loanwords in English from Arabic

30+ English Words of Arabic Origin! | My Arabic Buddy - YouTubeThe Arabic language has a big influence on several languages, which is due to Islamic nations gathering and translating documents during the mid centuries  from ancient Roman, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Persian, Byzantine, and Egyptian writings. They added and developed all of these knowledge and Sciences. Some of these findings are still being taught today. The western world learned of this deep knowledge during the Crusades in the 11th–13th centuries as well as through relationships with the Arabs of Al-Andalus. For them to learn what Arabic people knew, they had to translate it back to their native language, and that’s where Arabic influences come from in many common languages of today.


How many words do you use in your daily life that is originally from Arabic?
Here are some of them.



Amīr al-bihār = أمير البحار  =  prince of the seas or commander of the seas
The ‘D’ was added in Elizabethan England by court officials who were ignorant of the Arabic language. The French still use amiral.


al-tūba = الطوبه  = the brick

This word is commonly associated with the famous computer software company Adobe Systems and its products, like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat


al-jabr = الجبر = completing broken or missing parts

This word comes from the book “ al-kitab al-mukhtar fe hisab al-jabr wa al-muqabalah “, by al-Khwarizmi the mathematician who invented Algebra. This algebra book was translated to Latin.


سفـر = Safr = travel

as in the Apple web browser Safari.

Safari is a Swahili word to describe a trip into the wild; The Swahili took that word from the Arabic “safra,” which means to travel.


Laymoon = ليمون

This word was distinguished in the Andalusia gardens and Egypt and named there as well.

اللامون al-lamun

الليمون al-limun

It was used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens.


Sugar = Sukkar = سكّر

Sugar was a rare and special commodity in medieval Europe where honey was used as a sweetener, and this makes it a treat. The first recorded usage of sugar in English culture was at a monastery in Durham in 1302 when a monk recorded the storage of zuker marok, or Moroccan sugar. The French form, sucre = “sugar,” produced the modern chemistry terms sucrose and sucrase.


دار الصناعة = dar Al-sina’a = house of manufacturing

As in the Famous English Football team Arsenal.
The word was first used in English during the 15th Century referring to a dock-yard for repairing ships, which is still used by Italians through the word darsana.


رخّ   = rukh

a mythological bird in the 1001 Arabian Nights tales


غول   = ghoul

a mythological creature; a very scary ghost. This word first appeared in Europe in 1712 in a French translation of the Arabian Nights in 1001 Arabian Nights.


Jenn = جنّ

A genie is a magical spirit that has the power to grant wishes. It entered English folklore through tales of travelers to the Mideast in the 17th Century.

X  (in math the unknown)

Yep; the X comes from Arabic as well

There are plenty of words that come from Arabic; do you know some of them?