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TRAIN WRECK OF THE WEEK > Are You Offended by Arabic Term 'Haboob'?

Christine Lusey 2011/07/23 11:00:00
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Do you know what a "haboob" is? Sure, it's funny-sounding, but it's also a legitimate meteorological term for the mega-dust storms ravaging central Arizona lately.

But it's also of Middle Eastern descent, and that is proving entirely unacceptable to some Arizona residents, according to The New York Times.

“I am insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a haboob,” Don Yonts, a resident of Gilbert, Ariz., wrote to The Arizona Republic after a particularly fierce, mile-high dust storm swept through the state on July 5. “How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?”

Diane Robinson of Wickenburg, Ariz., agreed, saying the state’s dust storms are unique and ought to be labeled as such.

“Excuse me, Mr. Weatherman!” she said in a letter to the editor. “Who gave you the right to use the word ‘haboob’ in describing our recent dust storm? While you may think there are similarities, don’t forget that in these parts our dust is mixed with the whoop of the Indian’s dance, the progression of the cattle herd and warning of the rattlesnake as it lifts its head to strike. We have our own culture, too, sir, and we don't take kindly to being robbed of it."


They read like prank "Dear Abby" letters, but unfortunately there's no reason to believe these aren't real.

Arizona State climatologist Randy Cerveny says haboob has been used for years by meteorologists in the Southwest.

"The media usually avoid it because they don’t think anyone will understand it," he says.

Does this seem reasonable to you? Should we also banish "candy, "sofa," "algebra" or, you know, numbers? Because those are Arabic as well.

Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/22/us/22haboob.html

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  • Michael Calkins 2014/01/25 10:52:14 (edited)
    No, that's ridiculous
    Michael Calkins
    We already have a number of Semitic words from Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, etc... What does one more hurt? However, in this instance, English already has a native term: "sand storm".

    I'm more offended by the terrible damage done to the English language by French following 1066, and again, by some typesetters during the early days of printing.

    But it's normal that languages lend to and borrow from each other. At this point in time, English is probably doing most of the lending.

    I respect Hebrew, and by extension, its close cousin Arabic, and so it does not bother me to use words from those languages.
  • DreamsWontDie 2011/08/04 18:20:11
    No, that's ridiculous
    DreamsWontDie
    +3
    Guys...guys....I was told by a second generation Egyptian Arabic speaking person that haboob means like..lover and it's a derivative of Habibi....even his mom says so. I...we're calling sandstorms cute little guys.
  • Kemet A... DreamsW... 2012/02/02 20:17:47
    Kemet Anubis
    Haha! That's pretty funny! And yet everyone's getting mad over it. :-/
  • Chicklet 2011/07/28 18:31:58
    No, that's ridiculous
    Chicklet
    +4
    Nope. Nor do these words Arabic in origin bother me:

    admiral - ami:r-al-bahr 'ruler of the seas' (and other similar expressions) - amara command
    adobe - al-toba 'the brick'
    albacore - al-bukr 'the young camel'
    alchemy - al-ki:mi:a: - from Greek
    alcohol - al-koh''l 'the kohl'
    alcove - al-qobbah 'vault' - qubba vault
    alembic - al-ambi:q 'the still' - from Greek
    alfalfa - alfas,fas,ah 'fodder'
    algebra - al-jebr 'reintegration' - jabara reunite
    Algol - al-ghu:l 'the ghoul'
    algorithm - al-Khowarazmi 'the (man) of Khiva'
    alkali - al-qaliy 'calx' - qalay fry, roast
    Allah - `allah, from contraction of al-ilah 'the god'
    Almagest - al-majisti - from Greek
    almanac - (Andalucian Arabic) al-mana:kh, of uncertain origin
    amber - `anbar 'ambergris'
    antimony - al-íthmid 'antimony trisulphide' - perhaps from Greek
    apricot - al-burquq - from Greek
    Arab - `arab
    arsenal - dar as,s,ina`ah 'house of making', i.e. 'factory' - s,ana`a make
    artichoke - al-kharshu:f
    assagai - az-zaghayah - from Berber
    assassin - h'ashsha:shi:n 'hashish eaters', from the Isma`ili sectarians
    attar - `itr 'aroma'
    ayatollah - 'ayatu-llah 'miraculous sign of God'
    azimuth - as-sumut 'the paths'; see also zenith
    azure - al-lazward 'lapis lazuli' - from Persian
    barbican - (possibly) bâb-al-baqara 'g...















































































































































































