Arabic: dawā (Persian davāt)

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Treaty, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. Treaty Senior Member


    In Arabic the word dawā دوي is used for "inkwell" that became davāt/dawāt دوات in Persian. What is the etymology of the Arabic word?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ancalimon Senior Member

    I think this word could be Turkic in origin if it does not have an etymology in Arabic.

    < taban < tap < ? : stopper, the thing that's against something that supports it ~ "that stops it from going apart, scatter, spill". (it's also used for ground, shoes, opposite of ceiling, etc)

    or maybe

    < damar : vein, artery, root.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  3. Treaty Senior Member

    I just found δοχείο in Greek meaning container. Although the change from it to dawā is a long way, but considering other related Arabic words like qalam and qarṭās are Greek, is it possible to be the root of the Arabic dawā?
  4. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Arabic dawā also means "medicine." I wonder if this is the original meaning and "inkwell" a (contaminated) loanword.
  5. Treaty Senior Member

    dawā' (medicine) has a hamza at the end though the root is d-w-y. Another Arabic spelling of it is دواه dawāh.

    I also searched the Aramaic dictionary and found a number of cognates (verb dwt and noun dywt), all related to "ink". It seems Aramaic is the source of Arabic. I'm now suspicious if the Persian dawāt is a direct Aramaic loanword not Arabic (considering that the final t is not existing in Arabic but found in Aramaic and Persian). However, it seems that inkstand in [Syriac] Aramaic was byt dywtˀ not dwˀt.
  6. bazq Senior Member

    In Hebrew ink is "דיו" - "dyo", in Aramaic "dyutha".
    The "inkwell" is called "קסת" (qeset, pronounced keset), I don't know how it's called in Aramaic.

    There's a strong connection between "y" and "w" between Semitic languages. I believe this is a case where Hebrew and Aramaic changed the original waw into a yod, and Arabic kept the original waw (Heb/Ara "y-l-d" Arab "w-l-d" = boy / Heb "y-r-d" Arab "w-r-d" = "to descend" in late and modern Heb, and "to come" in Arab).

    How do you say "ink" in Arabic? Do you not use a root containing "d-y/w"?
  7. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The Arabic for “inkwell“ is actually dawāt(un) دواة , a feminine noun. It is probably borrowed from Aramiac dyūtā, compare also Hebrew dyō. It is believed to be a borrowing from Egyptian.
  8. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    As fdb said, the Arabic word has 't' as well.
  9. Treaty Senior Member

    Thanks everyone.

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