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  1. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    I am sure I saw in a dictionary one time the etymology for this word given as "dinner-guest". Is this possible? I can only find "eater of hashish" for it now. Thanks.
     
  2. ancalimon Senior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    "Haşhaş yiyen" means "the one that eats hashish" in "Turkish".

    I think that's folk etymology.
     
  3. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Sure I think it was in a Chambers dictionary - will check it though. It struck me as very memorable.
     
  4. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Strangely the dictionary gives "hashish eater" as stemming from Arabic.
     
  5. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    The name seems to be originated from the suicidal/fedaee followers of an Isma'ili leader, Hasan Sabbah. We should know who had called the Isma'ili fedaees as "hashashin" for the first time. If they were called so by their enemies, then "the hashish eater" can be the answer. Their enemies had good reason to understate and insult their belief by accusing them being under the effect of hashish.
     
  6. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Treaty is correct. Assassin derives from the Arabic ḥashshāshīn "hashish eaters." Some members of the Isma'ili sect developed a reputation for killing opponents (especially Crusaders) while under the influence of hashish.
     
  7. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Thanks a lot - I'm sure you're right. But I will check the Chambers when I see it - coz it's an old edition and I like its suggestion. May I ask why our first member ancalimon said it came from Turkish? Are Arabic and Turkish similar in some respects?? And Farsi?? Which language are we speaking of here - Arabic or Farsi? - and which language does fedaee belong to please? Many thanks - this contemporary subject is not uninteresting!
     
  8. ancalimon Senior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    I didn't say it came from Turkish. When you said it supposedly meant "hashish eater" my mind registered it as the Turkish "haşhaş yiyen" meaning "the one that eats hashish".

    I don't know Arabic so I did not know that "īn" meant "eater" in Arabic.
     
  9. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Sure thanks - so its just a coincidence that Turkish resembles Arabic here??
     
  10. ancalimon Senior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    Probably.

    http://translate.google.com/#tr/ar/haşhaş yiyen
    click the speaker icon on the left side (which is Turkish) to get an idea about how it's pronounced.

    Turkish:

    ye: eat
    yi(y)en: the one that eats

    When the suffix an ~ en comes after a verb xxx, it makes it mean "the one that xxx"
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  11. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Sure - it's becoming clearer now. Thanks!
     
  12. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    -īn is a plural suffix in Arabic. ḥashshāsh means "hashish eater" and ḥashshāshīn means "hashish eaters."
     
  13. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Okay - so we have a situation where in Arabic there are a number of them (coming to get you) and the derogatory victims have not distinguished? Strange, cos these guys usually work alone.
     
  14. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Arabic, Turkish, and Farsi (Persian) are distinct languages and belong to different language families; however, there are numerous Arabic loanwords in Turkish and especially in Farsi due to the Islamic religious and cultural influence on those societies. The fedaee (Arabic: fidā'ī "one who sacrifices himself") in this context refers to followers of the Isma'ili sect that risked their lives in carrying out "assassinations" against Crusaders and others.
     
  15. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Thanks so much - you seem quite knowledgeable on the subject. Have we discovered a reason why noone in the west can understand "suicide bombing"? If in Arabic it means "one who sacrifices himself", then this is totally different. Does Arabic have another word for "suicide" e.g. when it does not involve doing it for a cause? If so, then we are distorting the meaning of their word for "suicide bombers" - if not, then this might mean they view all suicide as a self-sacrifice, and hence view the practise of suicide bombing differently - i.e. for them suicide in general is "self-sacrifice".
    It might be interesting also to point out what a role "sacrifice" plays in the Jewish religion - where it is something which is venerated e.g. in the Torah. Lastly, sacrifice has a somewhat positive connotation in English, due to Christianity and the sacrifice of Jesus for humankind. Fascinating topic and any comments would be gladly received. Thanks.
     
  16. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    You should avoid making generalizing statements about how a particular people view suicide bombing. Many will find such comments to be offensive.

    Your remaining questions are off-topic for this thread and the posts will get deleted if discussion were to proceed here. You should create separate threads for each of your questions about particular words or concepts either on this forum or on the Arabic forum.
     
  17. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Thanks and sorry if I caused offence. I stayed clear of expressing my own opinion though - I think. I guess some of the linguistic questions might hold as well e.g. how do you say "suicide" in Arabic?

    I realise it is a sensitive topic but the purpose of etymology is perhaps to sort out such as disputes - my aim would be to try to understand the various perspectives - but this is very difficult to do at the beginning of a discussion.

