or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Pits

Mmmm. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to birch pollen, so no dice.

As I've mentioned before, lots of English words that start with "al-" are from the Arabic: the prefix means "the", as in "alcohol", from "al-kuhol", "the kohl", "the antimony powder". (It's a long story: check it out here.) Other "al-" words such as "alkali" and "alfalfa" are from Arabic, not to mention such unexpected ones as "antimony" itself ("al-ithmid") and "elixir" ("al-iksir", "the philosopher's stone").

Today while showering I noticed something written on a little shower-gel bottle I had refilled with something else: the text was in three languages, and it said "apricot", "abricot" (the French version), and finally the Spanish "albaricoque". Aha, I said to myself; that's got to be from the Arabic. And, as it turns out, it is. The Arabic word is "al-burquq", "the plum"; apricots are, in fact, related to plums, both being drupes (that is, single-stoned fruits), and the two are easily hybridized into plumcots and other variant fruits.


Blogger arabicgems said...

That's interesting, I didn't know that about the etymology of the apricot. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 9:59:00 AM  
Blogger Bright Beak said...

wonder if it is part of the root for albuquerque

bb - guess who :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 2:45:00 PM  

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