Arabic Language Blog

Arabic in Outer Space (Part 2) Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in Arabic Language, Culture, Vocabulary


It can be funny to see that if you randomly ask young people in the Arab world today:

— “What is الثُريَّـــــــــــا (al-Thuraya)?”

They would almost all answer you that it is the name of a major telephone company, if not simply a chandelier, or a ceiling light hanging above our heads at home in the living room… Not realizing that this Arabic term has for long designated another kind of “chandelier”—an “astronomical chandelier” that is so far away in الفَضَـــــــــــــاء الخَارجـــــــــــــي (outer space), and is known in English as “the Pleiades“! 

المجرَّات (Galaxies)

Today, we continue with the names of the constellations whose original language is Arabic (See: Arabic in the Sky: Top 200+ Astronomical Words—of *Arabic* Origin (الجُزء الأوَّل/First Part)“):

  • Edasich Adh-Dhikh The Hyena الذّيخ
  • El Nath An-Nath The Head-Butting النطح

Think زيــــــــــــدان (Zidane) vs. Materazzi! 

  • Eltanin At-Tinnin The Dragon التنين
  • Enif Al-Anf The Nose الأنف
  • Errai Ar-Ra’i The Shepherd الراعي 
  • Fomalhaut Fam al-Hut Mouth of the Whale فم الحوت 
  • Furud Al-Furud “Individual” stars الفرد

Perhaps by a transcrption mistake from القــــــــرد (the Ape)

  • Gienah Al-Janah The Wing الجناح 
  • Gomeisa Al-Ghumaisa’ “The Bleary-Eyed One” الغميصاء

It is worth to take a quick pause at this star:

Also known in English as “Prokyon“, it has yet another nickname:الشعــــــــــرى الشَّاميـــــــــــــــة” (meaning “The Levant Sirius“, a term which does not seem to appear in any English publication), as opposed to “الشعــــــــــرى اليمانيـــــــــــــــة” (literally “the Sirius from Yemen“) which can only be seen from places in or near the Southern Hemisphere, such as Yemen…

Legend has it that the two “sister stars” lived together, but were suddenly separated from each other at some point, which caused the “Sirius from the Levant” (Levant mainly means Syria and Lebanon) to cry so much as to have a “bleary eye”, hence the nicknameالغميصاء.” Notice also thatSirius is related to the Arabic “شِعــــــــــر” (poetry), and that Arabs considered this star to be the archetypical source of all poetry (in addition to the so-called “Abqar river.”) For example, the famous Arab poet Al-Buhturi is known to have said:

إذا قلت شعرا فالنجوم رواته 
If I said any poetry, the stars are its reciters
ومن ذا رأى الشعري روت لامرئ شعراً
Have you not seen Sirius reciting poetry to ‘Imru’?

(In reference to the “Shakespeare of Arabic poetry“,  امرؤ القيــــــــــــــــــس/Imru’ al-Qais, already mentioned in a previous post.)

Finally, the “Sirius from Yemen” is the only star to be mentioned in the Holy Quran ((“وأنه هو رب الشعرى” (سورة النجم الآية 49)) (“And He is The Lord of Sirius“), since it was known that Arabs in Meccaa used to worship it before Islam. The Verse says that God is the Lord of everything, including the Sirius star. 

  • Hadar Hadara Civilization حضارة
  • Hamal Al-Hamal The Ram نيّر الحمل
  • Heka Al-Haq’ah The white spot الهقعة
  • Homam Sa’d al-humam The lucky star of “the high-minded” سعد الهمام
  • Izar Al-Izar The Girdle الإزار
  • Jabbah Al-Jabhah “The Forehead” of the Scorpion الجبهة
  • Kabdh al ‘Inan Qabd Al-E’nan The Rein Hold قبض العنان
  • Kaffaljidhma Al-Kaff al-Jadhma’ The cut-short hand الكف الجذماء
  • Kaus Al-Qaus The southern one of “the Bow” القوس
  • Keid Al-Qaid The broken egg-shells القيض
  • Kitalpha Qit’at al-Faras Part of the horse قطعة الفرس
  • Kochab Al-Kaukab Planet كوكب
  • Kurhah Al-Qurhah “The Blaze” on a Horse’s Brow القرحة
  • Lesath Al-Las’ah The sting اللسعة
  • Luh-Denebola dhanab al-asad the Lion’s Tail ذنب الليث
  • Maasym Al-Mi’sam The wrist معصم الثّريّا
  • Maaz Al-Ma’z The He-Goats الماعز
  • Marfik Al-Mirfaq The Elbow المرفق
  • Markab Mankib al-Faras “The shoulder” of the horse منكب الفرس
  • Matar Sa’d Matar The Lucky Star of “the Rain” سعد مطر
  • Mebsuta The Outstretched Arm الذّراع المبسوطه
  • Megrez Al-Maghriz “The insertion-point” of the Bear’s مغرز
  • Meissa Al-Maisan The Shining الميسان
  • Mekbuda Al-Maqbudah The Closed Arm الذّراع المقبوضة
  • Menkalinan Mankib Dhi-al-‘Inan Shoulder of the rein-holder منكب ذي العنان
  • Menkar Al-Minkhar The nostril المنخر
  • Menkib Al-Mankib “The shoulder” of the Pleiades منكب الثّريّا
  • Merak Al-Maraqq The loins المراق
  • Mintaka Al-Mintaqah The Area المنطقة
  • Mirak The Sauces المراق
  • Mirfak Al-Mirfaq “The Elbow” of the Pleiades مرفق الثّريّا
  • Mizar Miʾzar The Apron المئزر
  • Mothallah Al-Muthallath The Triangle المثلث
  • Muphrid Al-Mufrid The Solitary المفرد
  • Murzim Al-Murzim The Reamer المرزم
  • Nashira Sa’d Nashirah The Star of Lucky Omen سعد ناشرة
  • Nekkar Al-Baqqar The Cattleman البقار
  • Nasl An-Nasl The Arrowhead النصل
  • Nihal An-Nihal The Camels Quenching their Thirst النهال
  • Nusakan An-Nasaqan The Two Series النسقان
  • Okda Al-‘Uqdah The Knot العقدة
  • Phact Al-Fakhitah The Dove فاخثة
  • Phad Al-Fakhidh The Thigh فخذ
  • Pherkad Al-Farqad The Calf فرقد

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Keep learning Arabic with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it