexts in which the early 12th century Latin carmin(-) are located do not contain anything suggesting that the word could have been borrowed from any Arabic source. In documents in Spanish collected at CORDE, Spanish has carmin | carmini | carmín as a red paint colorant, not cochineal or probably not cochineal, in 1326, 1403, 1487, 1508, and later. Spanish carmín is possibly or probably cochineal in the 1490s, though it is uncommon until the late 16th century. French charmin | carmin has no attestation as a colorant of any kind in the Dictionnaire du Moyen Français, 1330-1500 – ref. No known instance anywhere in western Europe has the word carmin(-) unambiguously meaning any cochineal-type dye until 16th century Spain. Etymologically speaking, the 16th century Spanish carmin | carmín meaning cochineal-type dye may be assessed as either: (1) the same word as the 12th-15th century carmin(-), with a related new meaning for the word, the adoption of the new meaning likely influenced by the contemporaneous carmesin; or else (2) a different word from the 12th-15th century carmin and the same word as carmesin, with a contraction in the word's form, the contraction likely influenced by the contemporaneous carmin. Option (1) is a better assessment than option (2). Which is to say that English carmine is not a word of Arabic ancestry.
- ^ curcuma Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248) reported that كركم kurkum is a plant root that is brought from the Indies and it produces a saffron-like yellow dye and the root is akin to ginger root. That means the Curcuma Longa root, aka turmeric, which is the meaning of kurkum in modern Arabic. (Note: Curcuma Longa root is an orange color after you grind up the root, but the dye imparted by this orange root is a yellow color.) Ibn al-Baitar also reported that kurkum can alternatively mean the yellow dye of the root of the Mediterranean-native plant Chelidonium Majus – ref, alt-link, alt-ref. The medical book of Ibn Sina (died 1037) has a recurring دواء الكركم dawāʾ al-kurkum = "medicinal preparation involving kurkum". Ibn Sina mentions "root of kurkum" but does not describe the root nor the plant it comes from (Ref). Ibn Sina was translated Arabic-to-Latin in the late 12th century with this put into Latin as diacurcuma and curcuma (Ref), which is around the first record for this word in Latin. Dawāʾ al-kurkum is a confection of multiple ingredients in the medicines recipes of Al-Razi (died c. 930) (Ref). Al-Razi was translated Arabic-to-Latin in the late 12th century with this put as Latin diacurcuma and curcuma, and again the plant root named curcuma is not described (Ref). One century later, the ingredient curcume and the confection diacurcuma are in more medicines recipes in Latin, but again without a description of the plant (Ref). Some description of curcuma is in the medicines book of Serapion the Younger, an Arabic-to-Latin translation with 13th century date in Latin. Serapion the Younger says curcuma is a root used as a dye and as a medicine. But Serapion the Younger says further that curcuma means Chelidonium Majus root – ref-1, ref-2. Following Serapion the Younger, the medicines dictionary of Simon of Genoa in Latin in the 1290s said curcuma is a yellow root that is taken from a Celidonia plant and it can be used to dye clothes – ref. The merchant Pegolotti in Italian around 1340 has curcuma | corcumma listed as an item in the drugs & spices trade. He does not describe what it is, but historians interpret it in the context as meaning the Curcuma Longa root because it is listed alongside medicinal imports from India: Pegolotti has corcumma | curcuma listed alongside costus, turpeth, lemongrass, and cloves – ref, ref. The same interpretation goes for word churcuma in a drugs & spices list of a merchant in Italy around 1440, because the word's placement is beside medicinal botanicals imported from India – ref. The same goes for curcuma in an apothecary's product list written in Germany around 1450-1499, where Latin curcuma is in a section for Indian aromatics, whereas the same list has Latin celidonia in a section for European leafy herbs – ref. In 1536 in northeast Italy, medicines writer Antonio Musa Brasavola wrote: Regardless of whether the info in Serapion the Younger is valid or not, the yellow root called curcuma at Venice is in the ginger family and is nothing like Chelidonium – ref. Medicines writer Angelo Palea in Italy in 1543 wrote: A mix-up in meaning between Curcuma root and Chelidonia root has happened with the name curcuma, and alternative names are available that do not have the mix-up – ref. The mix-up was because the late medieval Latins had borrowed the Arabic word kurkum to name the Curcuma Longa root —which was a product that came to the Latins exclusively from the Arabs and ultimately from the Indies— but meanwhile among the Arabs the meaning "Curcuma Longa root" for kurkum had the status of an improvised secondary meaning, improvised from the pre-existing meaning of "Chelidonium Majus root". In the English language the word's early records are in medical books that are taking it from Latin, and two instances in English from at or before 1425 are in the Middle English Dictionary at ref and ref. In Spanish the early records are at about year 1500 in Latin-to-Spanish translations of Italian-Latin medical books – Library of Old Spanish Medical Texts at Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies.
