Iraqi Arabic: فرهود

analeeh

Senior Member
English - UK
Hello,

I've been wondering about the origin of this term. It is of course most famously attached to the 1940s riot targeting Jews in Baghdad, but it seems to be used for other events as well, especially since 2003. I've found two etymologies:

1) a portmanteau of فر يهود, with the obvious origin
2) from the behaviour of unpaid janissaries, who would loot markets. The putative root here is فر 'many' and هود 'shops, stalls', both from Farsi. But not only do these words not seem to exist in Farsi, this strikes me as a fairly implausible actual origin and the kind of thing characteristic of folk etymology.

My impression is that this is an Iraqi colloquial word meaning 'looting' or 'rioting' and that it has some pre-1940s origin, but I wonder if anyone has a more informed perspective.
 
  • Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    The first one seems like false etymology to me. I don’t know much about Farsi so I can’t comment on the second one, but I do know that there is an etymology based on it but I think it’s false too (something about Ottoman soldiers stealing from shops or something, I can’t remember very well).

    However, you are right in that the term is much older than the incident in 1941.

    الفرهود in Iraq means excessive stealing by more than one party. It implies lack of security (which gives such a chance) but doesn’t imply violence or riots although if it did include that it’s still فرهود. The incident in 1941 with the Jews in Baghdad was called so because a mob did the stealing, in this case it was looting I believe.

    I can’t say for sure where the term came from, but it possibly started out as a metaphor that later became a term in itself. I’m not sure whether it is based on a historical person called فرهود (I personally always thought that, but this is just a wild guess) or on one of the meanings of فرهود in the dictionary.

    Perhaps a good place to start is this article where the author ponders on the origin of the word. He doesn’t have an etymology, he just provides possibilities.
     

    emanko

    Senior Member
    Arabic- Egyptian
    In EA,فرهدة يفرهد means to be too exhausted, hot, sweaty, out of breath maybe...On a hot summer day if you decide to go shopping, you will تفرهد.
    If you babysit a toddler , you'll most probably تفرهد in a couple of hours.
     

    djara

    Senior Member
    Tunisia Arabic
    In EA,فرهدة يفرهد means to be too exhausted, hot, sweaty, out of breath maybe...
    In Tunisian, it means exactly the contrary! I remember visiting an Egyptian friend who was sick. When I asked him if he felt better (تفرهدتش شويّا؟) he said no, it was yesterday that I tfarhat (تفرهدت امبارح meaning "it was yesterday that I didn't feel well"). It took us both some time to sort it out and understand that it was yet another false friend.
     

    WannaBFluent

    Senior Member
    Français
    from the behaviour of unpaid janissaries, who would loot markets. The putative root here is فر 'many' and هود 'shops, stalls', both from Farsi. But not only do these words not seem to exist in Farsi, this strikes me as a fairly implausible actual origin and the kind of thing characteristic of folk etymology.
    فر is probably a diminutive of Farsi فراوان.

    هود refers to the Jews, maybe as many of them were traders or shopkeepers, the term begun to be used as 'shops, stalls' but I found no sources saying that though.

    By the middle of the 19th century trade between Baghdad and India was said to be entirely in Jewish hands. Within a generation Baghdadi Jews had established manufacturing and commercial houses of fabulous wealth, most notably the Sassoon, Ezra, Elias, Belilios, Judah and Meyer families. [source]

    I also found a source promoting the Farsi origin of the word:

    سرقة عامة : كان الجنود الأنكشاريون وبعدهم العثمانيون عندما لا تدفع لهم مرتباتهم بأنتظام ولهذا كانوا قبل حلول الأعياد يهجمون على اسواق بغداد فينهبونها، وكان الناس قد أعتادوا على ذلك فسموه بـ "فرهود" وهو مصطلح فارسي، "فره" الكثرة "هود" الدكاكين والفعل فرهد و يفرهد. وكانت سمة الفراهيد منتشرة بعد كل غزو تتعرض له بغداد (الفقراء يفرهدون بيوت الأغنياء والأمراء والحكام السابقين إنتقاما من الطغيان الذي كان يمارس بحقهم).

    وتعرضت بغداد في القرن العشرين لفرهود اليهود وآخربعد فشل إنقلاب الكيلاني وأخيرا عند سقوط نظام الطغيان في 2003 والغريب إن الفرهود لم يحصل في ثورة 1958 بالرغم من سقوط النظام الملكي كاملا ولم يتعرض إال إلى قصر النهاية أما باقي القصور وبيوت المسؤلين فلم تتعرض إلى أي ضرر أو سرقة بالرغم من معرفة الناس بما فيها ومن فيها.
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Yes - I had looked at those articles WBF cited, but the (putative) Farsi etymology seems unconvincing, as does the portmanteau etymology. The other senses of farhad might be remotely related but it's difficult to see any clear link.
     
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