Friday, February 8, 2013

Arabic Word in English: Tabby

Have you ever wondered where "tabby" cats got their name? It's a wonderful etymology. The English word "tabby" is a noun, dating to the early 17th century, referring to a "striped silk taffeta." The English word is a borrowing from French tabis, which was atabis in medieval French - and that French word was in turn from Arabic 'attabiya, meaning from the Attabiya neighborhood of Baghdad where this striped cloth was made.

So that is where the tabby cat, with its distinctive striped coat, got its name! You can learn more in the entry for "tabby" at

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