- ^ damask In Italian and French, the word for damask is the same as the word for Damascus city. In late medieval English, Damascus city was often written "Damask". Some early records for the English "damask", "damask rose", "damaskeen", etc, and "damson" and "prunes of Damask" are in MED--1, MED--2, NED, DMLBS--1, DMLBS--2, and wardrobe records of king Edward IV (died 1483). The late medieval European "damask" textile was decorated, and costly, and usually of silk. The textile-name damask is present in the 14th century in French, English, Catalan, Italian, and Latin, and it seems to be absent before the 14th. You can find a small number of sporadic instances before the 14th where somebody in Europe refers to a product from Damascus city (for instance, a garment of silk from Damascus is mentioned in a French poem in late 12th century). But those instances are separable from the word damask that arrives in the 14th. As you can see in examples to be quoted below, the 14th-century name was applicable to types of decorated metalwork, as well as types of decorated textiles. At the time of the name's arrival among the Latins, Damascus was one of the biggest cities of the Mediterranean region and had one of the highest standards of living. Numerous medieval Latin and Arab writers who visited Damascus noted the high quality of its workshops for silks, and metals, and glass, and they admired the adjacent expanse of irrigated horticulture. However, they do not report a textile nor design style called "damask". The Arabic medieval dictionaries do not have دمشق dimashq (Damascus) for any kind of textile or design style (ref). The geographers Al-Idrisi (died c. 1165) and Al-Muqaddasi (died c. 995) said Damascus is notable for production of silk brocades, but they did not mention a name "damask" in that connection – ref, ref. The Italian travelers Nicolo Poggibonsi in the 1340s and Simone Sigoli in the 1380s visited Damascus and wrote about goods made there (including "the best silks in the world", said Sigoli), and they did not mention a damask fabric nor damask design-style – ref, ref, ref. Apparently the name was not in use in Arabic for a textile nor design style. The arrival of the name in European languages coincided with an expansion of silk-making in Italy in the 14th century. Very little silk fabric of any kind was made in Latin Europe before then. Most of the silks of the medieval Latins, before the 14th century, were imported from the Arabs and the Byzantines. The 13th and 14th century silk-making industry in Italy was influenced by models and methods of the Arab and Byzantine silk industries, which had been in the business for centuries before the industry got going in Italy – Ref. The 14th century so-called damask silk was made in Italy at least sometimes (e.g.) and probably more often than not. In 14th century Italy the word damasco | damascha | domascho | damaschino = "damask, damasked" in many cases meant "decorated in a certain style", yet the definition of the style is hard to find in writing. Examples in Italian or Italian-Latin: year 1365 "a bishop's hat of taffeta silk, white, with decorations of domascho"; 1367 "one tambourine drum of damaskino brass"; 1376 "a silver jug having work in domaskino mode.... a gilded silver jug having work in Domasco"; 1381 "six small damaschino vases"; 1400 "a priest's robe of gilded cloth of damasco"; 1403 "a robe of blue domaschini cloth"; 1412 "cloth of damaskino silk"; 1451 "a candle-stick of damasco"; 1456 "a hand-washing basin of damaschi worked in gold and silver"; 1458 "a basin of brass damaschi without silver" – ref, ref, ref. In Catalan in 1370 and 1417, candlesticks have obra de domàs = "damask ornamental work" – ref. In Catalan in 1413 a textile is brocaded a la damasquina = "in damask fashion" – ref. In French in 1381 a small basin of copper is "ouvré d'oevre de Damas" = "worked in damask work" – ref – and the same document in 1381 has a Christian Cross icon made of gold "ouvreé en la façon de Damas" = "wrought in damask fashion" – ref. More French quotations from late 14th & early 15th century are at ref, ref, ref. A 19th century historian of medieval European textiles says about the medieval damask textiles: “Great was the variety of these precious textiles.... In the 14th and 15th centuries the two expressions "drapes of Damask" and "damask" were applied to two different sorts of textiles, the first expression indicating their true or supposed provenance [in Damascus], and the second indicating the design in which they were decorated” – ref. The name is apparently an Italian coinage meaning "decorated in a style associated with the Middle East and Damascus". Compare it with 16th-century Italian arabesco = "arabesque design style done in Italy and elsewhere".
- ^ elixir An Arabic technical dictionary titled Mafātīḥ al-ʿulūm = "Keywords of the Sciences" is dated late 10th century. It defines الإكسير al-iksīr as "a preparation which, when cooked together with a molten body, turns the molten body into gold or silver or into some other body of white or yellow color" – Ref, alt-link, ref for date. An example of a more typical Arabic alchemy text using al-iksīr is Ref, which is by an unknown Arabic author who pre-dates Ibn Al-Nadim (died 995). Many dozens of medieval instances in other Arabic texts are at الإكسير @ AlWaraq.net. Medieval Arabic got this word from an ancient Greek word that anciently meant a dry powder, and it has a couple of records in medieval Arabic in that sense – Ref.
- ^ erg & hamada An Arabic-to-English dictionary in year 1852 has numerous very different meanings for Arabic عرق ʿerq and one of the meanings is "a long sand-hillock.... barren ground" – ref. In Reinhart Dozy's year 1881 Arabic-to-French dictionary one of the meanings for عرق ʿerq is "a hillock or ridge of sand, a transient ridge of sand, a succession of ridges of loose sand in the desert" – ref. Dozy's dictionary has حمّادة hammāda meaning "a big and rocky and sterile plateau" – ref. Dozy's references for those meanings are in texts of authors in North Africa mainly, and they include 19th century Western European travel-writers in North Africa. A travel book written in English in 1853 has 41 instances of word hamadah meaning "vast, elevated stretches of stony desert" in Libya and northern Niger – ref, ref. In English today the words "erg" and "hamada" are restricted to technical geomorphology contexts, with a few exceptions in travel writers. Information on what the English words mean is at ref, ref, ref. The time of entry of the words into French is put in the mid to late 19th century at erg @ CNRTL.fr, hamada @ CNRTL.fr.
- ^ sabkha One formal definition for English word sabkha is at Ref, and a different formal definition for English word sabkha is at Ref.
- ^ fenec In medieval Arabic fenek | fanak could be any mammal species whose pelts were used to make fur coats for humans. Most often these were species of the weasel family. Dozy's Supplement , Dozy & Engelmann's glossary , Devic.
- ^ garble -1 ^ garble -2 Regarding medieval Italian-Latin garbellare = "to sift" and garbello = "a sieve", a set of records at the seaport of Genoa in and around the 13th century is in Vocabolario Ligure by Sergio Aprosio, year 2001. Aprosio's set includes Latin verb garbellare at Genoa in year 1191 where the sifted matter was mastic resin. Aprosio's set has noun garbellum meaning a sieve for sifting drugs & spices in an apothecary shop in year 1259. At the seaport of Marseille in 1269 garbellare = "to sift" occurs in a context where the sifted matter was kermes red dye – Du Cange. At the seaport of Pisa in 1321 is gherbellare = "to sift" and ghierbello = "a sieve" and the sifted goods are spices, drugs and resins – garbel__ @ TLIO. In Italian with date around 1340 the word occurs more than two hundred times in a sea-commerce handbook, Francesco Pegolotti's La Pratica della Mercatura, where the usage context is quality-control of spices, drugs, dyes, and resins, and is spelled both garbell__ and gherbell__ – ref. At the seaport of Valencia in Catalan about 1315 the contexts of use of the verb garbellar = "to sift" were the removal of chaff matter from kermes red dye, henna dye, cumin seeds, and anise seeds – ref, ref, ref. 14th century Catalan had also the noun garbell = "a sieve" – e.g.. French garbeler | grabeler = "to sift spices & drugs", never frequent in French, has early records in French in the wordform garbeler in 1393-1394 and garbeller in 1453-1457 in commerce documents that are talking about sifting culinary spices. The French wordform grabeler started later (e.g. 1542). The French came from the Italian & Catalan – grabeler @ CNRTL.fr. In German in 1420 there is gerbelieren = "to cleanse wares from impurities", a scarcely seen word in German, clearly coming from the Italian gherbellare – Raja Tazi 1998. In Spanish there is an uncommon and late garbillo = "a sieve". Its uncommonness in Spanish is shown by the CORDE Spanish text corpus, which does not have it in medieval Spanish, and rarely has it in post-medieval Spanish. One of the first records in Spanish is year 1509 Spanish garbelladura in a translation of an Italian-Latin medicine book. Therefore, the word in Spanish came from the Catalan & Italian. In light of the early contexts of use in the Latinate languages involving spices etc, and in light of the seaport locations where the early Latinate records are found, the inference is made that the commonplace Arabic word غربل gharbal = "to sift" (and Arabic ghirbāl = "a sieve") entered Italian & Catalan merchant vocabulary from the Mediterranean-wide sea-commerce in spices, drugs, colorants, and resins. For background information on sea-commerce by Italians in Arabic-speaking cities, Pegolotti's Mercatura is good. In addition to the Italian Maritime Republics, the Catalans based at Valencia and Barcelona were active in the Mediterranean-wide sea-commerce in much the same way as the Italians. For background information on sea-commerce by Catalans, a concise introduction is "Catalan Commerce in the Late Middle Ages", by Maria Teresa Ferrer, year 2012, 37 pages, including the section headed "Commerce with the Mediterranean Levant".
