version 17 (March '07)
(versions 8, 11 and 12 were major revisions)

by A. K. Eyma

In this article we will try to gather Ancient Egyptian (AE) words that made it into our modern European languages. The material will be divided into three groups: Certain or fairly certain loan-words; Debatable or speculative loan-words; Material that has been presented as loan material from AE but really is not (not by a mile).
For transliteration codes employed for Ancient Egyptian and Greek, see footnote [1]. Note that clicking at the footnotes brings you back to the main text again. Full references to some books (in the text indicated by the writer; "Gardiner" etc) you may find at the end of the article.

To start with some words that are NOT of Ancient Egyptian origin, even though being our names for very typically Egyptian objects:
* pyramid
Stems via Latin pyramis (="pyramid") from Greek puramis, which also was the word for a type of wheaten cake or bun (genitivus: puramidos). So the Greeks seem to have named the Egyptian monuments after their form. See Gardiner p.2. In other words, one could say that the proud pyramids are nothing but 'sand-pies' - those Greeks seem to have known that saying "the only difference between men and boys, is the price of their toys"... [2]. The AE word for pyramid was mr (*me[r]; glyph O24).
* mummi
Derives from OldFrench momie, which roots in Medieval Latin mumia, which in turn derives from Arabic mumiya'. This Arabic word refered to the embalming materials, not the corpses themselves. It derived from a Persian word mum or mom that designated "asphalt" (as found in Persia and Yemen) but also "bitumen" and "honey bee wax". After the 8th century, when the Arabian writers became familiar with the AE burial practices, and tombs were opened, they found a tar-like substance in Canopic jars and surrounding the corpses, and they called it al-mumiya' al-quburi ("mummia of the tombs"), to distinguish it from the natural Persian material. The AE word for mummy was s'H (sah, *seh).
* obelisk
From Greek obeliskos, which originally denoted a little roasting-spit (diminutive of obelos, "roasting-spit" [3]); so also here the Egyptian object was named by the Greeks after its form (cf. [2]). The AE word for obelisk was txn (tekhen; glyph O25)

Okay, let's now look at material for which an AE origin has been claimed; as already indicated it can be grouped according to likelihood in three categories: words that (fairly) certainly are AE loan-words, words that perhaps/maybe are AE loan-words, and words that are definitely not AE loan-words (but are often sold as such).


(# = certain, generally accepted)

1#) Egypt, Copt, gypsy
Egypt derives from Latin Aegyptus, which in turn goes back on the Greek name for the Nile country: Aiguptos. This name originally seems to have been one of the names of Memphis, the capital of the country, a name that later came to denote the entire land by pars pro toto. For the Greek Aiguptos was derived from AE Hy.t-k3-ptH (*Haykuptah)(= "Mansion of the ka, i.e. life force, of Ptah") - the name of the Ptah temple in Memphis, a name which first came to denote also the city area around the temple, and finally was extended to the whole city of Memphis; as such it appears in cuneiform records as name for the city: Khi-ku-up-ta-akh (Hekuptah). Already in the Mycenean/Cretan Linear B tablets (13th c. BC), the personal name a-ku-pi-ti-yo (Aikupitiyo, i.e. Aiguptios, "the Egyptian") is attested (Talanta XXVIII/XXIX, p.157). Note that Hy.t (*Hayit) is a variant of the more usual Hw.t or H.t (see Vycichl p. 5, 287, 519).
The Greek aiguptios (= "Egyptian") was later borrowed, via a shortened form *gupti, into Arabic as qibti (in local Theban dialect also: qubti), and into the jewish Talmud as gifti (cf. Loprieno p. 241; Vycichl p.5). Because of this the native (non-Arabic and Christian) Egyptians were called Qibti or Qubti - from which derives our Copt.
The mysterious nomads who appeared in Europe in the late 15th c. AD, and in reality (i.e. linguistically) did stem from India, were associated with the far and mysterious Egypt, and therefor called Gyphtoi (in Greece) and Gypsies (in England, older form Gypcian, short for Egipcien "Egyptian"), names that are corruptions of Latin Aegypti ("Egyptians").

2#) pharaoh
Derives from pharaô, the Greek form in the Septuaginta of Hebrew par'oh, which is a loan of AE pr-'3 (par-'o, *per-'a) (="Great House"), originally the term for the palace, in the New Kingdom also used for the person residing there (i.e. the king). In cuneiform transcriptions (Assyrian records) the AE word occurs as pi-ir-3u-u (pir3u), and the Greek historians (like Herodotus) had pherôn. In Coptic the title is [p]rro (< *pero). The Quran calls the king of Egypt fir'awn.
(In centuries past, a link with p3-r' ("the sun") or p3-wr ("the great one", king) had sometimes (wrongly) been suggested).

3#) gum
Derives from Vulgar Latin gummi, which is a loan of Greek kommi (e.g. Herodotus II,86, 96); the Greek in turn derives from AE qmy.t (qemi) (= "gum, resin").

4#) ebony
Derives from Late Latin hebeninus, "of ebony", a loan from Greek ebeninos, from Greek ebenos "ebony tree" (e.g. Herodotus III,97); the Greek stems from Persian abnus, which in turn derives from AE hbny (hebeni) (="ebony"), which may be a loan from some African language, as the wood came from the Sudan or further south.

5#) uraeus
The serpent as emblem on the headdress of the pharaoh, called uraeus, is a loan from Greek ouraios "cobra", which is by most (following WB I, 42,4) seen as a loan (perhaps form-wise influenced by Greek ouraios "tail"?) from AE y'r.t, designating the Uraeus-snake on the crown (HWB31) - meaning "the rearing one", i.e. the cobra that with broadened neck raises itself in anger (Bonnett p. 844)(from (y)'r "to mound up", "to ascend", HWB p. 31). Fecht (Wortakzent und Silbenstruktur, p. 176) however rejects this and says it rather stems (via a hypothetical *wrai) from wrr(j).t, designating the "Upper Egyptian crown", "uraeus snake" (HWB205-206) - meaning "the one becoming great" (from wrr "to become great"). Fecht's opinion is indeed the more likely one.

6#) oasis
Is a loan of Greek oasis (e.g. Herodotus III,26), which derived from AE wH3.t (*wehe) (used since the Old Kingdom for the oases west of Egypt) via Coptic waHe. Also Arabic waaH(a) stems from the Coptic. The AE origin of the term is certain; the only thing that is in doubt is the etymology of the AE word: in AE there is similar word wH3.t, "cauldron", and hence it is often assumed (since Sethe) that the word "oasis" derives from that, as the depressions with water on the bottom in the desert plateaus west of Egypt would in a way resemble cauldrons (cf. Gardiner p.35). However, the AE words for "oasis" and "cauldron" were originally written differently, and only later they were written in the same way in an abbreviated manner. So an etymological relation is not really certain: although it seems quite possible that at one time the Egypians themselves made the association between the two words, the word for oasis could be unrelated to the word for cauldron, e.g. perhaps it was a native word of the Oasis-dwellers (Giddy - Egyptian Oases, p. 37-38).

7#) adobe
A sun-dried, unburned brick of clay and straw; loan of Spanish adobe, which derives (during the Moorish Period) from Arabic at-tub (from al-tub "the brick"; al is the Arabic definite article), which stems from AE Db.t (djebe, djobe)(="mud brick") via Coptic tôbe. [4].

