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Etymological Dictionary of Arabic

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Click to Expand/Collapse OptionEtymArab
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sukkar سُكَّر , pl. sakākirᵘ
ID 400 • Sw – • BP 1683 • APD ... • Aut SG
sugar; pl. sakākirᵘ sweetmeats, confectionery, candies – WehrCowan1979.
The word entered Ar either via Pers šä(k)kär (Waines, Kluge), mInd sakkharā (Vennemann) or, less specifically, from some Indo-Aryan source difficult to identify (Dolgopolsky). Ultimately it goes back to Skr śarkarā ‘grit, pebbles, gravel’.
»The origin of sugar cane and its early domestication cannot be precisely determined, but it evidently derived from the family of large Saccharum grasses which grow in India and Southeast Asia« and which produce silicious concretions in their internodes. »From India, cultivation of the plant spread westward. Clear references to cultivation in Persia belong to the period immediately following the Islamic conquest, but it was possibly known somewhat earlier; papyrus evidence indicates that sugar cane was grown in Egypt by the mid-2nd/8th century and diffusion across North Africa was steady although its entry into areas of the Iberian peninsula under Muslim domination may not have occurred until the 5th/11th century. From Crusader times, the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and later Cyprus, were important; sources of supply for Christian Europe« – Waines1997.
Since the word is a loan from an Indo-Aryan source, there are no real cognates. For a possible relation of the ancestor of sukkar , Skr śarkarā ‘grit, pebbles, gravel’, with Cush words for ‘gravel, small stone, coarse sand’ as well as possible parallels within Nostr, see next paragraph.
▪ Dolgopolsky2012#1131: Nostr *ḳärV (ḳa ) (= *ḳärU (ḳa )?) ‘small stone’ > AfrAs: Cush: ECush: pOr {Bl.} *ḳirr‑ ‘gravel, small stone’ > Or č̣írr-ačča {Grg.} ‘coarse sand’, {Bl.} ‘small stone(s)’, Kns qírr-itta ‘small stone’, qírr-a ‘gravel’ || Kauk: GZ *ḳurḳa‑ > G ḳurḳa - ‘stone of a fruit’, Lz ḳurḳa id., ‘grain’ || IndoEur: NaIE *k̑orkā ‘gravel’ > OInd śarkarā f. ‘grit, pebbles, gravel’, OInd Ep śarkara > Pali sakkharā -, Prkr sakara ‑, Hindi sakkar ‘granulated sugar’ (an Indo-Aryan source →Grk sákkhar (on ), NPer šä(k)kär , Ar sukkar - ‘sugar’, and the words for ‘sugar’ in the European languages [Ital zucchero , nHG Zucker , Fr sucre , NEngl sugar , Russ saxar , etc.]) ‖ Grk krókē , krokálai ‘abgerundeter Kieselstein am Meeresufer’ || Drav *karVc̉‑ ({ϑGS} *g‑ ) ‘gravel’ > Kn garasu , garusu , Tl garusu id., Tu karṅkallu id., ‘hard sand’.
▪ Unrelated to other items of the root →√SKR .
Pāli sakharā‑ > (Hellenistic period?) Grk sákkhar , sákkhari > Per šakar . Grk sákkharon > Lat saccharum . Ar sukkar > Ital zucchero , Fr sucre , Ge Zucker – Chantraine1977.
sukkar al-banǧar, n., beet sugar.
sukkar al-ṯimār, n., fructose, levulose, fruit sugar.
sukkar al-šaʕīr, n., maltose, malt sugar.
sukkar al-ʕinab, n., dextro-glucose, dextrose, grape sugar.
sukkar al-qaṣab, n., saccharose, sucrose, cane sugar.
sukkar al-laban, n., lactose, milk sugar.
sukkar al-nabāt, n., sugar candy, rock candy.
qaṣab al-sukkar, n., sugar cane.
maraḍ al-sukkar, n., diabetes (med. ).

sakkara, vb. II, to sugar, sprinkle with sugar; to candy, preserve with sugar: denominative.
sukkarī, adj., sugar (adj.), sugary, like sugar, saccharine: nsb-adj.; pl. sukkariyyāt confectionery; sweetmeats, candy | maraḍ al-bawl al-s. and al-maraḍ al-s . diabetes (med .).
sukkariyyaẗ, n.f., sugar bowl : nominalized nsb-adj. f.
musakkarāt,, confectionery, sweetmeats, candy : nominalized PP II, denominative.
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