- ^ garble ^ garbage In English around year 1400 all of the following words referred to the sifting removal of stalks & roughage & impurities from spices: garbel, garbelage, garbelen, garbelinge, garbalour, garbelure, garbellable, ungarbled – search @ Middle English Dictionary. An Act of Parliament in 1439, written in English, applying to English seaports where spices were offered for sale, says any spices not "trewly and duely garbelyd and clensyd" were subject to "forfaiture of the said Spiceries so yfound ungarbelyd and unclensyd". Garbled meant that the parts of the spice plant that were not part of the spice were removed. Garble was also used as a noun for the refuse removed by garbling; e.g. an Act of Parliament in English in 1603-04 says: "If any of the said Spices... shall be mixed with any Garbles..." – ref: NED. Usages of the verb garble in England starting 1393 are quoted in the Anglo-Norman Dictionary at ref and in the Middle English Dictionary at ref. Those two dictionaries also quote a word garbellage used in 1393/1394 in Anglo-Norman French in London – ref, ref. A Garbler or Garbelour, also 1393, was an official in the City of London who could enter a shop or warehouse to view spices and drugs, and garble them, to check them for compliance with rules against having cheaper stuff mixed in with them. Anglo-Norman garbeler and English garbel came from Italian & Catalan garbellar(e) which came from Arabic gharbal = "to sift", as discussed in Note #66 above. Meanwhile, the English "garbage" has its first known record 1422, in London, and its early meaning was the low-grade yet consumable parts of poultry such as the birds' heads, necks and gizzards – Middle English Dictionary. In the 16th century, "garbage" meant the entrails of butchered animals, both the entrails parts that humans eat and the parts that humans don't eat. In the 17th century, "garbage" was almost always the entrails that humans don't eat. Definitions from 16th & 17th century dictionaries are at garbage @ Lexicons of Early Modern English. In the early 18th century, Nathan Bailey's English Dictionary defined garbage as "the entrails, etc., of cattle", and defined garble as "to cleanse from dross and dirt", and defined garbles as "the dust, soil or filth separated by garbling" – ref. Nathan Bailey says the parent of garbage is garble, together with the suffix -age. Most English dictionaries today do not endorse Bailey's opinion. They say instead the parent of garbage is unknown. Poultry innards does not make a tight match with "sifted matter", although the possibility cannot be excluded.
- ^ garble versus cribell In late ancient & early medieval Latin, there was cribr__ = "a sieve + to sieve" and also a less-used cribell__ = "a small or fine sieve + to sieve smally" – ref, ref. This ancient Latin was the parent of medieval & modern Italian crivello + crivellare = "a sieve + to sieve"; and it was also the ancestor of now-obsolete English cribble = "a sieve + to sieve". In year 1314 Italian-Latin has: "Pulvis non gherbellatis cum crebellis artis.... Foret cribellatum...." = "Powder not sieved with a closely-spaced sieve.... To be sieved...." – ref. On first thoughts it is hard to believe that gherbellat_ and cribellat_ are not from the same rootword. But most dictionaries today endorse the judgement that the Latin cribellum was not the parent of Italian gherbello and Catalan garbell. A key basis for this judgement is that phonetically for the letter r in the context of any consonant χ and any vowel ε, a mutation from χrε to χεr within Latinate was rare. In view of its rarity, if a person thinks he has an example of it, he has a heavy onus to show that he is not mistaken. (14th-century Italian Chermona for Cremona is well documented). (Transposition in the other direction was not rare. In note #66 above, French wordform grabeler was a mutation from the earlier French garbeler.) Another negative point, totally separate from the above, is that the late classical Latin cribell__ was not the parent of the Arabic غربال ghirbāl + غربل gharbal = "a sieve + to sieve". Late Ancient Aramaic & Syriac has ܥܪܒܠܐ ʿarbalā = "a sieve + to sieve", which cannot come from Latin cribellum because of the consonant letter ʿayn at the start of the Aramaic word. Aramaic ʿarbalā is the same word rootwise as Arabic gharbal + ghirbāl. Strong equivalences exist between the Aramaic letter ʿayn and the Arabic letter ghayn. The Aramaic alphabet has fewer letters than the Arabic alphabet and one of the reasons why is that the Aramaic letter ʿayn maps to the two Arabic letters ʿayn and ghayn. Aramaic has no letter ghayn.
- ^ gazelle Albert of Aachen in the early 12th century was a chronicler of the First Crusade. He said gazela is a type of horse and he said it is an Arabic word – ref. Albert of Aachen did not personally go on the Crusade to the Levant; his Crusade chronicle was based on oral reports to him. This can explain why his gazela is a type of horse. Ambroise of Normandy personally went to the Levant in the Third Crusade in the late 12th century. Writing in French, Ambroise listed gacele as a type of deer – ref. Jean de Joinville personally went to the Levant in the Seventh Crusade in the mid 13th century. Writing about it later in French, Joinville said a gazel is similar to a wild goat – ref. Two more texts in French dated late-13th-to-early-14th century with gasele | gazele | gaçelle = "gazelle" are cited at Dictionnaire Étymologique de l'Ancien Français – ref. Albertus Magnus, who lived in Germany, wrote in Latin, and died in 1280, wrote a book about animals in which he says "damma-type deers... are called algazel in Arabic" – ref. Late medieval Iberia has a few records for Spanish algazel | gazela and Spanish-Latin algazel, but the word is scarcer in Spanish than in French. Today's Spanish gacela is probably from the French and French-Latin, by reason of wordforms and chronological order and the scarceness of records in Spanish.