8#) ivory
Loan of OldFrench ivorie, ivoire, which derives from Latin eboreus or *eborea, "of ivory", from Latin ebur, ebor, " ivory"; the Latin is a loan based on AE 3bw (abu)(="elephant's tooth", "ivory").
That ebur is a loan is fairly likely, seeing the absence of IndoEuropean roots. And as African elephants were the origin of ivory (after the elephants of Syria had become extinct), a link with Egypt is more than likely. Also the element hab in Hebrew $enhab[bim] (shenhabbim), "ivory", is surely based on the Egyptian 3bw - see I Kings 10:22, II Chron. 9:21 and cf. Ezek. 27:15; $en (shen) is Hebrew for "tooth".

9#) ibis
Loan of Greek ibis (e.g. Herodotus II,75-76), which unquestionably derives from AE hby or hbw (hebi, hibu)(= "ibis"), Coptic hibôi or hip, the ibis being one of the holy birds of Egypt.

10) sphinx
The name the Greeks gave to the mythical man-lion creature is according to many derived from the AE words Szp-'nx (shespankh)(= "living image"), the generic word for divine images (see Gardiner p. 82, Edwards p.151). And indeed, the word Szp[w] often had as determinative a sphinx figure, and could also denote a sphinx figure (see HWB p.836); it indicated a statue as receptacle of the ka (life force) - deriving from AE Szp "to receive".
The Greeks themselves held the opinion that sphigx (sphinx) derived from Greek sphiggô (sphingo) (= "to bind together"), i.e. a sphinx being a creature in which the parts of different creatures are combined, a hybrid. Cf. Socrates in Plato's 'Cratylus': "kai tên Sphinga anti 'phikos' 'sphinga' kalousin, kai alla polla".
It is not unlikely that the Greeks conducted a popular etymology on a borrowed Egyptian word, assimilating it under the influence of their verb "to bind together". But IMO the AE origin is far from certain, also if one remembers that native sphinx-like creatures figured in Aegean cultures quite early (Minoan times). So for several reasons, this topic perhaps rather belongs in section [B].
The ancient Egyptians called the Great Sphinx of Giza Hr-m-Axt, "Horus in the Horizon", Harmakhis being a form of Horus that was regularly equated with the originally Semitic god Hawron (Hwrn) (see Hannig p. 1222, 1225). It was probably after a short form of the name Hwrn that they called the Sphinx also Hwr (HWB 1222). A label including this name was assimilated by the Arabs to their own language as Abul-Hol which means "Father of Terror" in Arabic. The label being either p3-Hwr (*pe-Hul), "the one of Hawron", or pr-Hwr (*pi-Hul), "House of Hawron". (Selim Hassan, The Sphinx: Its History in the Light of Recent Excavations (Cairo, 1949), p. 152, 155ff, prefers the second option and points at the temple of the Sphinx mentioned in the Inventory Stela (BAR I par. 180 ).)

11) Susan(na), Phineas, Moses, Potiphar, Potiphera
Susan(a) and Phineas stem from the Hebrew names Shoshanah and Phinechas (cf. Luke 8:3 and Exodus 6:25) which are with fair certainty based on Egyptian words: AE sSn (seshen)(= "lotus, water lilly"), borrowed into Hebrew as $o$an (shoshan) (= "lilly, lilly-like flower"), and AE p3-nHsy (pa-nehesi)(= "the Nubian"). The word for water lily also ended up in a few Greek texts (souson), via Phoenician (McGready).
Other Biblical names in an Egyptian context could be added here. The name of Moshe (Latinized form: Moses), the Hebrew hero of the book Exodus, has often be connected with AE ms "child", or better with the pseudoparticiple of AE msi "to give birth to", "to create", "to raise" (in cuneiform transcriptions of AE names -massi, in Greek transcriptions -masi(s) or -môsi(s)); the name could be short for Hapimosi "The Nile has given birth" (cf. Exodus 2:10) or something similar. Potiphera, highpriest of On (Genesis 41:45; in the Septuaginta: Petephrês), seems to have the AE name p3-di-p3-r' "The one whom Ra gave"; his daughter's name, Asenath, is either AE n(y)-sy ny.t "Who belongs to Neith" (Vycichl p.17) or iw=s n=t "She belongs to you" (Kitchen). The name of Potip(h)ar, the man who bought Joseph (Genesis 39), is not identical to the name Potiphera, and is less easy to explain; it could be an non-AE name (cf. Vycichl p. 166).

12#) natron
Derives via French and Spanish from Arabic natrun or nitrun, which derives from Greek nitron (= "soda") (e.g. Herodotus II, 86-87, where the form litron occures). The Greek derives with certainty from AE nTrj or nTry.t (netjeri). The Egyptians distinguished between nTrj Sm' ("southern natron"), stemming from el-Kab, and nTrj mHw ("northern natron"), stemming from Wadi Natrun (HWB p.445). The Egyptian word was also borrowed into Akkadian (nit(i)ru) and Hebrew (neter, cf. Jer. 2:22, used for washing). The element Natrium (symbol: Na) derives its name from natron; alternative name in English: Sodium, from soda. Natron is a natural mixture of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate (McGready). Niter is potassium nitrate (KNO3), also called saltpeter, but originally the word was used as equivalent for natron.

13#) ammoniac, ammonia, Ammonite
The word ammoniac is short for sal-ammoniac, which derives via French from Latin sal ammoniacum (sal = "salt"); the Latin adjective is a loan from Greek ammôniakon. The Greek and Latin adjective mean "of Ammonia", as this salt was obtained from the Libyan region of (Gr.) Ammôniê (Ammonia) or (Lat.) Hammonium, around the Siwah Oasis, an oasis that had a famous oracle and shrine of Zeus/Juppiter-Ammon. This god of the oasis was called in Greek Ammôn. This differs from Amoun, the Greek rendering of the name of the AE god jmn (Amun, *Amane), which in cuneiform is attested as a-ma-na, a-ma-nu, a-mu-nu (and variations, see Vycichl p.10), and in Coptic as Amoun. Cf. Herodotus I, 46 versus II,42. The reason for this difference is not fully known: some think that the double -mm- was the original form preserved in some dialects and from there into the Greek, others think that the doube -mm- came about because the oasis god was a merger of Amun and the Punic (Carthage) god Ba'al-Hammôn. The first option seems more likely (Vycichl p.10-11). Anyhow, it may be clear that there's only an indirect link between the product name and the AE god's name. Some European languages btw compress sal-ammoniac to salmiak (German, Dutch).
Chemically related to ammoniac is ammonia, and that word of course has the same linguistic origin.
An Ammonite is a fossil cephalopod with a curled shell that has the form of the horns on Greek representations of Zeus-Ammon. So also here there's an indirect link with the AE god jmn.

14#) Libya, Memphis
The AE sources of the 13th c. BC already mention the rbw or rb[j] (Lebu, Lebi) as one of the Libyan tribes threatening Egypt. This tribe originated in the area where the Greeks would later plant their colony Cyrene. Because of that the Greeks first named the Cyrenaica region after this tribe, and later expanded the term to include the whole of northern Africa: Libuê (Libya).
Because of the American town name, we may include Memphis here. Memphis was the Greek form of the AE city name mn-nfr (*Minnafir, *Mennefe), in Coptic mnfe (Menfe) (cf. Loprieno p. 39,57,87,259). Originally, mn-nfr-ppy (="Pepi's beauty is enduring") was the name of the pyramid of Pepi I in Saqqara; in time the name transfered to the pyramid town around it, and when this became a suburb of Memphis, the name - in it's shortened form - became used for the whole city of Memphis (Gardiner p.91, HWB p. 1345, Loprieno p.57). In the Hebrew Bible the AE city is mentioned as Noph (Isa. 19:13, Jer 2:16, Ezek 30:13) (dissimilation of Moph), in cuneiform records the city is attested as Me-im-pi (Mempi).

