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Language > Afr - Cze > Arabic

Now updated for CSW19. New words, if any, and new inflections of existing words, are shown in red.

aba abaya a tightly-woven camel-hair fabric or tunic, worn by Arabs.
abutilon a plant of the mallow family. [Arabic aubutilun].
adobe an unburnt brick dried in the sun.
afreet afrit in Arabian mythology, an evil spirit or giant monster.
albacore albicore a kind of fish, like a tunny. [Arabic al buhr, the young camel].
alcahest alkahest the universal solvent sought by alchemists.
alcarraza a vessel of porous earthenware, used for cooling liquids by evaporation from the exterior surface.
alcatras a kind of large water bird. [Arabic 'the diver'].
alcazar a fortress; also, a royal palace. [Arabic al-kasr, the castle].
alcove a vaulted or arched recess in a room-wall, formerly esp. one for a bed. [Arabic al-kubba, the vault].
alembic limbec limbeck an ancient distilling apparatus.
alepine mixed wool and silk or mohair and cotton fabric. [Arabic 'from Aleppo'].
alfa halfa a N. African esparto grass.
alfaki alfaqui alfaquin a Muslim expounder of the law.
alfalfa a kind of cereal grass. [Arabic 'green fodder'].
alferez a standard-bearer. [Arabic 'one skilled in fighting on horseback'].
alforja a saddlebag. [Arabic al-kurj, the saddlebag].
algaroba algarroba algarrobo the carob, a leguminous tree of the Mediterranean region; also, its edible beans or pods.
algorism algorithm the art of calculating, especially in Arabic numeration; arithmetic.
alguacil alguazil an inferior officer of justice in Spain.
alidad alidade a revolving index on astrolabe or other instrument for reading gradations.
alif an Arabic letter, corresponding to Greek ALEPH.
alizarin alizarine a coloring principle found in madder, and now produced artificially from anthracene.
alkanet a wild flower; a reddish plant-based dye obtained from this.
alma almah alme almeh an Egyptian dancing-girl.
almacantar almucantar a circle of altitude, parallel to the horizon.
almagest a textbook or handbook, especially dealing with astronomy.
aludel a pear-shaped earthenware or glass pot, open at both ends so that a series could be fitted one above another, formerly used in sublimation.
ameer amir emir emeer an Eastern ruler.
ameerate amirate emirate emeerate the office of AMEER, an Eastern ruler.
anil indigo, the plant or dye.
ankh an Egyptian symbol of life, resembling a looped cross. It was later adapted by Coptic Christians as their cross.
araba arba aroba a heavy screened wagon used by Tatars and others.
arak arrack a spirit made from TODDY.
ardeb an Egyptian dry measure.
argan a Moroccan timber-tree; its oil-bearing seed.
ariel a kind of mountain gazelle native to Arabia.
armozeen armozine a thick plain silk, generally black, and used for clerical.
askari an E. African soldier or policeman.
assagai assegaai assegai a slender spear of hard wood tipped with iron; (verb) to kill or stab with this.
athanor an alchemist's self-feeding digesting furnace. [Arabic at-tannur, the baker's oven].
ayatollah an Iranian religious leader.
azan adhan the Muslim call to prayer, made five times a day by a MUEZZIN.
azimuth the angle a celestial object makes from due north, when measured in an eastwards direction along the horizon.
azoth an alchemist's name for mercury. [Arabic az-zaug, quicksilver].
baiza baisa a monetary unit of Oman. [Arabic from Hindi paisa].
basan a sheepskin roughly tanned and undressed. [Ar. bitanah, lining].
bayyan an official declaration
beenah a form of marriage in Sri Lanka, in which the man goes to live with his wife's relatives. [Arabic binah, separate].
benj cannabis, Indian hemp, used as a weak narcotic.
bismillah in the name of Allah.
bonduc the seed of the nicker, a tropical leguminous tree. [Arabic bonduq].
brik a Tunisian deep-fried pastry
bulbul an Indian bird.
