List of English words of Persian origin


by asghar62

"As Indo-European languages, English and Persian have many words of common Proto-Indo-European origin, and many of these cognate words often have similar forms. However, this article will be concerned with loanwords, that is, words in English that derive from Persian, either directly, or more often, via one or more intermediary languages.

Many words of Persian origin have made their way into the English language through different, often circuitous, routes. Some of them, such as "paradise", date to cultural contacts between the Persians and the ancient Greeks or Romans and through Greek and Latin found their way to English. Persian as the second important language of Islam has influenced many languages in the Muslim world, and its words have found their way beyond the Muslim world.

Persia remained largely impenetrable to English-speaking travellers well into the 19th century. Persia was protected from Europe by overland trade routes that passed through territory inhospitable to foreigners, while trade at Persian ports in the Persian Gulf was in the hands of locals. In contrast, intrepid English traders operated in Mediterranean seaports of the Levant from the 1570s, and some vocabulary describing features of Ottoman culture found their way into the English language. Thus many words in the list below, though originally from Persian, arrived in English through the intermediary of Turkish.

Many words also came into English through Hindustani during the British Raj. Persian was the lingua franca in India before British rule.

Other words of Persian origin found their way into European languages— and eventually reached English at second-hand— through the Moorish-Christian cultural interface in the Iberian peninsula during the Middle Ages thus being transmitted through Arabic. "




Recently by asghar62CommentsDate
Stand By Me
Oct 07, 2011
Oct 06, 2011
Steve Jobs: Life's lessons
Oct 06, 2011
more from asghar62

Two words

by Mehdi on

- Mascara from Arabic word Maskharah meaning clown, from from sakhira "to ridicule"

- Crimson from Arabic Ghirmiz from Skt. krmi-ja a compound meaning "(red dye produced by a worm," from krmih "worm" + -ja- "produced"

K Nassery

few common words...

by K Nassery on

I did look at the list and I was suprised that there were so few words of Persian origen that are commonly used in America. Angel and Paradise... are from Persian, but that is not surprising as those came from the Old Testament as a conduit.

I did enjoy looking at the list, thank you for pointing it out. 



Now everyone is an expert

by Critic (not verified) on

One of the peculiar features of Iranians is that there is no shortage of experts among them. They are experts in everything:politics, people, culture, cuisine and indeed, the language. Here we see two such experts, i.e salim and asghar62. salim has had a divine hunch !!! and asghar62 has written the obvious- BIG DEAL! With such experts I don't why Iranians are in such a massive mess!


great post

by salim on

Thanks for the great post!

I do a bit of etymology myself and I ask you to look into Philadelphia. Phil + Adelphos (spell?). for brotherly love and I suspect, adelphos might have originated from the word "Adel" for fair, or equal and hence brother. Just a hunch.