15#) barge, bark, barque, to embark
All these words derive via French barque from Latin barca (stemming from *barica). The Latin is a loan of the Greek baris which means "flat-bottomed boat" - namely of the type used in Egypt as described by Herodotus (II,96). So the Greek word itself is with certainty a loan from the AE b[y]r (bar) ("pram", "boat") (cf. Coptic bari). The HWB p.256 indicates that the Egyptian word is itself a borrowing out of some foreign language. [5]
The English verb to embark of course derives from French embarquer, originally "to go into the barque".

16#) stibium
From Latin stibium, which is a borrowing of Greek stibi, variant of Greek stimmi (other variants: stimi, stim(m)is, stimia) meaning "eye-paint", "powdered antimony", "kohl", which was a borrowing from AE sdm (variant of AE msdm.t; HWB789) that also denoted "eye-paint", Coptic stimmi or stêm. [6]
In the modern Table of Elements, Antimony has the symbol Sb (stibium). And stibine is a poisonous gas (SbH3).

17) endive
The name for the chicory plant used in salads, endive, stems via Old French from Medieval Latin endivia, which in turn derives from Medieval Greek entubia. The Greek is thought to mean "(plant that grows or is harvested) in Tybi" - Tybi is the Greek rendering of Coptic Tôbi, the Coptic name for the month January. The Coptic month name derives from the popular AE month name t3-'b.t ("the Oabet feast", lit. "the Hecatomb", "the Sacrifice"), notably attested in Deir el-Medinah; the more formal names (attested in temples etc) for the Civil month I Peret were Sf bd.t ("The Swelling(?) of the Emmer") and mn (Min).

18) sash
The word sash, a band or ribbon as part of one's clothing, is thought to derive from Arabic shash which, like Hebrew shes "byssus", "fine linen" (Vycichl p.266), does derive from AE Ss "(fine) linen" (Coptic: shês). As such high-quality products could easily be tradegoods, such a loan is certainly probable.

19) Cycadophyta
In biology, Cycas/Cycad- is the New Latin name of a genus of plants; the name stems from Greek kukas, a misreading of old Greek koïkas, the accusative plural of koïx. The latter indicated a kind of palm tree, the doum-palm (Hyphaene thebaica). Likely the Greek koïx is connected with AE qwqw "nut of the doum-palm" (HWB853; cf. "thebaica"!), although the tree itself was called m3m3 in AE.

20) Nubia
Nubia was a land that produced much gold; so the name is often said to derive from AE nbw (nebu, *nabe)(="gold"), Coptic noub. The problem however is that the name "Nubia" did not exist before the Middle Ages, and seems to originate with the tribe of the Nuba or Noba (attested since the 2nd c. BC in Upper-Nubia)(cf. Ptolemy, Geography IV, ch.7 "Nubae"), who in the Middle Ages formed Christian kingdoms around the Nile. So if there would be a link with the Egyptian word for gold, then the link should be indirect, via this tribe.
In the AE period there is only one isolated text of king Djedkare-Asosi which seems to refer to Nubia as t3-nbw ("Land of Gold"; see GM 106, pp.23-27). So perhaps this survived in the name of the tribe - but it remains uncertain (so perhaps this belongs under [B]).


1) paper
From OldFrench/Italian papier, which stem from Latin papyrus, which derives from Greek papuros (plant, and later: material made from the papyrus-plant to write on). In jewish Talmudic writings the plant appears as ppyr and (plural) pypy3rwt (Vycichl p.519). Egyptologists [7] have come up with three different suggestions. The Greek word would derive from AE *p3-pr (pa-par, *pe-per) ("that [material/plant] of the House", i.e. "of the government"), from AE *p3-pr-'3 (= "that [plant/material] of the palace/king")(via a Coptic form of pr-'3, ouro, so *pa-p-ouro), or from *p3-p3-y3r (*pa-pe-yo(o)r)(= "that (plant) of the Nile"). The first option is unlikely, and Vycichl indicates that on the basis of the jewish examples, the third option is much more likely than the second option. As far as I know (and please correct me if wrong), none of these options are attested in AE, Demotic or Coptic, so hence it is difficult to choose. But the pa-/pi- element does certainly suggest that we are dealing with the definite article in Late Egyptian, and thus with an AE origin of the word papyrus.

2) alabaster
Via OldFrench deriving from Latin alabastrum, which is a loan of Greek alabastos via alabastron. Strictly speaking, true alabaster is the modern name of a gypsum variety (composed of a calcium sulphate) that superficially resembles another stone type (composed of calcium carbonate), the latter being the stone type refered to by the Greek and Latin words and which should properly be called "Egyptian alabaster" or "calcite-alabaster" (some call it "calc-sinter travertine" or "onyx-marble") (see GM 119 p. 37-42; GM 122, p. 57-70).
Pliny the Elder (1st c. AD) states that the stone for ointment jars (jars called alabastra) came from an Egyptian region called Alabastron (Hist. Nat V,9), which is the region called Alabastrites in Greek-Roman times (Ptolemy IV,5,59), which covered the 15th and parts of the 14th and 16th Upper Egyptian nomes; indeed the area between El-Minya and Assyut east of the Nile has a concentration of findspots of Egyptian alabaster. Apparantly the region was called after the product it was famous for, and there's thus a clear Egyptian connection. But what was the nature of that connection?
The Greek word alabastos is generally linked to the AE goddess Bastet or the AE town Bast (i.e. Bubastis, Tell Basta), but I've seen at least three different explanations.
Fecht (Wortakzent und Silbenstruktur, p.209) derived it from *jnr b3s.t.t, "stone of Bastet". AE jnr (*ane) (="stone") is Oni or One in Coptic, but in some dialectic constructions ana- (see also Vycichl p.8). So that would suggest *ana-bast becoming ala-bast in Greek. Fecht supports this option by pointing out that the Greeks had also litron as variant of nitron (a AE loanword, see above, section A.12).
Recently I encountered "alabaster = aâ-Baset [sic!] = "stone of Bastet" " in Phoenix-BEOL 44,2 (1998) p.105 (giving no references). I am not totally certain which AE word is hiding behind that rendering , but I would presume '3.t "costly stone, stone" (HWB p.128). Of course in Old Egyptian, the 3 had an r/l value, but not in Late Egyptian, so here a link with alabaster is not obvious to me.
K. Sethe took a different approach. He refered to a Late Egyptian word '-b3s (a-bas), with determinative W2, first element deriving from '[j] "bowl" (with det. W10; HWB p.123), so the combination meaning "bas-bowl". As the bas-bowl (glyph W1/W2), a jar (without handles) for unguents, is also used for writing the name of the goddess (Bastet) and the city (Bast, Bubastis), Sethe made a combination of both points and proposed (cf. Vycichl p.8) * '[j]-n-b3s.t.t "receptacle of Bastet", which then would be a circumscription of the bas-vase or alabastron-vase.
It's not easy to choose between the first and third option. Note that in the Greek, alabastos or alabastron did not only indicate the material (stone), but notably indicated "a globular vase without handles for holding perfumes, often made of alabaster" (see: Herodotus III, 20, Gospel of Marc 14:3). But what came first, the stone-type or the vase? I do not think this is known, but seeing the Greek examples I'm inclined to think that the handle-less vase for unguents came first, as logical tradegood, which would make me prefer Sethe's option [8]. However, Fecht's options seems linguistically preferable. So the jury is IMO out.
In AE, Egyptian alabaster was called Ss[.t] (shese) and a prime findspot was Hatnub, hence alabaster was also called jnr n Hw.t-nbw ("stone of Hatnub"; see HWB p. 78 and 834), or Ss w'b n Hw.t-nb ("pure alabaster from Hatnub").

