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Etymology in English for Anatolia

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Kyrgyz also Kirghiz, Turkic people of western Central Asia, 1650s; their name is of disputed origin.

Balkans the mountainous peninsula between the Adriatic and Black seas (including Greece), probably from Turkic balkan “mountain.”

Avar one of a Turkic people who made incursions in southeastern Europe 6c.-9c. Related: Avars.

yurt (n.)“house or hut of the natives of north and central Asia,” 1784, ultimately from Russian yurta, from a Turkic language and originally meaning “home, dwelling.”

Kazakhstan from the indigenous Kazakh people (whose name is from Turkic kazak “nomad;” see Cossack) + Iranian -stan “country, land” (see -stan).

Cathay (n.)

1560s, poetic name for “China,” from Medieval Latin Cataya, from Turkish Khitai, from Uighur (Turkic) Khitai, name of a Tatar dynasty that ruled Beijing 936-1122.

tokay (n.)1710, rich sweet wine from the region of Tokay (Hungarian Tokaj) a town in Hungary. The name is perhaps Slavic, from tok “current,” or Hungarian, from a Turkic personal name.

aga also agha, title of rank, especially in Turkey, c. 1600, from Turkish agha “chief, master, lord,” related to East Turkic agha “elder brother.” The Agha Khan is the title of the spiritual leader of Nizari Ismaili Muslims.

Cossack (n.)

“one of a military people who inhabit the steppes of southern Russia, 1590s, from Russian kozak, from Turkish kazak “adventurer, guerrilla, nomad,” from qaz “to wander.” The same Turkic root is the source of the people-name Kazakh and the nation of Kazakhstan.

khan (n.)title of sovereign princes in Tatar counties, c. 1400, from Turkic, literally “lord, prince,” contraction of khaqan “ruler, sovereign.” The word has been known in the languages of Europe since 13c.; compare Medieval Latin chanis, Medieval Greek kanes, Old French chan, Russian khanu. In time it degenerated and became a title of respect. The female form is khanum (1824), from Turkish khanim.

horde (n.)1550s, “tribe of Asiatic nomads living in tents,” from West Turkic (compare Tatar urda “horde,” Turkish ordu “camp, army”), borrowed into English via Polish, French, or Spanish. OED says the initial -h- seems to have been acquired in Polish. Transferred sense of “any uncivilized gang” is from 1610s. Related: Hordes.

pirogi (n.)

also pierogipirog, “Polish ravioli; small dumpling made of dough stuffed with potato, cheese, etc.,” 1854, via Yiddish, from Russian, plural of pirog “pie,” perhaps borrowed from the Turkic language of the Kazan Tatars (compare Turkish borek). But Watkins and Ayto say from Old Church Slavonic pirŭ “feast,” from PIE root *po(i)- “to drink.” The plural form has become singular in English.

Bulgaria (n.)Medieval Latin, from Bulgari “Bulgarians,” traditionally explained as “the men from the Bolg,” the River Volga, upon whose banks they lived until 6c. But evidence is wanting, and the people’s name for themselves in Old Bulgarian was Blugarinu, according to OED and Century Dictionary, which suggests a different origin. In other sources [such as Room], the name is said to be ultimately from Turkic bulga “mixed,” in reference to the nature of this people of Turko-Finnish extraction but Slavic language.

Hun (n.)person from a tribe from central Asia that overran Europe in the 4c. and 5c., Old English Hunas (plural), from Medieval Latin Hunni, apparently ultimately from Turkic Hun-yü, the name of a tribe (they were known in China as Han or Hiong-nu). Figurative sense of “reckless destroyer of beauty” is from 1806. Applied to the German in World War I by their enemies because of stories of atrocities, but the nickname originally was urged on German soldiers bound for China by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1900, which caused a scandal. Related: HunnicHunnish.


mid-14c. (implied in Tartary, “the land of the Tartars”), from Medieval Latin Tartarus, from Persian Tatar, first used 13c. in reference to the hordes of Ghengis Khan (1202-1227), said to be ultimately from Tata, a name of the Mongols for themselves. Form in European languages probably influenced by Latin Tartarus “hell” (e.g. letter of St. Louis of France, 1270: “In the present danger of the Tartars either we shall push them back into the Tartarus whence they are come, or they will bring us all into heaven”).

The historical word for what now are called in ethnological works Tatars. A Turkic people, their native region was east of the Caspian Sea. Ghengis’ horde was a mix of Tatars, Mongols, Turks, etc. Used figuratively for “savage, rough, irascible person” (1660s). To catch a Tartar “get hold of what cannot be controlled” is recorded from 1660s; original sense not preserved, but probably from some military story similar to the old battlefield joke:

Irish soldier (shouting from within the brush): I’ve captured one of the enemy.

Captain: Excellent! Bring him here.

Soldier: He won’t come.

Captain: Well, then, you come here.

Soldier: I would, but he won’t let me.

Among the adjectival forms that have been used are Tartarian (16c.), Tartarous (Ben Jonson), Tartarean (17c.); Byron’s Tartarly (1821) is a nonce-word (but a good one). Tartar sauce is attested by 1855, from French sauce tartare.

Source: https://www.etymonline.com/search?page=2&q=turkic&type=

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