Etymology of الزمالك

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akhooha

Senior Member
English - USA
Does anyone know the etymology of الزمالك, the island neighborhood in Cairo? According to various online "sources", it is either a Turkish (zemlek), Albanian (zomlok), or Kurdish word with the meaning of "straw huts". However, I've been unable to find the word in any Turkish, Albanian, or Kurdish dictionaries that I've looked at. Does anyone know the source of this name and have reference to an authoritative source (not just a blog)? Thank you.
 
  • davoosh

    Senior Member
    English
    In 'Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary' by Clive Holes (most of his work seems to have been undertaken in Bahrain and about Bahraini dialects), the root ZMLQ is given as:

    zamlag - shoot up, grow out

    then

    zamlak, pl. zamaalik/zamluuk - stem, shoot

    Nothing is written about the origin of this root, but it seems to appear as a normal item of vocabulary and I doubt the Turkish or Kurdish origin, especially so far East?
     

    akhooha

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Thank you for your reply. Although it is an interesting coincidence that there is the word zamlak in Bahraini Arabic, I don't think it likely that it is related to the name of an island in the Nile. Thanks again
     
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