3) Humphry
From Hunphr[e]y, supposedly via Norman French (modern French: Onfroi) stemming from Latin Onofrius or Uniphrius (modern Italian: Onofrio), which via Greek Onnôphris stems from Coptic wenofre, benofer or wenabre [9]. The Coptic derives from the AE name wnn-nfr (*wnenafre) (= "beautifull being" or "he who is in a state of being well").
I think this is debatable, as there are also names around like Hunfrit and Hunifridus, that do have a good Germanic explanation (namely: "Mighty in peace(keeping)"). So I'm not sure whether Hunphrey could not just be a variant of Hunfrit. But perhaps the French name Onfroi was 'rationalized' under the influence of the similar sounding Germanic name, and then an AE origin of the name Humphry is 'saved'.

4) baboon
Derives from Old French babouin (cf. Italian babbuino), that is of unknown origin. The standard suggestions are a connection with OldFrench babine (="lip") and/or with words like babe and to babble (French: babiller). Uncertain enough to have a look at an alternative: von Bissing's idea that the word derives from the name of a baboon-headed AE god, Babai, who in Greek sources is mentioned as Bebôn [10].
In the AE texts one can find a demonic being called Babai, a creature with a dualistic nature. In the PT (419a, 502a, 515b, 516b, 1319a, 1349a; where the name is written as b3bj, b3by, b3bwj and b3jbw) the demon is the gatekeeper of heaven, whoes phallus is the doorbolt [cf. HWB240], the lord of the sunset, the bull and baboon. He is described as "red of ear, red of behind", the latter fitting well the 'sacred baboon' species with its red buttocks. In the BD (17, 18, 63A, 93, 99, 125; where the name is written as b3b3 , b3b3w, b3b3y, bjbj and bb) he is the eldest son of Osiris (BD63A) and together with Re and Shu member of the Great Council in Naref; also here he's the doorkeeper of the West, whoes spit and sweat are components of the ferryboat and his phallus its mast. Babai is also a judge of the dead, who lives of their entrails (PT 1349a, BD 17, 125), a "lord of terror", and in that frightning quality he figures as a force of evil, even paralyzing Re (BD 93). In later stories (P. Beatty I, 3, 9) he has become a true enemy of Re, apparantly being an aspect of Seth. And as such one can find in magical texts b as name for Seth, and the Classical writers say that babus (Babys) or bebôn (Bebo:n) was Seth's name as enemy of Horus (cf. Plutarch, in Manetho Fr.78-79).
Seeing the great many writing variations of the name Babai, von Bissing presumes that we're dealing with a foreign (Nubian?) word for baboon, borrowed into AE, and given as name to their baboon demon. He then presumes that the Greeks, learning of the baboon-headed god, used its name for the animal. The big problem with this theory is that b3b3y is not a word for the animal in AE, nor is bebôn the word for the animal in Greek! AE for "baboon" is j'n (Coptic: êne), Greek is kunokephalos [11].

5) alchemy, chemistry
Derives from Middle Latin alchimia or alchymia, which was in turn derived from the Arabic al-kimiya (al is the Arabic definite article). Modern chemistry is also from that Latin, in its shortened form, Vulgar Latin chimia.
It is often written that Arabic al-kimiya was an Arabian invention meaning "that [science] of Khemi", xêmi or kême (Khemi, Keme) being the Coptic variants of AE km.t (*Khume, older: *Khumat), Demotic kmy, the old native name of the Nile Valley [12]. However, the Decree of Diocletian (ca 300 AD, in Greek) speaks out against "the old writings of the Egyptians, which treat of the chêmia [transmutation] of gold and silver". So timewise, the Arabic clearly derives from the Greek chêmia or chêmeia, not the reverse. So then we would have a route Greek-Arabic-Latin.
The question is now what the basis of the Greek word could have been; there are three options.
The Greeks did know the native name of Egypt, it appears as Chêmia with Plutarch, so chêmeia could still mean "art of Khemi".
However, there is a similar sounding Greek word chumeia meaning "pouring", "infusion" (of cheô "to pour", cf. chumos (= "juice", "sap"), chutos (="molten,"poured") ), which seems to be the original word for alchemistic processses and pharmaceutical chemistry. This makes it unlikely that the word chêmeia had any link with the old name of Egypt.
And then there's the third option: an old writer, Zosimus of Panopolis, says that a book called chêmu, written by Hermes/Thoth, was the source of the chêmeia (Alfred Herman, AeZ 79, 99-105). He must be refering to the famous book of wisdom known from references in AE sources: kmy.t (HWB p.884)(name not related to the name of the country). Vycichl (p.81) supports this option, and does not even mention the other two possibilities.
It's not easy to choose. The pure Greek word (chumeia) would suggest that there was no link with Egypt at all. But on the other side, the art of chêmeia definitely had a strong link with Egypt. The Decree of Diocletian shows that the craft was at some time specifically linked with Egypt, because of the fame of the Alexandrian practitioners. So it seems not unlikely to me that at that time a popular etymology was done based on the name of Egypt (or, IMO less likely, on the name of the wisdom book), by which chumeia, "the art of pouring/infusing/transmutating" became chêmeia, "the art of Khemia (Km.t)".

6) behemoth
Used to denote a colossal animal (and hence sometimes figuratively for a collossal military or political apparatus); is a direct loan of Hebrew b:hemot (behemoth), used in Job 40: 15 for some kind of very large animal. In form the word is the plural of Hebrew b:hemah "beast", "animal", so likely the plural serves here as a so-called 'plural of dignity', comparable to the Hebrew Elohim (God) and the term ilanu in the Amarna Letters. In that case behemoth just means "very great beast". However, many scholars have suggested that it is a loan of AE p3-iH-mw (pa-ihe-mu, *pe-ehe-maw) meaning "the water-ox". In that case the final Hebrew form would merely have been influenced by the native and similar looking behemah, so a sort of popular etymology being done on the Egyptian loan-word. I'm not convinced untill someone shows me an AE text mentioning a pehemu (used for example to refer to a hippopotamus). The plain Hebrew explanation seems straighforward enough to me.

7) manna
Food from heaven; via Latin, Greek and Aramaic Bible translations (manna or man) stemming from Hebrew man, which refers to the miraculous food eaten after the Exodus (Ex 16:15, Josh 5:12, Hebr 9:4). There has been much speculation as to what kind of food this manna must have been. One popular opinion is that it was the exudation of the Tamarix gallica, as the Arabic word mann has that meaning. However, it seems not unlikely to me that the Arabic is secundary, i.e. an interpretation of the Exodus story. Even less convincing I find deriving the Hebrew and Arabic from an Egyptian word that would refer to the Tamarix exudation product; I presume that would then be mn "a [unknown] product from Syria" (HWB p. 335).

