KHASHOGGI.

For as long as Adnan Khashoggi has been in the news (over three decades now), his last name has niggled at me: what kind of name is it, and how is it pronounced? Now, reading a book by Said K. Aburish (interview) called The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud (a book full of mistakes and bad English that doesn’t appear to have been edited at all, but there’s so little non-sycophantic material out there about Saudi Arabia that his gossip and unverifiable assertions are at least a useful counterweight), I find the following in Chapter 9, “Servants of the Crown”: “It would seem that the only thing people in the West do not know about Adnan Khashoggi is how to pronounce his name properly. A hard ‘g’ is followed by a soft ‘g’: Khashog-ji.” (The next paragraph begins: “Khashoggi is a Turkoman, another non-Saudi son of one of Ibn Saud’s doctors…”) So I’m glad to know how it’s pronounced, and I’m somewhat enlightened about its formation (-ji, or -ci in the current orthography, is the Turkish suffix for ‘person who…,’ as seen in the name Saatchi, originally ‘watchmaker’ from Arabic-Turkish saat ‘hour, time; watch, clock’; I note that there are people who spell their name Khashogji), but I’m still mystified about the base element. I’ve checked my Persian dictionaries for anything resembling khashog (the g rules out Arabic and the kh eliminates Turkish) but have come up empty. Any suggestions?
Addendum. Having been informed that the base element is a Turco-Persian word for ‘spoon’ (kaşık in Turkish, qashoq in Persian, both from Old Turkish qashuq), I looked up kaşık in my Langenscheidt pocket dictionary and discovered that the following entry was:
kaşıkçıkuşu pelican.
Now, kuş is ‘bird,’ so ‘pelican’ in Turkish is “spoonerbird.” Or, if you prefer, “Khashoggi bird.” Just thought I’d pass that along.

Comments

  1. If I’m not mistaken, it’s actually qashoq (i.e., the inital and final letters are ‘qaf’), which per the Steingass dictionary is an originally Turkic wording meaning a wooden spoon) in Persian. It now means a spoon of any kind in Persian. So his forebears would have been makers or sellers of spoons.
    The Turkish press, in referring to him, uses “Adnan Kasikci” (cedilla under the ‘s’), which again means “spoon-maker’ or “spoon-seller”. (The “Kasikci Elmasi”, (Kasikci Diamond), by the way, is evidently the largest diamond in the jewel collection of the Ottoman imperial house. (No idea whether it has anything to do with his family.)

  2. A thousand thanks! Boy, that’s a load off my mind. Here‘s a bio page on him in Turkish where you can see the actual spelling (with no dots on the i’s as well as the cedilla under the s). And now that you’ve given me the clue I find the word (as qašuq) in my Dictionary of Old Turkish.

  3. Spoonmaker? That’s specialization for you. What did the Turks call forkmakers?
    This is a place where Turkish and Mongol are cognate — the Mongol is “-jin”. Temujin (Chinggis Qan) is compounded from Temur, “iron”, and means “Smith”: Smith the Barbarian. A grandson was a Christian named George, but “Smith” was not a surname, so his name was not “George Smith”.

  4. Spooner is a common enough name in English – Spoonerisms are part of the language: “Sir, you have deliberately tasted two whole worms. You have hissed my mystery lectures, and you have been seen fighting a liar in the quadrangle. You will leave by the next town drain.”

  5. Right, and don’t forget that forks are a modern invention.

  6. Don’t forget that ancient Celtic clan of Spork!

  7. Don’t forget that ancient Celtic clan of Spork!
    Didn’t they change their name from “Runcible”? There were concerns that it sounded too German.

  8. is that Mongol/Turkish suffix related in any way to the Japanese “-jin”?

  9. highly unlikely, but if we want to do proto-world etymologizing (unless Language Hat will kick me off his blog for doing so 🙂 ) don’t forget Bardi -iidi, the unpalatalised version. And we’d have to work the IE -ter agentives in there somewhere too.

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