burnoose burnous burnouse a cape with a hood worn by Arabs.
cabob kabab kabob kebab kebob small pieces of cooked meat on a skewer; (verb) to cook like this.
cadi kadi qadi a civil judge in a Muslim country. [Arabic qadi, a judge].
caffila cafila kafila a caravan, caravan-train. [Arabic qafilah].
caid kaid qaid a Muslim leader.
calif caliph kalif kaliph an Eastern ruler. [Arabic khalifah, successor].
califate caliphate khalifat khilafat the office, dignity, or government of a caliph or of the caliphs.
camese camise camisa camisia a loose shirt or tunic, as worn by Arabs.
cantar kantar an Arab unit of weight.
carob the sweet-flavoured seed of an evergreen tree, also called locust bean. [Arabic kharrubah]. Cf. ALGARROBA.
casbah kasbah a castle or fortress in a North African town.
ceterach a kind of fern. [ML. ceterach, from Arabic shitarakh].
chermoula a marinade containing onion, coriander, and parsley, used in N. African cookery.
chott shott a shallow saline lake of northern Africa; the dried bed of such a lake. [Arabic satt shore, strand].
coffle a gang of slaves tied together; (verb) to chain slaves together. [Arabic qafilah].
colcothar polishing rouge; a reddish brown oxide of iron, used in polishing glass, and also as a pigment. [Arabic qolqotar].
couscous couscousou kouskous a kind of food used by the natives of Western Africa, made of millet flour with flesh, and leaves of the baobab.
cubeb the pungent berry of a S.E. Asian shrub of the pepper family, used in medicine and cookery.
curcuma the plant that yields TURMERIC. [Arabic kurkum].
dahabeah dahabeeah dahabiah dahabiya dahabiyah dahabieh dahabiyeh a Nile sailing boat.
daman a small herbivorous mammal of the genus Hyrax.
dari durr doura dura durra dhurra dhourra dourah Indian millet.
dawah the process of educating non-believers about Islam
derham dirham dirhem an Oriental unit of weight.
dhikr a Sufi religious ceremony.
dhimmi a non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law.
dhow dow a lateen-rigged oriental craft.
dieb a jackal of N. Africa.
dishdash dishdasha a white long-sleeved collarless garment worn by some Muslim men
djebel jebel a hill, a range of mountains.
djellaba djellabah galabeah gallabea gallabeah gallabia gallabiah gallabieh gallabiya gallabiyeh galabea gallabiyah galabia galabiah jelab jellaba galabiyah an Arab cloak with a hood and wide sleeves.
djibbah jubhah jibba jibbah jubbah a long loose outer garment worn by Muslims.
djin djinn jin jinn ginn jinni genii genies a class of spirits in Muslim theology.
djinni djinny jinnee genie one of a class of spirits in Muslim theology.
doseh a religious ceremony where a sheik or dervishes rode on horseback over the prostrate bodies of his followers.
douar duar dowar a circular Arab encampment.
doum a kind of African palm tree.
dragoman an interpreter or guide in Eastern countries > DRAGOMANS or DRAGOMEN.
emblic a deciduous tree of the euphorbia family, native to tropical Asia, a kind of MYROBALAN. [Arabic amlaj, from Persian amleh].
fakeer fakir faqir faquir a Hindu ascetic. [Arabic fakir, poor (man)].
falafel felafel a deep-fried ball of ground chick-peas.
falaj an irrigation channel, esp. in Oman > AFLAJ. [Arabic 'stream'].
fatwa fatwah fetwa an Islamic religious decree issued by the ULAMA; (verb, not FETWA) to issue a fatwa FATWAED.
fedayee an Arab commando, esp. one involved in the conflict against Israel > FEDAYEEN.
fellah a peasant or cultivator of the soil among the Egyptians, Syrians, etc > FELLAHS or FELLAHIN.
fennec the desert fox.
fingan finjan the handleless coffee cup which fits within a ZARF.
fiqh Islamic jurisprudence.