    Nope. Nor do these words Arabic in origin bother me:

    admiral - ami:r-al-bahr 'ruler of the seas' (and other similar expressions) - amara command
    adobe - al-toba 'the brick'
    albacore - al-bukr 'the young camel'
    alchemy - al-ki:mi:a: - from Greek
    alcohol - al-koh''l 'the kohl'
    alcove - al-qobbah 'vault' - qubba vault
    alembic - al-ambi:q 'the still' - from Greek
    alfalfa - alfas,fas,ah 'fodder'
    algebra - al-jebr 'reintegration' - jabara reunite
    Algol - al-ghu:l 'the ghoul'
    algorithm - al-Khowarazmi 'the (man) of Khiva'
    alkali - al-qaliy 'calx' - qalay fry, roast
    Allah - `allah, from contraction of al-ilah 'the god'
    Almagest - al-majisti - from Greek
    almanac - (Andalucian Arabic) al-mana:kh, of uncertain origin
    amber - `anbar 'ambergris'
    antimony - al-íthmid 'antimony trisulphide' - perhaps from Greek
    apricot - al-burquq - from Greek
    Arab - `arab
    arsenal - dar as,s,ina`ah 'house of making', i.e. 'factory' - s,ana`a make
    artichoke - al-kharshu:f
    assagai - az-zaghayah - from Berber
    assassin - h'ashsha:shi:n 'hashish eaters', from the Isma`ili sectarians
    attar - `itr 'aroma'
    ayatollah - 'ayatu-llah 'miraculous sign of God'
    azimuth - as-sumut 'the paths'; see also zenith
    azure - al-lazward 'lapis lazuli' - from Persian
    barbican - (possibly) bâb-al-baqara 'gate with holes'
    berdache - (possibly) bardaj 'slave'
    Betelgeuse - bi:t al-jauza:' 'shoulder of the Giant'
    bezoar - bazahr - from Persian
    bint - bint 'daughter
    bled - balad 'vast open country'
    borax - bu:raq - from Persian
    burka - burqa`
    burnouse - burnus
    caliber - qali:b 'mold, last' -
    calico - Qaliqu:t 'Calicut', city in India
    caliph - khali:fah 'successor' - khalafa 'succeed'
    camise - qami:s 'shirt' - from Latin
    camphor - ka:fu:r - from Malay
    candy - short for 'sugar candy', from sugar + qandi 'candied', from qand 'cane sugar' - from a Dravidian language
    carat - qi:ra:t 'small weight' - from Greek
    caraway - alkarawya: - probably from Greek
    carafe - gharra:f - gharafa 'dip'
    carmine - qirmazi: 'crimson'
    carob - kharrubah
    cassock - kaza:ghand 'padded jacket' - from Persian
    check - sha:h 'king' - from Persian
    checkmate - sha:h ma:t 'the king is dead'
    chemistry - see alchemy
    chess - from Old French eschecs, plural of check
    cipher - s,ifr 'empty'
    civet - zaba:d
    coffee - qahwah
    Copt - quft - from Greek
    cork - qu:rq
    cotton - qutn
    couscous - kuskus - kaskasa pound, bruise
    crimson - qirmazi:, related to the qirmiz, the insect that provided the dye
    Deneb - danab al-jaja:ja 'tail of the hen'
    dhow - da:w
    dinar - di:na:r - from Greek
    dirham - dirham - from Greek
    dragoman - tarjuma:n - tarjama interpret
    drub - daraba 'beat'
    dura mater - Latin calque on umm al-ghali:dah 'hard mother'
    efreet - 'ifri:t 'monster'
    El Cid - al-Sayyid 'the lord'
    elixir - al-iksi:r 'philosopher's stone' - from Greek
    emir - ami:r - amara command
    fakir - faqi:r 'poor man' - faqura be poor
    fardel - fardah 'load'
    Farsi - Fa:rs 'Pars', a province of Iran - from Persian
    fatwa - fetwa - fata: instruct by a legal decision
    fedayeen - fida:'iyi:n 'commandos' - fida:` redemption
    felafel - fala:fil
    fellah - fella:h' 'husbandman' - falah'a till
    felucca - fulk 'ship' - falaka be round
    Fomalhaut - fum u'l-haut 'mouth of the fish'
    garble - gharbala 'sift' - perhaps from Latin
    gazelle - ghaza:l
    genie - jinni: 'spirit'
    gerbil - yarbu:`
    ghoul - ghu:l 'demon' - gha:la take suddenly
    giraffe - zara:fa

