Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Persian words in English

Following on from Arabic Words in English, I thought I’d post a similar select listing of Persian loanwords in English. Ever interested in etymology, I note that a few of the words (marked with an asterix*) have a shared Arabic-Persian origin and I do recognise many Persian words when transliterated as being similar to or the same as Arabic. In light of the current political climate, my favourite Persian word would have to be—take note, bumbling King George and zoological type Neocon Infantilismus—

… CHECKMATE — from Middle French eschec mat, from Persian shâh mât (=”the King cannot escape”).

Azure* Algorithm Angel Arsenic Aryan Bazaar Candy* Caravan Checkmate Cheque Chess Cinnabar Cypress Dervish Divan Exchequer Gazelle* Henna* Jackal Jargon Jasmine* Jasper Julep* Jungle Khaki Lemon* Lilac* Lime* Magi Magic Margarine Marguerite Musk Myrtle Narcissus Orange* Palanquin Paradise Peach Peacock Pear Pajama Rice Rook* Sash* satrap Scarlet* Scimitar seersucker Shawl Sherbet* Spinach* Sugar* taffeta

Sources: Iranscope and Wiki English words of Persian Origin

Selected word origins:

Cheque (US spelling ‘check‘) from Persian ‘chek’ (چك). Iranians invented the cheque during the 1st Sassanid Empire. During the first century A.D., banks in Persia and other territories in the Persian empire under the Sassanid Empire issued letters of credit known as ‘chek’. They are considered the basis for the modern cheque.

Angel: Middle English angel, from Old French angele, from Late Latin angelus, from Greek angelos (translation of Hebrew mal’kh), literally, messenger, probably of Iranian origin; akin to the source of Greek angaros imperial Persian courier; perhaps akin to Sanskrit angiras one of a group of luminous divine beings, a supernatural spirit especially in Persian, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theologies that is commonly depicted as being winged and serving as God’s messenger and divine intermediary and as special guardian of an individual or nation.

Chess: from Russian Shach, from Persian shah (“the King”), an abbreviation of Shâh-mât (Checkmate).

Magic: Middle English magik, from Middle French magique, from Latin magicus, from Greek magikos, from magos magus, wizard, sorcerer (of Iranian origin; akin to Old Persian magush sorcerer), of or relating to the occult : supposedly having supernatural properties or powers.

Magus, magi: from magus, from Old Persian maguš “mighty one”, Priest of Zoroastrianism. A member of the Zoroastrian priestly caste of the Medes and Persians. Magus In the New Testament, one of the wise men from the East, traditionally held to be three, who traveled to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus.

Social Bookmarks:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on 2 June, 2007 by in Activism, Culture, Fascism, History, Iran, Iraq, Language, Languages, Law and constitutions, Race, US Foreign Policy, USA, Word Play.

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"