fitna a state of trouble or chaos.
gazal ghazal ghazel a Persian verse-form.
gelada a kind of baboon, remarkable for the length of the hair on the neck and shoulders of the adult male. [Arabic qilada, collar].
ghazi a Muslim warrior who has fought the infidel > GHAZIS or GHAZIES. [Arabic ghazi, fighting].
ghibli gibli the name in Libya of the SCIROCCO, a hot, dry, dusty wind blowing from North Africa to the North Mediterranean coastline.
ghoul in Arabic mythology, a desert demon preying on travellers; gen. an evil spirit or demon supposed to rob graves and devour corpses. [Arabic ghul].
girsh gursh qursh qurush a monetary unit of Saudi Arabia.
haboob a violent dust storm or sandstorm, especially in Sudan along the southern edges of the Sahara. [Arabic habub].
hadith a record of Muslim sayings, second in authority to the Koran.
hadj haj hajj a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
hadjee hadji haji hajji a Muslim pilgrim to Mecca; -- used among Orientals as a respectful salutation or a title of honor.
hajjah a Muslim woman who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca
hafiz one who knows the Koran by heart > HAFIZES.
haick haik haique hyke an oblong cloth worn by Arabs on head or body.
hakeem hakim a wise man; a physician, esp. a Muslim.
halal hallal to slaughter according to Muslim law.
halala halalah a Saudi Arabian monetary unit. [Arabic halal, lawful].
hamada hammada a desert plateau of bedrock.
hamal hamaul hammal in eastern countries, a porter.
hammam hummaum hummum an Oriental bathing establishment.
hamza hamzah in Arabic, the sign used to represent the glottal stop.
haram harem hareem harim a women's quarters in a Muslim house; a set of wives and concubines.
harira a kind of Moroccan soup
harissa a hot paste made from chilli peppers, spices etc
hashish hasheesh the leaves, shoots and resin of hemp, smoked as an intoxicant. [Arabic hashish].
hawala a type of financial arrangment
hegira hejira hejra hijra hijrah the flight of Mohammed from Mecca.
hejab hijab a covering for a Muslim woman's head and face.
henna a tree or shrub; a colour, moderate to strong reddish-brown to strong brown; (verb) to colour with henna. [Arabic hinna].
houdah howdah a seat or covered pavilion on the back of an elephant or camel. [Ar haudaj].
hudna a truce or ceasefire for an agreed duration
hudud a set of laws and punishments prescribed by the Koran
ibadah in Islam, service, worship > IBADAT.
ibrik the Arabic name for a cezve, a small metal pot used for preparing coffee
iftar a meal taken after sunset to break one's fast during Ramadan
ihram the peculiar dress worn by pilgrims to Mecca.
ijtihad the use of reasoning in Islamic law.
imam imaum the officer who leads the devotions in a mosque.
imamate the office of an IMAM; the territory under the jurisdiction of an IMAM.
imshi imshy (old military slang) go away.
inshallah an interjection among Muslims > if Allah wills.
intifada intifadah+ intifadeh+ the uprising in 1987 and continued resistance by Palestinians to Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of Jordan. [Arabic intifada shaking off].
izar a long cotton outer garment (usually white) worn by Muslim women.
jamaat an asembly.
jamahiriya jumhouriya in Arab socialist states, the people or proletariat state.
jambiya jambiyah a Middle Eastern curved dagger with two edges.
jann the least powerful order of JINN.
jehad jihad in Islam, a holy war.
jehadi one who takes part in a JEHAD > JEHADIS or JEHADEEN or JIHADEEN
jerboa any small jumping rodent of the genus Dipus, common in Egypt and the adjacent countries. [Arabic yarbu].
jereed jerid jerrid jerreed a wooden Oriental javelin.
jilbab a logn robe worn by Muslim women > JILBABS or JALABIB
kaffiyeh keffiyeh kufiyah kaffiyah+ keffiyah the cloth head gear worn by many Palestinians.