- ^ imala vowel shift in 'gazelle' and other words Jean de Joinville participated in a Crusade war expedition to the Levant in the mid 13th century. He wrote a report in French about the expedition, in which he mentions hunting wild gazelles in the territory of today's northwestern Israel. In Arabic both medievally and today the spelling of the word for gazelle is غزال ghazāl. But the common local pronunciation in the Levant today is mostly GHAZEL and GHEZEL. It is proveable that ghazāl was pronounced GHAZEL in medieval Arabic as well. This pronunciation is the reason why it was that Jean de Joinville's word was gazel not gazal. The medieval Arabic pronounciation of the spelled ā as the sound e was frequent and is well documented. This Arabic pronounciation phenomenon is discussed in the early Arabic grammar book by Sibawaih (died c. 796). Sibawaih called it the إمالة imāla vowel pronunciation shift. It is still called that today. Imala is discussed in some other medieval Arabic language books. But the best concrete evidence for the medieval imala pronunciation comes from large numbers of medieval documents in which Arabic words are written down phonetically in non-Arabic alphabets. There are two kinds of these documents. The second kind is documents in non-Arabic languages. The first kind is documents in the Arabic language written in non-Arabic alphabets by non-Muslims whose native language was Arabic and whose use of the non-Arabic alphabet was keeping up a tradition in religion. The following are words gathered from the collection here on this page where (#1) the Arabic spelling was and is with ā, and (#2) the Arabic pronunciation was and is mostly with e, and (#3) the medieval Western European languages borrowed the word from Arabic, and (#4) the Western European word has always been spelled and pronounced with e: aubergine, benzoin, bezoar, civet, elemi, gazelle, julep, Vega, and the medicinal botany names berberis, alkekengi, azedarach, chebula, cubeba, emblic, metel, mezereum, ribes, sebesten, zerumbet. Medievally the Arabic pronounciation of the spelled ā as sound e was dependent on consonantal contexts -- for example it usually did not occur when Arabic letter q or gh or r was adjacent to the ā, and usually did occur when letter b or z was adjacent to the ā. There are guidelines for when it occurred but they are complicated by exceptions and by variances by geographical location. Sibawaih (died c. 796) said there were variances among speakers in the same location. Sibawaih also said that the imala vowel shift on pronouncing ā could occur “when the vowel in the syllable adjacent to the ā is i or ī ” (ref). One crude first approximation to some guidelines, together with some 13th century examples, together with references for further reading in English, is at Ref.
- ^ ghoul Reported at ghoul @ NED.
- ^ giraffe Concerning the giraffe, Al-Mas'udi's 10th century Arabic together with 19th century French translation is in chapter 33 of Al-Mas'udi's Marūj al-Dhahab (French title: Prairies d'Or). Al-Mas'udi cites the book about animals by Al-Jahiz.
- ^ giraffe Early records for the Italian giraffa are quoted in the TLIO lexicon. The book The Giraffe in History and Art, year 1928, has a chapter headed "The Giraffe among the Arabs and Persians" and a chapter headed "The Giraffe in the Middle Ages [among the Latins]". As a small addition to that book's information, one of the first records in French is that a French traveller in year 1396 saw five giraffes in a zoo in Cairo and he spelled the name in French as giraffa (ref), thereby borrowing the Italian giraffa and not borrowing the Arabic zarāfa.
- ^ hashish Book The Herb: Hashish versus medieval Muslim society, by Franz Rosenthal, year 1971, on pages 6-14, gives a list of medieval Arabic texts that talk about حشيش hashīsh = "hashish". The list's earliest texts are 13th century.
- ^ hashish A British traveller in the countryside near Antakya in northwestern Syria in 1798 wrote: "Country cultivated with Hashīsh, a kind of flax" (ref). In that sentence, Hashīsh means "hemp to be used as a textile fiber", which is one of the meanings of hashīsh in Arabic. A German traveller in Arabia in the 1760s, in English translation 1792, says: "The lower people are fond of raising their spirits to a state of intoxication. As they have no strong drink, they, for this purpose, smoke Haschisch, which is the dried leaves of a sort of hemp" (ref). More early quotations are at NED.
- ^ henna Henna has been in use in the Mediterranean region since antiquity. In classical Latin the name for henna was cyprus (ancient Greek kupros). Cyprus remained the most frequently used name for henna in medieval Latin. Hence late medieval English has a few instances of cipre meaning henna. Latin in the 13th & 14th centuries has a few instances of the name henne (pronunciation: hen-ne) meaning henna – e.g. – but this was a rarity in medieval Latin, and this name is not known in French until 1541 (ref) and not in English until circa 1600. Today's English dictionaries say that the English name "henna" came directly from the Arabic ḥinnāʾ because the early English records are in travelers' reports from the Middle East – ref: NED.
- ^ alkanet The active dye chemical in both alkanet dye and henna dye is a naphthoquinone derivative (alkannin in alkanet, lawsone in henna) and the two dyes are similar in several ways. The name alcannet has late medieval records in English and in some Latinate languages meaning "alkanet dye". Instances from 14th + 15th century English are in Ref. Latin year 1363 radix alcannae arguably means the alkanet root, and the same goes for Latin circa 1450-1499 radices alcanne. But in medieval Latin the earlier and the much more common meaning of alcanna was "henna". In mid-12th-century in Latin in southern Italy, the medicines book of Matthaeus Platearius has alcanna, though without a good plant description (ref). A better early example is Gerard of Cremona's late-12th-century Arabic-to-Latin translation of Ibn Sina's Canon of Medicine, where Ibn Sina's Arabic hināʾ = "henna" was translated as Latin alcanna. Simon of Genoa's Latin medicines dictionary, dated about 1292, has alchana meaning "henna" – ref, alt-link. Late 13th century Latin medicines book of Mesue has alchanne de mecha = "henna from Mecca", meaning henna from west side of Arabian penninsula; Mesue has also oleum de alchanna. Phonetically in parallel, the Prophet Mahommed's name often was spelled in medieval Latin Machometus, which was pronounced near MAKOMETUS, and it was also spelled Macometus and Machomet (medieval Latin examples). In the Arabic alphabet there are two letters h, one like a Latin and English h, and the other with a stronger sound, and the h of محمد Mahommed and of الحنّاء al-hinnāʾ is the strongly pronounced letter h, which helps explain why it got rendered as letter 'c' or 'ch' in medieval Latin. The rendering almost certainly originated in Italy. In Italy in Latin, and Italian, if it had been written hanna there would have been much tendency to pronounce it "anna" (still true in Italian today). The often weak and disappearing pronunciation of the sound /h/ in Latin, especially in Italy, is noted in introductions to the sounds of Latin (e.g.). Italian medievally had alc(h)an(n)a meaning clearly "henna" in some cases, and maybe it meant "henna" in all cases – TLIO, Italian Serapion, Pegolotti. Catalan medievally had alquena = "henna" – Vocabulario del comercio medieval by Gual Camarena. This was not in Spanish. The Spanish wordform was alheña | alfeña = "henna". Medieval Spanish has practically no example where an Arabic h was converted in Spanish to Spanish /k/ sound (examples come from Catalan); and medieval Spanish has no record of alcana or alcaneta meaning henna or alkanet – ref: Dozy, year 1869, Maíllo Salgado, year 1998. 13th century French medicine has alcanne = "henna", which was borrowed from the Italian-Latin alcanna = "henna" – ref-1, ref-2. Alcannet = "alkanet" was formed from alcanne | alcanna = "henna" with the diminutive -et appended in Italian or French. 15th century French has arquenet | arquenete = "alkanet" – DMF. Parallelwise phonetically, 14th century Italian has arcali = "alkali" and archimia = "alchemy". Italian today and for many centuries has arganetta = "alkanet", which is the same word with /k/ changed to /g/ (/k/ changed to /g/ is often seen in Italian word histories).