    hadith - h'adi:t 'tradition'
    haj - h'ajj 'pilgrimage' - h'ajja go on a pilgrimage
    halal - h'ala:l 'lawful'
    halvah - h'alwa:
    harem - h'aram 'prohibited, set apart' - h'arama prohibit
    hashish - h'ashi:sh 'dried herbs, hemp'
    hazard - yásara 'play at dice'
    hegira - hijrah 'departure' - hajara separate, go
    henna - h'enna:`
    Hezbollah - H'izbulla:h 'party of God'
    hookah - h'uqqah 'water bottle (through which smoke is drawn)'
    houri - h'u:r al-`ayu:n 'with eyes like gazelles' - h'awura have eyes like gazelles
    imam - ima:m 'leader' - amma precede
    Islam - isla:m 'submission' - aslama submit oneself
    jar - jarrah 'large earthen vase'
    jasmine - ya:smi:n - from Persian
    jinn - jinn 'spirits', plural of genie
    julep - jula:b 'rose water' - from Persian
    Kaaba - ka`bah 'square house'
    kabob - kaba:b - from Persian
    kaffir - ka:fir 'infidel' - kafara conceal, deny
    keffiyeh - kaffi:yah
    khamsin - khamsi:n 'fifty (days)'
    kismet - qisma 'portion, lot' - qasama divide
    kohl - koh''l 'kohl' - kah'ala stain, paint
    Koran - qura:n 'recitation' - qara`a read
    lilac - li:la:k - from Persian
    lemon - laymu:n - from Persian
    lime - li:mah 'citrus fruit'
    loofah - lu:fah a plant whose pods were used as sponges
    lute - al-`u:d
    macramé - miqramah 'striped cloth'
    magazine - makha:zin 'storehouses' - khazana store
    Mahdi - mahdi:y 'one who is guided aright' - hada: lead
    majlis - majlis 'council'
    mancala - mank.ala - nak.ala move
    marzipan - mawthaba:n 'coin featuring a seated figure'
    mask - perhaps maskhara 'buffoon' - sakhira ridicule
    mattress - matrah 'place where something is thrown, mat, cushion' - tarah'a throw
    minaret - mana:rah - na:r fire
    mohair - mukhayyar 'choice (goats'-hair cloth)' - khayyara select
    monsoon - mausim 'season' - wasama mark
    mosque - masgid - sagada worship
    Mozarabic - musta`rib 'would-be Arab'
    muezzin - mu'adhdhin 'criers' - adhana proclaim
    mufti - mufti: 'one who gives a fatwa'
    mujahedeen - muja:hidi:n 'figher in a jihad'
    mullah - mawla: 'master'
    mummy - mu:miya: 'embalmed body' - mu:m '(embalming) wax'
    Muslim - muslim 'submitter' - aslama submit oneself
    muslin - Maus,il 'Mosul'
    nadir - nadi:r as-samt 'opposite the zenith'
    natron - natru:n - from Greek
    nizam - nidam 'government'
    orange - na:ranj - from Sanskrit
    ottoman - `uthma:n, a proper name
    pia mater - Latin calque on umm raqi:qah 'tender mother'
    popinjay - babagha:
    Primum Mobile - Latin calque on al-muh' arrik al-awwal 'the first mover'
    racket - râh'et 'palm of the hand' Ramadan - Ramada:n meaning perhaps 'the hot month' - ramata be heated
    realgar - rehj al-gha:r 'powder of the cave'
    ream - rizmah 'bundle'
    rebec - reba:b
    Rigel - rijl 'foot (of Orion)'
    roc - rukh
    rook - rukh - from Persian
    Rubaiyyat - ruba:`i:yah 'quatrain'
    safari - safari:y 'journey' - safara travel
    saffron - za`fara:n
    Sahara - çah'ra: 'desert'
    sahib - ça:h'ib 'friend'
    salaam - as-sala:m `alaikum 'peace be on you'
    saluki - salu:k.i: 'from Saluk'
    Saracen - sharqi:yi:n 'easterners' - sha:raqa rise
    sash - sha:sh 'muslin'
    satin - probably zaytu:ni: 'of Zaytu:n' (a city in China)
    scarlet - siqilla:t '(cloth) adorned with images' - from Latin
    sequin - sikkah 'die for coinmaking'
    Sharia - shari:`a
    sheikh - shaikh 'old man' - sha:kha grow old
    sherbet - sharbah - shariba drink
    Shiite - shiya`i:y, from shiya:` 'following, sect' - sha`a follow
    shrub [drink] - shurb 'a drink' - shariba drink
    sine - Latin sinus, mistranslation of jayb 'chord of an arc, sine', through confusion with jayb 'fold of a garment'
    sirocco - sharq 'east (wind)' - sha:raqa rise
    sofa - s,uffah 'raised dais with cushions'
    souk - su:k. 'marketplace'
    spinach - isfa:na:kh
    Sufi - çu:fi: 'man of wool'
    sugar - sukkar - from Sanskrit
    sultan - sulta:n 'sovereign'
    sumac - summa:q
    Sunni - sunni: 'lawful', from sunna:h 'rule, course'
    sura - su:rah
    syrup - shara:b 'beverage' - shariba drink
    tabbouleh - tabbu:la
    tabby - `atta:biy, a neighborhood in Baghdad where taffeta was made
    tahini - - tah'ana crush
    Taliban - talib 'student' - talaba study
    talisman - tilsam - from Greek
    tamarind - tamr-hindi: 'date of India'
    tambourine - a small tambour, from tanbu:r - from Persian
    tandoori - tannu:r 'oven'
    tarboosh - tarbu:sh
    tare [weight] - tarh'ah 'rejected' - tarah'a reject
    tariff - ta`ri:f 'notification' - `arafa notify
    tarragon - tarkhu:n - possibly from Greek
    tell [mound] - tall 'hillock'
    ujamaa - jama:` 'community'
    ulema - `ulima: 'the learned ones' - `alama know
    Vega - al-nasr al-wa:qi` 'the falling vulture'
    vizier - wazi:r 'porter, public servant' - wazara carry
    wadi - wa:di:
    Waqf - waqf 'religious foundation'
    wisdom tooth - from a Latin calque on adra:su 'l h'ikmi - calqued from Greek
    zenith - samt 'path'
    zero - s,ifr 'empty'
    (more)
  • Lerro DeHazel 2011/07/26 18:05:17
    No, that's ridiculous
    Lerro DeHazel
    +2
    We need to get used to words like Haboob and Hussein and Obama, etc. . . .
  • Averus 2011/07/26 17:02:12
    No, that's ridiculous
    Averus
    +2
    Of course there are Americans who are offended by the term, it has the word "boob" in it. Freakin' prudes.
  • Kemet A... Averus 2012/02/02 20:18:39
    Kemet Anubis
    OMG! I'm dying laughing from your comment! XD
  • The Scavenger 2011/07/26 13:51:15
  • Averus The Sca... 2011/07/26 17:05:24 (edited)
  • mavriqk The Sca... 2011/07/29 18:30:19
    mavriqk
    +1
    going off your Native American reference, yes they were here first, and i do believe that most of the tribes are wiped out or damn near close. So... maybe they fear the .... u know better not finish that idea..
  • TadpolePilot 2011/07/26 11:51:42
    Yes, foreign words are unacceptable
    TadpolePilot
    +1
    Send all the Arabs back so their Loving Brothers can Kill Them Dogs!
  • Merna 2011/07/26 10:55:24
    No, that's ridiculous
    Merna
    +2
    And yet, I'm a native Arabic speaker and I've never heard that word.
  • Sam 2011/07/26 08:19:17
    No, that's ridiculous
    Sam
    +2
    I think it's amusing that they managed to come up with such a calm sounding term for something that would scare the absolute piss out of me. Especially since the term was likely invented by nomadic people living in tents with nothing to cut down on the wind.
  • Boon Doggie 2011/07/26 03:20:38
    No, that's ridiculous
    Boon Doggie
    +2
    Some people really need to get a life. They also need to expand their vocabulary.
  • StrongFelix 2011/07/26 02:20:02
  • Kemet Anubis 2011/07/26 01:26:33
    No, that's ridiculous
    Kemet Anubis
    +1
    Wow! I don't even know what to say about this......some people really tick me off with the things they freak out over! >_<
  • templer003 2011/07/25 21:57:27
    Undecided
    templer003
    +2
    30 years of driving over the road and not one time in all the times I been across West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern cali have I EVER heard a dust storm called a " haboob "............Not once.....

