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Etymological Dictionary of Arabic

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Click to Expand/Collapse OptionEtymArab
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ḥarīr حَرِير , pl. ḥarāʔirᵘ
ID 201 • Sw – • BP 4769 • APD ... • Aut SG
silk; pl. ḥarāʔirᵘ , silken wares, silks – WehrCowan1979.
▪ »The etymology of the word is obscure; its synonyms →ibrīsam and →qazz , as well as →dībāǧ which more particularly denotes silk brocade, are Persian loanwords; →ḫazz , properly speaking a mixture of silk and wool, but sometimes also used for silk, is etymologically isolated in Arabic, and perhaps connected with qazz . ḥarīr occurs in the Qurʔān, sūras 23:23 = 35:33, and 76:12, where it is said that the raiment of the people of Paradise will be silk« – EI² (red.).
▪ Any relation between ḥarīr and other values of →√ḤRR? Perhaps with →ḥurr as the tissue is ‘free’ from defects, has a ‘faultless’, smooth fabric.
eC7 Q 35:33 wa-libāsu-hum fī-hā ḥarīrun ‘and their clothes therein [sc. Paradise] will be [of] silk’
* DRS 9 (2010)#ḤRR 5 Ar ḥarīr , Jib ḥárír , Soq ḥárhir , Gz ḥarīr , Te Tña ḥarir , Te har , Amh harir , har ‘soie’.1 — Outside Sem: (Cush) Sa harīr , Af harēr.2
1. Les formes éthiopiennes [i.e., Gz Te Tña Amh] sont des emprunts à l’arabe. 2. Probablement emprunts directs à l’arabe.
▪ A relation between ḥarīr and other values of √ḤRR (‘heat, to burn’, ‘stony area’, ‘to be born free’) seems rather unlikely at first sight, cf. →ḤRR. But it may be akin to →ḥurr if the latter’s primary meaning could be established as *‘free from defects, default’. In this case, silk would properly be the ‘faultless’, smooth fabric. Cf. Ǧabal 2010-I: 395-6 where the basic value of ḤRR is assumed to be ḫulūṣ al-šayʔ min al-ġalīẓ allaḏī yaʕrūhu ʔaw yuḫāliṭu ʔaṯnāʔahū (bi-ʔan yaḫruǧa minhā) fa-yaṣfū wa-yanqà , and silk is al-ḥarīr min al-ṯiyāb , i.e., raqīq nāʕim laysa fīhi ġalaẓ .
▪ Hassan1986 suggested a Chinese origin of the word,1 but although the idea should not be rejected from the outset his study does not fulfil scientific standards and can therefore not be taken as a serious contribution to etymological research.
1. From the words for ‘fine silk’ which, according to the author, are »Ssu-Li« [probably 絲 , 麗 ]. S. Mahdi Hassan, “The Arabic word ḥarīr as traceable to the Chinese term signifying fine-silk”, Islamic Studies , 25/3 (Autumn 1986): 333-5.
▪ Any relation to Grk Sêres , Lat Seres , the term used in Antiquity as a name for Chin traders? According to Lokotsch1927#1878, this name derives from Chin 丝儿 (絲兒) sī-ér , composed of ‘silk’ and the nominal suffix designating persons, -ér , »common among the inhabitants of the NChin provinces«. From the Lat Seres are the name of the country Serica , the adj. seric-us ‘Seric, made from silk’, as n. serica ‘silk dress’. The Lat serica (~ sarica ~ sirica ) gave Fr serge , sarge , Prov serga , It sargia , Cat sarja , Span Port sarga , Rum sarecă ‘serge, kind of woolen material, (wiki:) type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave’, Span jergo , Port xergo ‘paillasse, straw mattress’, Span jergon , Port enxergão ‘paillasse’, Span sirgo ‘waste silk’, (Calabr)It siricu ‘silk worm’, Ge Sarsche ; Ru sarža , Bulg sarža , Cz sarše , Pol sarza , szarsza ‘type of woolen material’. From Lat seric-um , adj.neutr., ‘silken, made of silk’, are also (mediated by oFr) Engl silk , as well as oSlav šelkŭ ‘silk’ > Ru šëlk , Ukr šołk ‘silk’, Ru (deriv.) šelkovica , šelkovnik ‘mulberry tree’. – It seta , Span Port Prov seda , Fr soie , Ge Seide go back to mLat seta ‘silk’ which is probably short for seta serica ‘Seric hair’, from Lat saeta ‘thick hair, bristle’ and the adj.f. seric-a , described above.
ḥarīr ṣaḫrī , n., asbestos.
ḥarīr ṣināʕī , n., rayon.

ḥarrara, vb. II, to mercerize (cotton yarn or fabrics to achieve a silky lustre). – For other meanings see →ḥurr .

ḥarīrī, adj., silken, silky, of silk: nsb-adj.
ḥarāʔirī, adj., silken, silk (in compounds), of silk: nsb-adj from pl.; silk weaver:, nominalized nisba adj.
ḥarrār, n., silk weaver:
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