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
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
Correct answer: A. Oceanic bird of the family Diomedeidae
Example: “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” tells of a curse brought about when a sailor kills an albatross.
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
Correct answer: C. Direction of a celestial body from the observer
Example: To receive the most sunlight, a solar panel should take the sun’s azimuth into account.
A: Coded messaging
B: Gambling strategy
C: Freshwater dolphin
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
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
Correct answer: B. Woven fabric with a reversible pattern
Example: For the French doors, the decorator chose damask curtains that would photograph well from either side.
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!