¶ The alkanet dye plant, today's Alkanna Tinctoria, was in use in the Mediterranean region as a dye since antiquity (was called anchusa in classical Latin). In medieval Arabic it had several names – ref, ref – none related to al-hinnāʾ = "henna".
- ^ hummus With meaning chickpeas, the Arabic dictionaries spell it حِمَّص himmas but the people pronounce it HOMMOS, said Henri Lammens, who lived in Beirut in the 19th century – Remarques sur les mots français dérivés de l'arabe, by Henri Lammens, year 1890, on page 93. It was pronounced HOMOS in Egypt in the 18th century – Flora Aegyptiaco-Arabica, by Peter Forskal, year 1775, on page LXXI (in Latin). Nowdays in Syria in International Standard Arabic on television, the city حمص Homs is commonly pronounced HIMS, but in Syria in vernacular Arabic it is pronounced HOMS.
- ^ jar An assessment which is mentioned in some dictionaries, and which I will argue for, is that Spanish jarra = "jar" went into Spanish from Italian & Catalan, and it did not go into Spanish from Arabic. The grounds for this assessment can be broken up into at least a half a dozen points: (#1) The word's earliest records in European languages are in Genoa (anno 1223 jarra) and Catalonia (1233 jarra) and these are in sea-commerce documents. The word iarra | jarra = "a large jar" is in numerous documents in Italian-Latin at 13th-century seaports. Six of those documents at seaport of Genoa are quoted in Aprosio, year 2001 and two from seaports of Sicily are quoted in Caracausi, year 1983. Early-14th-century Italian or Italian-Latin sea-commerce documents with iarra | giarra are at Ref (altlink) , Ref , Ref; and the same word was commonly spelled zara at seaport of Venice in early 14th century. Examples in Catalan or Catalan-Latin in late 13th & early 14th century sea-commerce documents are at Ref , Ref , Ref , Ref , Ref, being in spellings gerre | gerra | gera | jerra | jarra. (#2) Medieval Italian & Catalan sea-commerce people borrowed numerous commercial words directly from Arabic through contact with Arabs at Arabic-speaking seaports in North Africa and Levant (details for nine of those words are elsewhere on this page because they got transferred into English later). (#3) Jarra | jarro | iarra | xarra is very rare in Spanish until the late 14th century (search @ CORDE corpus) and its rarity in Spanish makes it extremely unlikely that Spanish could have been the source for the word in Italy or Catalonia in the 13th century. (#4) The Spanish speakers did not possess any Mediterranean seaport in Iberia until their military victories during the 2nd quarter of 13th century, and therefore Spanish could not have been the source for any of the numerous new Latin Mediterranean sea-commerce words that have their earliest records at seaports in Italy between 1150 and 1250, and jarra is one of those words. (#5) Soon after the Spanish speakers gained possession of some Mediterranean seaports in Iberia, between 1250 and 1350, lots of words entered Spanish vocabulary as Mediterranean sea-commerce words that Spanish had gotten from Italian & Catalan seafarers. One of the first records of jarra in Spanish is in the year 1302 sea-commerce document Ordenamiento portuario de Sevilla -- a document which, in the same paragraph as jarra, has Spanish grondola meaning a small boat from a big commercial sailing ship, this word borrowed from the synonymous Italian gondola (gondola with this meaning is in Latin at Venice in 1229, at Genoa in 1246 – ref); and, also in the same paragraph as jarra, the 1302 document has almirantadgo = "admiralty bureau", a word that passed into Spanish from Italian seafarers in the 13th century (see admiral); and the 1302 document in another paragraph has Spanish carraca, which is another ship-word that entered Spanish from Italian (see carrack); and the transmission of such words from Italian into Spanish in the period 1250-1350 involved the Catalan seafaring industry as an intermediary sometimes. (#6) Jarra is in Spanish in a non-sea-commerce document that CORDE assigns a compostion date of 1251 to, but the basis for that date assignment is terribly weak ( details-1 Book, L'Ancienne version espagnole de KALILA ET DIGNA, by Clifford G. Allen, year 1906 – downloadable. Its introduction on pages vii-viii says how the Spanish text is dated. 13th century dating is based on a statement in a colophon in one 15th century manuscript of the Spanish text. The 15th century colophon says also that Calila e Digna was translated from Arabic to Latin and then from Latin to Spanish. But the correctness of that is doubted because of the literary style of the Spanish and no corresponding version in Latin exists to prove it. A second 15th century manuscript has no colophon and no such statement. A third manuscript of the Spanish Calila e Digna stated in its title page that it was put into Spanish in the 2nd half of the 14th century. The third manuscript is now lost, but its title page was recorded centuries ago by an archivist and it is mentioned by Clifford G. Allen in the above book on page vii. No copy nor fragment of the Calila e Digna text survives in a manuscript dated before the 15th century. No source of the 13th or early 14th century mentions this specific Spanish Calila e Digna text (but there are mentions of other texts of the Calila e Digna tales). Because the colophons or title pages are inconsistent, it is necessary to do a deep textual analysis to determine the date. This has not been done. What has been demonstrated is that the 15th century manuscripts contain many specific words that are not found in other Spanish texts until the late 14th or early 15th century. These specific words in Calila et Digna are of a composition date no earlier than the late 14th century in all likelihood. According to a supposition accepted by some people, these specific words are part of 15th century alterations of a base that has a mid-13th century composition date. Yet a 13th century date is not demonstrated for anything. , details-2 Book, El libro de CALILA E DIMNA (1251): edición nueva de los dos manuscritos castellanos, con una introducción, by Hans-Jörg Döhla, year 2008 – downloadable. The introduction talks about how the Spanish text is dated. The author Hans-Jörg Döhla fails to offer a good quality basis for the date. He ignores the shortcomings of the information he has about the date. He much too easily accepts the date of 1251. He does not do textual analysis that would support this date, even though he does textual analysis for other purposes. Calila e Dimna survives from medieval Spanish in only two complete manuscripts. The two manuscripts have many divergences from each other. Neither one has historical priority over the other. Each of the two has phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that are not in the other. The divergences between the two in the use of the word jarra are summarized on page 703 in the link above. A 13th century Calila e Dimna might or might not have existed. Regardless of whether a 13th century version existed or not, the manuscripts of the 15th century cannot be faithful copies of a 13th century text. Hans-Jörg Döhla acknowledges that the two 15th century manuscripts have words that were not 13th century words; i.e. he acknowledges that the two manuscripts have words and phrases that are 15th century composition elements. To see places where he acknowledges it, search in his book for ''1.a doc.: Calila e Digna, ms. A, primer