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Test Your Knowledge

posted on: May 21, 2023

By Habeeb Salloum: Arab America Contributing Writer

Arabic Contributions to the English Vocabulary

  1.  English has borrowed words from many languages.  According to the Skeats Etymological Dictionary, in the order of borrowing from other languages, the Arabic language comes in:
  1. 4th
  2. 7th
  3. 12th
  1. Many Arabic words entered English through other languages.  The Arabic word nā’ib became the English word nabob, but it entered English through:
  1. Turkish
  2. French
  3. Urdu
  1. Nārang, a Persian word, entered Arabic then was passed on to English to become orange through:
  1. Italian
  2. Turkish
  3. Spanish
  1. Arabic words entered English, in the majority of cases, through:
  1. Syria
  2. Spain
  3. Sicily
  1. English is still, at present, borrowing Arabic words.  Which of the following words has English borrowed during the past few decades?
  1. admiral
  2. falafel
  3. tariff
  1. The Arabic loan-words are only one aspect of the Arabic impact on English.  In addition, there are numerous English words which are a literal translation of the Arabic.  Sine is the English version of:
  1. al-jabr
  2. al-khuwārizmī
  3. jayb
  1. The Persian word kārwān was transmitted through Arabic by way of Sicily into the European languages and became the English word:
  1. caravan
  2. caraway
  3. guitar
  1. There are a number of Arab mathematicians who influenced and revolutionized mathematics in Europe.  The greatest of these mathematicians was:
  1. Al-Khuwārizmī
  2. Jābir ibn Aflaḥ
  3. Masluma al-Majrīṭī

Muslin, an English name for a cotton fabric, is derived from the Arabic:

  1. mawsim
  2. Mawṣil (Mosul)
  3. Muslim
  1. Coffee, from the Arabic qahwa, entered English:
  1. before the 10th century
  2. before the 15th century
  3. after the 15th century
  1. Numerous placenames entered English from Arabic.  Which of he following is derived from Arabic?
  1. Hastings
  2. Torquay
  3. Trafalgar
  1. Gibraltar gets its name from which one of these historic figures?
  1. Ibn Gibra’īl
  2. Ibn Jubayr
  3. Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād
  1. The English words cipher and zero come from the Arabic:
  1. aṣfar
  2. ṣafar
  3. ifr
  1. From Damascus, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, English derives a name for a:
  1. fabric
  2. sheep
  3. star
  1. Which of the following animals gets its name from Arabic?
  1. zebra
  2. giraffe
  3. jackal
  1. Mocha, an excellent type of coffee, is named after a city in:
  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Syria
  3. Yemen
  1. From the Arabic, al-zahr, we get one of the following English words:
  1. azimuth
  2. azure
  3. hazard
  1. Mummy came into English from:
  1. Ancient Egyptian
  2. Arabic
  3. Greek
  1. The word, Rubaiyat, which Fitzgerald made famous, originates from:
  1. Arabic
  2. Persian
  3. Urdu
  1. The English words mask and mascara are both derived form the Arabic word:
  1. maskhara
  2. mass
  3. mastaba
  1. Alhambra, a common name for restaurants and theatres found throughout the English-speaking world, is originally from the Arabic word:
  1. ḥammām
  2. ḥimār
  3. aḥmar
  1. Which one of the following languages has an Arabic name?
  1. Coptic
  2. Somali
  3. Swahili
  1. The game of chess was introduced into Europe by the Arabs through which of the following areas?
  1. Balkans
  2. Sicily
  3. Spain
  1. The words alchemy and chemistry entered English from Arabic but were originally from:
  1. Ancient Egyptian
  2. Greek
  3. Phoenician
  1. An old Egyptian city from which the English name for the fabric fustian is derived is:
  1. Fawwa
  2. Fustat
  3. Fayyum
  1. Gauze, an English name for a type of fabric, is derived from the name of a city in:
  1. Iraq
  2. Palestine
  3. Syria
  1. The English words fanfare and fanfaron are derived from the Arabic word:
  1. tharthār
  2. farfār
  3. firfīr
  1. A vegetable brought back to Europe from Palestine during the Crusades and whose name was introduced into the English language at that time is:
  1. kohlrabi
  2. scallion
  3. molokhia
  1. Some English personal names originate from Arabic.  Which one of these names is from Arabic?
  1. Leila
  2. Mona
  3. Sheila
  1. Many English names for chemicals and minerals are derived from Arabic.  Which of the following is of Arabic origin?
  1. antimony
  2. azulene
  3. zeolite

Answers to Test Your Knowledge

1. (b)

2. (c)

3. (c)  

4. (b)

5. (b)

6. (c)

7. (a)

8. (a)

9. (b)

10. (c)

11. (c)

12. (c)

13. (c)

14. (a)

15. (b)

16. (c)

17. (c)

18. (b)

19. (a)

20. (a)

21. (c)

22. (c)

23. (c)

24. (b)

25. (b)

26. (b)

27. (a)

28. (b)

29. (a)

30. (a)