8) basalt
Our word basalt is derived from Latin basaltes, a corrupted form of an older form basanites. In some modern etymological dictionaries you'll find that basanites means "that [stone] of Basan", Basan being the name of a region in Palestine (accross the Jordan) where this type of stone could be found, the Bashan of the OT (Deut 3:10-13 etc).
Sethe however had a different opinion [13], and you can refind his opinion in some other current etymological dictionaries. He held the view that the Latin word derived from the Greek basanos, which denoted a touchstone for gold (a stone on which pure gold leaves a yellow streak). According to Sethe, if you rub gold on basalt stone you get a stroke which is easily recognizable in the same manner as if you use the Greek basanos-stone (which btw is not basalt, but "Kieselschiefer", a type of slate/shale?), a stone that the Greek also termed "the Lydian stone". As in Hebrew bxn means "to assay gold", Sethe presumed that an Egyptian term for touchstone was borrowed into Hebrew and into Lydian (and from Lydian into Greek). That is, he thought that the AE word bxn (bekhen) ("basalt" in Faulkner; "Grauwacke" or "kristalliner Schiefer" in HWB p.259; so a specific type of stone that *presumably* could be used as touchstone) was borrowed into Hebrew (as bxn) and into some Anatolian language like Lydian (as *baSan-), in the latter two cases now being a general word for touchstone (irrespective of what specific type of stone was used). Sethe had to presume that somewhere abroad (Anatolia?), the Egyptian x became S (which became s in Greek) [14].
I do not know how likely Sethe's idea is. The Greek word seems indeed a loan (later they derived a verb from it, basanizô "to put to the test, to trial for genuineness, examine, question") so a link between the Greek and the Hebrew is tempting (because of the similar meaning), and then perhaps also with the Egyptian stone. I do not see any evidence for the Egyptian stone being used as touchstone though, and what type of stone it was seems not objectively settled either. (Both the basanos and the bekhen stone seem to be a type of slate, if we look at the HWB, but was this based on the _presumption_ that the words were linked?). On the other side, Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon derives Greek basanitês lithos from basanos (versus the "Basan" explanation of modern etymological dictionaries), which would be a support for Sethe's opinion. Tricky.

9) pyramid
Those who do not agree with the cake explanation (see top of page, 2nd alinea) have speculated about an AE origin for this word. Like the Greek puramis being a deriviation of AE prj-m-wsj (peri-em-usi) "the 'height' of a pyramid" (a mathematical term; HWB p.214, 285) or of AE p3-mr (pi-mar, *pe-me[r]) (="the pyramid") with metathesis of m and r - which IMHO are lacking credibility.

10) myth
Our word myth is a loan from Greek muthos "word, speech" (in Homeric Greek "a ritualized speech act" by a chieftain, poet or priest), with also had the derived meaning of "thing said or thought", "fact, matter" and "tale, fictional narrative". Jernstedt [15] thought that the Greek word was a borrowing of AE md.t which likewise had the meaning "word, speech" and the derived meaning "matter, affair, thing, problem" and "text". However, this suggestion seems rather a reach to me as a word like muthos is such a common, basic, word, already occuring with Homer, which IMO makes it quite unlikely that it could be a loan. Also, regular would rather be: Gr. m-th from AE *m-D- (like DHwty, Late Eg. *thawte, became Thôth); and the vowels seem wrong (Loprieno reconstucts for the AE md.t: */madat/; Late Egyptian *mate, Coptic mnt- and met-).
So it is much wiser to stick to the traditional etymology, according to which muthos is a sound-word (imitating the sound of speech), in line with Latin muttio, muttire (= "to make a sound")(hence English: to mutter) etc.

11) pitcher, bocal, and ciborium
Pitcher stems via Old French pichier or bichier from Medieval Latin bic(a)rium "drinking cup". The Latin probably is derived from Greek bikos "jar", "cask", "pot", "vessel", but at times also "drinking-bowl", and it has been thought that the Greek is a loan from Egyptian b3q.t "oil vessel", which derives from b3q "moringa-tree oil". Seems very unlikely to me, seeing the different types of containers and the different liquids. Note that also German Becher and Dutch beker ("drinking cup") derive from the Latin word.
The French word bocal, "drinking cup" (borrowed into Dutch as bokaal), stems from Latin baucalis, Greek baukalis. The Greek word, which originally designating an clay water-vessel, has also been linked with b3q.t, which is IMO equally far-fetched as the link with pitcher. Coptic has a word balkow "water jar", perhaps from *balqawet, which with metathesis perhaps _could_ become *bawqalet to generate the Greek form, but this is not too likely (Vycichl p.28). And a link between the Coptic and the AE b3q.t (which _could_ be *blq.t) is also problematic. And note again that also here the indicated containers are form-wise different, and so are the fluids they are supposed to hold.
A third cup tossed in here is Medieval Latin ciborium, the name of a cup as receptacle for the Eucharist wafers. The name stems from Greek kibôrion which originally meant "seed-vessel", namely of a certain plant spieces, containing the so-called "Egyptian beans", but secondarily was also used for "cup". The American Heritage Dictionary suggests that the Greek word was of AE origin, but without giving further specification. Seeing those Egyptian beans such a link is not unlogical, but I'm not certain what the link would be; with AE qby or kb (qabi, kabos) (HWB 853, 880) "large jar"?? Does not sound promessing.

12) phoenix, phenix
Herodotus (II,73) tells about the holy bird phoinix (phoenix is the Latin form), gold and red of colour, that comes every 500 years from Arabia to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, to bury the body of its dead father (wrapped in an egg of myrrh) in the temple of the Sun. This tale is surely a symbol of rebirth (cycle, egg) with a solar association. Later writers wrote that the bird burned itself in a nest of fire to rise renewed from the ashes. It is not unlikely that those legends (and the bird name) derive from the AE bnw (benu) bird (G31, a heron species, solar bird in the AE myths; HWB 253), like Sethe once claimed. Not all scholars agree though, as phoinix is not too close to buna (Sethe presumed: *boine), linguistically; but it seems to me that the Egyptian & solar nature of both birds is too stricking to be a coincidence, and it seems likely to me that the Greek form came about under the influence of other Greek words. For in Greek there were three similar sounding words: Phoinikê "Phoenicia" (named by the Greeks after its prime tradegood, purple dye), phoinix or phoinikeos "purple dye" (from Linear B po-ni-ki-ya or po-ni-kea; purple dye from the murex shell-fish; the Greek word is based on Semitic puah "red dye", "madder", dye from a plant) and phoinix "date tree" (likely Linear B po-ni-ke). In Classical and Medieval sources, all three Greek words were at occassion linked with the Phoenix, saying the bird was purple [red] of color, that it made its nest in a palm tree and that it came from Araba/Syria [Phoenicia]. Likely these were all fake etymologies, but for me they could explain how the buna bird would get assimilated into phoinix, as if it meant "the Phoenician bird" or "the red-purplish bird". (Cf. R. Van den Broek, "The Myth of the Phoenix", 1971, who however does not agree with Sethe or my reasoning above, and prefers to see the Phoenix as primarily of Syrian/ANE origin). In the same line I wonder whether the Greek phoinix "date tree" could be linked with AE bny.t (*binyat) "date tree" (Coptic bnne), but re-interpreted by the Greeks as "the Phoenician tree"?