    I'll keep my dust/sand storms in America you all can keep haboob over there...where habeeb lives..
  • Kemet A... templer003 2012/02/02 20:20:19
    Kemet Anubis
    +1
    This comment is too funny!
  • templer003 Kemet A... 2012/02/02 22:10:20
    templer003
    I am going to say thank you....I was just stating a fact is all as it pertains to myself... I never heard it called that, ain't saying that others never heard it tho.. :)
  • Kemet A... templer003 2012/06/26 21:15:01
    Kemet Anubis
    +1
    You're welcome. ^_^ I just love the last sentence!
  • templer003 Kemet A... 2012/06/27 01:26:59
    templer003
    +1
    I can get a good zinger off once in a grate while, I am glad that you liked it :)
  • Kemet A... templer003 2012/07/04 04:45:07
    Kemet Anubis
    XD
    Me too, but sometimes I feel bad about saying it cuz people think I'm being racist when I'm not. Lol
  • templer003 Kemet A... 2012/07/04 06:13:17
    templer003
    +1
    Lol no worries, I am sure that they have " pet " names that they call us, the fact is that each and every culture in the world does it to some extent or other, we in America I think might have taken it to new heights tho....
  • Kemet A... templer003 2012/08/28 23:05:44
    Kemet Anubis
    +1
    Yeah, this is true.
  • kevracer 2011/07/25 19:55:20
    No, that's ridiculous
    kevracer
    +2
    xenophobes run amok
  • Soundstorm 2011/07/25 19:43:53
    Undecided
    Soundstorm
    +2
    Haboob?
    Ehhh...I must'a taken a wrong toin at Albuquoique an' ended up on da Road to Morocco.

