You may not realize it, but many English words have their origins in Arabic language. Here are some pretty common ones whose backgrounds I think are particularly interesting:
Alcohol (الكحل) – Originally meaning a finely ground or sifted material, and eventually meaning a purified material or “quintessence,” achieved through a distillation process.
Algebra (الجبر) – Meaning “completing or restoring broken parts.” The mathematical meaning derives from a 9th century book that was not translated into Latin until the 12th century. The origins of Algebra can be dated back to the Babylonians, who developed advanced mathematical systems which included algorithms.
Candy (قندي) – Stemming from the word, “qand,” meaning sugar cane, which was cultivated with artificial irrigation by the medieval Arabs and exported to the Latins.
Coffee (قهوة) – Coffee was first cultivated in Yemen in the 15th century, and quickly spread throughout the region, becoming particularly popular in Turkey. Cafe Mocha was named after the Yemeni port and coffee exporting city of Mocha.
Ghoul (غهول) – Ghouls are a staple of Arabic folklore, and were first introduced to the Western world in a French translation of 1,001 Nights.
Giraffe (جرافة) – Giraffes and their distinctive appearance were discussed by medieval Arab writers. The animal was first introduced to Italy from a zoo in Cairo in the late 13th century.
Mattress (مطرح) – Stemmed from the Arabic verb “tarah,” to throw, and became known as a padded blanket to lie upon.
Sugar (سكر) – Cane sugar originated in India but was produced by medieval Arabs on a larger scale. The modern words for sugar in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and German all stem from Arabic.
There are dozens of other examples like these. I think they all serve as an important reminder of how interconnected different cultures are, whether or not we realize it.