13) lily
In the past it has been suggested that Latin lilium, "lily", from which the European words for the flower derive, would be a borrowing of Fayyumic hlèli, a dialectic variant of general Coptic hrère. The Coptic stems from Demotic Hrry, ancient Egyptian Hrr.t, "flower". This supposed link between lily and Hrr.t you even find in modern Dutch etymological dictionaries. Vycichl (p. 310) is, however, surely correct in saying that there is no such link at all, because the Latin derives from Greek leirion, "(white) lily" (unless both root in some ancient European word). Also, the Egyptian is a generic word, not a species (although, if I do not misunderstand him, Vycichl links Hrr.t with Berber alili, "oleander").

14) sack
Cerny (ED p. 149) suggested that the word sack, via Latin saccus and Greek sakkos, derived from Coptic sok "sackcloth", "coarse tissue", which he linked to ancient Egyptian sAq "to join together". His idea has generally been rejected by modern writers, as the Coptic goes back on a word saqqa or saga that occurs in ancient Egyptian texts in syllabic writing, and is without doubt - like the Greek! - a loan from a Semitic word: cf. Hebrew saq, "coarse clothing", "sackcloth", Akkadian Saqqu, "sackcloth". See Vycicl p. 186 and notably James Hoch, "Semitic Words in Egytian Texts of the NK and TIP", p. 269.

15) Columbus, Columbine, St. Columba
These names come (via Spanish, Italian, etc) from the Latin columba, "dove" (hence French colombe etc). Peust (p.280) suggests that the Latin could be a borrowing from Demotic grmp, which became Coptic kjroompe, kjerompe, "dove, pigeon", and which derived from AE gr(A/y)-n-p.t , "bird of heaven". Earlier, Worrell apparently had suggested the reverse, i.e. that the Demotic was a borrowing from Latin (Vycichl p. 346) rather than the reverse, with gr-n-p.t being merely a hieroglyphic folketymology. Neither option seems overly likely to me, and the words may be just unrelated. The Latin (and cf. Old Church Slavonic golobi "dove", Russian golubj (golub')) seems to have a connection with Greek kolumbos, the name of a diving bird, namely a grebe; although it is not clear to me whether the bird's name derives from the Greek verb kolumbao "to dive", "to swim", "to plunge into the sea", or whether the verb derives from the bird. In the first case, we would have a Greek (sea) bird called "diver", which in Latin became a sky diving bird - which would rule out a derivation from the Egyptian. Uncertain.

16) tart
I was told that Egyptologists Klaus Baer believed that the German word torte was derived from a similar sounding ancient Egyptian word for bread or pastry, I presume t-rtH ("reteh-bread", Hannig p. 911). But I've not been able to find the original source for this - if Baer ever pubished it. But also unseen I would not hesitate to call such an idea farfetched. And unnecessary. For German torte, like English tart, stems, via medieval French, from Late Latin torta "flat, open-topped pastry" or "round loaf of bread"; and as the original meaning of the Latin word seems to be "round bread or cake", it must surely derive from Latin tortus "twisted together, winding, curved, bent", I would say.

17) pharmacy
This word derives from Greek pharmakon, meaning "medicine, drug, charm, poison". In an old EEF debate, someone mentioned that in Jack Sasson's "Civilizations of the Ancient Near East", 3 vols., p. 1796 in the Chapter on Science, it is said that the origin of the word "pharmacy" would be the ancient Egyptian word pXr.t, which means "medicine, prescription, remedy." In Demotic, the latter word also takes on the meaning "charm" (magical remedy). So semantically, there seems a good fit, although I would suspect that the basic meaning of the Greek word could be "herb", and then medicinal, magical, or poisonous herb. But phonologically, it is unlikely that pharmakon would derive from pXr.t: the Egyptian word survives in Coptic as pahre (S; so with hori) and phakhri (B; so with khai), and how one is supposed to ignore the -kh- is not clear to me. Especially because in Greek renderings of Egyptian names, the X is consistently rendered with Greek chi or kappa (Peust, p. 118). So ancient Egyptian *paXre would not be borrowed into Greek as *phar-, let alone what to do with the -makon part.


I cannot help warn readers for the fact that there are a lot of "kooky linguistics" around on the Net, linguistics that are both cuckoo and cooked up, and employed to support some revisionistic hidden program (be it of an esoteric, ethnocentric, neopagan, or another nature). Typical categories:
1) To "prove" that Israel was an Egyptian colony
Examples: "Zion derives from On (Heliopolis)"; "the pharaohs were annointed with crocodile fat, crocodile is msH in AE, so that's why the jews called a messiah a massiach"; "IsRaEl means "Ra is El" "; "Miriam derives from Meryamun"; "Adonai derives from Aton" [16]; "the jews say the name of an Egyptian god, Amen, at the end of their prayers" [17]; etc.
Sometimes such arguments are used to "support" an ideosyncratic historical theory, but more often they serve as ammunition for some esoterical and/or anti-jewish crusade (all the Wisdom comes from Egypt, Moses was Achnaton, etc etc). It's a whole industry on the Net.
2) To "prove" that Greece was an Egyptian colony
Examples: "horizon derives from the sun/sky god Horus"; "nature derives from nTr as the gods are the forces of nature"; etc.
Most of these are incidental word-games by laypersons (often again of the esoteric all-Wisdom-comes- from-Egypt type), but some examples of the etymologies by Jernstedt and Bernal might perhaps also fall in this category (see the mythos example above and note 13), certainly because Bernal's work (aptly called by Appiah "the non-Afrocentrist hero of Afrocentrists") has been used, abused and been expanded upon by proponents of ethnocentric programs.
3) To "prove" that Egypt was a "Black" colony
Examples: "Kemet means "black land" and thus was inhabited by people with a black skin", "Punt is called t3 nTr, so Ethiopia is the homeland of the nTr (gods), i.e. of the ancestors of the ancient Egyptians"; etc.
Note that the capital B is usually employed by such writers, whoes ethnocentrism is hard to miss.
4) To "prove" supposed links of AE with languages outside the AfroAsiatic linguistic family.
Examples: supposed links with (West)African [18] or European languages are popular in the Newsgroups, but the offered comparissons tend to be not only very random (vs. structural), but also between words from very different time periods, happily ignoring older forms. Theories that try to vocalise Ancient Egyptian on the basis of Bantu or other West-African languages are another (ethnocentric) industry on the Net.

It is always good to be very sceptical of etymologies that are offered to prove a point and/or that stand on their own. (And on the Net, suspicion is even more a virtue.)
Always first ask yourself "Why *would* there be a connection?!", notably if there are mere sound resemblances presented, without logical intermediate stages in time AND place.
Note from the overview above that loan-words tend to be tradegoods and very specific products, animals or crafts from a country; and not ordinary nouns and verbs.
Also remember that the danger of the "Sirene des Gleichklangs" (the lure of basing farfetched conclusions on mere incidental sound-resemblances) is always lurking, and as we all know, the sirens of Classical mythology are devious and misleading ladies.