tercio del s. XV '' and contrast it with search in his book for ''1.a doc.: Calila e Digna, 1251 ''; search also ''1.a doc.: Calila e Digna, ms. B, 1467 ''. In my opinion he is probably mistaken when he says a 13th century Spanish Calila e Digna existed and was the foundation for the 15th century versions. But the question of whether he is mistaken or not, is irrelevant for my purposes if we can agree that the word jarra in Calila e Digna is invalidly dated 13th century. I am only interested in the date of jarra. In Calila et Digna there is caxa = "a case, a box", which is the same word as Spanish caja (equals medieval Italian cassa, medieval Catalan caixa, medieval Latin capsa). Caxa or caja with this meaning is frequent in Spanish in the 200 years from 1375 to 1575 which you can see in the online CORDE text database. It is almost completely absent in Spanish until the 1370s in the CORDE database: Except for an isolated sea-commerce document in year 1302 which you can see at CORDE, CORDE up until the 1370s has no caxa/caja = "a case, a box" and no jarra. Medieval Spanish arca means "a box". At CORDE with dates before the 1370s, Spanish arca has more than 500 instances and occurs in more than 120 documents. All those pre-1370s instances of arca at CORDE reaffirm that caxa/caja was not in general use pre-1370s. The word agach*, gach*, acach*, cacha* (asterisk denotes any suffix) is another word that is in Calila e Digna and is otherwise not in Spanish at CORDE until after the 1370s, while it is in numerous documents at CORDE in the 15th century. Nenufar is another word in Calila e Digna and not in Spanish at CORDE until after the 1370s. Another is tasugo; and another is texo[n] with the meaning "badger (kind of mammal)". The absence of these words at CORDE is a good sign that the composition date of Calila e Digna is later than the 1370s in the matter of the use of these words.) and it is very probably wrong by well more than a century. Excluding the document with the very questionable 1251 date and the sea-commerce document of 1302, CORDE has no record of jarra in Spanish until 150 years after records begin in Genoa-Latin and Catalan, whereas CORDE has 366 instances in 73 documents for Spanish vaso(s) = "jar(s), vase(s)" during the same 150-year time period.
- ^ jar "Jar" in the Middle English Dictionary has jarre year 1418 and plural jarris year 1421. The jars hold olive oil in both of those cases. Jarre(s) is in Anglo-Norman French in years 1427 & 1430 in the context of taxations on imported goods at the seaport of Southampton, recorded in the Port Books of Southampton, 1427-1430, where the jarres hold olive oil most often, and other times hold dried date fruits or ginger. Those goods were brought to England by sea directly from the Mediterranean. In English the word jar was rare until the 17th century. The 17th century English jar had the usual meaning of a large earthenware jar holding imported olive oil (and less often other oil) used primarily as fuel for oil-lamps. This can be seen from a search for jar | jarr | jarre | iar | iarre at Lexicons of Early Modern English and see also Jar in NED. In 15th century French, jarre existed and meant a jar for oil, but it was rare – ref, ref. In 16th century French it was still rare (e.g., e.g.) and was restricted mostly to holding oil (e.g.). Meanwhile in 15th & 16th century Spanish the word was frequent and had wide applications, and jarra | jarro and jarrilla were jars of different sizes (ref , e.g.). The year 1599 Spanish-to-English dictionary of John Minsheu translated Spanish jarro as English "a pitcher, a pot" (ref). In Britain in the 15th to 17th centuries, oil-lamps were overall not often used, because the oil was too expensive. Usage increased in the 17th century despite the expense. Olive oil was the most-often-used type of oil in the oil-lamps until late 17th century. The olive oil came to Britain by sea directly from southern Spain firstly and southern Italy secondly. The above information taken together makes it likely that the English word came primarily from Spanish and Mediterranean sea-commerce directly, and did not come primarily from French.
- ^ jasmine The Arabic dictionary of Ibn Manzur (died 1312) says the Arabic word ياسمين yāsimīn = "jasmin" came from Persian – ref. It is hard to verify the truth of that by looking into Persian itself, because so little writings of any kind survive from ancient or early medieval Persian, and because later medieval Persian has much taken from medieval Arabic. However, ancient Chinese writings indicate the jasmine plant and its fragrant flower oil was in use in ancient Iran, with the ancient Iranian name being in Chinese texts as approximately ye-si-min. The information about Iran from China, from ancient and early medieval Chinese sources, is in Sino-Iranica... with special reference to the history of cultivated plants, by Berthold Laufer, year 1919. The ancient Iranian name is also mentioned in Greek by Dioscorides (died circa 90 AD) – jasmine in NED.
- ^ jasmine Jasmine under any name is scarce in late medieval Latin texts. In late medieval Latin medicine, vegetable oil aromatized by jasmine flowers was sold as an aromatic medicinal product and this was called by a Latin name sambacus | zambacca | zambach, which came from Arabic zanbaq = "oil containing jasmine flowers". One of the very few instances of the name jasmin in medieval Latin is in the Arabic-to-Latin translation of the medicines book of Serapion the Younger (later 13th century Latin) and then derivatively in the medicines book of Matthaeus Silvaticus (early 14th century Latin). Serapion and Matthaeus say iesemin is an Arabic word synonymous with sambacus – ref, ref. Crossref botanical sambac elsewhere on this page. In Spanish and Catalan, jasmin's first records are in the 14th century but it is rare until the 15th, and the first in Portuguese is about 1500 – ref, ref. 15th-century Spanish wordform usually jazmin. In French, jasmine is not found until the early 16th century, except for isolated instances around 14th century which had been derived from Arabic sources – ref Moamin and Ghatrif are the names of two Arabic texts that have medicine treatments for sick falcon birds. The two texts were translated Arabic-to-Latin in the 13th century in Italy. They were translated from Latin to French in either 13th or 14th century. The medieval French translations have the phrases "oile de jasmin" and "oile de jasimin". Ref: Le livre de Ghatrif and Le livre de Moamin, Section 2. Those and other early records for jasmin in French are cited by Raymond Arveiller, year 1999 on page 613.. In Italian, jasmine flowers have instances in 14th century in wordform gelsomino – ref. During the 16th century the plant was common in gardens in western Europe, including England. A botany book in English in 1597 said correctly that the plant was unknown to the ancient Greek botanist Dioscorides – John Gerarde's Herball, year 1597.
- ^ jird The word Jird is rare in the European languages until the 20th century. One early record is the following English from the book Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant, year 1738 (and translated to French 1743): "The Jird and the Jerboa are two little harmless animals which burrow in the ground.... All the legs of the Jird are nearly of the same length, with each of them five toes; whereas the fore-feet of the Barbary Jerboa are very short and armed only with three." – ref.