kaif kif kief kef keef a state of dreamy intoxication induced by e.g. cannabis. [Arabic kaif, pleasure].
kali the prickly saltwort or glasswort.
kamseen kamsin khamseen khamsin the sirocco in Egypt, a hot southerly wind that usually blows from about March to May.
kat khat qat a shrub of the spindle tree family, cultivated in Arabia for its leaves, which are chewed or infused as a stimulant; the narcotic drug obtained from these leaves.
keblah qibla kibla kiblah (the direction of) the place to which Muslims must turn for prayer, now the Kaaba at Mecca.
khalif khalifa a CALIPH, a Senussi leader, the Mahdi's successor. [Arabic khalifah].
khimar a type of headdress worn by Arab women.
khor a dry watercourse; a ravine. [Arabic khurr, khorr].
khotbah khotbeh khutbah an address or public prayer read from the steps of the pulpit in Mohammedan mosques, offering glory to God, praising Mohammed and his descendants, and the ruling princes.
khoum a monetary unit of Mauritania.
kibbe kibbeh kibbi a Syrian dish of ground meat and cracked wheat. [Arabic kubba].
kirbeh a water container made from animal hide.
kohl a black cosmetic powder.
kourbash kurbash a whip of hide; (verb) to flog with a kourbash.
lablab an East Indian name for several twining leguminous plants related to the bean, but commonly applied to the hyacinth bean.
lebbek an Old World tropical mimosaceous tree. [Arab. labak].
leben Middle Eastern yogurt. [Arabic laban, milk].
loofa loofah luffa a kind of vine > the fibrous gourd-like fruit is used as sponge.
madrasa madrasah madrassa madrassah medresseh medresa medrese an Islamic college, or school attached to mosque.
mahmal the empty litter sent to Mecca in the HADJ.
majlis mejlis an assembly or council in various N. African and Middle Eastern countries.
malik melik in India, the head of a village, an employer.
mameluke mamluk one of former Turkish slaves that held the Egyptian throne from 1250 to 1517.
mancala an African board game. [Arabic mangala, from nagala, to move].
marabou a large stork, which furnishes plumes worn as ornaments. [Fr. fr. Arabic murabit, holy man].
marid a JINN of the most powerful class.
mashallah an interjection, what God will.
masjid musjid a mosque.
mastaba mastabah an Egyptian tomb with rectangular base, sloping sides and a flat roof. [Arabic mastaba, stone bench].
mecca mekka a goal, from the city of Muslim pilgrimage.
medina in N. African cities, the ancient native quarter.
merguez a spicy N. African sausage.
mezereon mezereum an early-flowering woodland shrub with fragrant purplish or rose-coloured flowers. [Arabic mazaryun].
mhorr mohr a West African gazelle.
mihrab a niche or slab in a mosque marking the direction of Mecca.
mimbar minbar a mosque pulpit.
minar a tower.
minaret a tall tower or turret connected with a mosque and surrounded by one or more projecting balconies from which a muezzin calls at hours of prayer. [Arabic manarat, from nar, fire].
miskal an Oriental unit of weight. [Arabic mitkal, from takala, to weigh].
mocuddum muqaddam mokaddam a leader, headman.
mohair a fabric made from the silky hair of angora goats. [Arabic mukayyar, cloth of goat's hair].
molla moolah mulla mullah a Muslim learned in theology and law.
mooktar mukhtar an Indian lawyer; a Turkish local government official. [Arabic mukhtar, chosen].
mosk mosque an Islamic temple.
moucharaby in N. Africa, an external balcony enclosed with latticework. [French f. Arab. masrabiyya, f. masraba pitcher, f. sariba to drink.]
mudejar a Spanish Moor, esp. one allowed to remain in Spain after the Conquest > MUDEJARES. [Arabic mudajjan, one allowed to remain].
mudir a local governor. [Arabic mudir].
mudiria mudirieh the office of MUDIR, a local governor.
mueddin muezzin the Muslim official who calls the faithful to prayer.