Any comments and additions are much appreciated: A.K. Eyma. Has there been any systematic overview about AE loanwords in modern languages? I've not seen any (the above is raked together from many sources). Above only AE words in modern European languages are listed [19].

copyright '07, A.K. Eyma

[1] For Ancient Egyptian transliteration codes, see the EEF codes page. On this page, aleph is 3, ayin ' and yod j. The transliteration codes for Greek given there are not followed, as they will be rather confusing to those not familiar with them (e.g. the j for final sigma); so for Greek we use the transliteration that is more intuitive and more common in general literature (with ê for èta and ô for omega).
No exactness in transliterating Coptic, Hebrew and Arabic is (always) implied (for Arabic, ` is `ayin, ' is hamza').
In many cases no attempt has been made to give a reconstructed (*) vocalisation of Ancient Egyptian; the Egyptological conventions are employed to give people not familiar with Ancient Egyptian somewhat more than the bare consonants.
[2] But kidding aside: it is more likely that the Greek named impressive monuments, like pyramids and obelisks, after ordinary little things, NOT to ridicule them, but rather because they felt overwhelmed by them; using an ironic diminutive can help to come to terms with one's feelings in such situations, to make things more managable. Or as McGready phrases it: "obeliskos and puramis are jocular renderings, attributable no doubt to some nameless Greek sightseer stubbornly resolved not to be impressed by the works of a "barbarian" civilisation". The same they did with impressive animals they encountered in Egypt: the crocodile they called krokodeilos (="lizard") and the ostrich strouthos (="sparrow").
Note that because puramis for "bun" is attested in fairly late material, not everybody agrees with the idea that the AE pyramids were named after the Greek cake. At any rate, it seems fairly certain that the name of the bun derives from Greek puros, "wheat" (so it is impossible that the cakes were named after the pyramids).
[3] obelos denoted a small spit or skewer, and also was used for "nail". Such small spits or nails were used as weights, hence obolos, the obol, as name of a Greek coin.
[4] Cf.; thanks to John Altemueller for pointing me at this site.
[5] Thanks to Michael Tilgner for reminding me of this one. He refers to : F. Zucker, Athen und Ägypten bis auf den Beginn der hellenistischen Zeit, in: Aus Antike und Orient (FS W. Schubart), 1950, p. 150. The link is generally accepted, and can be found in Greek and western etymological dictionaries.
[6] This one was first under note 17, but in fact the word stibium is also used in English, although likely only by geologists and chemists. Thanks to Troy Sagrillo for reminding me of that. Cf AE sdm "to paint (the eyes)" (HWB 789)
[7] See Vycichl p.177 for the names of those who brought up the different options. See also J. Vergote (L'etymologie du mot papyrus, Chronique d'Egypte 6 (1985), p. 393-397) and J. Cerny (Paper & Books in Ancient Egypt, 1952, p. 4-5), referenced in Phoenix-BEOL 34,2 (1988) p. 58.
[8] In an earlier edition I wrongly attributed the "stone of Bast" idea to S. Morenz (in: Siegfried Morenz, Die Begegnung Europas mit Ägypten, Zürich/Stuttgart, 1969, pp. 20/21), but Fecht's book is of 1960 (unless both came up with the idea independently). Thanks to Michael Tilgner for pointing me at Morenz' opinion, and at Sethe's opinion (see References below). Thanks to Wendy Doyon and Adrian Lee for supplying me with the Coptic forms of jnr (later confirmed via Vycichl). Thanks to Don Feruggia for pointing out that in Greek a + labê means "without handle"; so IF "alabastos" was originally the name of a vase without handles, then perhaps the Greeks did a popular etymology on the Egyptian loan-word (*a-na-bast?) in order to 'rationalize' it? Then Sethe's option is not as unlikely as Fecht says (because n(j) normally never becomes la).
[9] I think it was Gardiner who claimed Humphry was AE in origin, but I do not know the reference.
[10] See Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherrn von Bissing - "Die altafrikanische Herkunft des Wortes Pavian=Babuin, und sein Vorkommen als Gottesname in altägyptischen Texten", SBAW, Jahrgang 1951, Heft 3, pp. 1-15. Thanks to Troy Sagrillo for pointing me at this article!
[11] The vignette of BD 18, P. Ani, shows Babai with a black and white pointy snout, like a dog. The text of BD 17, Theban Recension, speaks about a god "whose face is that of a hound but whose skin is human", and seeing what follows this is clearly Babai. So perhaps the vignette was a wrong interpretation of this text? Of course the description in the text reminds us of the Greek word for baboon, kynokephalos ("dogheaded") - coincidence?
[12] AE km.t (*Kumat, *Kume, Kemi) of course means "The Black Land" (lit. "The Dark/Brown (Matter)", that is: the Fertile Soil, the mud of the innundated Nile Valley), in contrast with the surrounding "Red Land", AE dSr.t (Desheret) (lit. "the Red (Matter)", that is: the Sandy Soil, the desert terrain with its red and yellow colors). Note that Km.t is always the name of the Valley, and not for the people living there; so "Black Land" is not a racial term. Note also that there is no link between AE dSr.t (*dashre) and English "desert"; the English term stems from Latin deserta "wild, uninhabited places" (cf. English "deserted"), from Latin de-sero, "to abandon" (lit. "to leave the line", connected with Latin series "line, series").
[13] Again many thanks to Michael Tilgner for pointing me at Sethe's view.
[14] There was a possible Egyptian development of x (ch) into S (sh), but that occured after the word basanos had already appeared in Greek, so the change from bxn to bSn could not have happened in Egypt itself. AFAIK this mentioned Egyptian development can be observed in compairing the rendering of the name Khufu by Herodotus (5th c. BC) and by Manetho (3rd c. BC): Cheops versus Suphis (with the Greek s taking the place of S). Loprieno (p.41) mentions the shift AE x > Coptic (Sahidic) S, but I do not think he dates it. An additional problem for Sethe's suggestion is that AE bxn is sometimes written bXn, and X never becomes S in Coptic.
[15] Thanks to Troy Sagrillo for pointing me at the fact that Peust (in: Peust, Carsten. 1999. Egyptian Phonology: An Introduction to the Phonology of a Dead Language. Monographien zur agyptischen Sprache 2, ser. eds. Holger Gutschmidt and Carsten Peust. Gottingen: Peust & Gutschmidt Verlag GbR, on p. 71, section 2.9.5) mentions this claim, under reference to Jernstedt.
It's curious that such a recent and scholarly book refers to Jernstedt's work, which has generally not been taken very serious. References for the work of Jernstedt (his name is also transliterated Ernshtedt or variations thereof) (non vidi):
P. V. Jernstedt, Egipetskie zaimstvovaniya v grecheskom yazyke [Egyptian loans in the Greek language], 1953
P.V. Jernstedt, Grecheskie egiptizmy vremeni sushchestvovaniya grecheskikh faktorij v Egipte [Greek egyptianisms of the time of the existence of Greek trade-colonies in Egypt], in: Vestnik 56 (2), pp. 153ff (1956)
P.V. Jernstedt, Iz oblasti drevbeyshikh egiptizmov grecheskogo yazyka, in: Palestinskiy sbornik 83 (1954), pp.29-40
C. Daniel, Des emprunts égyptiens dans le grec ancien, in: Studia et acta orientalia 4, pp. 13ff. (1963) [follows Jernstedt]
J.-L. Fournet, Les emprunts du grec à l'égyptien, in: Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris 84 (1989), pp. 55-80 [challenging the ideas of Jernstedt and Daniel]
Recently Martin Bernal has revived Jernstedt's line of work (Talanta XXXVIII/XXIX, p.65-98, 165-171; Black Athena vol.III, forthcoming; he mentions Jernstedt's etymology of mythos in Black Athena vol. II, p.577), and his etymologies have likewise been rejected (see Arno Egberts in the same Talanta, rightly tackling Bernal's claims of Gr. Athena < AE H.t-Nt and Gr. parthenôn < AE pr-THn.t). Of course it cannot be excluded that among the "too good to be true" etymologies of Jernstedt and Bernal, some perfectly valid examples are hiding.
[16] As this one is often popping-up, it might need some comments. Firstly, it is often assumed that itn was likely pronounced as yâti, for we have the name of Amarna princess Meritaten (mry.t-itn) rendered in cuneiform as Mayati. However, it is also possible that the cuneiform must be broken up as may-ati (i.e. with maya < *maryat), leaving for itn the pronunciation *'atn with a 'vocalic' n as in American "rotten" (Dr. James Allen, on AEL-L d.d. Oct 18, 02). Whatever may be the case, the pronunciation was nothing like Aton, so a resemblance to Adon(ai) is not really there. 'Aton' is a modern concoction, merely as analogue to imn being rendered as Amon. Secondly, the Hebrew word adon is not isolated but also found in other NW Semitic languages, like Ugaritic (as a-da-nu), so is not a loanword.
[17] This one also often comes up, namely the suggestion that the Biblical word amen was the Egyptian god's name Amen, borrowed by the Hebrews during their stay in Egypt. Needless to say that semantically, historically and etymologically, there is no connection between the two words at all. The Hebrew word 'amen, used at the end of a prayer or at the beginning or end of a statement, has the meaning "so be it!", "let it be so!", "certainly!", "verily!", and derives from the Hebrew verb 'aman "to confirm", "to be firm", "to strenghten" (cp. the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, at URL). Besides, the Egyptian god's name never sounded like Amen (that's again a modernism!), but was written imn, which in the New Kingdom was pronounced 3Ama:ne (as testified by the cuneiform texts that render the name with vowels) and which after ca 1000 BC developped into 3Amu:n(e) (hence the Coptic form Amoun and the Greek form Amoun). The Egyptians themselves connected the name with the verb imn, "to conceal", so the god's name would mean "the Hidden One" (cp. Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, ch. 9 = Manetho, Fr. 77).
[18] A typical example is the misguided work of Cheikh Anta Diop; for a detailed repudiation of his unscientific theories, see this article by a Professor of Linguistics and African Languages: Russell G. Schuh, "The use and misuse of language in the study of African history" (1997), in: Ufahamu 25(1):36-81. Available online in PDF at URL
[19] Egyptian words ending up in Classical Greek (but not via the Greek in Western European languages) are for example:
* Greek psagdan/psagdês/sagdas ("an Egyptian unguent") stemmed from AE sgnn "salve, anointing-oil" (HWB p.776)
* Greek herpis ("an Egyptian wine", already with Sappho, 600 BC) was a direct loan-word, from AE jrp ("wine") (*urp), via Coptic Er^p / El^p / erp.
* Greek hasiês / hesiês (and from there Latin esietus), a word refering to becoming blessed by going under water (like with Churchfather Tertullian in: De baptismo 5 "esietus...quos aquae necaverunt") was a borrowing from AE Hzy ("praised", "the blesssed dead", HWB p.558, notably used for people who drowned and so shared the fate of Osiris), Coptic hasie.
* Greek kalasiris ("a long Egyptian garment", Herodotus II,81), an AE equivalent is not yet known (McGready). The other term kalasiris ("member of a section of the AE military", Herodotus II,164) is found in AE texts as krj-Srj (HWB 886).
* Greek kiki ("Egyptian name for castor oil", Herodotus II,94); I would presume there's a link with AE k3k3 "Ricinus communis, Wunderbaum" (HWB p.878) as that tree gives an medicinal oil.
* Greek kullêstis ("an Egyptian bread of spelt", Herodotus II,77), from AE equivalent krSt (HWB p. 886).
* Greek pirômis ("Egyptian word for a noble person", Herodotus II, 143), from AE p3 rmT (pi-rome) ("the man") (Gardiner p. 37)
* Greek champsa ("Egyptian for crocodile", Herodotus II, 69), from AE equivalent msH (*emsah).
* Greek kuphi (kyphi, "Egyptian incense"; Plutarch, Manetho Fr.87), from AE k3p.t ("incense"), from AE k3p "to burn" (HWB875).
* Greek aention ("an Egyptian myrrh", Hesychios), from AE 'ntiw ("myrrh", HWB148)
* The above examples may be found in:
J. Janssen - Over Egyptische woorden by oude schrijvers, Le Muséon 59 (1946), p. 233-240 [with much older literature; has psagdan which is missing in McGready]
J. Helderman - Van Jablonski/Te Water tot Vycichl, Phoenix-BEOL 34,2 (1988), p.54-59 [has hasiês which is missing in McGready.]
and in McGready [which has many more, but the obscure ones, often mere incidental transcriptions of AE words in a minor Greek text, have been left out]
Elmar Edel - Neue Deutungen Keilschriftlicher Umschreibungen Ägyptischer Wörter und Personennamen, SOeAW 375, 1980, p. 3-45 [only has aention, which is missing in McGready; thanks to Troy Sagrillo for this article!]
* The following references were provided by Michael Tilgner, but I was not able to consult them:
O. Masson, Recherches sur le vocabulaire d'Hipponax I: Un mot d'origine égyptienne: ERPIS, in: Revue de Philologie, de littérature et d'historie ancienne 36, pp. 46ff (1962)
R.A. Caminos, Late Egyptian Miscellanies, 1954, p. 82

