160 Arabic Origin English Words {Resource}

I recently came across this list that was put together by the National Association of Arab Americans. It includes words in the English language that have Arabic origins.

A* accounting, algebra, alkali, agriculture, alphabet, arabesque, Arabian horse, architecture, astrology, astronomy, Atlantic Ocean (discovery), axe, azure
B* Bible, Baha’i, Bathtub, basilica, bazaar, beer, belly dancing, book, botany, bracelet, bread
C* caftan, carpet, calendar, caravan, cartography, ceramics, chair, charge account, cheese, chemistry, Christianity, church, clock, credit, coffee, cosmetics
D* damascene, damask, date, day (24 hours), dentistry, dish, domesticated animals, drums
E* earrings, elixir, enameling, embalming, engineering, eye liner, eye shadow
F* faience, flag, flute, fork, free enterprise, funeral
G* gauze, geography, geometry, glass, government
H* harp, history, horticulture
I* illumination, irrigation, Islam
J* Judaism, jurisprudence
K* knife, Koran
L* law, library, linen, lipstick, literature, lyre
M* magnetic compass, mathematics, mattress, medicine, missionary, monastery, monotheism, mosaic, mosque, music
N* nail polish, navigation, necklace, needle, numbers
O* oboe, olive, optics, optometry, orange
P* paper, pen, perfume, pharmacy, philosophy, phonetics, plow, plumbing, poetry, pottery, prophets, psalms
Q* quarrying
R* razor, reed instruments, rice, ring, rosary
S* satin, skyscraper, sofa, spoon, stairs, stoicism, sugar, surgery
T* table, tambourine, temple, theology
U* university, urn
V* vineyard
W* week (7 days), weights, wheel, wig, wine, writing
XYZ* year (365 days), yoghurt, zero, zither, zodiac

I found it in a book that was printed in 1978 called The Arab World: A Handbook for Teachers. My copy is starting to fall apart, so I wanted to share this on my blog.

I think it’s really neat to see the contributions made from a part of the world that is currently known for conflict and political unrest. Think what mankind would be today if some of the items on the list didn’t exist!


I am a Libyan American who creates art to promote a positive image of Arab and Islamic culture.