    May I take this opportunity to ask what the difference is between "Junior member", "Member" and "Senior Member", and then again the difference between these and "moderators"? Thanks so much.
     
  18. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    I apologise for not being clear. The Isma'ili fida'i is far different from suicide bomber. Fida'is were well educated and trained people who threatened or killed their elite religious or political opponents. They were like modern spy-assassins who would kill their target if necessary. However, they knew it will be very difficult to escape the scene due to high security levels their targets. They rarely committed suicide to avoid torture.

    Anyway, both hashish and hashshaash come from Arabic root h-sh-sh (to mow, to remove weeds). They do not necessarily share the same meaning. I found in Wikipedia that this denomination originally meant "outcast" in a derogatory sense, unrelated to the drug. It would be nice if someone has access to the original book cited in Wikipedia as the reference for this statement.

    I'm not sure about "suicide" in Arabic as there can be different concepts of it. But the Arabic loanword in Persian for "suicide" (with a negative regard) is intiHaar (انتحار) and intiHaari(ah) is used for "suicidal". However, enthusiasts may use istishhaad استشهاد (=martyrdom seeking) and istishhaadi(ah) (adj.) instead.
     
  19. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    In response to your interesting dialogue, I have only one question: Do you know when these fida'i were around - I mean, at what period of history did they operate. I ask since they sound remarkably sophisticated, whereas in Britain we have only developed the Secret Service in the last hundred years or so. These characters sound like a precursor to James Bond, and so I would be interested to know if you can tell me when they date back to? Thanks.
     
  20. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Moderator's Note:

    This discussion is about the etymology of the word 'assassin'. It is not about the discussion of suicide, suicide bombings, fida'iyin or other topics insofar as they do not pertain to the origin of the word 'assassin.' Please refrain from discussion of other topics as per the rules (#2).

    Regards,

    clevermizo
    Moderator
     
  21. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    Thank you for this reminder. Although "suicide" is off-topic and a result of my fault for mentioning it, fida'i is directly related to the topic as it was the autonym of the original assassins.

    Anyway, here is my last notes about the assassins (hashshash-in):
    - Assassin is name given to fida'is by their enemies, probably by other Isma'ili sects.
    - The name hashshash-in may predate their killing tactics. It is probably a derogatory notion of their reclusion from other Isma'ili sects.
    - The association between hashish and hashshash-in seems to be a later myth aiming to further insult them; in order to understate their strong belief as if it was caused by drugs.
    - As the word "assassinate" suggests the main job was to kill (or threaten to death). It is not related to secret service (though assassins might have involved into disguise to approach their victims).
    - Later or at the same time due to their great infamy, fida'is became a scapegoat for all similar assassinations as if they were responsible for all high level murders. This may explain the generalisation of the word "assassin" to its current meaning.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  22. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    Thank you and I'll get back to you if I find the eytmology given anywhere as "dinner guest" (which it obvioiusly isn't), which seems to me even more amusing!..
     
  23. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    Sorry, I was so carried away by the hashish that I've forgotten what was the main question. The "dinner guest" etymology can be resulted from three other words that are related to night/dinner (as far as I know). However, all are unlikely to be related to "assassin".:

    3as3as عسعس = night to begin
    3esha' عشاء = dinner
    3asas عسس = night watch, guard.

    "3" is a glottal Arabic letter. You can ignore it as it is not much perceptible for non-Arabs.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  24. ancalimon Senior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    Interesting. So ḥashshāsh means both "hashish" and "hashish eater" in Arabic? What is "eater" in Arabic?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  25. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English

    No. ḥashīsh means "hashish"; ḥashshāsh means "hashish eater"; and ḥashshāshīn means "hashish eaters" and is the source of "assassin."
     
  26. frog1gsu Senior Member

    Oxford UK
    British English
    So it would appear that you get "eater" by adding a vowel in the middle of the word - that's clever!"
     
  27. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    Arabic (and other Semitic languages) morphology is mainly based on putting three-letter roots in semantically distinct formats. Consider a three-letter root XYZ. In format XaYYāZ, it means "intensive/professional doer/user of XYZ". While XaYïZ roughly means "demonstrating/representing XYZ".

    Hashish comes from three-letter root H.sh.sh (to cut off a weed, to dry weed). Hashish is an instance of dry weed. And Hashshāsh literally means someone who intensively uses the hashish (like a drug addict).
     
  28. momai

    momai Senior Member

    Arabic-Syria
    hi
    In Arabic it has two meanings one of them is "grass" which i guess you are searching for,which perhaps the word Hashashin came from "people eat the grass".The second one is Hashashin also which is a name of a group in Islam "ISMAILII".
     

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