Word Power Quiz: English Words of Arabic Origin
Centuries of trade between Middle Eastern and European merchants brought more than silks and spices to the West. Find out how many of these English words of Arabic origin are in your vocabulary.
1. Lapis Lazuli
A: Breed of soft-haired rabbit
B: Gem-carving technique
C: Bright blue mineral
Correct answer: C. Bright blue mineral
Example: Yvonne’s necklace caught the eye with its lapis lazuli stones.
A: Wild boar
B: Hard mass in a stomach
C: Navigational star chart
Correct answer: B. Hard mass in a stomach
Example: The veterinarian found the bezoar that had been causing José’s dog such pain.
A: Flour-based glue
B: Sun-dried bricks
C: Political advisor
Correct answer: B. Sun-dried bricks
Example: Some of the streets in Timimoun, Algeria, are lined with adobe houses.
A: Place that attracts people
B: Clay cooking pot
C: Magnetic north
Correct answer: A. Place that attracts people
Example: Some Muslims take an annual trip to Mecca, the city where Muhammad was born, and some culture lovers take an annual trip to New York City, a mecca for the arts.
A: Woven satchel
B: Vivid red
C: Youthful prince
Correct answer: B. Vivid red
Example: In spring, Jasmine’s garden is full of carmine tulips.
A: Oceanic bird of the family Diomedeidae
B: Saltwater fish species
C: Song lamenting the fall of a city
A: Incense holder
B: Dried fruit used as a bath sponge
C: Cinnamon toothpaste
Correct answer: B. Dried fruit used as a bath sponge
Example: Harry’s bathroom was stocked with fresh towels, a silk dressing gown and a loofah.
B: Fragrant spice
C: Recessed area
Correct answer: C. Recessed area
Example: A marble bust of Beethoven sat in an alcove in the living room.
A: Military officer who leads a death squad
B: Political deadlock
C: Direction of a celestial body from the observer
A: Coded messaging
B: Gambling strategy
C: Freshwater dolphin
Correct answer: A. Coded messaging
Example: Many ciphers were created for the U.S. military during the Second World War, but the Navajo language proved one of the best methods of secret communication.
A: Citrus drink
B: Syrupy drink
C: Yogourt drink
Correct answer: B. Syrupy drink
Example: The mint julep is the signature cocktail of the Kentucky Derby.
A: Instrument with two legs that measures dimensions
B: Hereditary religious leaders in Syria
C: Proportion of precious meals in an alloy
Correct answer: A. Instrument with two legs that measures dimensions
Example: While renovating the kitchen, Jillian used calipers to determine the size of her tiles.
A: Dark eyeliner made from wax
B: Substance containing a low concentration of hydrogen ions
C: Pointed nose
Correct answer: B. Substance containing a low concentration of hydrogen ions
Example: A solution with a pH higher than seven is said to be alkaline, or basic.
A: Person who sets fires
B: Deadly poison
C: Store of weapons
Correct answer: C. Store of weapons
Example: Nine countries in the world possess known nuclear arsenals.
A: Twilight hour
B: Woven fabric with a reversible pattern
C: Persian Gulf sailing vessel
How Did You Do?
If you got 7-10 correct answers, you have some work to do (sorry!). If you got 11-12 correct answers, then great job! And if you got 13-15 correct answers, it’s time for you to think about a career in linguistics!