Common English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese words of Arabic origin

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Wikipedia has list of words of Arabic origin by language. But these lists are typically long and include plenty of rare and arcane words, or words that are specific to Arabic culture or to Islam. Other words came from Persian (e.g. assassin, aubergine, candy, caravan, cheque, chess, lemon, lime, orange, spinach), Sanskrit (lacquer, sugar) or even Greek (almond, apricot, alchemy, chemistry, cumin, elixir, guitar, massage, tarragon) via Arabic, but aren't Arabic in origin. There are also words that might be of Arabic origin, but are uncertain as they don't exist in Arabic with that meaning (e.g. amalgam, antimony). I intend here to list everyday words used in English and Romance languages that really come from Arabic itself.

Words in brackets do not carry the original meaning any more. A translation of the Arabic word is provided in brackets whenever the word acquired a different meaning in all European languages compared to the original Arabic.

EnglishFrenchItalianSpanishPortugueseArabic root
admiralamiralammiraglioalmirantealmiranteamīr al-baḥr
alcoholalcoolalcolalcoholálcoolal-kohl
alcovealcovealcovaalcobaalcovaal-qubba
algebraalgèbrealgebraálgebraálgebraal-jabr
algorithmalgorithmealgoritmoalgoritmoalgoritmoal-khwārizmī
arsenalarsenalarsenalearsenalarsenaldār sināʿa
artichokeartichautcarciofoalcachofaalcachofraal-kharshuf
(average)avarieavariaaveríaavariaawār
café, coffeecafécaffècafécaféqahwa
carafecarafecaraffajarrajarraḡarafa
(de)cipherchiffrecifracifracifraṣifr
cottoncotoncotonealgodónalgodãoqutun
curcumacurcumacurcumacúrcumacúrcumakurkum
gazellegazellegazzellagacelagazelaghazāl
giletgiletgilè, giletchalecogiletjalikah
giraffegiraffegiraffajirafagirafazarāfa
hazardhasardazzardoazar-az-zahr (dice game)
jarjarregiarajarrajarra, jarrojarra
jasminejasmingelsominojazmínjasmimyās(a)mīn
(jumper)(jupe)(giubba)(jupata)-jubba (silk garment)
macabremacabremacabromacabromacabromaqābir (graves, cemetery)
(magazine)(magasin)magazzino(magacín)-makhāzin (storehouses)
mattressmatelasmaterasso--maṭraḥ (large cushion or rug)
monsoonmoussonmonsonemonzónmonçãomawsim (season)
saffronsafranzafferanoazafránaçafrãozaʿfarān
sofasofasofàsofásofásoffa (dais)
sherbet, sorbetsorbetsorbettosorbetesorvetesharāb (sweet drink)
sodasoudesaldatosodasoldadosuwwād (saltwort)
syrupsiropsciroppojarabe, siropexaropesharāb (sweet drink)
tarifftariftariffatarifatarifataʿrīfa (notification)
tazzatassetazzataza-tassa
tunathontonnoatúnatumtunn

Other words like moka and tangerine are not from Arabic language itself as much as from the name of cities in the Arabic world where the product originally came from.

Of all these words, jubba acquired the most different meanings in each language. Originally meaning a silk garment in Arabic, it came to mean a jacket in the Renaissance Europe, a meaning which survives in Spanish and Italian. In Italian it also means a tunic. In English it became a jumper (sweater). In French jupe and jupon came to mean skirt. Even better, the Japanese imported the French jupon and changed it into zubon and gave it the meaning of trousers/pants! How can a word turn into so many different types of clothing?

Makhāzin kept its original meaning of storehouse or depot in Italian, and for a while in French too, until the French broadened its meaning to 'shop'. The English transformed it into magazine, giving it the meaning of a publication. The word was re-exported into French and Spanish, but interestingly not into Italian or Portuguese.

Some Arabic words only made their way to some Romance languages. French got toubib (slang word for doctor, from ṭabīb), while Italian gained gazzarra (racket, uproar, from ghazāra). Here are other Arabic loan words in Romance languages that don't exist in English.

ItalianFrenchSpanishPortugueseArabicEnglish meaning
zecca-ceca-(dār as-)sikkamint (for coins)
-(matraque)matracamatracamiṭraqarattle (or truncheon in French)
meschinomesquinmezquinomesquinhomiskīnmean, petty
pappagallopapegaipapagayopapagaiobabaḡāparrot
razziarazziarazzia-ḡazwaraid
 
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Spanish has far more words of Arabic origin than other European languages. This is due to the Arabic presence in the Iberian peninsula for almost eight centuries, from 711 to 1492. Portuguese also shares several of these words.

SpanishArabicEnglish meaning
aceiteaz-zaitoil
aceitunazaytūnaholive
acicateassiqáṭinsentive, stimulus
ademándhamangesture, signal
afánfanāeffort, eagerness
albahacahabaqahbasil
albañileríaal-bannāmasonry
alcaldeqāḍījudge
aldeaḍay‘ahsmall village
alfilfīlbishop (chess)
alfombraḥanbalcarpet, rug
algaradaġārahracket / riot / cavalry raid
alharacaharakaoverreaction, fuss
almohadamijaddapillow
alquilerkirā’rent
arrabalrabadsuburb
arreciferaṣīfreef
barriobarrīneighborhood
fideofidáwšnoodles
hastaḥattáuntil
hazañahasanahfeat
jabalígabalīboar
jinetezanátihorseman
mazmorramaṭmūrahdungeon
naipenāʾibplaying cards
norianā‘ūrahwaterwheel
ojalálaw šá lláhhopefully ("God willing")
rehénrihānhostage
rincónrukncorner
sandíasindiyyahwatermelon
tabiquetašbīkpartition (wall)
tareataríhatask
tarimaṭārimahwooden flooring ; dais, plateform
toronjaturunǧahgrapefruit
zaguanusṭuwān[ah]hallway
zanahoriasafunnáryacarrot
 
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