    ehhh musta wrong toin albuquoique ended da road morocco
  • HestheCaptain 2011/07/25 19:15:44
    No, that's ridiculous
    HestheCaptain
    +2
    Language evolves. Everyone else around the world incorporates English into their lives, we should be willing to incorporate other languages, as well.
  • dawn 2011/07/25 19:08:15
    Yes, foreign words are unacceptable
    dawn
    +2
    The Islamization of America is constantly being shoved down our throat. The American word Sandstorm works just fine, thank you!
  • Kemet A... dawn 2011/07/26 01:28:40
    Kemet Anubis
    Sorry, but what does this have to do with Islam? I must have missed it....
  • Michael... dawn 2014/01/25 11:05:19
    Michael Calkins
    Islam is a religion. Arabic is a language.

    "Sand" and "storm" are specifically English, generally Germanic. American is not a language.
  • OnlyOneWing 2011/07/25 19:03:01 (edited)
  • mana kai 2011/07/25 19:01:50
    Undecided
    mana kai
    +2
    Stupid to use a foreign term when plain English works perfectly.
  • r-w-wako 2011/07/25 18:43:13
    No, that's ridiculous
    r-w-wako
    +3
    Is there any such thing as a totally unique language?

    totally unique language
  • Vendetta 2011/07/25 18:14:28
    No, that's ridiculous
    Vendetta
    +3
    Just plain stupid.
  • $$*gat*$$ BL39 2011/07/25 17:50:51 (edited)
    Yes, foreign words are unacceptable
    $$*gat*$$ BL39
    +3
    Yes, another way to bring creeping sharia into America,, it is a SANDSTORM,,, lets use English ppl!,,,,,
  • Vendetta $$*gat*... 2011/07/25 18:13:55
    Vendetta
    +6
    Do you get that Sharia is a legal system and not a language. Please.
  • $$*gat*... Vendetta 2011/07/25 20:10:24
    $$*gat*$$ BL39
    +1
    I get that you know little about sharia
  • Alice A... $$*gat*... 2011/07/28 18:35:11
    Alice Addertongue
    +2
    Be careful now, for there are Moslems under your bed. Booh!
  • $$*gat*... Alice A... 2011/07/28 18:41:48
    $$*gat*$$ BL39
    BOOOOOOOO
  • Fred 2011/07/25 17:13:19
    No, that's ridiculous
    Fred
    +1
    I really dont care
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