5 Words you didn’t know that came from the Arabic Language

5 Words you didn’t know that came from the Arabic Language

Languages have evolved over time and English has taken words from other languages including the Arabic language. Speech allows human beings to communicate with each other. Can you imagine if there were no speech! We may have never had any conversations with anyone at all.

The speech is a very powerful medium, some languages sound really good and are light on the tongue some claim to be the language of love, language of diplomacy etc. I consider the Arabic Language to be all of those and more since it is the language of the Quran.

Different languages can serve for different purposes. Some languages borrow words from other languages, there are loads of words in English that have been borrowed from other languages not just from the Arabs. For example, when the British went to India they took words from the hindi, Persian and Bengali languages and have incorporated it their own.

Below is a list of 5 uncommon words that have been taken from the Arabic language and have now become part of English.

Words from the Arabic Language to English


May be a surprise to the Arsenal football fans, but yes it has been taken from the arabic word dār aṣ-ṣināʕa (Dar as-sinaa) which means manufacturing shop.

From Arabic دار الصناعة (dār aṣ-ṣināʕa, “manufacturing shop”).


Yes it’s taken from Arabic too 🙂

A transliteration of Arabic سمت (samt, “direction, path”) which is in itself a weak abbreviation of سمت الرأس (samt ar-ra’s, “direction of the head”).


This is one for the military fans, the Muslims had conquered many parts of the World via Oceans and Seas with their mighty fleets.

From Arabic amir-ar-rahl (commander of the fleet), امير (amīr, “commander”) + -al. Later associated with admirable. Cognate to amir, emir.


Tariff is used so much in the Mobile telecommunications industry, it is used to set how much money you pay them per month.

From Arabic تعاريف (taʕārif, “fees to be paid”).


Yes we do like our coffee in the morning, but I bet you never ever thought that it was a borrowed word?

from Arabic قهوة (qahwa, “coffee”).


Thanks for reading and I hope you liked this post and please do let me know your thoughts via comments.

Part two can be found here with more words.


By | 2012-12-29T19:17:02+00:00 October 9th, 2012|Literature, Speech|7 Comments

About the Author:

A massive fan of history and design, by profession Salah Deen is a Key Stage 2 Teacher. He frequently writes for Top Islamic Blog and also runs other websites. Follow on tumblr.


  1. Samuel 23/10/2012 at 3:15 am - Reply

    Good list didn’t know about arsenal.

  2. Khalid 23/12/2012 at 6:21 am - Reply

    How about the word “mirror”?

  3. Salah Ad Deen 23/12/2012 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    No mirror doesn’t come from arabic as far as I know.

  4. Md Nawazuddin 26/12/2012 at 5:10 am - Reply


    • Salah Ad Deen 27/12/2012 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      Yes that is also from Arabic from الكحل (al-kuħl, “kohl”)
      Many Thanks i’ll do another one soon 🙂

  5. Idris Zubair 07/02/2013 at 7:23 am - Reply

    It is absolutely good. May Allah reward accordingly. Ameen

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