mufti civilian clothes, especially when worn by someone who normally wears a uniform; a scholar or jurist who interprets. [Arabic mufti, from afta (to decide a legal point). Another word that comes from the same root is fatwa (decree)].
mujahedeen mujahedin mujahideen mujahidin mujaheddin Islamic fundamentalist freedom fighters.
nabk nebbuk nebek nebeck a tree, the Christ's-thorn. [Arabic nebk].
nadir the point of the heavens diametrically opposite to the zenith; the point directly below an observer. [Arabic nazir, opposite to].
nastalik a Persian cursive script, having long horizontal strokes and rounded characters. [Arabic naskhi, cursive script, + talik, hanging].
nazir an Indian court official. [Arabic nazir, overseer].
nikab niqab niqaab a type of veil worn by Muslim women
nikah in Islamic marriage, the contract between the bridegroom and the bride
noria a device for raising water from a stream etc., consisting of a chain of pots or buckets, revolving round a wheel driven by the water current.
nuggar a large boat used to carry cargo on the Nile.
omlah a staff of officials in India.
oshac the ammoniac plant. [Arabic ushshaq].
oud a stringed instrument of Northern Africa, akin to the lute.
ouguiya a monetary unit of Mauritania.
qanat an underground tunnel for carrying irrigation water.
qasida a formal Arabic poem of praise.
qawwal a singer of QAWWALI, devotional Sufi music.
qawwali a form of devotional Sufi music.
racahout raccahout a preparation from acorns used by the Arabs as a substitute for chocolate, and also as a beverage for invalids.
rai a modern North African form of popular music.
raia raya rayah a non-Muslim subject of Turkey.
razzia a plundering and destructive incursion; a foray; a raid. [Fr. from Arabic gaziya, raid].
realgar resalgar a bright-red monoclinic mineral. [Arabic rajh al gar, 'powder of the cave'].
riad a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden.
rotl a variable Levantine weight > ARTAL or ROTLS.
rubai a Persian verse-form, a four-line stanza > RUBAIYAT or RUBAIS. [Arabic rubai, quadripartite].
sabha a set of beads used by Muslims during prayer.
sabkha sabkhah sabkhat a broad, salt-encrusted coastal plain above the level of normal tides.
saice sice syce a stableman or groom, esp. in India.
saiyid sayid said sayyid a descendant of Mohammed's daughter Fatima.
sakia sakiyeh sakieh an Eastern water-wheel.
salaam a low bow with the palm of the hand on the forehead; (verb) to make a SALAAM.
salat a set of prayers to be said five times a day while facing Mecca.
saluki sloughi a greyhound-like Arab dog; a gazelle hound.
samiel simoom simoon a hot desert wind.
santir santour santur santoor an Eastern dulcimer.
sansa zanza zanze an African musical instrument. [Ar sanj, castanets or cymbals].
sebesten the mucilaginous drupaceous fruit of two East Indian trees, sometimes used medicinally in pectoral diseases. [Arabic sebastan].
sehri sohur suhur a meal eaten before sunrise by those fasting during Ramadan.
seif a long sand-dune lying parallel to the direction of the wind that forms it. [Arabic sayf, sword].
semsem sesame. [Arabic simsim].
senna the leaves of several leguminous plants of the genus Cassia, used as a cathartic medicine. [Arabic sana].
sephen a large sting ray of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The skin is an article of commerce. [Arabic safan, shagreen].
sesame an African plant, widely grown in the tropics, producing seeds used as food and yielding an edible oil.
shadoof shaduf a machine, resembling a well sweep, used in Egypt for raising water from the Nile for irrigation.
shaheed shahid a martyr for the Islamic faith.
shahada shahadah the Islamic declaration of faith, repeated daily
shaitan sheitan an evil spirit.
shamal shimaal in the Middle East, a hot dry north wind that carries sand in desert places.
sharia shariat sheria sheriat the body of Islamic religious law.
sharif sherif shereef a descendant of Mohammed through his daughter Fatima. [Arab. sarif, noble, high-born].
