Etymology
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Ramadan (n.)

ninth month of the Muslim year, period of the annual thirty-days' fast, 1590s, earlier Ramazan (c. 1500), from Arabic Ramadan (Turkish and Persian ramazan), originally "the hot month," from ramida "be burnt, scorched" (compare Mishnaic Hebrew remetz "hot ashes, embers"). In the Islamic lunar calendar, it passes through all seasons in a cycle of about 33 years, but evidently originally it was a summer month.

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hijab (n.)

veil worn by some Muslim women, by 1906 in this sense in bilingual dictionaries; in classical Arabic it meant "partition, screen, curtain," and also generally "rules of modesty and dress for females;" from root h-j-b. It is defined in an 1800 English lexicon of "the Hindoostanee language" as "modesty, shame," and in other such dictionaries c. 1800 it has connotations of "to cover, hide, conceal." The 1906 dictionary also has hijab as "modesty."

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admiral (n.)

c. 1200, amiral, admirail, "Saracen commander or chieftain," from Old French amirail (12c.) "Saracen military commander; any military commander," ultimately from medieval Arabic amir "military commander," probably via Medieval Latin use of the word for "Muslim military leader."

Amiral de la mer "commander of a fleet of ships" is in late 13c. Anglo-French documents. Meaning "highest-ranking naval officer" in English is from early 15c. The extension of the word's meaning from "commander on land" to "commander at sea" likely began in 12c. Sicily with Medieval Latin amiratus and then spread to the continent, but the word also continued to mean "Muslim military commander" in Europe in the Middle Ages. The Arabic word was later Englished as emir.

As amīr is constantly followed by -al- in all such titles, amīr-al- was naturally assumed by Christian writers as a substantive word, and variously Latinized .... [OED]

Also in Old French and Middle English the word was further conformed to familiar patterns as amirauld, amiraunt. The unetymological -d- probably is from influence of Latin ad-mirabilis (see admire). Italian form almiraglio, Spanish almirante are from confusion with Arabic words in al-. As the name of a type of butterfly from 1720, according to OED possibly a corruption of admirable.

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sheik (n.)

also sheikh, "head of an Arab family," also "head of a Muslim religious order," and later also a general title of respect, 1570s, from Arabic shaykh "chief," literally "old man," from base of shakha "to grow old." Popularized by "The Sheik," the 1919 novel in an Arabian setting by E.M. Hull, and the movie version, "The Sheikh" (1921), starring Rudolph Valentino, which gave the word its colloquial sense of "strong, romantic lover." The word gave French fits: Old French had it as seic, esceque, and later forms included scheik, cheikh.

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priest (n.)
Origin and meaning of priest

Middle English prēst, "cleric ranking below a bishop and above a deacon, a parish priest," from Old English preost, which probably was shortened from the older Germanic form represented by Old Saxon and Old High German prestar, Old Frisian prestere, all from Vulgar Latin *prester "priest," from Late Latin presbyter "presbyter, elder," from Greek presbyteros "elder (of two), old, venerable," comparative of presbys "old" (see presby-).

In Middle English also used generally for any man holding high Church office or anyone duly authorized to be a minister of sacred things; from c. 1200 of pagan and Muslim religious leaders. In the Old Testament sense (Old English), it is a translation of Hebrew kohen, Greek hiereus, Latin sacerdos.

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seraglio (n.)

1580s, in reference to Muslim lands, "the part of the dwelling where the women are secluded," also the name of a former palace of the sultan in Istanbul, which contained his harem; from Italian seraglio, alteration of Turkish saray "palace, court," from Persian sara'i "palace, inn." This is from the Iranian base *thraya- "to protect" (source also of Avestan thrayeinti "they protect"), from PIE *tra-, a variant form of the root *tere- (2) "cross over, pass through, overcome."

The Italian word probably reflects folk etymology influence of serraglio "enclosure, cage," from Medieval Latin serraculum "bung, stopper" (see serried). Sometimes in English in early use serail, via French sérail, which is from the Italian word. The meaning "inmates of a harem" is attested by 1630s.

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Kaffir (n.)

1790, "infidel," earlier and also caffre (1670s), from Arabic kafir "unbeliever, infidel, impious wretch," with a literal sense of "one who does not admit (the blessings of God)," from kafara "to cover up, conceal, deny, blot out."

Technically, "a non-Muslim," but in Ottoman times it came to be used there almost exclusively as the disparaging word for "Christian." It also was used by Muslims in East Africa of the pagan black Africans; English missionaries then picked it up as an equivalent of "heathen" to refer to Bantus in South Africa (1731), from which use in English it came generally to mean "South African black" regardless of ethnicity, and to be a term of abuse at least since 1934.

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infidel (n.)

mid-15c., "adherent of a religion opposed to Christianity," from Old French infidèle, from Latin infidelis "unfaithful, not to be trusted," in Late Latin "unbelieving" (in Medieval Latin also as a noun, "unbeliever"), from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + fidelis "faithful" (from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust, confide, persuade").

Originally "a non-Christian" (especially a Saracen); later "one who does not believe in religion, disbeliever in religion generally" (1520s). Also used to translate Arabic qafir (see Kaffir), which is from a root meaning "to disbelieve, to deny," strictly referring to all non-Muslims but virtually synonymous with "Christian;" hence, from a Muslim or Jewish point of view, "a Christian" (1530s). As an adjective from mid-15c., "of a religion opposed to Christianity;" 1520s as "rejecting the Christian religion while accepting no other."

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prayer (n.1)

c. 1300, preiere, "earnest request, entreaty, petition," also "the practice of praying or of communing with God," from Old French prier "prayer, petition, request" (12c., Modern French prière), from Medieval Latin precaria "petition, prayer," noun use of Latin adjective precaria, fem. of precarius "obtained by prayer, given as a favor," from precari "to ask, beg, pray" (from PIE root *prek- "to ask, entreat").

From mid-14c. as "devout petition to God or a god or other object of worship;" also "the Lord's Prayer;" also "action or practice of praying." Related: Prayers. Prayer-book "book of forms for public or private devotions" is attested from 1590s; prayer-meeting "service devoted to prayer, sacred song, and other religious exercises" is from 1780. Prayer-rug "small carpet spread and used by a Muslim when engaged in devotions" is by 1898 (prayer-carpet is by 1861). To not have a prayer "have no chance" is from 1941.

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crescent (n.)

late 14c., cressaunt, "crescent-shaped ornament," from Anglo-French cressaunt, from Old French creissant, croisant "crescent of the moon" (12c., Modern French croissant), from Latin crescentum (nominative crescens), present participle of crescere "come forth, spring up, grow, thrive, swell, increase in numbers or strength," from PIE root *ker- (2) "to grow."

Applied in Latin to the waxing moon, luna crescens, but subsequently in Latin mistaken to refer to the shape, not the stage. The original Latin sense is preserved in crescendo.

Meaning "moon's shape in its first or last quarter" is from mid-15c. in English. Meaning "small roll of bread made in the form of a crescent" is from 1886. Adjectival sense of "shaped like the crescent moon" is from c. 1600 (earlier it meant "increasing, growing," 1570s).

A badge or emblem of the Turkish sultans (probably chosen for its suggestion of "increase"); figurative sense of "Muslim political power" is from 1580s, but modern writers often falsely associate it with the Saracens of the Crusades or the Moors of Spain. Horns of the waxing moon are on the viewer's left side; those of the waning moon are on his right.

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