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Click to Expand/Collapse OptionEtymArab
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kāfūr كافور
ID 759 • Sw – • BP ... • APD ... • Aut SG
camphor, camphor tree; (eg. ) blue gum (Eucalyptus ‎globulus Lab.; bot. ) – WehrCowan1979.
The word is ultimately of East Asian origin. Camphor came to the Arabs ‎via India, and to Europe via Arab physicians. In East Asia and India, it had been used since ancient times as a fumigant in religious rituals and other ceremonies. In the Qur’an it is mentioned as a cooling agent or flavouring for the drinks of the blessed in heaven. Arab physicians introduced camphor in the West as a drug. In C11 Italy and C12 Germany it is used as a remedy against gout and rheumatism (mentioned, among others, by Hildegard of Bingen) – Osman 2002.
C6 ʕAntara b. Šaddād bayna šifāhihā miskun ʕabīrun wa-kāfūrun yumāziǧuhū mudāmū (Polosin1995)
eC7 al-Aʕšā wa-bāridin ratilin ʕaḏbin maḏāqatuhū | ka-ʔannamā ʕulla bi’l-kāfūri wa-’ġtabaqā ‘und ein kühles, schönes (Gebiß), von süßem Geschmack, gleich wie wenn es getränkt wäre mit Kâfūrwein und einen Abendtrunk getan hätte’ (Geyer1905: 61-2).
eC7 Q 76: 5-6 ʔinna ’l-ʔabrāra yašrabūna min kaʔsin kāna mizāǧuhā kāfūran | ʕaynan yašrabu bihā ʕibādu ’ḷḷāhi yufaǧǧirūnahā tafǧīran “Die Frommen (dagegen) trinken (im Paradies Wein) aus einem Becher, dessen Mischwasser (mit) Kampfer (gewürzt) ist, | von einer Quelle, an der die (auserwählten) Diener Gottes trinken, und die sie unausgesetzt (oder: stark) (aus der Erde hervor)sprudeln lassen” (Paret)
see DISC section below.
▪ According to Jeffery1938, »The verse [Q 76: 5] is an early one ‎descriptive of the joys of Paradise, where the Commentators were uncertain whether kāfūr was ‎the name of the fountain from which the Blessed drink, or the material used to temper the drink ‎‎(cf. Ṭab. and Bayḍ. on the verse). – It is usually taken as an Ar word (LA , vi, 465), but the ‎variety of spellings – kāfūr , qāfūr , qafūr , and qaffūr – would suggest otherwise, and several ‎of the early authorities noted it as a loan-word from Pers. The ultimate source ‎is probably to be found in the Munda dialects of India, whence it passed into Dravidian, e.g. Tamil karppūram , Malayalam kappūram , and into Skr, cf. karpūr . It passed also into Iranian, where we find Phlv kāpūr , which gives the modPers kāfūr , and Arm ‎k'ap'owr , and into Aram where we find Syr ‎qapūrā and Mand ‎גופארא‎. – It is very probable that the Syriac like the Grk kaphourá is from the Iranian, and Addai Sher, 136, would make the Ar also a ‎borrowing from the Persians. The probabilities are, however, that it, like the Eth [Gz] kəfūr ,1 is to ‎be taken as derived from the Syriac. We find the ‎word in the early poetry (e.g. in al-Aʕshā), but the story ‎told by Balādhurī (ed. de Goeje, 264), that the Arab soldiers who conquered Madā’in found stores ‎of camphor there and took it for salt, would seem to show that the article was not widely known in ‎Arabia«.
▪ Geyer1905: 61-62: »Es ist schwer zu sagen, ob wir unter kāfūr wirklich stets den heute bei uns nur mehr medizinal gebrauchten Kampferwein oder auch anderweitig gewürzten Wein zu verstehen haben (vgl. die einander widersprechenden Angaben bei Lane, s.v.). Er wird ziemlich häufig genannt, am häufigsten wohl bei ʕUmar ibn ʔAbī Rabīʕah [lC7/eC8], und zwar VI 19, X 16, XVI 14, CLXXI 6, CLXXXIII; an den Stellen XXXII 1 und CXV 12 bezeichnet kāfūr‑ nur den Riechstoff, und es ist nicht auszuschließen, daß dies auch an einer oder der anderen von den früher angeführten der Fall ist«.
▪No relation whatsoever with the many KFR roots ‎‎(→√KFR ).
1. Stefan Weninger informs me that kəfūr is wrong and should definitely be kafūr , which is a loan from Ar. Jeffery’s opinion that Syr played a roll in the transfer of the word to Gz is therefore to be refuted – Personal communication, 07Jan2014.
▪ Kluge2002: A loan, ultimately, from an ‎Austroasian word (cf. Khmer kāpōr etc.). The many inlaut consonsants (Ge Kampfer , ‎nEngl camphor , Ital canfora , Ar kāfūr , oInd karpū́ra-) can be explained, probably, as a ‎variation that goes back to different prefixes.
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