For AE words ending up in Arabic (references also supplied by Michael Tilgner):
G. Sobhy, Common Words in the Spoken Arabic of Egypt, of Greek or Coptic Origin, 1950, especially pp. 18ff [for Arabic]. It is available online.
E. Lüddeckens, in: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte 20, p. 209f (1968) [Egyptian words in Christian titles in Egypt]

For AE words ending up in Biblical Hebrew, see:
Thomas O Lambdin, Egyptian Loan Words in the Old Testament, JAOS 73 (1953),145-155.

Cerny, ED = J. Cerny, Coptic Etymological Dictionary. Cambridge, 1976 Edwards = I.E.S. Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt, 1987
Faulkner = Raymond O. Faulkner, A concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, 1962
Gardiner = Sir Alan Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs, 1961
HWB = Rainer Hannig, Grosses Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch, 1995
Loprieno = Antonio Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian, A Linguistic Introduction, 1995
McGready = A.G. Mc Gready, "Egyptian Words in the Greek Vocabulary." Glotta: Zeitschrift für griechische und lateinsche Sprache 46 (1968), pp 247­254.
Peust = Carsten Peust, Egyptian Phonology: An Introduction to the Phonology of a Dead Language. Monographien zur agyptischen Sprache 2, ser. eds. Holger Gutschmidt and Carsten Peust. Gottingen: Peust & Gutschmidt Verlag GbR, 1990
Sethe = Kurt Sethe, Die Bau- und Denkmalsteine der alten Ägypter und ihre Namen, SPAW, 1933, Nr. 22, pp. 864-912, reprinted in Kurt Sethe, Leipziger und Berliner Akademieschriften (1902-1934), Leipzig, 1976, pp. 537-585.
Vycichl = W. Vycichl, Dictonnaire étymologique de la langue Copte, 1983

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