Top 15 English Words from Arabic Roots

English vocabulary words have influences from many different languages, including words with Arabic roots that came into English through travel and trade! In all languages, our vocabulary is influenced by history, culture, and geography.

If you look closely, you’ll see influences from Romance languages like French, Spanish and Italian. For example, “habit” comes from the French “habitude” and “mosquito” originated in Spanish. English is heavily influenced by German, too. For example, the verb “haben” and “have.” We even borrow words from Arabic, like “coffee” originally from “qahwa,” later from the Spanish “cafe.”

With all these interesting, diverse influences and pronunciation rules, English is quite a rich and sometimes confusing language.

If you speak Arabic, you should be able to identify the root words listed here. If you are not an Arabic speaker, don’t worry! You can still benefit from this lesson to improve and diversify your English vocabulary. Plus, you’ll know some interesting facts when it comes to the origins of words.

Here is a list of the top 15 words in English vocabulary that stem from Arabic roots.


Top 15 English Words with Arabic Roots

  1. Alchemy
  2. Chemistry: Alkimia
  3. Candy – Qandi
  4. Carat – Qirat
  5. Caravan Qairawan
  6. Coffee – Qahwa 15th c Yemen
  7. Cotton – Qutn
  8. Harem- Harim
  9. Magazine – Makhzin
  10. Mattress- Matrah
  11. Mecca – Makkah
  12. Safari – Safar
  13. Serendipity – Serendip
  14. Sofa  – Soffa
  15. Traffic – Tafriq



If you liked this lesson, you’ll love learning the Top 25 Words in English that Portuguese Speakers Already Know.

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