Is this word of Arabic origin?

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Brzeczyszczykiewicz
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Is this word of Arabic origin?

Postby Brzeczyszczykiewicz » 2020-04-23, 6:40

Well, I just had one of those delightful moments when you spot a certain word in X language and something about it makes you feel almost sure it's not a native one, and what's more, you feel you know exactly where it comes from.

But then it gets less and less delightful, and more and more tantalizing... :para: ...until you get confirmation of some sort, naturally.

And that's precisely what I seek here. The word? "кайф"! According to my beloved Kovalev, it's a slang term for "pleasure" or "whim", and having recently come across Hebrew "כיף" (another slangy word meaning "fun" or "pleasure" and pronounced "kef") which is definitely of Arabic origin, I can't shake off the feeling this one may just have the same roots.
Could anyone be kind enough to either confirm or refute this?

Cheers :)
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Saim
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Re: Is this word of Arabic origin?

Postby Saim » 2020-04-23, 6:54

Yes, in Arabic it's كيف (kayf), which can mean condition, pleasure or the euphoria caused by opium.

I don't think the Russian word was borrowed from Hebrew, it probably came directly from Arabic, or alternatively one of the Turkic languages.

It also exists in Serbian (ćef), Turkish (keyif) and Urdu (کیف kaif). I'd wager it's been borrowed by many other languages of the Islamic world and neighbouring regions.

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Brzeczyszczykiewicz
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Re: Is this word of Arabic origin?

Postby Brzeczyszczykiewicz » 2020-04-24, 2:08

Thank you very much, I knew it had to be Arabic "كي"!
I didn't know Turkish had it, too, but that's hardly surprising, I was just a tiny bit more surprised to find it in German and Dutch, as well, and when I wrote my original post I completely forgot that French also liked it enough to add it to its own vocabulary.

Now to see if the Chechens share that love...which I bet they do. 8-)
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