Having recently posted about the AHD’s extension of the etymology of “ginger” back to Dravidian, I am now equally delighted to have them trace “souk” back beyond the obvious Arabic to Aramaic shuqa ‘street, market,’ from Akkadian suqu ‘street.’ And of course, bless their little hearts, they provide the protoform in their Semitic appendix. Thanks to The Discouraging Word for alerting me to this!


  1. Not exactly on topic, but you might be interested in knowing that the Mongol word for “dharma” is “nom”, from the Greek “nomos”. The Mongols were influenced by Christianity and probably Manichaeism before they became Buddhists. (Chinggis Qan’s daughter was a devout scripture-reading Christian, as well as a local military leader).
    The transmission was probably Greek — Aramaic — Sogdian — Turkish — Mongol.
    According to the Old OED, the word “horde” is from the Mongol “ordos” but assimiliated to the Germanic “hoard”. Perhaps Europeans thought of the “ordos” as a “shapeless heap of barbarians”, but the Mongol word means the patrimony and followers of a leader (like the Norse “hirde” maybe?) and is more like an “order” than a “hoard”.
    Aware that by now I’m diverging into pure free-association, Anglo-Saxon “gumann” = “man”, as does the Mongol “kymyn” (where “y” = umlauted “u”).
    Coincidence? Almost certainly, but it’s fun.

  2. the Mongol word for “dharma” is “nom”, from the Greek “nomos”
    Chinggis Qan’s daughter was a devout scripture-reading Christian, as well as a local military leader
    The hell with topic, if you’ve got stuff as interesting as that to say, you can stick it in whatever comment box you like!
    According to the New OED, the word “horde” is “Ultimately ad. Turk orda, camp (see URDU), whence Russ. ordá horde, clan, crowd, troop, Pol. horda, Ger., Da. horde, Sw. hord, It. orda, Sp., Pr. horda, F. horde (1559 in Hatz.-Darm.). The initial h appears in Polish, and thence in the Western European languages. The various forms horda, horde, hord were due to the various channels through which the word came into Eng.” This agrees with the AHD, which says “Ultimately… from Old Turkic ordu.” I assume the Mongols borrowed it from the Turks.

  3. Hey Steve, happy birthday! 🙂

  4. dungbeetle says

    Finally I have found out what ” horder, horder ” means when shouted out by the Speaker in the ‘ouse of commons.”shapeless heap of barbarians shut your gob”.

  5. Hi,
    It is not true.
    There are many original mongolian words consist of two or three letters.
    an am ah at
    on om ol or o
    nom num nam nem nim
    ord ard urd erd …

  6. Late comment, but anyway… So, am I correct to assume that herd, Swedish hjord has the same etymology?

  7. Nope, that’s native. The OED says Germanic *herdâ- is from pre-Germanic *kerdhâ (cf. Skr. çárdha-s troop, OSlav. črêda herd, flock); Merriam-Webster adds Middle Welsh cordd troop and Lithuanian kerdzius shepherd.

  8. Isn’t there a Greek word Ordos, meaning something like the natural way of things?

  9. I suspect you’re thinking of Latin ordo ‘arrangement’ (the source of English order).

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