shawarma a sandwich of lamb or chicken, veg, and often tahini wrapped in pita.
sheesha shisha a hookah, a kind of water-cooled pipe.
sheik sheikh shaikh shaykh an Arab chief. [Arabic sheikha, to be old].
sheikha the chief wife or consort of a SHEIKH.
sherbert sherbet a cooling drink made of sweetened and diluted fruit juice, drunk esp. in Arab countries.
shroff to test money to detect impurities. [Arabic saraf].
shufti shufty (coll.) a look, a dekko. [Arabic 'have you seen'].
shura shoora the Islamic principle of (rule by) consultation; an Islamic consultative council.
sloughi see SALUKI.
sohur see SEHRI.
soldan soudan souldan suldan sultan the monarch or chief ruler of a Muslim country, esp. that of Turkey.
sophy a ruler of Persia.
souk suk sukh suq an Arab market-place. [Arabic suk].
subha a string of beads used in prayer and meditation
sudd a mass of vegetation floating on water in NE Africa.
sudder of a government department or official > chief, supreme; (noun) a supreme court.
suhur see SEHRI.
sunna sunnah a collection of traditions received by orthodox Muslims as of equal authority with the Koran.
sura surah a chapter of the Koran.
tabbouleh tabuli tabouli tabooley tabbouli+ tabouleh a kind of Lebanese salad.
tahina tahini a paste made of crushed sesame seeds. [Arabic 'to grind'].
taj a tall, conical cap worn by Muslims as a headdress of distinction > TAJES. [Arabic taj, crown].
talak talaq in Islamic law > divorce, esp. by the husband's verbal repudiation of his wife in the presence of witnesses.
talisman an object supposed to have occult or magic powers, esp. an inscribed stone or ring worn as an amulet to avert evil or bring good luck, health, etc. [Arabic tilsam].
tamarind a large tropical tree; its fruit. [Arabic tamr-Hindi, date of India].
tamboura tambur tambura an Eastern stringed instrument, used to produce a drone.
tarboosh tarboush tarbush tarbouche a fez, a hat worn by Muslim men.
tarragon a kind of herb. [Arabic tarkhan].
tasbih a form of Islamic prayer that involves the repetitive utterances of short sentences glorifying God.
tel a hill or mound.
truchman an interpreter. Cf. DRAGOMAN.
ulama ulema the body of professional theologians, expounders of the law, in a Muslim country.
umma ummah the body of Muslim believers considered as one community.
umra umrah a lesser pilgrimage to Mecca made separately or at the same time as the hajj, and consisting of a number of devotional rituals performed within the city.
varan a monitor lizard. [Arabic waran].
vezir vizir visier vizier wazir wizier a minister in various Muslim states.
vizirate the office of a VIZIR.
wadi wady the dry bed of a torrent; a river valley.
wakf waqf in Islamic countries, endowment or settlement of property under which the proceeds are to be devoted to a religious or charitable purpose; land or property endowed in this way.
worral worrel an Egyptian fork-tongued lizard, about four feet long when full grown. [Arabic waral, lizard].
wudu ritual washing before the daily prayer
yashmac yashmak yasmak a double Muslim veil leaving only eyes uncovered.
zabeta a stated tariff.
zamouse a short-horned buffalo. [Arabic jamus].
zareba zareeba zariba zereba zeriba an improvised stockade, esp. one made of thorn bushes, etc.
zarf zurf an ornamental metal holder for a handleless coffee cup.
zarnec zarnich a native sulphide of arsenic.
zebub an Ethiopian dipterous insect, aka ZIMB. [Arabic zebub, fly].
zendik in the east, one who abstains from magic or practises religion. [Arab. zindik f. Pers. zandik fire-worshipper, heretic.]
zerda a desert fox, aka FENNEC. [Arabic zardawa].
zibet zibeth a civet cat. [Arabic zabad, musky perfume].
zircon a tetragonal mineral, zirconium silicate, of which jacinth and jargoon are varieties. [Ar. zarqun].