- ^ jumper The juppa was a kind of jacket in the late medieval period in all Western European languges. The word's earliest Western record, year 1053 southwestern Italy, has iuppa merely named in a list of valuable goods at an abbey, with many of the other goods made of silk – ref. The next earliest, year 1101 southeastern Italy, involves a gift of a silk iuppa – ref. Northern Italy in 1157 has Latin "iupam meam de cendato" = "my jupa of cendal silk" – ref. It is relevant that practically all the silk cloths of the Latins were imported from the Byzantines and the Arabs at that time; i.e., the Latins did not make silk cloth in the 11th-12th centuries (excepting a negligible quantity in Latin Sicily 12th century). In northern France, the word's earliest or 2nd earliest record is in the 1170s or 1180s in a ballad in which a Christian princess is described as wearing "a purple-ish jupe well-made of Muslim workmanship" – ref, ref. Around year 1190 in French, two ballads about the Crusades wars have brocaded jupes worn by Muslims – ref, ref. Other records of a somewhat early date in Latin and Italian and French include: instances where the juppa garment was banned or restricted at monasteries because it was considered too luxurious, instances where it was buttoned in front with jeweled buttons, instances where it was an item in a Last Will and Testament, instances where it was being worn on a battlefield, instances where it was worn by Muslims, instances where it was said to be made in the Orient, and instances where it was made of silk – jupa @ Du Cange (Latin J pronounced Y), jupe @ Goddard 1927 , iuppa @ Caracausi 1983 , juppa @ Bresc-Bautier 2014 , iup(p)a @ Aprosio 2001 , giubba @ TLIO , jupe + jupel @ DÉAF. Later-medieval Spanish has the word commonly as aliuba | aljuba and in some cases the person who wears it is an Arab Muslim and in other cases the wearer is a Spanish Christian, and the garment is in the luxury class. Dozens of medieval Spanish examples at CORDE. Medieval High German has the word borrowed from French – ref. This medieval European garment was a man's and a woman's jacket. The shape of the jacket is not clear in its early records in medieval Europe – early records were studied by Goddard linked above. It may have been short in length. Later, in the 14th and 15th centuries, the shape may have been like the pourpoint jacket (pictures of 14th century pourpoint).
- ^ jumper Examples of joupe as a jacket in late medieval English are at joupe @ The Middle English Dictionary (same dictionary has also the related jupon). Jupe continued in use in Scots English as late as the mid-19th century, meaning jacket – NED. In standard written English in the 16th-17th centuries, online at EEBO and NED there are more than a dozen records for jupe | juppe | jup as jacket. But the word was not commonly used at the time. In the 17th-18th centuries, the wordform jupe got mostly replaced by a new wordform jump, with same meaning. In a German-to-English dictionary in year 1716, German juppe, whose meaning was "jacket", was translated as English "a jupe, jacket, or jump, a coat for women" – ref, alt-ref. Nathan Bailey's English dictionary in 1726 defined a jump as "a short coat; also a sort of bodice for women", and it does not have the wordform jupe – ref. For the jump garment in its 17th century records at EEBO, the wearer is more frequently a man than a woman, the garment is a short coat, it is worn along with breeches by the men, and sometimes it is made of velvet. In 1828, Webster's English dictionary defined a jump as "a kind of loose waistcoat worn by females" – ref. Webster's English dictionary in 1913 defined a jump as "a kind of loose jacket for men" – ref. Webster's 1913 defined a jumper as "a loose upper garment; a sort of blouse worn by workmen over their ordinary dress to protect it" – ref. The NED dictionary published in 1901 defined a jumper in year 1901 as "a kind of loose outer jacket reaching to the hips, made of canvas, serge, coarse linen, etc., and worn by sailors, truckmen, etc." – NED. The NED has more history for the three English wordforms jupe , jump , jumper as jackets.
¶ Most English dictionaries today say: jumper = "jacket" was from jump = "jacket" which was from jupe = "jacket". Some English dictionaries say also: the alteration from the older English jupe to the newer English jump can have occurred through the influence of the unrelated common English word jump. Such an alteration – where a less-common word becomes phonetically contaminated by a somewhat-comparable more-common word – is called assimilation by "folk etymology". English dictionaries reporting in favor of the ultimate ancestry of jumper in the medieval Arabic jubba include NED (1901), Weekley (1921), Klein (1966), Partridge (1966), Concise OED (2010), Collins English (2010), Webster's New World (2010), and American Heritage (2010), although some of these also flag the case as incompletely established. It is universally accepted that medieval English jupe descended from Arabic jubba. But in the judgment of some dictionaries the descent of English jump(er) from English jupe is inadequately documented.
- ^ kohl English traveller describing women in the Middle East year 1615: "They put between the eye-lids and the eye a certain black powder with a fine long pencil, made of a mineral called alcohole, which... do better set forth the whiteness of the eye." – ref. Similar travellers' reports in English are in ref: Algeria 1738 , ref: Yemen 1792 , ref: Syria 1794 , ref: Egypt 1877.
- ^ lac & lacquer A medieval Arabic text about making inks, authored by a servant of emir Ibn Badis (died 1061-1062), used لكّ lakk | lukk = "lac" as an ingredient in some inks, where it acted as a binder and as a red tincture – Ref, alt-link. An early Arabic medicines writer Sabur Ibn Sahl (died 869) has a recipe that calls for لك منقى من عيدانه = "lak cleansed of its twigs", which unmistakeably is the Indian lac – Ref. In Arabic the word was pronounced LAK and LUK and LIK. The dictionary of Ibn Duraid (died c. 933) said: "Concerning اللًّكّ al-lakk for dyeing with, it is not of the Arabs" (read: it is an import from a non-Arab country) – Ref. The encyclopedia of Al-Nuwayri (died c. 1333) said الُّلكّ al-lukk comes from India – Ref. One old dictionary in Arabic said leather is dyed a red color by a juice that people call اللِك al-lik – Ref. Simon of Genoa in the 1290s said in Latin: "Lacca is a red gum from which a dye is made.... The Arabs call it lech " – Ref. Abu Hanifa al-Dinawari (died c. 895) said لكّ lakk is a kind of gum – he is quoted in Ref. Ibn Baklarish in his book Mustaʿīnī, dated around 1100, said lakk could refer to either a gum from a tree or the crimson colorant from scale-insects – reported in Ref. Ibn Sina (died 1037) said لك lak is a resinous exudation from a plant and its medicinal properties are akin to those of amber – Ref.
