Etymology, or an Ode to Arabic

deriving from the Greek for 'true' (eteos/etymos) and 'word' (logos)

Curious about the origin of a word or term? Send it to us and we shall go forth and investigate.

We can all come up with a list of Arabic loanwords fairly quickly - baba ganoush, couscous, hummus, chemistry, algebra - but most of us would be surprised to learn how many of the more common English words are derived from Arabic.

These include, of the edibles: apricot, artichoke, aubergine, candy, coffee (which was apparently snubbed by the Europeans as the 'wine of the infidels'), alcohol, spinach, soda, orange, lemon and lime; of the colours: lilac, scarlet and orange; and a bunch of other words, such as admiral, arsenal, average, cotton, magazine, racquet, safari, serendipity, zero.

Most of these have entered English through other languages, such as French, Spanish and Catalan (for understandable reasons), and a lot of them are derived from other languages, such as Sanskrit and Persian; and the etymology of some of them is still unclear. But pretty cool, huh?

Maja Vatri?