¶ In Latin, lacca occurs about year 800 in a book about making colorants, where the lacca is used as a coloring ingredient – Compositiones Variae about 800 AD ; ref for its date. Lacca | Lacha meaning the lac colorant is similarly in Latin in another book about making colorants about year 900 – Ref, alt-link. Commercial contracts in Latin at Genoa in years 1154-1164 have multiple instances of lacca = "lac" – Ref, alt-ref. When Ibn Sina's medical book was translated to Latin circa 1175 the Arabic lak was translated as Latin lacca – Ref. Latin lacha | lache | laca = "lac" is a name in import-tax tariffs at Barcelona in 1222, 1243 & 1252 – Ref. Vernacular Italian lacca | lacha is documented from around 1300 – Ref. Around 1340 the Italian merchandise book Mercatura by Pegolotti mentions lacca around fifty times, mentioning lacca for sale in Tabriz, Alexandria, Venice, Antwerp, etc, and implicitly indicates it was in good demand in international trade at the time – Ref. Lac is in late medieval French in all the wordforms laque, lacque, lacca, lache, lac, lake – Ref, Ref.
¶ The start date of the English "lac" is often reported as 16th century, but the word has two 15th century records in English in the wordform "lacca" in Latin-to-English book translations – Ref. A medical glossary in English in 1543 expresses medieval thinking about lac when it says: "LACCA. Lacha is a gumme or liquor of a tree in Arabie." – Ref, alt-link. That is, the 1543 English author was informed that lac came from the Arabs, and he was not informed that the Arabs got it from India. He was relying on late medieval Latin info sources. In particular he was reiterating the late-13th-century Latin medicines book of Serapion the Younger, which says: "Lacca est gummi arboris, quae nascitur in Arabia" – Ref. Similarly informed, three English dictionary compilers in years 1658, 1661 and 1677 have the wrong definition: They say LACCA is "a kinde of red gumme, issuing from certain trees in Arabia" – Ref, Ref, Ref. In English in the 16th-17th centuries the wordform "lacca" was the most frequently used English wordform for lac – Ref, Ref. In French during the 15th to early 17th centuries the wordform was common as French lacca as well as French laque | lacque – Ref. The wordform la(c)que expelled lacca in French during the 1st half of the 17th century. The same happened in English in a later timeframe, when "lac(k)" expelled "lacca" during the 2nd half of 17th and 1st half of 18th century. As late as 1749, Benjamin Martin's English dictionary has "lacca" as the only wordform for lac and it defined it as "a sort of red gum brought from the Indies" – Ref. English "lac" is French laque and the English came from the French.
¶ The next wordform issue is English "lacquer" | "lacker" with the letter 'r'. Benjamin Martin's 1749 English dictionary has the word "lacker" defined as "a sort of varnish", which definitionally differs from "lacca" and "gum lac". The word lacquer came to English directly from Portuguese starting in late 16th century. It is of very low frequency in English until the late 17th. Writers in Portuguese in India in the early 16th have all the wordforms lacar | alacar | lacre | alacre | laquer | alaquer | laquar | laccar | lacra, all meaning "lac" – Ref (3 volumes) , Ref , Ref. This wordform with 'r' is found occasionally in English, French, Italian, and Spanish in the 16th century, all taking it from Portuguese, all due to the dominance of the Portuguese among the Europeans in bringing commercial goods from the Indies to Europe at the time. This wordform with 'r' was in Portuguese before the Portuguese sailed to India. It is lacra in the diary of the first voyage of Vasco da Gama, diary written in 1497-1499. It is paralleled in Portuguese by Portuguese çumagre | sumagre from medieval Arabic summāq = English "sumac"; Portuguese almíscar from medieval Arabic al-misk = English "musk"; Portuguese alcachofra = Spanish alcachofa | alcarchofa from medieval Arabic al-kharshuf = English "artichoke". The leading letter 'a' in Portuguese alacar | alacre | alaquer is the vestige of the Arabic al- in Arabic al-lakk.
- ^ lac The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea is a well-known text written in Greek in the 1st century AD. Its author was a Greek-Egyptian sea-merchant who had experience doing commerce on the Indian Ocean. He writes about imports and exports at seaports around the rim of the Indian Ocean. He says that at the southern end of the Red Sea on the African coast, the imports received from across the ocean from India include "Indian iron... and Indian cotton cloth... and muslin cloths and lakkos chromatinos". His Greek λάκκος χρωμάτινος lakkos chromatinos is standardly and reasonably translated as "colored lac" or "lac colorant". The letter 's' in lakkos is a grammar affix of Greek. The ancient Greek writer Aelian (died c. 235 AD) displays knowledge of the lac dye. In his book about animals, Aelian says: "In India are born insects about the size of beetles, and they are red.... They flourish on trees.... The Indians hunt them, and crush them, and with these bodies they dye their crimson cloaks and their tunics.... The color is even stronger and more brilliant than the much-vaunted wares of Sardis [in Asia Minor]." – Ref. Aelian does not use word lakkos nor a similar wordform. Historians and lexicon compilers have not found a word akin to lakkos meaning "lac" elsewhere in ancient Greek. However, early in medieval Greek are documents with λαχάς lachas meaning a red dye – ref: λαχάς @ Lexikon zur byzantinischen Gräzität. The early medieval Greek spellings included λακχάς lakchas and λαχχᾶ(ς) lachcha(s) and λαχάς lachas, where the terminating letter 's' is a grammar affix of Greek. In early medieval Greek the word clearly means a red dye. What specific red dye is not clear. It is not a common word. It can mean lac dye. Assuming it means lac dye, it would ultimately be from Sanskritic lākh | lakkha = "lac". Regarding the pathway of intermediation by which it would have arrived in Greek, if the Greek came immediately from Semitic, Semitic would not necessarily mean Arabic. The records in early medieval Greek (cited in the above Lexikon) are afflicted with insecurities about what centuries they were written in. But still they suggest that the lac product and the lac name could have been in use in Mediterranean commerce before the Arabic language spread into Egypt and Levant with the adoption of Islam. Hence, the Latin lacca, which is securely dated around year 800 (ref), was maybe from a pathway of transmission into the Mediterranean region that did not come through the Arabic lakk.
- ^ sandarac Europeans got all their sandarac resin from the Arab lands, primarily from Morocco, and the Arabic word sandarūs is the source for the European sandarac resin word. In medieval Arabic سندروس sandarūs is a resin from a tree, the resin's color is light yellow, and the resin has a pleasant smell – in books by Al-Biruni (died c. 1050), Ibn Sina (died 1037), Ibn Al-Baitar (died 1248), and others – ref, ref, ref, ref. Nasir Khusraw (died c. 1077), writing in Persian about his visit to Jerusalem, speaks of a varnish made by mixing سندروس sandarūs with oil, and used as a varnish on paintings in a Christian church – ref-1 , ref-2. Simon of Genoa in Latin around year 1292 said Latin sandaracha means arsenic sulfide, yellow or red, but he added that in Arabic the word means varnishing resin –